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The Top 31 TV Sitcom Mothers Of All Time

Ah, the sitcom. Where would television be without it? Rather, where would we be? If one thing is for certain, the situational comedy played a large role in our development while growing up, and perhaps the reason why can be determined by all the great mothers of comedy that played the role of mom to millions of viewers all over the world. Let's take a look at the best TV mothers of all time. Click the links below to jump to a mother:

  1. Happy Days - Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross)
  2. That 70's Show - Kitty Foreman (Debra Jo Rupp)
  3. Home Improvement - Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson)
  4. Cosby Show - Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad)
  5. Married With Children - Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal)
  6. Leave It To Beaver - June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley)
  7. Simpsons - Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner)
  8. Family Guy - Lois Griffin (Alex Borstein)
  9. I Love Lucy - Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball)
  10. Mama's Family - Thelma Crowley Harper (Vicki Lawrence)
  11. Everyone Loves Raymond - Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton)
  12. Who's the Boss? - Angela Bower (Judith Light)
  13. Good Times - Florida Evans (Esther Rolle)
  14. Growing Pains - Maggie Malone Seaver (Joanna Kerns)
  15. South Park - Sharon Marsh (Eliza Schneider)
  16. Full House - Rebecca "Becky" Katsopolis (Lori Loughlin)
  1. The Facts of Life - Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae)
  2. The Jeffersons - Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford)
  3. The Brady Bunch - Carol Brady (Florence Henderson)
  4. Roseanne - Roseanne (Roseanne Barr)
  5. All In The Family - Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton)
  6. Fresh Prince Of Bel Air - Vivian Banks ( Janet Hubert-Whitten)
  7. Dick Van Dyke Show - Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore)
  8. Family Ties - Elyse Keaton (Meredith Baxter)
  9. The Addams Family - Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones)
  10. The Partridge Family - Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones)
  11. What's Happening!! Mabel Thomas (Mabel King)
  12. Boy Meets World - Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle)
  13. Seinfeld - Helen Seinfeld (Liz Sheridan)
  14. Seinfeld - Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris)
  15. Alf - Kate Tanner (Anne Schedeen)
 

 

 

1. Happy Days - Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross)

Marion CunninghamOh, happy days. A perfect name for a perfect show, Happy Days showed us what it was like to be in high school in the days of Ford Fairlanes and poodle skirts. And when you have bad boys like "The Fonz" having a negative (but still so wholesome by today's standards) influence on your boy Ritchie, you'd better hope your motherly skills are top notch. And if you were Marion Cunningham, you had nothing to worry about!

Marion ran a tight ship and a tidy house. The kitchen was always clean, the living room could pass the white glove test, and if anyone stopped by unexpectedly Marion always had here nicest close on. Everyone’s favorite mom, Marion takes us back to simpler times where a good meal and sound advice can solve any crisis in under 30 minutes. Marion is known for her witty comments, raising wholesome kids and even dancing with the FONZ. She is the mom every kids wants to have.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Marion: [the family has found out Joanie smokes and Howard is getting ready to lecture her] "Tell her that smoking is a disgusting and filthy habit."
Howard: "I'll get to that Marion..."
Richie: "...and it leads to heart disease and lung cancer..."
Howard: "All right Richard..."
Marion: "...and tell her that kissing someone who smokes is like kissing an ashtray!"

Episode 214)
Howard: Marion, the kids are gone, we can do anything we want, we
can even watch tv naked.
Marion: Oh not that again, Howard.

(Episode 16)
Marion: Are we buying a new house
Howard: What do we need a new house for, what's wrong with this one?
Marion: Well, we don't have enough closet space, life would be so
much more pleasant if we just had more closet space

2. That 70's Show - Kitty Foreman (Debra Jo Rupp)

Kitty ForemanAn unexpected hit, That 70's Show enlightened it's viewers with the teenage antics of 6 kids coming-of-age in the suburbs of late 70's Wisconsin. We all know that when you have a sitcom about the comedic adventures of 16 year olds, you're going to need a good mother to keep an eye on things. That mother's name happened to be Kitty Foreman, who, along with husband Red, dealt with the often hilarious happenings their son Eric and his band of misfit friends.

