In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re recognizing some of the iconic TV moms who have entered our living rooms over the last few decades.
While some of these matriarchs are on our list because of their exceptional parenting ways, others are here because of their ability to keep familial matters just so freakin’ funny.
The best TV moms of the last 30 years:
25. Lucille Bluth (“Arrested Development”)
Lucille Bluth might not be the warmest, friendliest mother around, but she’s sure trying to help her kids succeed. Her witty, sarcastic quips often hold some great advice and her brutal honesty means her children know exactly where they stand. She’s immune to criticism and insults and would never dream of doing something like picking a favorite child (but she’s happy to declare a “least favorite”).
24. Linda Belcher (“Bob’s Burgers”)
The animated (literally) matriarch of the “Bob’s Burgers” brood makes our list for her silly, no-holds-barred zest for life. As her daughter Tina once described her own mom, she is “a badass, protective, queen bee alien with acid for blood.” Need we say more?
23. Estelle Costanza (“Seinfeld”)
Your stereotypical “overbearing sitcom mom,” Estelle Costanza’s always willing to support her son George — even when he’d rather she take a step back — and she’s never afraid to speak her mind. Bold, brash and hilarious, she’s not as loud and disruptive as her husband, but when she starts speaking, people listen.
22. Beverly Goldberg (“The Goldbergs”)
Affectionately known as “Smother,” Beverly Goldberg is the ultimate meddling mom. She is unwilling to let her children make their own mistakes, has the most ridiculous pet names for them and is about as embarrassing as a mom could be. That’s why we love her.
21. Jill Taylor (“Home Improvement”)
Listen, I stan a mom who knows when to laugh at herself, her kids or her husband, and that’s totally Jill Taylor of “Home Improvement.” She also gets along great with the hubs and is a stellar mom! What’s not to love.
20. RuPaul (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”)
Call her mother! RuPaul is regarded as such a pioneer and trailblazer in drag, that many queens refer to her as the quintessential “mother” of drag. And as host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” RuPaul has ushered more than 100 queens into the spotlight, giving them a huge platform while mentoring them with tough love and fabulousness all around.
19. Marie Barone (“Everybody Loves Raymond”)
It’s not an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” until Marie Barone shows up — usually with husband Frank in tow and a passive-aggressive comment at the ready. Even though she can be tough, she’s also loving, and she’s always there for her children and grandchildren (though sometimes she’s maybe a little too present in their lives).
18. Debra Barone (“Everybody Loves Raymond”)
Usually the target of her mother-in-law’s most judgmental commentary, Debra Barone juggles her three young kids, her husband and her in-laws in a way plenty of moms can relate to. Frequently stressed and sometimes irritable, she spends most of her time trying to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, but underneath it all, she’d do anything for her family.
17. The Monterey Five (“Big Little Lies”)
This posse of tiger moms from “Big Little Lies” is known to go the extra mile when it comes to protecting their kids and one another. Even if that includes murder.
16. Olivia Benson (“Law & Order: SVU”)
Just when you thought you couldn’t respect the perp-chasing detective any more, she went and adopted an orphan! Juggling her job as chief at Special Victims and her role as mom to sweet Noah can be challenging, but she always leads with heart, proving a tough chick can also be a great mom, too.
15. Kris Jenner (“KUWTK”)
They say the devil works hard, but the devil has to know by now that Kris Jenner works harder. Since day one of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the Kardashian/Jenner momager has delivered a master class in the meaning of hustle, clearing the path for her family to ascend from reality TV spectacles to global superstars. Kris Jenner: Businesswoman, media mastermind, legend.
14. Meredith Grey (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
The star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Meredith Grey really has found a way to have it all. In addition to a thriving surgical career, she expertly raises three young kids as a single parent and previous storylines have revolved around infertility and adoption, showing viewers the different paths to parenthood. With a kind demeanor and plenty of good advice, she’s one of the best TV moms around.
