Advertisement

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Gang of Five

Five awesome TV mums

by Jess Alice , October 15, 20132 Comments

joyce

In our list series, ‘Gang of Five’, we make a list of five things related to … whatever we like. Online Editorial Assistant Jessica Alice shares her favourite TV mums. Spoilers ahead!

Joyce Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

As mother of the slayer (and Dawn, I guess?), Kristine Sutherland’s Joyce Summers had a bumpy ride for the first few seasons. She had a seemingly delinquent kid who burned down school buildings and got into bloody fights. Despite all these challenges, she is one of the most sympathetic and bad-arse characters in the series. In ‘School Hard’ (s02e03) she threatens Spike with an axe, Ripley-style (‘Get the hell away from my daughter!’). And in everyone’s favourite Ethan Rayne episode ‘Band Candy’ (s03e06), Joyce and Giles are the hottest, coolest couple after eating candy laced with magic (or something) causing them to act like rebellious teenagers. Joyce is also a museum curator, which is one hella cool job that makes house parties pretty spooky. Joyce’s last episode ‘The Body’ (s05e15) has to go down as one of the saddest episodes in television history. Prepare the tissues.

Tie: Carmela Soprano (The Sopranos) and Cheryl West (Outrageous Fortune)

Controversial! New Zealand’s crime family/comedy/drama show Outrageous Fortune will never make it into the holy TV canon that The Sopranos basically invented, but both offered up kick-arse, no-nonsense matriarchs.

Robyn Malcolm’s Cheryl West is mother to Pascalle, Lorette, Van and Jethro. Malcolm is beloved in NZ and has won TV Guide’s best actress six years running for the role, as well as NZ’s sexiest woman (LOL?) award in 2007. Cheryl owns an underwear company called Hoochie Mama, which is really just a hilarious business name.

carmelaEdie Falco’s Carmela Soprano, mother to Anthony Jr. and Meadow, is a source of legitimacy for the family but proves she’s got mobster-wife game when it’s required. Despite all the crap that comes with being a woman in an uber-patriarchal organisation, Carmela always holds her own. She also has several intense romantic almost-encounters with her priest, a painter-decorator and her husband’s ‘workmate’ Furio. Also EDIE FREAKIN’ FALCO.

Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development)

Jessica Walter’s Lucille Bluth is mother to Gob, Michael and Buster, and adoptive mother to Lindsay and Hel-loh (‘Annyong’). This selection of her best quotes speaks for itself:

Lucille: Get me a vodka rocks.
Michael: Mom, it’s breakfast.
Lucille: And a piece of toast.

Buster: Mother, have you seen my rubber hand?
Lucille: It’s in the dishwasher. Your father and I were using it for something.

Lucille: I’ve been drinking since before you were born. So if alcohol is the reason I’m here, I got news for you, bub: it’s the only reason you’re here too.

[George Sr. & Lucille are in different cars. They almost crash]
George Sr.: Up yours, granny!
Lucille: You couldn’t handle it!

Lucille: Let me tell you something, sweetie. We may pick on each other, get into little scrapes, call each other names and occasionally steal from each other, but that’s because we are family.

Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)

Lauren Graham’s Lorelai is a quirky and witty single parent raising a quirky and witty teenage daughter, Rory. Together they are quirky and witty and have potentially the fastest dialogue in all of TV land. Lorelai often struggles with the dilemmas of parenthood: being either too strict or too much of a BFF to Rory, attending her own needs too much or not enough, and trying to get the dating thing right. Making mistakes is often what Gilmore Girls is all about, and the characters always come out of situations a little wiser. From the beginning of the series Lorelai made the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter: committing to Friday night dinners with her rich, judgemental parents so that Rory can go to a fancy school. She also feels very strongly about coffee.

monasimpsonMona Simpson (The Simpsons) with honourable mention to Marge Simpson.