Our favorite retro mom, Kitty Foreman is a working mom with just enough sass to keep Red in check and manages to get dinner and sometimes lunch on the table every night. And who can forget her laugh!

Our Favorite Quotes:
Kitty: "I need someone who can take evil."
[Laurie walks in]
Kitty: "How's mama's girl? I have a job for you."
Laurie: "Not interested."
Kitty: "It pays 10 dollars."
Laurie: "I'll do anything for ten dollars."
Kitty: "For once that's a good thing."


 

3. Home Improvement - Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson)

Jill TaylorAs wife of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor (played by comedian Tim Allen), Jill Taylor had quite an impression on those who tuned in to watch the very popular ABC sitcom Home Improvement during the 90's. When she wasn't keeping her accident-prone husband in check, she had her hands full with their three boys Brad, Randy, and Mark. While she excelled at taking care of the men in the house, she was notorious for lack of skill in the kitchen.


Our Favorite Quotes:
Jill: "The rental house manager has guaranteed me that I have the scariest looking costume that they have ever had."
Tim: "They've got a costume that looks like you at 7 A.M.?"

Tim: I didn't bug you during childbirth.
Jill: No, but you bugged me during conception.

Jill: Hey, Tim, dinner's ready.
Tim: I'm not really that hungry.
Jill: I didn't cook it.
Tim: I am famished.

Jill: [They've accidentally driven to Ohio] If we hit Kentucky, I am filing for a divorce.
Tim: Alright, I'll pull it over.

 

4. Cosby Show - Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad)

Clair HuxtableFor 8 years, no one taught us as many mother lessons as Clair Huxtable did on NBC's hit comedy The Cosby Show. As Heacliff "Cliff" Huxtable's lovely wife, and mother to their children Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. The classy Clair managed to hold a very esteemed career as an attorney, in addition to teaching her children good moral values and education (and putting up with her comical husband in the process).

One of the busiest and classiest women on our list is Clair Huxtable. Successful attorney, mother of five, and wife to Cliff which is a full-time job in itself, Clair managed to bring us humor and good moral values each week.  Her assertive no-nonsense nature allowed her children to grow up happy and healthy and even have their own spin-off.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Cliff: "I don't understand why it is that you get to rant and rave and I'm the one that has to be calm."
Clair: "Because, Cliff, that is my baby in there!"
Cliff: "Well, that's my baby, too!"
Clair: "No, Cliff, you did not have that child. I had that child. I was the one who was lying on that table screaming "take it out." And if it takes the last breath in my body, Sondra IS going to become a lawyer!"


Cliff: "I'm just saying that a woman can have babies longer than a man can play football."
Clair: "Go to sleep, Cliff...'cause you're gonna need a helmet if you keep talking."

5. Married With Children - Peggy Bundy (Katey Sagal)

Peggy BundyMargaret "Peggy" Bundy is easily one of the most remembered moms of comedy, spending time as the wife of shoe salesman Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill) for 11 Seasons on the hit Fox show Married With Children. Peggy, while not the best role-model of a mom (she refused to cook or clean for the family, even though she didn't have a job), always provided her love to her husband and their two trouble making teens Kelly & Bud.

Peggy Bundy is one of the most memorable TV moms in history with her name synonymous for high heels, big hair and tight pants. Whether she is feeding her neighbor Marcy a cigarette butt or trying to get Al to have sex with her or not feeding her children, she is always good for a few laughs. Although few would recommend Peggy’s style of mothering, she does love her kids and her husband.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Peggy: "Did you miss me?"
Al: "With every bullet, so far."

Peggy: [writing] Saturday, eleven p.m.: make love. 11:05: Al goes to sleep. 11:06: Finish making love.

Bud: Mom, I've had a lousy day, I could really use some Motherly advice.
Peggy: Shut up Bud! Oprah's doing a show about Mothers who don't pay attention to their sons.

