Friday, May 6, 2011

10 FAVORITES (32) - Great Silver and Small Screen Moms

As we head into this Mother's Day weekend, I wanted to make these next two installments of 10 FAVORITES really special.  Basically, because Moms deserve it.  Moms: It's the best job in the world and the pay-off (when done right) is so much better than cash, check or any of Oprah's Favorite Things.  So, I asked myself: "What do I love to talk about on this blog?" and "How can I make what I love to talk about special for all the Moms out there in the world?"  As I brainstormed, the answer came to me.  This week's 10 FAVORITES will be devoted to the Best Moms portrayed in both Television and Films.  (Next week, I'll do the Worst; but for now, we'll just focus on the Best!).  I dedicate this blog post to my beloved Mother, who I know is watching over me every step of the way (like a good Mother always does, no matter what!).  Here are:


TV MOM #10
Caroline Ingalls from Little House On the Prairie
While Michael Landon's Charles Ingalls was the anchor of the popular series, Karen Grassle's Caroline Ingalls was its heart.  She was a woman who, at a time when women weren't in charge, certainly knew when to giver her emotional support and her wealth of wisdom.

Roseanne Conner from Roseanne
She is an unlikely choice, but you can't compile a list of TV moms without thinking of her.  Yes, she was in-your-face and sometimes venomously abusive (to mostly others, not necessarily her kids); she showed that a mother in the 1980s and early 1990s worked their a**es off for their families, and no one worked harder than Roseanne.

Marge Simpson from The Simpsons
Yet another unlikely choice (considering who she's married to!), but Marge is overtly devoted to her kids.  Her "special little guy" may very well be the Devil's Advocate, but she clearly loves every minute she spends with precocious Bart, brainy Lisa and unforgettable Maggie.

Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
Though she became a mom at 16, the minute she held little Lorelai (aka Rory) in her arms they were bonded for life.  Their strong closeness kept fans cheerful and tearful (and extremely caffeinated) through seven years (ably helped by the charm and wit of star Lauren Graham).

Elyse Keaton from Family Ties
She was a flower child-turned-architect and we couldn't get enough of her.  Throughout the NBC hit's seven years, Elyse cared for her three (eventually four!) kids with love, understanding and compassion.  That's quite a feat considering her oldest was the very conservative Alex P. Keaton (the irrepressible Michael J. Fox).

Olivia Walton from The Waltons
If you were growing up in rural Appalachia during the Depression AND World War II, wouldn't you want a Mother like Michael Learned's patient, sweet and endearing Olivia guiding you through turbulent years? John Boy certainly turned out pretty good!

Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch
When you're blending two families together, you need a Mom who is strong and understanding but has a great sense of humor and fun.  Carol Brady (much like Florence Henderson herself) embodies every quality I just described.

June Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver
Several "Baby Boomers" I know have admitted to wanting a Mom like June Cleaver.  She was the quintessential housewife and can give those "Real" and "Desperate" ones a run for their money.

Marion Cunningham from Happy Days
Like June Cleaver, Marion Ross' Marion Cunningham was the perfect housewife.  In the 1970s, we were nostalgic for the 1950s and Mrs. C was the best at creating a loving home for Richie, Joanie and the forever lost Chuck.

Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show
Since I grew up in the 1980s, there was one mother who always stood out in my mind as successful (whether as a woman, a career gal or especially a Mother): Claire Hanks Huxtable.  The level of trust and respect that Phylicia Rashad's indomitable character showed her children (and her husband!) was so appealing that I just felt privileged to watch her every week.  Every Thursday night was a delight thanks to characters like Claire.


Rusty Dennis from Mask
Cher's performance as Rusty Dennis (mother of disfigured Rocky Dennis) is powerful and poignant.  Rusty has her own problems, but she fights tooth and nail for her kid to be as normal as possible.

Marta Hanson from I Remember Mama
For the longest time, Irene Dunne's heartbreaking performance in this film was the ultimate film Mother.

Mama Gump from Forrest Gump
According to Forrest, Mama always said a lot of things from the definition of stupidity to the similarities between life and chocolates.  If she were played by anyone else besides Sally Field, we would never believe a single mother in that time period (and that location!) would be that determined.

Elastigirl from The Incredibles
Not only is she a superhero, but she's a super-Mom!  Throughout PIXAR's action-filled delight, Helen "Elastigirl" Parr (charmingly voiced by Holly Hunter) is trying to adjust to her normal lifestyle and fighting to keep her family in tact. Pity some dejected fanboy has to ruin it all by kidnapping her husband!

Mrs. Molly Weasley from The Harry Potter films
From the second she meets are titular hero, she wants to take him under her wing (which is pretty crowded with seven other Weasley kids!). J.K. Rowling had to know someone like Molly Weasley in her lifetime to make her so endearing (people with personalities like her exist, we just have to find them!). She is such a delight that I smile every time I see Julie Walters' interpretation in the hugely successful films.

Sophie from Sophie's Choice
When one is faced with true evil and the most agonizing choice anyone can make, what is a Mother to do? In Meryl Streep's powerful Oscar-winning performance, she is forced by sadistic people to make that choice and is forever changed by the consequences. Wouldn't any Mother be? (See the original and absolutely heartbreaking scene here.)

Mrs. Brisby from The Secret of NIMH
Yes, I know she's an animal but she still counts! Her entire motivation throughout the film (one of the greatest and most underrated animated films of all-time, I might add!) is her children, specifically her youngest Timothy. Timothy is gravely ill and she is striving to save his life. Isn't that what any Mother would do?

Ma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath
If you were compiling the list from literary sources, Ma Joad would have to be at the top of the list.  She treks through the West with her impoverished clan in the era of the Great Depression and asks for nothing but faith from her family. Like the best Mothers, she is an eternal Teacher.

Aurora Greenway from Terms of Endearment
We all remember the "Give My Daughter the Shot!" scene. Like Lorelai Gilmore in the TV Moms section, Aurora's friendship with her daughter (expertly played by Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger as Mother and Daughter, respectively) is complicated but everlasting.

Bambi's Mother from Bambi
Yet another animal.  She makes the ultimate sacrifice a Mother can make.  Everyone remembers the first time they watched this pivotal and emotional scene.  Let's all cry together!

Next week, The Worst Moms from TV and Film!

Dedicated to the Memory of
A Loving Mother and Eternal Teacher!


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