Weekend Roundtable: Favorite Movie & TV Moms

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday. Did you remember to mail your mother a nice card and flowers? After everything she’s done for you, a little appreciation is the least you can offer in return. In honor of this most important holiday, we thought that today’s Roundtable would be a good time to celebrate some of our favorite fictional moms from the worlds of film and TV.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Favorite movie mom: I know the kneejerk reaction among Disney fanatics would be to point to Bambi’s nameless mother. As deeply as I love ‘Bambi’, I grew up around a kid sister who watched ‘Dumbo‘ at least once a day for several years straight, so that’s where my thoughts tend to turn. The way she defends her mistreated baby boy, regardless of the consequences to herself, is remarkably powerful, and the sight of her locked away in an undersized wagon as a “mad elephant” is absolutely heartbreaking. Unlike Bambi’s mom, Mrs. Jumbo is still very much alive at the end of the film, beaming with pride at what her floppy-eared son has become.

Favorite TV mom: Joyce Summers didn’t know that her daughter Buffy was destined to slay vampires for quite a while there, but she did know that Buffy was getting caught up in fights, continuously skipped class, struggled with her grades, stayed out late, came home with blood all over her clothes, disappeared for an entire summer, and, y’know, torched a school gymnasium and forced them to move to a sleepy little town above the gaping maw of Hell. Even with everything Joyce was subjected to throughout those first five seasons of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘, her love and support for her daughter never wavered. Heck, even when she learned that Dawn was a magical construct rather than Daughter #2, Joyce’s adoration for her endured as well. Joyce embraced Buffy’s insane, dangerous life as best she could out of sheer love for her daughter, and that pretty much makes her the best mom ever.

Mike Attebery

My favorite TV and movie moms couldn’t be more different, except for the fact that they’ll both knock your teeth out if you cross their beloved kids. As far as TV goes, blue collar, speak-her-mind, laugh-at-the-suckers Roseanne Conner will always be my favorite.

For movies, even though she’s pushy, needlessly follows an unwritten standard of social decorum, and can be a wee bit unforgiving, Aurora Greenway from ‘Terms of Endearment‘ is the mom for me. Plus, as a parent, I can’t help but relate to the way she constantly checks on her sleeping baby girl to make sure she’s all right.

Shannon Nutt

TV Mom: She probably popped into my mind because I’m currently recapping the series here, but my favorite TV mom of the moment is Norma Bates, played by Vera Farmiga in ‘Bates Motel‘. Sure, she’s pretty much bipolar, overprotective and borderline psychotic, but she’s also damn sexy. And as for that son of hers? He wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Movie Mom: My favorite cinematic mother has to be Sarah Connor in ‘Terminator 2‘. Any mom who can fight off killer cyborgs from the future (not once, but twice!) qualifies as a major MIWF (Mom I Wouldn’t F- With!) in my book. Plus, in real life, she used to be married to James Cameron…. and survived!

Brian Hoss

Sure, there are plenty of memorable moms in various sitcoms and movies, but my favorite has to be the Mother of the Resistance, Sarah Connor. Make no mistake, in her various incarnations, Sarah Connor is a great character thrust into a familiar situation with a sci-fi twist. On the one hand, she seems like a pretty lousy mother. She’s hostile, militant, paranoid and tends a very unstable home. On the other hand, she has to constantly put her child first, even at the cost of their strained relationship. Plus, she kills terminators. Topping the list of disappointments involving ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles‘ is the resulting high likelihood that it will be a long time until we again get to see the character onscreen again.

Tom Landy

My favorite mom on television right now has to be Norma Bates from A&E’s ‘Bates Motel‘. The new series based on Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous masterpiece follows the family life (and destiny) of our psychopath-in-the-making, Norman Bates. Freddie Highmore’s uncanny performance as the young Norman is exceptional, but even better is Vera Farmiga as his off-kilter mother. She truly steals every scene she’s in with her ticks, poses and those big blue eyes. If Farmiga doesn’t win some kind of award for her role (I foresee an Emmy and Golden Globe, personally), then something is definitely wrong with the world.