6. Leave It To Beaver - June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley)

June  CleaverIf they're were to be a "quintessential" mother on this list, the award would have to be bestowed upon June Cleaver. Perhaps the same can be said about the entire cast of Leave It To Beaver, the famous comedy that became popular in the 1950's. While the series' star "Beaver" Clever discovers the wonders of the world he grows up in, June is there to make sure he's staying out of trouble and has his lunch packed properly for school. June definitely set the standard in her day of being the sweetest mother on the block.

Our Favorite Quotes:
June Cleaver: "Wally, where are you going?"
Wally Cleaver: "I'm going over to slug Eddie."
June Cleaver: "That's no way to talk, this is Sunday."
Wally Cleaver: "You're right, I'll wait 'til tomorrow and slug him in the cafeteria."

7. Simpsons - Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner)

Marge SimpsonNo mother has had to endure more than Marge Simpson. The fictional wife of uber-dufus Homer has been dealing with the constant ridiculousness of her husband's antics week after week for almost 20 years. Add her trouble-making son Bart, over-achieving daughter Lisa and toddler Maggie to the mix and you have a mother that manages to keep her cool (most of the time) and still provide a warm hug at the end of the day.

Definitely the mom with the best hair, Marge Simpson is a happy housewife, proud mother of three, and one of three tight nit sisters. Constantly dealing with her donut eating husbands shenanigans, Bart’s trouble making and Lisa just being Lisa, Marge has her work cut out for her, but she manages to add humor and a sense of pride into every episode.

Our Favorite Quotes:
"The way I see it, if you can raise three kids who can knock out and hogtie a perfect stranger, you must be doing something right."

Marge: it was pretty exciting. But celery's pretty exciting too.

Marge: History's like an amusement park. Except instead of rides you have dates to memorize.

Marge: You know, when I was a girl, I always dreamed of being in a Broadway audience.

Marge: Now if you'll excuse me I have some dust that needs busting.


8. Family Guy - Lois Griffin (Alex Borstein)

Lois GriffinSpeaking on animated moms, Lois Griffin could give Marge a run for her money. If The Simpson's are known for the crazy antics of the male leads (Homer and Bart), then the Family Guy is known for the even-zanier antics of Lois's husband Peter and their three kids Meg, Chris, and the ever diabolical Stewie. Without their mother, these the family would probably never get out of their constantly (albeit hilarious) awkward situations.

Lois Griffin has one of the most difficult TV jobs as the wife of Peter, someone who traded a boat for a mystery box and mother of Meg, Chris and Stewie, baby genius planning to take over the world.  To top it off, she has a talking dog who is probably the only sane one of the bunch. I doubt any mother would want to be Lois, but she sure is fun to watch

Our Favorite Quotes:
Lois: "I'm gonna go get some oranges Stewie. Here, hold the rest of these bags for mommy."
Stewie: "Oh, what brilliant parenting Lois. Leave a tiny infant with a plastic bag. You know I might asphyxiate myself just to teach you a lesson. Here I go. Just like that boy from INXS."
(Stewie tries to put bag over top of his head.)
Stewie: "I'm going to do it!"(Tries to put bag over left side of his head then climbs into it and tries pulling it over his head.)
Stewie: "BLAST! Good Lord Lois, either I was a c-section, or you're Wonder Woma
n!"

Lois: I care about the size of your penis as much as you care about the size of my breasts.
Peter: Oh my God! (runs off crying)

Lois: I've seen that crappy Julia Roberts movie forty-seven times. Have you seen the lips on that woman? Like a baboon's ass on her face.

 

9. I Love Lucy - Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball)

Lucille BallLucy Ricardo is probably our funniest mom on the list. She is both naïve and ambitious, always trying to trick her husband Ricky into letting her perform in the show. From stomping grapes, to packing chocolates to selling vitamins Lucy has had several strange side jobs.  She had also managed to raise a musical genius for a son, little Ricky, and be great friends with her neighbors Fred and Ethel. Lucy is creative, entertaining and a favorite mom

 

10. Mama's Family - Thelma Crowley Harper (Vicki Lawrence)

Thelma Crowley HarperA TV mother's list just wouldn't be complete with out a mention of Mama's Family. Thelma Harper, the blue haired outspoken widow (the "mama"), was in charge of keeping her son Vinton and his two children Sonja and Buxx, along with her sister Fran rounding out the household. While originally cancelled after one season, the show would continue to evolve through syndication and be a constant throughout the 1980's.

