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Ten Deep 10.4.12: Top 10 TV Moms
Posted by Mike Gorman on 10.04.2012

"Top Ten TV Moms"

In the vast pantheon of great television characters a certain subset stands out for a myriad of reasons. These are the TV moms. Some of them are the nurturing caring ideal that we all wish we had tucking us in at night when we were kids and others are reflections of the real life nightmares some of us had to endure. This week I thought I would look at my collection of the Top TV Moms. Each has a unique set of qualities that brings them to the list and it is not just because they were the perfect mom, otherwise June Cleaver and Carol Brady would probably have made the list. Many of them stand out because of the onslaught of issues they weather with grace from their chaotic families. Without further ado, I encourage you to clean your room, eat your vegetables, and dive on in to this week's countdown.

10. Annie Camden on Seventh Heaven

She is the definition of grace under pressure, when that pressure is the inflated number of actual children she has. Annie Camden raised seven of her own children and several others that came into their lives over the course of this WB series. She did so all the while married to an overly emotional and overly committed reverend husband. She brought wisdom when needed but also became known the moments when she'd reach her breaking point.

In this video you get to see a nice compilation of the moments when Annie would go past that point and full on flip out.

9. Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show

If wit and wisdom make a top mother then Clair Huxtable is your woman. Her ability to handle not only the antics of her many children but also those of her husband are legendary. What I like most about her was her ability to see right through to the heart of the matter and call things like she sees them. Just when you thought Theo or Rudy might have pulled the wool over her eyes, she would surprise you with her all-knowing perceptions. In this video clip we see how she handles the chauvinistic assumptions of her soon to be son-in-law Elton.

8. Peggy Bundy on Married With Children

Some mothers are excellent nurturers, some are great communicators, some give their heart and soul to their children… and then there is Peggy Bundy. She was more apt to sit on the couch and crack open a box of bon bons than offer a loving shoulder for Bud or Kelly to cry on, and we loved her that way. As the seasons progressed it became interesting to see just how non-maternal she could get. In the video below you get a taste of her parenting style.

7. Lois on Malcolm in the Middle

A review describes Lois as "overbearing and authoritarian." My response would be, "Can you really blame her?" The family on Malcolm in the Middle is perhaps the most challenging to deal with of all of them on this list (Well, #3 has it rough too!). Her sons are real hellions who look for every opportunity to get into trouble. Lois has learned through the years that she needs to be strict and a little crazy herself to deal with them. Her parenting one-liners are hilarious. Here is a collection of them for your listening pleasure.

6. Marion Cunningham on Happy Days

Possibly the most "traditional" of the TV moms on this list, Marion Cunningham or Mrs. C as he was known, started out as a bit of a stereotype but evolved into a layered, strong character over the course of Happy Days run. She was an unceasing font of positivity but not in a way that came off as corny or hokey. She proved many times that she was the strong center to the Cunnigham clan. In the interview below, you get to hear actress Marion Ross' perspective on her time as Mrs. C.

5. Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond

Marie Barone is hands down the master of mom-induced guilt. She takes it to a new level on Everybody Loves Raymond dropping subtle innuendo, veiled threats, and sarcastic bombs with the skilled aim of on archer and the deft hand of a master swordsman. Her love for her children is all encompassing and some might even say smothering. It is her conflicts with Ray's wife Debra that fueled many of the series' most hilarious moments. The video below brings together some of the most classic moments between Marie and her husband Frank.

4. Endora from Bewitched

She is pure camp personified and an icon in every sense of the word. There is no TV mom that pulls off green eyeshadow and bright red hair better than Bewitched's Endora. Distrustful of her daughter's mortal husband to a fault, Endora is the ultimate witch of a mother-in-law… literally. She is constantly using magic to meddle in the lives of her daughter and her husband often to disastrous yet hilarious results. She is truly one of a kind and made from a mold that hasn't been reused since. Check out some of Endora's best moments in this video compilation.

3. Marge Simpson on The Simpsons

There is no mother that rocks blue hair and red pearls quite like Marge Simpson, and while that should be enough to qualify her for inclusion in this week's Ten Deep; she is so much more than that. Marge is a throwback mother in a modern world always trying to get her family to be proper and do the right things, though she does not often succeed. She is the queen of "If you don't talk about it, it doesn't exist" avoidance, which I think she would have to be in order to remain happily married to Homer Simpson all of these years. All she ever asks for in return for her diligent service to her brood is a few moments peace, which as you can see below she rarely actually gets.

2. Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls

There is no mother that talks faster on television than Lorelai Gilmore but she has to in order to keep up with her daughter and the other wacky inhabitants of Stars Hollow on the Gilmore Girls. She took the "mother as best friend" cliché and made it work in ways that we have never seen before on television. It helps that she was portrayed by the incredible Lauren Graham who should have gotten multiple Emmys for her work on this show. She is interestingly enough the only single mother to make the list this week. I will say that I was torn on this selection because I was tempted to let her share this spot with her own mother, Emily Gilmore, who is a completely different creature entirely. Check out this bit of motherly wisdom that Lorelai shares with her daughter, Rory.

And lastly…

1. Roseanne Conner on Roseanne

Roseanne Conner walked away with the easy win for the top spot this week. She combines the characteristics of many of the mothers that came before her in ways that make her truly special. She is cranky, argumentative, domineering, sarcastic, witty, nurturing, and loving all at the same time. She is apt to give her kids a hug as she is to slay them with a sarcastic barb. It is her balance between humor and warmth that makes her tops in my book. Her character had depth beyond that of your average sitcom mom as she was able to play absolute sincerity, seriousness and laugh out loud humor all at the same time. She broke the mold as far as other mothers were concerned and humanized the TV mother in ways we had not really yet seen at the time.

I leave you this week with a scene shows the perfect balance that existed within her performance. It is a massive fight between Dan and Roseanne Conner, not a rarity on the show but impressive none the less.

Did I miss your favorite mother this week? What makes her so great? Tell me all about it in the comments below. Be sure to check out how our new system works and get yourself signed up today!!!

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