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).

West Bank

David Donaldson

Whitewashing occupation? Bill Shorten and the Israel Lobby

Racism and military occupation have no place in the modern world, and are certainly not something looked upon favourably by a majority of Australians. Yet while apartheid, for example, has become a byword for shame and racism, the Labor Opposition leader feels comfortable asserting that some Israeli West Bank settlements are legal. Read more »

Tony Abbott

David Donaldson

Abbott and Brandis’ culture war backfires

What is supposed to happen in a culture war is that conservatives use a controversial issue to drive a ‘wedge’ through the left, forcing a split between factions. In Australia, this usually means pitting Catholic unionists against their socially liberal colleagues in the Labor party. Read more »

climate change

David Donaldson

Australia is going backwards on climate policy

During the Howard years, it was usual for Australia to be awarded ‘Fossil of the Day’ by climate advocacy groups whenever it attended a climate negotiation conference. The award signifies the country that had done the most to hinder climate change negotiations, and Australia has won a pile of them. Read more »

Zoe Pilger

Carody Culver

Girls, eat your hearts out

Middle class hipsters, conceptual artists and third-wave feminists have long been easy targets for mockery, so I admit that I wasn’t expecting anything too groundbreaking when I picked up Zoe Pilger’s Eat My Heart Out, a satirical romp through contemporary London that reads like a surreal mash-up of Broad City, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Less Than Zero. Read more »

Laika, Astronaut Dog

Carody Culver

Houston, we have a fabrication

As someone who doesn’t have children, I’m no less resistant than any of my book-loving friends-with-kids to the charm of a beautiful picture book. So when I spotted Laika: Astronaut Dog by writer and illustrator Owen Davey, with its charming retro-style artwork Read more »

& Sons

Carody Culver

WASPiration: David Gilbert’s & Sons

As someone who’s always secretly aspired to being a WASP (before you mercilessly judge me for this, I should clarify that my desire has less to do with attaining elevated social and financial status than with being able to dress like a character in The Great Gatsby Read more »

American Pickers

Julia Tulloh

Eccentric junk collectors held high on American Pickers

The History Channel’s American Pickers, currently in its sixth season, is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable reality series on TV. It’s not a competition show, it doesn’t exist to objectify people and it isn’t particularly dramatic. So what’s the appeal? Read more »

Justin Timberlake

Julia Tulloh

Pleasantly forgettable: Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience

On 7 March this year, tickets went on sale for the Australian leg of Justin Timberlake’s latest tour, ‘The 20/20 Experience’. All five shows sold out in a few hours. The same day, five new shows were released, with most tickets for these rapidly selling out too. Read more »

BuzzFeed

Julia Tulloh

BuzzFeed quizzes understand me

If you use social media regularly – Facebook, in particular – you’ll have completed a BuzzFeed quiz during the past month. Don’t deny it. Even if you didn’t share your results online, deep down you’re still feeling smug because the ‘What Should You Actually Eat For Lunch?’ quiz confirmed that eating ice cream was, in fact, an appropriate meal for your personality type. Read more »

nympho-poster

Rochelle Siemiennowicz

Weirdos on screen: Noah and Nymphomaniac

There are some filmmakers you’ll follow into the dark, no matter how bad the buzz is about their latest work. For me, naughty boy Lars von Trier (The Idiots, Breaking the Waves, Dogville, Antichrist, Melancholia) and strange kid Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) are two filmmakers who can be loved or detested, but never ignored. Read more »

planes

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Notes from a plane

There’s an art to choosing the right film for every particular occasion, and as I nervously sit in a Qantas jet about to take off on a four-hour flight from Melbourne to Perth, the choice seems very important indeed. Read more »

My Brilliant Career

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Groundhog Day again for women in film

It pisses me off no end! I literally have refused to talk about it because I feel like, you don’t ask Peter Weir or Phillip Noyce about being a male director. But now it’s time to speak out again…because I can’t believe the numbers! Gillian Armstrong, in 2010, … Read more »

Samsung fingers

Connor Tomas O'Brien

‘Fooled’ by technology

As I browsed the web last Tuesday, something struck me: tech companies can no longer pull off compelling April Fools’ Day hoaxes because there’s no longer even the thinnest line delineating sincerity from spoof. Read more »

wifi

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Flight 370 and gaps in the internet

On Twitter the other day, sandwiched between a slew of links to articles about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, somebody tweeted a link to the website for Tile, a Bluetooth-enabled device that can be attached to physical objects, enabling them to be located within a 150-foot range. Read more »

IMG_3267

Clipped: What would Susan Sontag say about always-on cameras?

As I write this, a tiny camera clipped to my shirt collar is silently taking a picture every thirty seconds. At the end of the day, I will plug my Narrative Clip into my MacBook, and it will upload half a gigabyte of images to the Cloud. … Read more »

Young Adulthood Books

Danielle Binks

The young adult books of my young adulthood

In March, Penguin Books Australia rereleased Melina Marchetta’s first novel as part of its Australian Children’s Classics series. Looking for Alibrandi was first published in 1992; the first print run sold out in two months, and Marchetta’s debut went on to win the Children’s Book Council of Australia Children’s Book of the Year Award. Read more »

When You Reach Me

Danielle Binks

A children’s lit prize of one’s own

Earlier this year, Readings Bookstore announced the creation of The Readings Children’s Book Prize. The eligibility criteria for the 2014 Prize was specified as ‘a work of published fiction, written for children aged 5–12’. Read more »

The Fault with a Sick-Lit Debate (1)

Danielle Binks

The fault with a sick-lit debate

American author John Green’s young adult (YA) novel The Fault in Our Stars has been a bestselling juggernaut since its release in 2012. Green’s book was somewhat inspired by his friendship with Esther Earl, whose posthumous memoir This Star Won’t Go Out was released in January this … Read more »

music theory

Chad Parkhill

Do music critics need music theory?

Canadian musician Owen Pallett – the man who arranged the strings on Arcade Fire’s albums, co-wrote the soundtrack for Spike Jonze’s Her, and has a bunch of wonderful solo albums – can now add another feather to his cap: that of an engaging music writer. Read more »

Tune Yards

Chad Parkhill

Drips, leaks, and spurts

I’ve spent the last two weeks in a state of perpetual excitement – musically speaking, that is. First came tUnE-yArDs’ new song, ‘Water Fountain’, a joyous, riotous explosion of colour and movement. Then Swans released ‘A Little God in My Hands’, a seven-minute epic of a track … Read more »

Grandma photoshop

Chad Parkhill

Singing out

My maternal grandmother, Merilai Lilburn, recently died in a nursing home in Katikati, New Zealand, of complications arising from pneumonia. She was 82 years old. At the time of her death, I and the other members of our extended family based in Australia Read more »

Community

Stephanie Van Schilt

Diary of a lurker: TV and Twitter

At the end of last month, global information provider Nielsen announced that Australia was to become the third country in the world with the ‘Nielsen TV Twitter Ratings’ service. According to a Nielsen Company press release, the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings are ‘the first-ever measure of the total activity and reach of TV-related conversation on Twitter’. Read more »

Broad City

Stephanie Van Schilt

Funny Broads

‘All comparisons between Girls and Broad City should be hereto forth banned from the internet.’ I agree with Katherine Brooks. Yet the comparisons continue, ad nauseam, mostly following one of two lines of thought. Read more »

The Carrie Diaries

Stephanie Van Schilt

‘Alive Girl’ TV: The Carrie Diaries

Get ready to feel old: it’s been ten years since the final episode of Sex and the City aired. I’m not talking about the first episode back in 1998, but the final episode – the one before the two questionable movies were released. Read more »