Thelma Mae Haper was raised a small town farm girl with a healthy dose of attitude. She reminds us of everyone's favorite grumpy aunt or grandmother. Despite her propensity to start arguements, give attitude, and be a all-around general pain in the rear, Mama loved her family and looked out for him with her sharp tongued smart mouth. She was crude, wisecracking, and wasn't afraid to slap her children silly. Mama wasn't always the greatest mom, but she always made us laugh with her over the top antics.

Our Favorite Quotes:
"I tell ya, a guy selling brains could clean up in this family"

Thelma 'Mama' Harper: Good lord, Vinton, what in the hell do you think you're doing?
Vinton Harper: Well Mama... I'm trying to guess your weight...
Thelma 'Mama' Harper: I've got a better idea Vinton... how about you guess which hand I'm gonna smack you upside the head with.

 

11. Everyone Loves Raymond - Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton)

Patricia HeatonDebra Barone proved to be the tough-as-nails wife of Ray Barone, played by comedian Ray Romano, which the comedy Everyone Loves Raymond is loosely based on. When not arguing with her husband, or arguing with Ray's parents who frequent the house, Debra plays mother to the couple's identical twins Michael and Geoffrey and daughter Ally. Debra would prove to be one of the most popular sitcom mothers in recent memory.

If you think your in-laws are bad, you have nothing on Debra Barone.  Having 3 kids and Ray as a husband is difficult, but with the in-laws living next door, Debra rarely has any privacy. With that said she is one of the toughest mom’s around and has paved the way for the non-nonsense TV house wife.  She doesn’t bite her tongue and manages to teach her kids respect and that being a great cook isn’t necessary in being a great mom.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Debra: [to Robert] "It's your life. You do what you want to do."
Ray: "Until you're married... then you do what SHE wants you to do
."

"No, I didn't rupture my booty ... one time I did sprain my groove thing."

12. Who's the Boss? - Angela Bower (Judith Light)

Angela BowerThere's a good reason why this ht 80's sitcom was entitled Who's the Boss. The show featured star Tony Danza as Tony Micelli, who moves into the Bower residence as a live-in housekeeper with his daughter Samantha. While Tony tends to the house during the day, Angela is the one out working the corporate life to support her son Jonathan. The role-reversal proved to be not only popular with the shows fans, but offered a different glimpse of family life (compared to the tried-and true "stay at home" mom approach of many comedies.

Angela Bower helped to show the world that there is more than one way to be a great mom. She is a high powered advertising executive with a live in male housekeeper. Although she doesn’t cook or do any of the cleaning, she adores her son and will do anything for him.  The gender reversal on this show proved to be a hit with ratings and working moms

Our Favorite Quotes:
Tony: "I'm Tony Micelli. I'm here about the job."
Angela: "Oh, I'm sorry. There must be a mistake. This job is for a housekeeper."
Tony: "That's me, Mr. Goodmop!"
Angela: "Well, my mother's screening everyone. Did you meet her?"
Tony: "Yeah yesterday. She gave me the once over, kicked me in the tires, put me up on the rack..."
Angela: "Well, she should've checked under your hood, 'cause you're the wrong sex"
Tony: "Oh, wait a minute; she said that wouldn't be any problem."
Angela: "My mother didn't think World War II was a problem."


13. Good Times - Florida Evans (Esther Rolle)

Florida EvansWho could forget the smile of Florida Evans, mom to JJ, Thelma, and youngest son Michael on the hit 70's sitcom Good Times. A spin-off of the show Maude, the show portrayed the life of a family living in an urban slum. The show was one of the first to offer realistic depictions of concepts like racial discrimination, street crime, low income life, and other scenarios not seen in many shows of its day. Luckily for the kids (and us), we had Florida to let us know everything was going to be okay at the end of every episode.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Florida: "Well if parents would take the time to educate their kids about sex, they wouldn't have to cheapen it in the backseat of a bus."
Willona: "What parents? They teach sex in school now."
Michael: "They do? I'm going back for my extra credit."
Florida: "Michael!"
Michael:"Just jiving, ma, just jiving."
Florida: (to Willona) It's still the parents' responsibility


