The 10 best Mums on TV for Mother's Day
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 March 2018
From Marge Simpson to the Mother of Dragons, Neighbours’ Susan Kennedy to put-upon Barbara Royle, there are some great matriarchs on the small screen. On Mother’s Day, we celebrate our favourite TV mums.
I’m sure by the time you’re reading this you’ve got your dear old Mum a lovely bouquet of flowers, delivered a card with a wonderfully heartfelt message and earned a whole ton of brownie points with breakfast in bed (and if you haven’t, this is your 10-second warning).
Following on the coattails of my Valentine’s Day hijacking, I am now taking over Mother’s Day.
Yes, today is a day to tip our hats to the matriarchs of the family, a day to celebrate our lovely mums and commend all they’ve done for us ever since the taxing task of bringing us into the world. So naturally, it seems fitting to also delve deep into the vast, weird and wonderful world of television to applaud some of the best mums that the small screen has to offer.
We didn’t include Mum from Mum or the Oxo Mum, but we salute their fine work, too.
10 of our favourite TV Mums
1) Marge Simpson (The Simpsons): With her tower of iconic blue hair and her trademark “mmmm”, Marge is the glue that holds the Simpson family together. Sure, she has the odd nag here and there, but Marge forever means well and is undoubtedly one of the best mums doing her thing on the small screen with a heart as big as her beehive. She’s kind, she’s loving and has intentions so good, they may well rival Mother Theresa herself. While often portrayed as the stereotypical television mum, Marge often strays past that into the realm of tragicomic. She always does her best for her family. She puts it all on the line for her kids and her well-meaning oaf of a hubby, Homer – even if it means putting her own hopes and dreams on the backburner. Take season 22, episode five in which Lisa discovers that after meeting her dad, Marge’s grades plummeted – having been a high-achieving, honour roll student beforehand. Fiercely academic, she strives not to follow in her mum’s footsteps, deciding she wants to be nothing like her and persuades her parents to let her go to Cloisters Academy – a fancy pants school for the rich, wealthy and enunciating. It’s ridiculously expensive, the principal is condescending and Marge has a private word. Lisa believes she’s been offered a scholarship, only later to discover Marge agreed to do all of the school’s laundry and is exhausting herself as a result. It typifies Marge’s character and there’s a lovely pay-off with Lisa refusing to go to Cloisters and telling her mum she’d be honoured to be like her. Awh.
2) Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones): If I can get the Mother of Dragons on to a list, I will get the Mother of Dragons on to a list. Next…
3) Peggy Mitchell (Eastenders): There’s a touch of Violet Kray to Peggy Mitchell (RIP). She was the matriarch of the Mitchell family, a dominant force on Albert Square, strong, determined, and unwavering in her stance that her boys – Phil and Grant – are her world. Peggy stopped at nothing to protect her family. You crossed her at your peril, but there was no doubting there was a lot of love and forgiveness in the former landlady of the Queen Vic.
4) Susan Kennedy (Neighbours): Susan, played by Jackie Woodburne, has been a mother figure for a lot of Neighbours’ viewers, let alone anyone on the show. Susan has overcome a whole host of trials and tribulations: MS, divorce, widowing, retrograde amnesia to name a few – yet continued to prove herself to be a dedicated, devoted mum, an inherently good person while casting a wider net to look out for the kids of Ramsay Street as a whole.
5) Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Modern Family): After divorcing her suave husband Javier, Gloria took it upon herself to raise son, Manny alone. She worked as a cab driver and a hairdresser at a salon near her apartment in the slums. Life was by no means easy, yet she did it all for her son before eventually meeting Jay and, as they say, the rest is history. It was a real toss-up between Gloria and Claire to make this list so, while we’re at it, shout-out to the magnificent Claire (played by the equally magnificent Julie Bowen). Sofia Vergara’s Gloria shades it due to her relationship with Manny. She stands up for her son to any who choose to poke fun, while she also is very supportive of his passions for poetry and theatre. A mum who’ll kick anyone’s backside who crosses you, while also convincing you that the sky’s the limit? What’s not to like?
