Best Quote "Motherhood definitely does a lot of things but one thing it does not do is keep you young, oh my god it ages you horribly. Youth is about having choices but once you're a mother you have no choices you're stuck loving your children. You get grey hair loving them, you lose sleep loving them, you lose out on all those other things that you always thought you'd do. But even with all of that the amazing thing is... you're ok with it, it's like some wonderful... curse.”
Lois Wilkerson reflects on motherhood, Malcom in the Middle
Jane Kaczmarek is an American actress who earned three Golden Globe nominations and seven Primetime Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Lois Wilkerson, the mother of the titular character Malcolm, from the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006). The series follows a dysfunctional lower-middle-class family, the Wilkersons, and their efforts to fit into society. Lois Wilkerson, for all her flaws, is one of the most memorable television mothers of all time.
Lois is married to Hal Wilkerson, together they have five sons, which they struggle to raise together. Lois fits the role of a shrew character, which is a comedic female stock character, who plays the role of an ill-tempered, aggressive woman, who nags and scolds men for their bad behaviour. As a kid, I used to think that Lois was a cruel mother who was very harsh towards her children. She was always shouting at them, criticising them, and dishing out punishments that seemed unfair. As an adult, I am much more sympathetic towards Lois. I now see her as a hard-working, intelligent woman, who tries her best to be a good wife and mother, but is often left feeling frustrated and burnt-out by her children and their constant bad behaviour. Lois comes down hard on her children because they make impulsive decisions, their behaviour can be destructive, and they often act careless and cruel. When she punishes them, she is trying to teach them a moral lesson, to help them grow out of their bad behaviour and become better people.
Lois loves Hal and her children deeply and will defend them against anyone who thinks poorly of them. Lois has a lot of problems with anger and can sometimes act petty, spiteful, and delightfully unhinged. I still have sympathy for her because when I watch this show I see a woman who tries her best to do what is right and be a good mother but often makes a lot of parenting mistakes because she is exhausted and burnt-out. It can be hard to raise children. It can be fun to watch Lois unleash her wrath sometimes, but I also feel bad for her every now and again, because I think the reason she has lot of built-up tension and anger because she is buckling under an intense emotional and mental load and needs more support at home.
2. Peggy Hill from King of the Hill
Best Quote “That is it! I would not let a stranger, let alone my own son think for one second that they can get away with showing any disrespect towards the man that I love! You do that, and you have to deal with Peggy Hill!”
Peggy Hill, King of the Hill
Kathy Najimy voiced the character Peggy Hill on the animated sitcom King of the Hill from 1997 to 2010. Peggy is the wife of Hank Hill, the main protagonist of the series, the mother to Robert “Bobby” Hill, and aunt to Luanne Platter. King of the Hill is set in the fictional town of Arlen, Texas and centres on the Hill family, as well as their friends, and the drama that arises from everyday life. A lot of the series focuses on Hank Hill’s traditional conservative values being challenged by his son, Bobby, and the world changing around him. In a lot of episodes, Peggy often acts as a buffer between Bobby and Hank, when the two of them have trouble relating to each other.
In the episode “Bobby Goes Nuts” Hank is outraged when he learns that Bobby took a women’s self defense class and has started kicking kids in the groin who pick on him. When he tries to correct this behaviour, Bobby gets frustrated, and kicks Hank in the groin. This outrages Hank, who responds by grounding Bobby, which makes Bobby angry because from his point-of-view he was just defending himself. Later, Hank hears Bobby playing video games, and demands that he stops. Bobby disobeys him and walks away, which catches Peggy’s attention. She steps in front of Hank and tells Bobby that she will not stand by and let anyone, not even her own son, disrespect her husband. She wrestles with Bobby, demanding that he give her the Gameboy, which attracts the attention of the neighbors. When she gets the Gameboy off him, Bobby becomes so mad he kicks her in the groin, but Peggy does not flinch. She explains to him that she does not have testicles for him to hit making his secret weapon useless. She then humiliates Bobby further by wrestling him to the ground in front of all of the neighbours.
There is a lot of online dislike directed towards Peggy Hill as a character. She has been called ‘the most hated wife and mother on adult animated TV’ because she has a high opinion of herself. I’ve always thought that a lot of the criticism directed towards Peggy was unfair. Peggy is a deeply flawed character but is she any worse than any of other characters on the show, like Bill or Dale or Cotton? And why is Hank Hill put on this pedestal as the perfect father? There are plenty of episodes where he makes a mistake as a parent. Why is Hank Hill allowed to make mistakes, but when Peggy does, she is cast as the villain? I think Peggy's flaws make her one of the funniest characters on the show. The episode “Bobby Goes Nuts” is one of my favourites because it shows that Peggy is more than just a ”know-it-all” she is a loving and supportive wife and a good mother. Ho, yeah!
3. Joyce Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Best Quote “No matter what she is, she still feels like my daughter. I have to know that you'll take care of her. That you'll keep her safe. That you'll love her like I love you.”
Joyce Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Kristine Sutherland played Joyce Summers, the mother of Buffy Summers, the main protagonist of the action-horror television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). At the start of the series, Joyce is unaware that her daughter is the Slayer, a young woman chosen by fate to have strength and powers needed to fight and defeat vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. Joyce loves Buffy a lot and wants what is best for her, but she doesn’t trust Buffy, or understand her. She constantly expresses disappointment in Buffy for getting bad grades, sneaking out of the house, getting into fights, skipping class and getting expelled from her last school for burning down the school gym. Joyce can’t see what is in front of her eyes: Buffy is a Slayer. When Joyce finally learns the truth about Buffy, she does not react well, because she is forced to adjust her entire world view. It takes Joyce some time to accept the truth, but once she does, she comes to respect Buffy for her abilities, bravery, strength, loyalty, and resourcefulness.