14. Growing Pains - Maggie Malone Seaver (Joanna Kerns)

Maggie Malone SeaverAnother very popular ht 80's sitcom, Growing Pains, taught us, well, about the pains that endure growing up. Luckily, those pains were often temporary (figure 30 minutes, minus some commercial air time), and were often made better from the warm motherly love from Maggie Seaver. Like Who's The Boss, the show tackled the issue of a working mothers and stay-at-home father figure, where Maggie's husband Jason helped raise their kids Mike, Carol, Ben, and Chrissy. The show probably did a lot for helping the concept of a working mother become more commonplace.

Maggie Malone Seaver was the quintessential working mom of the 80s. She has a high pressure job that occasionally kept her our late, while her husband worked from home and cooked. She showed us that the Marion Cunnigham style of motherhood wasn’t the only way to raise happy kids.


Our Favorite Quotes:
Maggie: "Carol, how dare you disobey us!"
Jason: "I never thought I would ever say that but Carol Ann Seaver, you're grounded."
Carol: "Wait..."
Maggie: "No explanations. You are not getting a nose job."
Carol: "I know."
Jason: "What?"
Carol: "I'm not getting a nose job."
Jason: "Don't confuse us by agreeing with us, Carol."


15. South Park - Sharon Marsh (Eliza Schneider)

Sharon MarshIn the absolutely naive and gullible world of the animated South Park, there's very few adults who have a voice of reason for the boys Stan, Kyle, Kenny and the trouble making Eric Cartman. Stan's mother Sharon is often this voice, often pointing the necessary knowledge the boys are looking for and in most cases, providing her husband Randy with the same guidance; however, as with most characters from the show, her personality can at times be obviously "out there".

Our Favorite Quotes:
Randy:" Sharon, have you seen dad?"
Sharon: "He's not here hun, he's having a meeting with all the seniors in town at the community center."
Randy: "Ohh... wait a minute. If all the seniors are in town at a meeting, that means that when the meeting gets out..."
Sharon: "Every senior in town will be driving home..."
Randy: "At the same time! OH MY GOD!"

 

16. Full House - Rebecca "Becky" Katsopolis (Lori Loughlin)

Becky KatsopolisA very, very successful staple of ABC's popular TGIF sitcom block during the '90s, Full House told the tale of a single dad Danny Tanner (Bob Sagat) and his life raising his three daughters D.J., Stephanie (famous for her "How Rude!" comments), and Michelle (portrayed famously by twin sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen). With no mother figure at first, the girls often turned to Becky, Danny's co-worker, who would eventually marry Danny's brother-in-law Jesse. She would eventually take on the role of mother officially after giving birth to twins.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Michelle: "Is it almost time for my party?"
Becky: "You have two and a half hours still."
Michelle: "How long is that?"
Jesse: "A Sesame Street and a Mister Rogers."
Michelle: "Wow. Turning five is going to take forever."


17. The Facts of Life - Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae)

Edna GarrettWhile Edna Garrett did indeed have two sons of her own, it wasn't her guidance of them that made this list. Rather, it was her mentorship as the "den mother" of Eastland Academy that got her on this list. As housekeeper to the Drummond family on Diff'rent Strokes, Edna followed Kimberly to school in the spin-off The Facts of Life, which ran from 1978 to 1986. Edna would play the role of mother to the girls even after their schooling, where they worked in Edna's gourmet food shop "Edna's Edibles".

Our Favorite Quotes:
Edna: "I can't see my hands in front of my face."
Tootie: "Really? My Uncle Jerome was like that."
Edna: "He couldn't see either?"
Tootie: "No, especially on Saturday night."
Edna: "It is amazing what a couple of drops can do to your vision."
Tootie: "I guess it depends on how big the drops are.
"


18. The Jeffersons - Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford)

Louise JeffersonOne of the longest running sitcoms of all time, The Jeffersons showcased the life of the Jefferson family, which originally appeared in another legendary sitcom, All in the Family. Each week viewers would turn in to see the adventures of Louis, her husband George, and son Lionel, and their interactions with supporting cast members such as their maid Florence and neighbors Tom and Helen Willis. The series dealt with the inner trappings of money and success that the Jeffersons dealt with week after week.

