Friday, May 13, 2011

10 FAVORITES (33) - Bad Small and Silver Screen Moms

Last week, I gave you all a list of the best Mothers from both TV and Film.  This week, I've decided to give you the opposite.  If Bambi's Mother and Claire Huxtable qualify as the best Moms in the fictional mediums, then which mothers qualify as the worst?  There are plenty to choose from, so let's get started.  Like last week, we'll begin with:


TV MOM #10
Lwaxana Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation
She's self-absorbed, man-hungry, extravagant and extremely intrusive...oh, and she's an alien.  Lwaxana Troi (played with great flair by the late Majel Barrett-Roddenberry) was every one of those adjectives and more as Counselor Deanna Troi's Beta-Zed mother.  She cared more about finding a husband and reading people's thoughts than her own "little one."  Yet, in her own "warped" way, she had great affection for Deanna.

Estelle Costanza from Seinfeld
It's often thought that the louder the voice, the more of a pain the mother is.  Well, Estelle Costanza (played to annoying perfection by Estelle Harris) certainly fits that bill.  She made George's life a living hell and she was unapologetic about it.  She was just being herself, which can be quite admirable, only some times.

Lois Griffin from Family Guy
Compared to her husband, Lois Griffin is the perfect parent.  That being said though, she still is extremely selfish and has a sense of humor that is way out of control (perfect for the show that she's on, but still...WOW!).  Plus, she is the worst role model for her teenage daughter Meg, whom she seems to just despise (like everyone else on the show).

Benny Lopez from George Lopez
Loosely based on his grandmother (as talked about in his stand-up), George Lopez created the character of Benny Lopez, George's abusive and lazy mother (played by Belita Moreno).  Every hateful word that spread from her mouth was just awful, but half of the time it was excused because Benny was just as emotionally damaged as she tried to make other people.

Endora from Bewitched
What's worse than a mother who is absolutely un-supportive of your life choices? Try dealing with her when she has magical powers and uses them to make your life (and the life of your spouse) miserable. You know life won't be easy when your mother is constantly (and often purposefully) getting your husband's name wrong.

Liane Cartman from South Park
Eric Cartman may be one of the most vicious and evil characters ever created for a TV show, but you might forgive some faults when you look at his mother.  Liane Cartman is probably the biggest tramp in the entire fictional universe.  She'll do it with anyone (and I mean ANYONE!).  For a little while, through some strange and twisted plot device, it was thought that Liane was both Eric's Mother AND Eric's Father (don't ask!).

Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond
She was a master at giving an insult with a smile, especially to her daughter-in-law.  Marie (the delightful Emmy-winner Doris Roberts) held firmly on to her sons (namely Raymond) and made it her business to deal with everything in her family.  She defended her actions by claiming that's what a Mother does, but she constantly undermined her son's respective marriages all while doing it in the name of Motherhood.  Can you say "Manipulative?"

Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development
Some women just shouldn't have children and Lucille Bluth (brilliantly played by Jessica Walter) would be the first one to say that...about other people.  She loved to drink and gossip and drink and spend money and (did I mention?) drink.  The messes she made of her four children is a testament to the kind of Mother she was.

Peg Bundy from Married...With Children
The original dysfunctional mother and the perfect stereotype for the bored housewife.  Peg Bundy (the amazing Katey Sagal) loved her bon-bons more than she loved Kelly or Bud (her children).  Maybe she felt neglected by her husband Al (the equally amazing Ed O'Neill) or maybe she just didn't care about anything.  Whatever the reason, Peg nearly tops the list of the Worst Mothers on TV.

Evelyn Harper from Two and a Half Men
Now that the news has come that the show will return next season (with Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen), audiences who love this show (for some reason!) will get to see more of Holland Taylor's Emmy nominated performance as the most selfish Mother one will ever see on TV.  Evelyn always only thinks of herself and how much money she can make off of anyone (through her realty business).  It's no wonder her two sons turned out the way they did...tiger-blood and all!


Mama Fratelli from The Goonies
Played by the late Anne Ramsey, Mama Fratelli was a piece of work. Not only is she a vicious criminal (like Ma Barker, but meaner), but she chains up her deformed son, Sloth, in a basement. Thank God for Chunk! (I never thought I'd say that statement!)

Queen Gertrude from Hamlet
William Shakespeare knew how much a Mother's betrayal could affect the psyche of a young man and he made it the central conflict of his most famous play. Whether Gertrude is played by a great actress (like Glenn Close or Julie Christie) or is played by an unknown in a regional (or high school) production, her relationship with Hamlet and how she reacts to her son's treatment of her new marriage (to her late husband's brother and murderer!) is key to the personality of this ambitious and terrified Queen.

Kate McCallister from Home Alone
Every time I watch Home Alone (or it's New York sequel), I am constantly frustrated and angry at the mother and how easily Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) forgives her for LEAVING HIM HOME ALONE! I mean, I know kids love their mothers, but this woman shows how much Kevin means to her by punishing him the night before they leave and then leaving (albeit accidentally) him home by himself. Though she is perfectly played by Catherine O'Hara, I just think some things are unforgivable (at least immediately).

Mary from Precious - Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Comedienne Mo'Nique transformed herself and completely shocked audiences with her Oscar-winning performance as Mary, Precious' abusive and hateful mother. But it is in her last scene in the film where audiences realize how damaged Mary is herself and how the cycle of dysfunction continues.

The Alien Queen from Aliens
The Queen has one purpose in her whole existence and that is to destroy all human life and infest the world with her alien progeny. The only thing standing in her way: the heroic and feisty Ripley (the indomitable Sigourney Weaver), who is as nurturing as the Queen is destructive.

Disney's Wicked Stepmothers from Snow White and Cinderella
As part of Disney's Princess franchise, they should have a small sect including the two Wickedest Stepmothers in fairy tale history. The Wicked Queen (from Snow White) and Lady Tremaine (from Cinderella) are both filled with villainy and jealousy when they look at their respective stepdaughters. So they proceed to make the pretty Princesses life as miserable as possible. Not the best kind of Mother-figure in a girl's life, is it?

Beth from Ordinary People
One of the worst kind of Mothers is the kind of Mother who just gives up. Beth (as played by a stoic and reserved Mary Tyler Moore) gives up on everything especially her surviving son Conrad (Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton). Just watch her face as her son tries to hug her towards the end of the film.

Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate
Talk about a selfish rich bitch! Anne Bancroft will forever be remembered as the ultimate cougar Mrs. Robinson, who seduces young Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) and proceeds to let him date her daughter (the innocent Katharine Ross). She doesn't care about anything but her own desires.

Joan Crawford from Mommie Dearest
Everyone remembers Faye Dunaway screaming "No Wire Hangers! EVER!" and proceeding to spank the little girl with the hanger.  Dunaway's over-the-top work as Crawford has become so iconic that, even though Joan Crawford was a real person, she has become a character all the same.

Mrs. Iselin from The Manchurian Candidate
Brilliantly played by Angela Lansbury in the 1962 socio-political thriller, Mrs. Iselin is cold, over-bearing and absolutely manipulative. She even allows her son to become a Communist assassin and is willing to let him murder a political candidate to get ahead in Washington.  Just watch the chilling scene below.

There you have it, the Worst Mothers on TV and Film. Next week, we will explore the best moments and the best guest stars from one of my favorite shows of all-time: THE MUPPET SHOW!!!!!!

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