In the fifth season, Joyce's health begins to deteriorate due to a brain tumour, which gives her the clarity to see that history and her memories have been rewritten to create her youngest daughter, Dawn, and to maintain the illusion that she has always existed in her life. I can’t watch this scene without wanting to cry. Kristine Sutherland delivers such a fantastic performance. She looks so vulnerable and scared. When Buffy confirms her fears about Dawn, I love her reaction. She doesn’t react with anger, she tells Buffy that Dawn feels like she belongs to them, and is precious to the whole world. “As precious as you are to me,” she tells Buffy, her voice shaking with emotion. This is the moment that really makes Joyce stand out as a fantastic mother. She had a difficult time raising a daughter she didn’t understand, but grew to respect and accept her, and didn't hesitate to accept Dawn into her heart.
4. Marge Simpson from The Simpsons
Best Quote “Lisa, I apologize to you, I was wrong! I take it all back. Always be yourself. If you want to be sad, honey, be sad. We'll ride it out with you. And when you get finished feeling sad, we'll still be there. From now on, let me do the smiling for both of us.”
Marge Simpson, The Simpsons
Marge Simpson is a character on the animated sitcom The Simpsons and one of the most well-known TV mothers of all time. Voiced by Julie Kavner since 1987, Marge is the matriarch of the Simpsons family, she is the wife of Homer, and the mother to Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Marge is a housewife and tries to be the voice of reason in the Simpson household. One of my favourite Marge moments occurs in the episode “Moaning Lisa”. When Lisa becomes depressed about life, Marge tries to make her feel better by giving her the same advice that she was given as a kid, which is to push her real emotions deep down inside and smile so she can fit in with the other kids. Later, when Marge drops Lisa off at school, she sees Lisa fake smiling and interacting with other kids and realises that she made a mistake. She pulls Lisa back into the car and apologizes to her and tells her that she was wrong and encourages her to always be herself. This is such a great scene. I really like that Marge tells Lisa that she was wrong, she validates her feelings, and tells her to always be herself. The fact that Marge was able to admit that she was wrong shows what a good mother she is and how much she cares about Lisa and her emotional well-being.
5. Linda Belcher from Bob's Burgers
Best Quote “I should write a parenting book. Call it, ‘Hey You, I Saw That! Put It Back!’”
Linda Belcher, Bob's Burgers
John Roberts voices Linda Belcher, the wife of Bob Belcher, and the mother of Tina, Gene and Louise on the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers. Bob’s Burgers premiered on 9 January 2011 and focuses on the everyday lives of the Belcher family who own and operate a burger restaurant. Linda wears large red glasses, speaks with a thick New Jersey accent, and is known for her flamboyant sense of humour and having a positive, fun-loving attitude. Linda loves being a wife and a mother. She goes to great lengths to support Bob’s dreams of running a restaurant and will often be his emotional support system. She is very involved in her children’s lives and is always supportive of their interests. Linda is one of my favourite TV mothers. I love her positive attitude, her wacky sense of humour, her habit of bursting into song, how she always pronounces words wrong, and her crazy evil sounding laugh. Linda is an imperfect person and that is what makes her very believable. She can act very opinionated and talkative and has a habit of coming up with absurd schemes and obsessions that involve the performing arts. She can also act very clingy around her kids sometimes when she wants to feel closer to them. It is Linda’s faults and quirks that make her such a fun character.
6. Skyler White from Breaking Bad
Best Quote "If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family ..."
Skyler White, Breaking Bad
Skyler White (portrayed by Anna Gunn) was one of the major characters on Breaking Bad and the wife of the series protagonist Walter White. At the start of the series, Skyler is pregnant and married to Walter, and the two of them have a teenage son together, Walt Jr., who has cerebral palsy. When Walter is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Skyler is devastated. She tries to help him as much as she can, but Walter starts pulling away and acting strangely, which causes strain in their marriage. Skyler eventually figures out that Walter has paired up with a former student of his, Jessie Pinkman, and has started manufacturing methamphetamine to help raise money to pay for his cancer treatment. Horrified by his criminal activities, Skyler asks for a divorce from Walt and demands that he move out of the family home. Walter refuses to untangle himself from her life and moves back into the family home. As their marriage crumbles, Skyler tries to distance herself emotionally from Walt. When their brother-in-law is almost killed in a hit by the Mexican cartel, Skyler becomes terrified for the safety of their family, so she agrees to help launder Walt’s illicit funds. This is her "breaking bad" moment where she crosses a line and becomes involved in crime herself.
Much like Lois Wilkerson, Skyler White has been called a shrew character, because she scolded Walt for becoming involved in crime and accused him of endangering the lives of their family. The character became so unpopular with fans, Gunn became the subject of misogynistic abuse online, which prompted her to write an op-ed for The New York Times where she shared her concerns about the issue. I’ve never understood the dislike that Skyler’s character received. It was perfectly reasonable for her to call out Walt for his selfishness and endangering the family with his criminal activities. Skyler was a smart and astute woman who was able to see through Walt’s lies and a lot of fans hated her for that. I don't see Skyler as Walt's accomplice. She is his victim and a hostage trapped in an abusive marriage. She only agrees to launder his money in an effort to keep her family safe and together. I added Skyler to this list because I think she is so brave when she stands up to Walt and his threats and tells him straight to his face that she will do whatever it takes to protect their children from him.