Louise Jefferson is a kind hearted, street smart mom who is a great example for women living with hot-headed husbands and with a less than ideal mother-in-law.  Louise, or Weezie as George calls her, calms her husband with her level headedness and deals with the inner trappings of money and success that the Jeffersons dealt with week after week.

Our Favorite Quotes:
George: "This here is the living area, where we does our living, and this is the dining area, where we does our dining, and this is the kitchen area..."
Louise: "Where we does our kitchening."

 

19. The Brady Bunch - Carol Brady (Florence Henderson)

Carol BradyWho else on this list of moms had their hand's full as much as Carol Brady? We all remember the famous story - two parents with children from different marriages get together and form the "Brady Bunch". The family consisted of Carol's three daughters - Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, and her new husband's three boys -Greg, Peter, and Bobby. You can bet that Carol always had her hands full with that many kids getting into trouble week in and week out.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Carol: "I don’t hear anything."
Mike: "What’s the matter with that?"
Carol: "Six kids and no noise. That’s what’s the matter with that… I’ve never heard such a loud silence.
"

20. Roseanne - Roseanne (Roseanne Barr)

RoseanneWho could forget Roseanne? While often not the most kindest mother in our lives, at the end of every episode, we had learned our lesson, sometimes the hard way, but nonetheless she got the job done. Living in a often troublesome, low income household, Roseanne made the best out of every situation while catering to her dysfunctional kids Becky, Darlene, and D.J., with help from her equally dysfunctional husband Dan (played by actor John Goodman).

Our Favorite Quotes:
D.J.: "Was I an accident?"
Roseanne: "No, D.J., you were a surprise."
D.J.: "Oh. What's the difference?"
Roseanne: "Well, an accident is something that you wouldn't do over again if you had the chance. A surprise is something you didn't even know you wanted until you got it."
D.J.: "Oh. Was Darlene an accident?"
Dan: "No, Darlene was a disaster."


21. All In The Family - Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton)

Edith BunkerOne of television's classic breakthrough comedies, All in the Family showed us the sometimes darker themes in life that were rarely shown on TV at the time the show aired (1971-79). Edith goes down in TV history as one of the sweetest mothers around, much the opposite of her outspoken and often difficult husband Archie (portrayed famously by Carol O'Connor). The show featured the daily lives of the couple and their adult daughter Gloria and her husband Michael.

Edith Bunker goes down in TV history as one of the sweetest, most patient mother’s in TV history.  Having to deal with her outspoken husband, Archie along with some of the darker themes in life that were rarely showed on TV at that time, was never easy, but Edith always managed to get it done. And who can forget that voice!

Our Favorite Quotes:
Archie: "Go ahead, ask your mother, *she* believes in capital punishment."
Gloria: "Do you Ma?"
Edith: "Well, sure."
Gloria: "MA?"
Edith: "Well, as long as it ain't too severe."


22. Fresh Prince Of Bel Air - Vivian Banks ( Janet Hubert-Whitten)

Vivian Banks"Now, this is a story all about how My life got flipped-turned upside down And I liked to take a minute; Just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air" - the classic opening rhyme from the famous show the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  Arriving in Bel Air to well to do family, Will Smith would challenge mother-figure Vivian with his street smart-alec mentality while she did her best to instill some honest moral value in the boy (much to our own laughter, it turned out).

Our Favorite Quotes:
Vivian: [about Hilary's purpose of going to college] "We just want you to be all you can be."
Hilary: "You want me to join the army?"
Phillip Banks: "Let's try this again."


23. Dick Van Dyke Show - Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore)

Mary Tyler MooreIn the role that made her famous, Mary Tyler Moore shined as Rob Petrie's wife Laura in the classic Dick Van Dyke Show. A stay at home mom to son Ritchie, the show mainly focused on her husband's job as head writer of the fictional "Alan Brady Show", a first to portray the inner working of creating a television program. Laura's role as the nervous wife who has to deal with her husband's misadventures in addition to receiving the same treatment from son Ritchie.