13. Daenerys Targaryen (“Game of Thrones”)
How can we discuss the greatest TV mothers without mention of the Mother of Dragons herself? She’s far from perfect when it comes to mothering on “Game of Thrones,” but if the mere act of hatching and raising fire-breathing creatures doesn’t earn Daenerys Targaryen top mom points, we don’t know what will.
12. Jane Villanueva (“Jane the Virgin”)
Jane Villanueva of “Jane the Virgin” has overcome A LOT! There’s accidental artificial insemination, murder plots and (of course) the will-they-or-wont-they storyline that somehow goes on for several seasons. She also has amazing taste in sundresses and is a driven, successful career woman while taking incredible care of her young son … who mysteriously changes actors in Season 4.
11. Beth Pearson (“This Is Us”)
While the Pearson family’s ups and downs on “This Is Us” can cause some emotional whiplash, viewers can count on Beth Pearson, Randall’s wife, as a pillar of strength. As a mother and partner, she’s tender, empathetic and big-hearted when it matters most. When she and Randall wrote their wedding vows together in season three? Be still our hearts.
10. Marge Simpson (“The Simpsons”)
A “modern-day June Cleaver,” the matriarch of the Simpson family is able to juggle the bold personalities of her three kids while still managing to keep hubby Homer in check. She also gets major style points for that blue bouffant that has managed to stay right on-trend after all these years.
9. Kristina Braverman (“Parenthood”)
Wise, understanding and gentle, Kristina Braverman is a constant source of support for her kids, but she’s not afraid to give them a push when they need it. No matter what’s going on in her personal life, she’s always there for her children, family and friends, making her one of the most steadfast, reliable mothers on television.
8. Rainbow Johnson (“black-ish”)
She’s smart. She’s cool. She’s funny. She’s stylish. Oh, also she’s a pretty darn good mom. What more could you ask for? Basically we want to be Rainbow Johnson when we want to grow up.
7. Rebecca Pearson (“This Is Us”)
Has any TV mother’s journey been as simultaneously captivating and heartbreaking to watch as Rebecca Pearson’s on “This Is Us”?
It’s fascinating to see Mandy Moore play a young Pearson, full of heart and driven by her dreams, as she also plays an older Pearson, still full of heart but withered by a tragedy. *Grabs the tissues.*
6. Clair Huxtable (“The Cosby Show”)
Clair Huxtable from “The Cosby Show” is absolutely mom goals. She’s a full-time lawyer, cool mom, and has amazing, succinct advice for the kids. I could go on about her awesome character traits but instead, I will also mention she always looks stylish — I, however, am currently in sweatpants for the 12th straight day.
5. Moira Rose (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Is Moira Rose the most attentive mother? No. Does she value her beloved wig collection over her own children? Maybe. Would I be honored to be counted among her bébés? Absolutely.
4. Claire Dunphy (“Modern Family”)
Claire Dunphy might be a little intense and competitive, but there’s never any doubt about her love for her family. While she’s not exactly the most “fun” mom around, she’s always there to help and manages to juggle parenting while taking care of her extended “modern family.”
3. Sophia Petrillo (“Golden Girls”)
Grab a slice of cheesecake! Sophia Petrillo’s approach to life is seriously something we should all try to mimic.
The best zingers and one-liners in the “Golden Girls” belong to her, proving that no matter your age, you can still have a great amount of spunk in your step.
2. Tami Taylor (“Friday Night Lights”)
Football is everything to everyone on “Friday Night Lights,” but Tami Taylor is there to remind the residents of Dillon, Texas, that life — crazy enough!!! — isn’t all about football.
As the wife of a coach and mom of a high schooler, Taylor, played by Connie Britton, is the perennial voice of reason and always delivers her truths with a certain grace.
1. Lorelai Gilmore (“Gilmore Girls”)
The witty banter between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore was something we all wish we could have with our own moms. And while these gals were so close, Lorelai knew when to draw the line and be more than just a “cool mom” to her daughter, stepping up to the plate with tough love or a hot cup of Luke’s coffee when she needed it the most.