Mona is mother to Homer Simpson and was voiced by several different actors including Her Majesty Glenn Close. Mona was a 1960s housewife until she saw Joe Namth’s long flowing hair at the Super Bowl and became a political activist. She was constantly on the run from the law after destroying the biological warfare experiments in Monty Burns’ laboratory. Not only was she a righteous babe, she was kind-hearted, too. She was only identified from the incident because she stopped to help a fallen Burns. Mona is a recurring character throughout many seasons of The Simpsons, with ‘Mother Simpson’ (s07e08) widely considered one of the most touching episodes of all time. Mona reunites with Homer, but is soon tracked down by Burns and the FBI. She has to leave Homer once again, and the episode finishes with Homer sitting on his car, looking up at the stars.

 




  • James Sherwood

    Good choices. How about Sofia Vergara who plays Gloria in Modern Family (mucho impresionante, no?)

    Do you have a list for your favourite female TV drama protagonists? Mine would be Claire Danes from Homeland, Surrane Jones, Lesley Sharp and Amelia Bullmore from Scott and Bailey, Amanda Burton, the first Pathologist in Silent Witness, and Alex Kinston as River Song in Dr Who.

    JRS

  • Maggie

    Great list Jessica, very left field! I would put as number one Lois from Malcolm in the Middle. Tough, scary, crazy – but always there to be in full battle with her brood. LOVE her. (Plus she is married to Hal who can rollerskate like a king).

Frances Abbott

David Donaldson

Why #whitehousegate matters

A few days after the release of the budget, in which the Coalition government announced it was spreading the burden by increasing university fees, cutting school funding, and cutting welfare for young people comes a story that confirms what many already suspect to be the nature of opportunity: it’s much easier to come by if you’re born into privilege. Read more »

money

David Donaldson

When does lobbying become corruption?

Whether it’s Clive Palmer buying his way into parliament, the recent, varied ICAC revelations of dodgy fundraising in the NSW Liberal party, or the refusal or inability of successive governments to effectively tackle powerful corporate interests in industries like gambling, mining, media, and junk food, there is a feeling among many Australians that democracy is up for sale. Read more »

cluster munition

David Donaldson

How to make treaties and influence people

In an era when Russia can annex Ukrainian territory, when the Refugee Convention is regularly flouted, and when nobody seems to be able to do anything to stop the carnage in Syria, it can be tempting to ask: what can international law actually achieve? Read more »

The Fictional Woman

Carody Culver

Learning from semi-charmed lives

When famous public figures take a step further and use their personal experience as a literary vehicle for exploring wider social issues, I can happily check my celebrity memoir prejudice at the bookshop door. Read more »

My Salinger Year

Carody Culver

Searching for Mr Salinger

Joanna Rakoff’s book is ‘the truth, told as best [she] could’, of her year as an assistant at one of New York’s oldest literary agencies, a job for which many an Arts graduate would sell a kidney. Read more »

editing

Carody Culver

Giving voice to a silent profession

The role editors play in the process of ushering new writing into the world is both vitally important and strangely overlooked. Read more »

Mariah Carey

Is she Mariah, the ‘elusive’ chanteuse?

Two weeks ago, Mariah Carey launched her fourteenth studio album, Me. I am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse. Yes, that’s the real name, and it’s hilarious not only because the title is so long and happily shameless but because Mariah has long styled herself as one of the least elusive pop stars in the pop music galaxy. Read more »

Douglass books

Julia Tulloh

High fantasy writers who aren’t George RR Martin, and who are also women

‘Tolkien is the greatest burden the modern fantasy author must labour under and eventually escape from if they are to succeed.’ So wrote Australian high fantasy writer, Sara Douglass, a decade and a half ago. Replace Tolkien with George RR Martin, and one might say the same principle applies today. Read more »

Conchita Wurst

Julia Tulloh

Why Eurovision 2014 was a bit disappointing

No one watches Eurovision to discover surprise new talent, or even to hear good singing. I watch it for the kitschy, pop-tastic visual onslaught which rarely fails to assault viewers. Read more »

Happy Christmas

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Joe Swanberg’s Real Women

In Happy Christmas, the female characters are a pleasure to watch, largely because they’re so familiar in life and so rarely depicted on screen. Read more »