 

Our Favorite Quotes:
Rob: [opens closet door] "Ritchie, what are you doing in there?"
Ritchie: "Eating chocolate pudding."
Rob: [to Laura] "Why would you let the boy eat chocolate pudding in the broom closet?"
Laura: "Because you let a dog eat spaghetti in the garage!"


24. Family Ties - Elyse Keaton (Meredith Baxter)

Elyse KeatonAt a time when working mothers were finally becoming commonplace in America, Elyse Keaton made the role of professional and mom look almost too easy. As the mother of Alex (a young Michael J. Fox), Mallory, and Tina, Elyse spent each 30 min episode of Family Ties trying to juggle the life of a working mother along with her husband Alex. Elyse had the luxury of working from home as an architect, which made her dual roles seem a little easier on mom (although in reality, we all know this isn't necessarily the case).

Our Favorite Quotes:
Steven Keaton: I love you, Elyse.
Elyse Keaton: No, I love you more, Steven.
[Elyse and Steven make kissy noises through the telephone]
Alex P. Keaton: [shouting from upstairs] Oh, for crying… will you hang up the phone?


25. The Addams Family - Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones)

Moticia AdamsMorticia Adams may not be your average mom, but she is definitely someone to be admired. She is a stay at home mom who managed to keep her house as normal as possible, well normal for having a Gomez as a husband. She looked after more than just Gomez and the kids, but Lurch, and Uncle Fester to deal with. Morticia, that is not an easy task, but you  managed to do it with class and grace in head to toe black. You have to give credit to the style as well - Morticia was among the first mums to realize that black is the new pink.


Our Favorite Quotes:
Wednesday: " Please pass the salt."
Morticia: "And what do we say?"
Wednesday: "NOW."


26. The Partridge Family - Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones)

Shirley PatridgeFlower Power! While we've discussed some really awesome mother's so far, perhaps none were as cool as Shirley Partridge. I mean seriously, hoe many moms do you know that tour the country with their family in a psychedelic school bus? And is the lead vocalist? As mother of The Patridge Family, Shirley Partridge not only kept the band fed her entourage, she also made sure they stayed out of trouble (although they obviously still managed to get in some) in time to play their next gig. Rock on, Shirley.

Mom and lead singer, Shirley Partridge was one of the coolest mom’s of the 1970’s. She took the kids across the country in a psychedelic tour bus, made dinner and was always there for her kids with some sound advice and a song.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Shirley: "Tracy, don't stick that drum stick up your nose!"
Tracy: "Why not?"
Shirley: "You don't know where it's been!"


27. What's Happening!! Mabel Thomas (Mabel King)

Mabel ThomasPerhaps one of the author's fondest sitcom memories, What's Happening!! followed the day-to-day adventures of Roger "Raj" Thomas and his cohorts Dwayne Nelson and Freddie "rerun" Stubbs (he wore the orange beret). When the boys were not causing a ruckus or hanging out at Rob's Place, they were probably getting a mouthful from Raj's mother Mabel. And when Mabel spoke, you'd better have been listening!

Our Favorite Quotes:
Mama: "You gonna feed it?"
Dwayne: "Uh-Huh."
Mama: "And burp it?"
Dwayne: "Uh-Huh."
Mama: "And change it?"
Dwayne: "NUH-HU
H!"

 

28. Boy Meets World - Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle)

Amy MatthewsFrom 1993 to 2000, the world watched a young man named Corey Matthews gop through the trials and tribulations of being a teenage boy in Boy Meets World. And there to guide him through the good and the bad was his mother Amy. Whether it's dealing with the the siblings (Cory's older and often times idiotic brother Eric, or their younger sister Morgan), Amy Mathews eschewed the kind of personality that proved constant through many 90's sitcoms - always there to put the kids in their place and at the same time provide them with the extra bit of love at the beginning (and end) of the day.

om 1993 to 2000, the world watched a young man named Corey Matthews go through the trials and tribulations of being a teenage boy in Boy Meets World. The woman behind it all was Amy Matthews.  She eschewed the kind of personality that proved constant through many 90's sitcoms - always there to put the kids in their place and at the same time provide them with the extra bit of love at the beginning (and end) of the day.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Morgan Matthews:" Mommy, if my dolly's cold, can I put her in the toaster oven?"
Amy Matthews: "No, honey. That would be a mistake."
Morgan Matthews: "Mommy?"
Amy Matthews: "Yes?"
Morgan Matthews: "I made a mistake."
Amy Matthews: [runs over to toaster oven and pulls out doll] "Cory, didn't you smell that?"
Cory: "Yeah, I just thought we were having plastic for dinner."

