While moms in the movies are just as important and just as capable of teaching us a few lessons when it comes to compassion and how to live your life with conviction, TV moms did this regularly, meaning that they were on air every day or two, or at least once a week, to show us how things were done, or to show how the maternal instinct isn’t infallible. The difference between good moms and bad moms on TV gets a little muddied now and then since what’s good and what’s bad depends on one’s interpretation of the social mores that go into each show. When all is said and done, moms are necessary for a lot of ways on TV, but the worst of them are tough for a lot of people to fully understand. Here are five of the best and five of the worst moms on TV.
10. Best: Lois – Malcolm in the Middle
Calling Lois one of the best is like saying that a guard dog that can maul the hell out of you is a good pet. In a way, that’s pretty accurate since Lois isn’t the kind of woman to be messed around with since she’ll give anyone a piece of her mind if she has to, and messing with her isn’t a wise move, but messing with her family spells certain doom. Even though her boys think she tortures them, Lois is the type of woman that is cruel at times for a good reason, and it’s to ensure that her boys will survive on their own.
9. Worst: Skyler White – Breaking Bad
There are bound to be people out there that think Skylar should be listed as one of the best mothers since she does what she can to protect her kids. That’s fair, but the fans of this show wanted Walt to be the hero so badly that they didn’t care that Skyler was actually the person that needed support. The reason she’s seen as one of the worst is simply that the fans decided quickly that she was the thorn in Walt’s side that was doing everything she could to hold him back. She wasn’t a saint, but it’s fair to say that this designation is more by consensus than anything.
8. Best: Thelma Harper – Mama’s Family
It’s kind of interesting how some of the toughest individuals on TV and in the movies get labeled as the best parents, isn’t it? Thelma was by far one of the more outspoken and cantankerous women in TV history, and yet she was supportive of her kids and friends no matter that she would openly berate them constantly and make it clear when she wasn’t happy with them. Some might call that toxic, but when born from a need to care for one’s family it can be a positive thing.
7. Worst: Gemma Teller Morrow-Sons of Anarchy
Interestingly, Gemma could be tender and motherly to her son and her grandchildren, but that’s kind of where the ‘nice’ version of Gemma ended since it didn’t last that long. The fact that she was manipulative and conniving for much of the show makes it tough to stand behind her, even with all the abuse she takes during the series. The fact that she helped to orchestrate her first husband’s death and killed her son’s wife makes it even harder to say that she had any redeeming value.
6. Best: Marge Simpson – The Simpsons
Marge puts up with a lot, and I mean a LOT. She essentially has four children in her house since despite being a working and functional adult, Homer isn’t much better than the kids since his intelligence isn’t much greater than Bart or Lisa, he’s impulsive, and often quite selfish. Marge somehow soldiers through this and takes care of her family. She’s snapped a few times and been overwhelmed, but most of the time she’s come back strong and found her purpose despite the hardships.
5. Worst: Peggy Bundy – Married With Children
Peg isn’t an evil person but she’s selfish and has no inclination to change during her time on TV. Trying to find any redeeming qualities in this woman is nigh impossible since the only time she gets affectionate is when she wants to, and even that is self-serving. As far as comedy goes she provides a ton of it, but when it comes to being a mother and a wife she’s one of the worst examples that’s ever been created for the small screen.
4. Best: Corrina Williams – Friday Night Lights
A lot of the time she’s only seen as Smash’s mother since she doesn’t show up in every episode, but the truth is that she’s one of the most positive individuals in her son’s life since she doesn’t take his lip and yet she’s there for him when he needs someone. Quite honestly, Smash doesn’t have many people in his life that care about him this deeply since his coach cares, but he’s less patient with his players than Corrina is with her son. She doesn’t let him slide that often when it comes to sorting his life out, but she genuinely cares and is ready to snap her son back into line when it’s necessary.
3. Worst: Constance Langdon – American Horror Story
Stating that Constance is a bad person isn’t entirely accurate since she’s not the most violent or manipulative person in the AHS series. But the fact is that she does things for her own reasons and she’s not the best person in the series. Every character that Jessica Lange plays is dodgy and shifty as hell, but she makes it work in a way that’s hard to deny is needed since her part in the series created a necessary evil that would have been missed.
2. Best: Clair Huxtable – The Cosby Show
Letting go of the fact that many are upset that the actress appeared to support Bill Cosby with her statements, Clair Huxtable was the type of woman that inspired many since she was a working woman that knew how to handle her household as well. That kind of individual was seen as strong and capable and made it clear that such a thing could be done. As a role model, Clair was someone that people couldn’t help but look up to.
1. Worst: Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones
There aren’t enough ways to describe how complicated this character is, since there are many who would state that she’s a tragic character that was to be pitied since from her time as a young girl she was taken advantage of and treated like a piece of property. That much is true, but the actions she took against others still indicate that the decisions she made throughout the series were still hers and hers alone. Mothers in TV are a lot more complex on average than their movie counterparts.