Daniel Hirshleifer

I’ve got to go with Claudia Finnerty, played by Megyn Price, from TV’s ‘Grounded for Life‘. She was a no-nonsense mom who also had a sensitive side, and was capable of handling three very different, very troublesome children. She’s also one of the hottest TV moms in history. The show even had an episode about her being a MILF. If that’s not a mom you can love, I don’t know who is.

Josh Zyber

You know, the Xenomorph Queen from ‘Aliens‘ gets a bad rap as the alleged “villain” of the movie, but if you think about it, the poor gal’s just trying to do right by her kids. First off, there she is, minding her own business in a peaceful slumber, when a bunch of meddling colonists disturb their hibernation and have the gall to invade her home! Then, having woken up and found herself surrounded by annoying sacks of meat, what’s a mom to do? Her kids have gotta eat, right? So, yeah, maybe she does a little hunting and slaughtering of prey that would like to consider itself “sentient,” but how dare we impose our rules of human morality onto an entirely different species? How culturally insensitive! Later, in an act of pure thuggish vigilantism, more meatbags arrive and senselessly murder all of her children. In attempting to defend herself and her family, the Queen gets tossed out of an airlock into the vacuum of outer space. I bet that on the Xenomorph homeworld, they have their own movie about the events of this story. It’s called ‘Humans’, and it scares the teenage Xeno audience shitless.

Tell us about some of your favorite movie and TV moms in the Comments.


    • Super-VHS

      MU/TH/UR 6000 might be one of the worst maternal figures in moviedom. Sure, she’s smart, but very very secretive–I mean, it’s like she gets off on being withholding, or something! Plus, she’s a terrible listener, and very stingy. She won’t turn the AC back on even when her daughter’s life depends on it!

  1. JM

    The Bride in ‘Kill Bill.’ If that isn’t the perfect depiction of the ideal mother, then there shouldn’t be a holiday.

    • Super-VHS

      Well… I just botched that.
      I know their last name is Parr.
      Helen Parr, aka Mrs. Incredible, aka Elastigirl. That’s what I meant.
      Whatever, same difference. Y’all knew who I meant anyway.

  2. Evan Withrow

    Connie Britton as Tami Taylor from the Friday Night Lights tv series, hands down. She felt like the most realistic television character ever.

  3. EM

    For Mother’s Day I watched Psycho and Alien, for obvious reasons. But I’d like to cite a movie mom who hasn’t been mentioned yet and who figured in a third movie I watched today: Billy Peltzer’s mother in Gremlins. Not only is she the perfect idyllic mom that ’50s TV taught us is the beau idéal; but when her home and hearth are threatened, hell hath no fury like her. “Get out of my kitchen!”

  4. William Henley

    You know, I may be breaking the rules slighly, but, I was just thinking, best television mom is…. Danny Tanner from Full House. Yeah, I know many of you are going “WTF”, but let me explain.

    After Danny’s wife died in the car accident, he suddenly was left to raise three little girls on his own. After about six weeks, he invited his brother-in-law Jessie in, and best-friend Joey. As the show progressed, the guys had to take on almost completley new rows in the family to make it work – Joey and Jessie pretty much took on the strong masculane male role, and Danny took on the more feminine role – I am not talking stereotypical cleaning and cooking responsibilities, and I am not making this as a knock agaisnt anyone, but Danny certainly became Mr. Mom with his new personality as the show progressed.

    Being a single father, especially of little girls, is not easy. I have had a couple of friends who had to go through that situation. Single parents have it rough – single moms have to take on more traditionally-masculaine characteristics, and single dads have to take on more traditionally-feminine characteristics in order to provide what is needed for their children. (Sarah Conner in Terminator is a great example of a mother who had to take on a whole new personality – leaving a lot of her femininity behind, to be a single-mother to her son in a dangerous situation, and in the extended cuts of Terminator 2, we can see that, even though she is strong, how much she wishes for that love and protection that she lost when Kyle died – even if it was only a one-night stand).

    I may get some hate feedback for stereo-typing male / female roles, but that wasn’t my point, my point is to say how much single parents have to grow and change to be able to provide a safe and stable enviornment for their kids.

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