 

29. Seinfeld - Helen Seinfeld (Liz Sheridan)

Helen SeinfeldOur final two mothers hail from the same sitcom, and rightfully so - Seinfeld has been considered many times as the greatest comedy of all time. Based on the often times odd daily observations of writer Larry David and star Jerry Seinfeld, the show provided a glimpse at life in Manhattan of four single thirty-something's. Helen Seinfeld provided the mom duties whenever Jerry needed some motherly advice, usually via telephone as she lived in a Florida retirement community with Jerry's father Morty.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Cosmo: "Hey, buddy. When did you get in?"
[Kramer goes straight to the refrigerator]
Jerry: "Kramer, what are you doing here?"
Cosmo: "I told you I was retiring. I moved in next door."
Helen: "Mr. Cornstein died, and it's a beautiful apartment."
Cosmo: "Yeah, your folks said it was for rent, so I jumped on it."
Jerry: "Kramer, you can't live down here! This is where people come to die."
[Mr. and Mrs. Seinfeld look up in horror]
Jerry: "Not you. *Older* people."


30. Seinfeld - Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris)

Estelle CostanzaWith Helen only making occasional appearances on Seinfeld, another mother would end up taking a little more of the spotlight - done rightfully so by George Costanza's mom Estelle. The bickering between Estelle and husband Frank (Jerry Stiller). While always with good intentions, she often spends her time yelling back and forth with her son and husband, or inadvertently humiliating them both, inducing us all into constant laughter.

Our Favorite Quotes:
Estelle: "Well, I'm out there."
George: "No, you're not."
Estelle: "Yes I am."
George: "No, you're not! Because I'm out there, and if I see *you* out there, there's not enough voltage in the universe to electroshock me back into coherence."

 

31. Alf - Kate Tanner (Anne Schedeen)

Kate TannerOne thing Kate Tanner can hold over every mom on this list? She doesn't have to take care of a wise-mouthed alien from the planet Melmac named ALF, in addition to children Lynn, Brian, and cat Lucky (whom Alf constantly tries to make a meal out of). With the constant hi jinks that Alf gets himself into (begin an alien who lives with a middle class family in suburbia is an obvious recipe for comedy), it's a wonder how Kate ever slept at night.


Our Favorite Quotes:
Kate: "Don't break that remote."
ALF: "Kate, have I ever broken anything?"
[Kate stares at him]
ALF: "Well, lately?"
[pause]
ALF: "This week?"
[pause]
ALF: "Today?"
[pause]
ALF: "Since breakfast?
"

ALF: But why, why?
Kate: Why? Cause you're irresponsible. You trashed the living room, blew up the kitchen, wallpapered the shower...
ALF: It was a rhetorical question.

ALF: Justice will not rest.
Kate: What if I gave justice a cookie?
ALF: Justice will think about it.

Honorable mention

  • Lucy - "I Love Lucy"
  • Estelle "Mother" Winslow - "Family Matters"
  • Nell Carter - "Gimme a Break"
  • Sandy - "The Hogan Family"
  • Kate Summers Stratton - "Silver Spoons"
  • Norma Arnold - "The Wonder Years"

After 50 plus years of television, we have quite a history of family life to watch and entertain us. Through the years, we've had some wonderful mothers take care of us in all the ways we love (packing our lunches, patching us up after that bike accident, and good ole' fashioned hugs and kisses) and in ways we'd rather forget (the scolding after the bad report card or the humiliation in front of the rest of the class). And through it all we realized just how tough it can be to be a great mother. It's great to know that our fictional television mother's will always be there to remind us in case we every forget!

 

 

 

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