6) Barbara Royle (The Royle Family): The chain-smoking saint of the Royles has always been a magnificent mumma to Denise and Anthony, with precious little actual help from Jim, who is surgically attached to either the chair in front of the TV or the toilet. Despite being expected to do absolutely everything, Barbara backs her family every step of the way. She’s the main breadwinner, son Anthony’s champion and endlessly patient with her mother, despite her endless morbid or revolting stories. A diamond in the rough.
7) Didi Pickles (Rugrats): With wild hair like her cartoon counterpart on this list, Didi Pickles is the loving mother to Rugrats hero, Tommy and his younger baby brother, Dil. Didi is loving, she’s doting and always consults her favourite child psychologist, Dr. Lipshitz, if her two rugrats misbehave. One of the most heartfelt moments comes (aptly) in the episode, Mother’s Day, where Tommy’s first memory of his mother is revealed. It’s just after he was born and he’s placed in an incubator. He recalls seeing her for the first time. She held his hand and never let go.
8) Skyler White (Breaking Bad): It’s fair to say that there was somewhat of a consensus that Breaking Bad’s Skyler White could be a little annoying. True or not, there’s no doubting Skyler’s skills as a Mum. Yes, she’s a little flawed. Yes, she’s probably not going to win any mummy of the year awards in a hurry. But - big but - in the face of her husband increasingly becoming a megalomaniac drug kingpin, Skyler sets out to protect her family and her two kids - Walt Jr and baby Holly. Anna Gunn herself, who portrayed Skyler, has referred to the woman behind Heisenberg as a flawed Mum, one that loves her children more than anything in the world but does not always make the best of calls. Perhaps it’s all best illustrated with the flack she takes for Walt Jr, allowing her son to still believe his dad is a good, stand-up guy and remain blissfully unaware of the rampant criminality his father is engaging in. It’s a show of strength and a sign of who Skyler is that’s she’s willing to play the bad guy all for the benefit of her son. She’s backed up against the wall, facing a whirlwind of difficult circumstances yet forever puts her kids first. Maybe that is Mum of the year material after all.
9) Deirdre Barlow (Coronation Street): Mums can be unwavering in their support for their kids, forever believing the best in them and refusing to write them off - whether it’s Marge Simpson forever thinking her Bart is a “special little guy” or even my own Mum. to be perfectly honest putting up with my taxing teenage crap (thanks, Mum! Happy Mother’s Day!), a mum is someone forever in our corner. We find an example of exactly that if we stop off in Weatherfield with Deirdre Barlow, played by the late Anne Kirkbride. In the shape of daughter Tracy, Deirdre had somewhat of a hellraiser on her hands yet never wavered in her support for her daughter, forever standing by her side. We bet she didn’t let her dust the ornaments, though, not after *that* incident with Charlie.
10) Marianne Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys):
Ah, The Wild Thornberrys: one of my favourite shows. It follows the Thornberrys - obviously - as they set about making wildlife films all over the world. Eliza is able to talk to animals, which is quite the thing. It would be easy in the face of all this to let things slip and just go along with the ride and have some fun, however, aside from filming husband Nigel as he makes his films, Mum, Marianne, is forever the voice of reason, certainly wiser compared to her eccentric hubby, and does all she can to keep her kids out of trouble and up to date with homework, stepping in when they need a hand. Having said that, she can adventure just as well as her husband and even epitomised what being a Mum is all about when she faced her fear of sharks to save eldest daughter, Debbie, one particular time.
Talk about going the extra mile. (Although to be fair, if she’d left her to be eaten she *probably* wouldn’t have made this list...)
So there you have it, 10 TV mums and undoubtedly one of the hardest lists I’ve had to write. If you travel through the world of TV, it’s a struggle to find the mums that truly stand out - yes, more badass matriarchs on the screen wouldn’t go amiss but perhaps the writers out there just know that no Mum can compare to your own. Happy Mother’s Day one and all.