TV Moms and Dads - Old School Moms Round 1
TV Moms and Dads
They raised us! These are the moms and dads that we've all looked to over the years for advice, mentorship, and love. They've been our models for how to parent (and some of them have been our models for how NOT to parent). We've laughed, cried, and loved with them. But who's the greatest? There's only one way to find out. VOTE!
Old School Moms
(1) Clair Huxtable v (16) Morticia Addams
Let the record show… Clair Huxtable raised five incredible kids and one bumbling husband. She was a high-powered attorney who had as much success in her law practice as she did on the home front. Clair was the model mom to an entire generation.
In many ways, The Addams Family is a standard sitcom. It’s about a nuclear family led by a wealthy husband and beautiful wife who raises their darling kids. The only difference here is that the Addams family is, um, macabre to say the least. They’re the perfect family, but they’re also the anti-family in lots of ways. Morticia is an artist, homemaker, and the calm center of the storm that is the Addams Family.
(8) Marion Cunningham v (9) Peg Bundy
Let’s be honest… it’s a little easier being a mom when you know that Fonzie is looking after your boy. Still, Marion was the mother, not just for Richie and Joanie, but for the Fonz, Ralph Malph, Potsie, Chachi, Leather and Pinkie Tuscadero, and all the rest. She was always the epitome of grace under pressure.
Peg stands out in this group because… well, she’d stand out in any group. Brash, loud, and always the smartest person in the family (a low bar, of course), Peg is completely unique among the moms in this bracket. She’ll defend her family to the death, but she’ll make fun of them the whole time.
(5) Elyse Keaton v (12) Donna Stone
A perfect distillation of the 80s - Elyse and Stephen Keaton, ex-hippies, and now suburbanites. Elyse is a wildly successful architect who also raises Alex, Mallory, and Jennifer (we don’t talk about Andrew). She’s a model of grace, authority, and love.
The Donna Reed Show was a top-rated sitcom in the 50s and 60s, but it was notable for one special thing - it was the first sitcom centered on the mother of the family. Dads and kids had dominated the sitcom scene, but Donna Stone changed the game and showed that the mom could carry the weight (a fact we all already knew from real life).
(4) Edith Bunker v (13) Harriet Nelson
In many ways, Edith Bunker was the prototypical TV Mom. On All in the Family, she set the stage for decades of TV Moms to come. Jean Stapleton showed us how a loving mom can change more than just her family….she can change the world.
Harriet Nelson holds the record for most episodes starred in by a mom on the bracket. In fact, nobody else comes close! She and Ozzie held court on the airwaves for over 430 episodes of TV. And as the mom to Dave and Rick, she became an icon for what a mother looks like.
(6) June Cleaver v (11) Florida Evans
It’s one thing to be a great mom to Wally and the Beaver, but imagine doing it while putting up with Eddie Haskell! June Cleaver was the uber-60s mom - always dressed to the nines, always had dinner on the table right on time, and always had wisdom to spare.
Florida Evans didn’t have a lot of the advantages that many of the other moms in this bracket had. After her husband James died in a car accident, Florida not only raised the kids, she worked to care for them too. She was always stern but loving, serious but kind, and tired but wise. She was the glue that held the Evans family together.
(3) Aunt Bee v (14) Endora
No, she wasn’t Opie’s biological mother, but that doesn’t make her any less of a TV Mom. In fact, she wasn’t just a mom to the little guy, she was a mom to the whole town of Mayberry.
Sure, in a lot of ways Endora is the villain of Bewitched. But the truth is that she loves her family deeply. While always picking on Darrin, Derwood, whatever-his-name-is, she is the force that always drives Samantha and Darrin back together. She’s the proto-mother-in-law.
(7) Sophia Petrillo v (10) Shirley Partridge
Even though she was more advanced in age than the others in this bracket, Sophia was always sharp as a tack. Quick-witted and full of life, Sophia mothered Dorothy to be sure, but she always had time for Rose and Blanche too.
Some moms in this bracket live in a nuclear family, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and cracking an occasional joke. Shirley Partridge is one of a kind. Imagine having to take care of your family and manage the family pop band too. A widow who raised five kids to love each other and have perfect harmony, Shirley is a truly special TV Mom.
(2) Carol Brady v (15) Thelma Harper
Here’s the story of a lovely lady… who definitely got more than she bargained for when she tied the knot with Mike Brady. Played impeccably by Florence Henderson, Carol was a breath of fresh air for TV moms. She was modern, fashionable, artistic, career-minded, and a heck of a mother to six mischievous kids.
Listen… they named the show Mama’s Family. She’s the Mama of all Mamas. She’s lived a good long life, and now she’s stuck with the family, particularly Vinton and his wife Naomi. She’s the very definition of a matriarch, and there’s never a doubt as to who’s in charge. Vicki Lawrence plays Thelma with impeccable comedic timing.
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