Gabrielle

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Beyond tics, limps and prosthetics

Think of a disability – mental or physical – and there’s sure to be a film that features it. What about giving big roles to actors who actually live with the disability they’re depicting? Now that would be authentic. Read more »

Under the Skin

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Size Matters

Bigger isn’t always better, but some films will open themselves up to you and pour themselves out in new ways when you see them on a cinema screen. Read more »

5881861191_90de8b5bc9

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Making trolls eat their words

If we’re not conscious of a troll’s desired response, we risk inadvertently encouraging further trolling by allowing ourselves to be played. Read more »

filter

Reality vs. Instagram

It’s been over three years since Instagram launched, and we’re still not sure whether processing a photograph might be considered akin to doctoring a memory. Read more »

2014 Budget

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Could we crowdfund the dole?

Following the announcement of the 2014 budget, the director of a leading arts organisation posed a question on Facebook: ‘What recourse do the people have to stop these changes? What are next steps? Would be curious to know of any other effective measures to get the message across… apart from complaining on Twitter.’ Read more »

tumblr_inline_n6wz16ohb91r8e10g

Danielle Binks

YA is the New Black

Apparently those of us who do read and enjoy youth literature should be ‘embarrassed’. At least that’s what Ruth Graham said in her recent clickbait article for Slate, ‘Against YA’. Read more »

A Little Pretty Pocket Book

Danielle Binks

Who run the book world? GIRLS!

‘It’s no wonder boys aren’t reading – the children’s book market is run by women.’ So claimed the headline of an April article in The Times.

*Cue Liz Lemon eye-roll* Read more »

The Fault in Our Stars

Danielle Binks

The Fault in the Cult of John Green

I like John Green as much as the next YA-aficionado. I’ve snot-cried through his books, and chuckled over his YouTube videos. But now it’s time to talk about the media-led oversaturation of John Green, and the insulting way he’s been heralded as the saviour of young adult fiction. Read more »

splash

Chad Parkhill

Queering the Power: The Soft Pink Truth’s Why Do the Heathen Rage?

The Soft Pink Truth’s new album ‘Why Do the Heathen Rage’ demonstrates that despite their superficial differences, dance music and black metal have a lot in common. Read more »

The Knife

Chad Parkhill

Never Settled: The Knife’s Shaken-Up Versions

Making live electronic music engaging is a difficult task, and The Knife’s Silent Shout tour shows a band committed to breaking the visual cliché of performers standing still behind banks of electronic equipment. Read more »

Tori Amos

Chad Parkhill

Loving (and hating) Tori Amos

Tori Amos is hardly to blame for the existence of her fans’ expectations, nor for their disappointment when her work does not live up to them – but that doesn’t prevent that disappointment from feeling intensely personal. Read more »

Alg-90210-jpg

Stephanie Van Schilt

Sick-Person TV

The only upside to getting sick was the many afternoons I spent curled up on the couch at home, watching daytime TV. I inhaled the drama of pre-recorded episodes of Beverley Hills 90210 while playing with my Brandon and Dylan sticker collection (interspersed with sporadic vomiting). Read more »

The_Million_Dollar_Drop_logo

Nicholas J Johnson

Highbrow vs Lowbrow: Nicholas J Johnson defends Lowbrow TV

I can’t stop looking at Eddie McGuire’s smug, stupid face. It’s not my fault. It’s just I’ve never been this close to the man before, and it’s not until now that I’ve realised how oddly smooth and tanned his skin is. As if someone has stretched the orange bladder from a football over a slab of marble. Read more »

deadwood-03-1024

Zora Sanders

Highbrow vs Lowbrow: Zora Sanders defends Highbrow TV

I’m going to be honest with you. I feel a little guilty being gifted highbrow TV as a subject to defend. Highbrow TV doesn’t need a defender! It’s a battle that has been won! Highbrow TV is downright fucking awesome and every single person reading this already knows it. Read more »