The Most Beloved and Frightening Fictional Moms

| May 8, 2013
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Mothers’ Day is right around the corner, a day about finally remembering to return your mom’s phone calls and crafting bad macaroni art that expresses your appreciation for her. It’s also a day to remember those other women that helped mold you into the dazzling creature you have become. No, I’m not talking about your first grade teacher or your great grandmother (although I’m sure they’re really spectacular women); I’m talking about those fictional moms that made an impact through television or movies, the ones that you sometimes wished were your mom and the ones that made you thankful for your own. Here are the most frightening and most beloved fictional mothers in the history of forever.

THE FRIGHTENING

 

Joan Crawford: Mommie Dearest

Joan Crawford isn’t technically a fictional character, but there is some dispute over how accurate her daughter’s depiction of her is so I say it counts (also, why would we forgo any opportunity to talk about Joan Crawford?). So we all know that Joan is not a huge fan of wire hangers(who is really?), but that’s the least of it. Crawford also ties her son to his bed, says “I’d rather you go bald to school than looking like a tramp!” while cutting off her daughter’s hair, says “YOU LOVE TO MAKE ME HIT YOU!” while slapping her daughter in front of a reporter, forces her daughter to stay at the dinner table overnight until she finishes her undercooked steak, and then leaves them both out of her will. Way harsh, Tai.

Margaret White: Carrie

Some teens lock themselves in their rooms and write bad poetry about how absolutely horrible their mother is for grounding them or taking away phone privileges or whatever. These whiners obviously haven’t seen Carrie yet, a movie that makes most mothers look as gentle as Dumbo’s mom. Margaret White has a lot of opinions on what is suitable behavior for her daughter, Carrie. Let’s go over some of them: she should never wear red (that’s for hell-bound whores), she should only refer to her breasts as “dirty pillows,” she should think of pimples as “the Lord’s way of chastising you,” she should pray and ask forgiveness for her sinful period, she should be cool with getting tea thrown in her face, and she should heed the mantra: “They’re all going to laugh at you!” It’s enough to make anyone become a pyromaniac murderer!

Mary Jones: Precious

Precious_Movie_Trailer

While there’s a degree of campy comedy to Joan Crawford and Margaret White, there’s nothing funny about Mary Jones (except maybe this genius creation). Not only does she facilitate her daughter’s sexual abuse, Mary also mentally abuses her and tries to drop a television on her head. The only capable person to negotiate a train wreck like that is a social worker played by Mariah Carey.

Betty Draper: Mad Men

Remember that time when you were a real brat during your puberty era? Well, Betty Draper seems to have gotten stuck there. She’s petulant, self-involved, and never satisfied, all characteristics that keep her from being a good mother. Like when Sally showed up wearing a plastic dry cleaning bag over her head and Betty warned that the clothes better not be in a pile somewhere. Or when she told Bobby to go bang his head against a wall after he said he was bored. Or when she dragged Sally into a closet and locked her inside (“You’re hurting me!” “Good!”). You get the picture.

 

THE BELOVED

 

Clair Huxtable: The Cosby Show

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Before Beyonce had the trademark on being perfect, it was all Clair Huxtable, a tough, yet elegant lawyer and mother of five children. While Bill Cosby believes he holds the power in the household, it’s usually Clair who gets to the bottom of things with a lecture about why you can’t just run off to Baltimore without permission or a perfect lesson on feminism (if you only click on one link for the rest of your life, let it be this one).

Molly Weasley: Harry Potter

The epitome of a mother hen, Molly Weasley is an encouraging, doting mother, who loves to make everyone feel at ease, despite, you know, the world possibly ending and everyone dropping dead and all of that jazz. But that doesn’t mean she’s just a domestic goddess; she will kill your ass if you threaten one of her children (see animated gif above).

Lorelai Gilmore: Gilmore Girls

Best fictional mom? Duh. Best fictional TV character ever? Quite possibly! Lorelai Gilmore is an impressive mom for more reasons than I can get into at the moment, but here are a few:

  • named her daughter after herself because a. men do it all the time and b. why not?
  • left a life of privilege with a baby in tow at the age of 16 and worked her way up from a maid at an inn to running the joint.
  • put aside her pride and made a deal with her estranged parents to send her daughter to a good prep school.
  • provided a sanctuary away from a scary religious Korean mother for her daughter’s best friend.
  • sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Middler instead of getting upset after finding out her underage daughter attended a kegger and was the cause of severe property damage.
  • did not kill her daughter when she dropped out of college and stole a boat.

But the best way to sum up the greatness of Lorelai Gilmore (apart from rewatching the entire series every year which I totally do) is through her daughter’s valedictorian speech (grab a tissue!):

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

 

Queen Mother: Alien

Take Molly Weasley’s protective vibe and multiply it by 7000 (plus buckets of slime saliva) and you get the Queen Mother from Alien. Sure, she’s frightening and monstrous and mutilates everyone who crosses her path, but she has her reasons! They pose a risk to her babies and she is not having any of that. No one said being maternal was always pretty.

Lucille Bluth: Arrested Development

Sure, she has a pill problem and drinks before most people wake up in the morning and is real about not particularly liking some of her children, but somehow all of that doesn’t keep us from falling in love with Lucille every time she’s on screen. Maybe she’s not one to help you with your geometry homework or pack you a healthy, well-balanced lunch, but you should really be doing that for yourself anyway. Cheers and winks to this wonderful woman!

And there you have it, ladies and gentleman! Which fictional moms would make your list? And when are you going to call your mom? (Answer: right now).

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About the Author ()

Emmanuel Hapsis studied creative writing at University of Maryland, College Park and went on to receive his MFA in the field from California College of the Arts. After a few years of odd jobs, he landed at KQED, where he worked his way up from an intern to being the lead producer of a literature podcast and then the creator and editor of KQED Pop. In his free time, he teaches yoga and sings his heart out at karaoke.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501872200 Laurence Joseph Jones

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think Lucille Bluth and Betty Draper are the same type of mother separated by 30 years of life.