Mother’s Day is approaching, and of course we’ll all be paying homage to the most important moms in our lives. But isn’t it about time someone thanked the fictional matriarchs who came into our homes through the years, making us cackle, cry and cringe at their outrageous motherly antics? We thought so. So, in honor of all the highly entertaining, insanely lovable mamas out there, Red Typewriter has compiled a list of the 10 coolest television moms of all time. Happy Mother’s Day!
1. Mary Louise Parker: Nancy Botwin on Weeds
Nancy (played by the brilliant Parker, above) is a PTA soccer mom whose husband suddenly dies of a heart attack. So she does what any hot, young suburban housewife would do: start selling marijuana to the locals. Eventually, Nancy discovers she’s good at this drug-dealing thing and makes a killing from it. So what if she occasionally brings home gang members, drug lords and other dangerous criminals? In the end, she remains a decent mom and handles her edgy lifestyle with the flair of a highly strategic businesswoman—who has, of course, just smoked a little pot to get through the day.
2. Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls
Lorelai is a young mom who’s raising her teenage daughter, Rory, on her own. Her own parents are upper-crust conservatives who fund their granddaughter’s private school education, but frown upon their daughter’s less-than-conventional lifestyle. Fortunately, Lorelai provides the right amount of nurturing and silliness she and Rori need to counteract the stuffiness. In fact, the two aren’t just mother and daughter, but also best buds. Sure, Lorelai may be prone to romantic entanglements and inclined to bud into her kid’s high-school drama, but that’s to be expected when your mom was only 16 when she birthed you.
3. Katey Sagal: Peg Bundy on Married With Children
Ah, we can just hear the clinking of those high-heeled mules as she walks from the living room couch to the refrigerator to retrieve a can of Diet Coke. Peg Bundy, who’s teased red hair and leopard-print leggings are just the beginning of her over-the-top image, is a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t do much housework or cooking—or much parenting for that matter. Instead, you’ll find her watching soap operas, gossiping with the neighbors or complaining about her sexless marriage. But you gotta love her, not only because she’s funny, but because she makes YOU look like mother of the year.
4. Edie Falco: Carmela Soprano on The Sopranos
Sure, she’s a mob wife and sure, half the fancy appliances in her kitchen—not to mention the Manolos in her walk-in closet—probably fell off a truck. Even though we frown upon her criminal-funded lifestyle and her ability to look the other way when it comes to her philandering husband, we can’t help but love Carmela for her warm Italian-mama ways and her mad homemaking and parenting skills, which include baking a fine eggplant parmigiana, keeping her formica-furnished Jersey McMansion spotless, and threatening her daughter’s high school guidance counselor—but only when absolutely necessary.
5. Julie Kavner: Marge Simpson on The Simpsons
Best known for her blue beehive and scratchy voice, Marjorie Jacqueline “Marge” Simpson (née Bouvier) is perhaps the most well-known animated mother of all time. Marge serves as the voice of reason within her wacky cartoon family, which includes her husband Homer and three children, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. She is well-meaning, loving and patient, even when things go wrong in the Simpson household. Which they often do. While many think of Marge as a stay-at-home mom, she’s actually dabbled in a variety of professional fields, including nuclear technology, pretzel making, law enforcement and even erotic-cake baking. This bug-eyed lady has got it going on.
6. Estelle Getty: Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls
The quintessential Italian matriarch, Sicilian-born Sophia Petrillo is one of the funniest television mamas of all time. She is a widow who, after suffering a heart attack and a bad run in a nursing home, moves into the Miami ranch house occupied by her daughter, Dorothy, and her housemates, Blanche and Rose. She’s best known for her Sicilian curses, her killer meatballs, and her wisecracks and put-downs, especially when dissing Dorothy and the girls. But deep down, she loves each of them and wouldn’t trade them for all the cannoli in Palermo.
7. Doris Roberts: Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond
Passive-aggressive and judgmental, Marie Barone is one difficult lady to impress. If you’re her daughter-in-law, don’t even try. Marie, who lives across the street from her younger son Raymond’s family in a suburban New York neighborhood, can’t help meddling in other people’s business, and she’s especially hard on her DIL Debra, whom she often criticizes for her sub-par cooking and housecleaning. Marie also continues to baby her 40-something sons as if they were still in grade school. However, despite her disagreeable ways, Marie always manages to pull through for the family—whether it’s by preparing a meal, taking care of the grandkids on a moment’s notice, or rallying her wacky family to shape up.
8. Phylicia Rashad: Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show
Yes, we’re all disappointed in her Cosby Show co-star and those scandalous headlines he’s been making. Nonetheless, we continue to admire strong, affectionate working mom Clair Huxtable, played so brilliantly by Rashad. This is one powerhouse matriarch: In addition to taking care of five kids, nurturing a marriage and running an impeccable household, Clair works full-time as an attorney, setting a great example for her children. She also disciplines in a way that is loving yet firm: Not one of those little Huxtables stands a chance at lying when she looks them straight in the eye. And neither would you.
9. Sally Field: Nora Walker on Brothers and Sisters
Nora is an overbearing, meddling mother who still coddles her grown children. It doesn’t help that her Pasadena ranch house is way too big for one person, compelling her to keep welcoming kids back into the nest every time they break up with someone or experience a quarter- or mid-life crisis. But she’s a feisty one, that Nora—a real mama bear who will stand up to anyone who tries to hurt her family, including the longtime mistress of her late husband who emerges after his death. All we can say is, good thing for him he’s dead.
10. Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara: Claire Dunphy and Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family
This one had to be a tie, since we couldn’t decide between the two perfectly imperfect moms on this hilarious sit-com. Claire is a nit-picking soccer mom whose children regard her as a stick-in-the-mud, but really she’s just trying to help them avoid the mistakes she made as a teen. Gloria is a passionate Latina (boy, that was redundant) whose overly emotional, overly protective parenting make for great comedy. Both these maternal figures ain’t too shabby to look at either. And their scenes together are some of the best on the show.