“Mother Knows Best” Top 10 Greatest Sitcom Mothers of All Time.

Part two of our top 10 list of iconic Tv parents. This time I’m spotlighting what I feel are the top 10 most iconic and best Tv mothers in all of sitcoms. This list is purely opinion based like the top 10 greatest dads list so keep that in mind. Some of your favs I guarantee you won’t be on the list but don’t worry because I will find some room for what could be some of yours in my honorable mentions section. Hereeeeee we go!

10. Peggy Bundy from Married with Children.

Katey Sagal as the queen of laziness Peggy Wanker Bundy

Peg Bundy, the first real “Anti mother” in television history. She was the precursor to the more modern type of mothers like Rochelle from Everybody Hates Chris, Jessica Huang from Fresh off The Boat, Lois from Malcolm in The Middle and certainly Roseanne Conner from Roseanne. Peg was as Marcy once put it: “A horrible wife, a worse mother and the laziest bitch in Chicago”. But despite Peggy’s shortcomings, this bon bon eating, Oprah watching, couch print leaving mom is so cool, badass and just plain sexy that she’s made a huge impact in pop culture as one of the iconic sitcom mothers.

She may not cook or clean or parent but she sees herself more as her children’s friend than a mother and does support them in their idiotic or doomed to fail endeavors so Peggy does some things right.

9. Frankie Heck from The Middle.

Patricia Heaton as Frankie Heck

Patricia Heaton has played a tv mom for almost two decades: first as Debra Barone mother of four(Including her husband) in the smash hit CBSsitcom Everybody Loves Raymond with Ray Romano for 9 iconic seasons and then in her own led show The Middle, a very funny and relatable family sitcom that also aired for 9 seasons on ABC from 2009 to 2018. In The Middle Heaton plays Frankie Heck, a mother of three (Axl, Sue and Brick) and wife of hard working and emotionally challenged husband Mike. Frankie like Peggy Bundy isn’t your typically perfect mom with the pearls, perfect smile and superhero like ability to do everything from fixing dinner, cleaning the house and doing all the shopping in a span of thirty minutes. Frankie was as real a mom as television has ever shown: She was frequently forgetful, mostly lazy, a tad neurotic and tired all the time. Despite all her faults she’s as optimistic as any mother ever tries to be and she strives for perfection with her family and her life although she falls short she never truly gives up, especially not on her kids.

8. Lois Wilkerson from Malcolm In The Middle.

Jane Kaczmarek as Lois

What is there to be said about Lois? Perhaps she’s the true representation of the modern mother. She was domineering, no nonsense, tough as nails, loud as a blow horn and a far cry from the nice, sweet, perfect Tv moms of the 50’s and 60’s. Lois was very much the boss in a house full of males and she reigned supreme against her five rambunctious boys Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey and later baby Jamie. As tough as Lois was she was also as protective and loving to her husband Hal and her boys as any mother ever could be:

She’s also such a great mother at the end of the day that she inspires four of her sons who are constantly at odds with her to defend her honor whenever she’s been attacked or disrespected:

Lois may have been more prison warden than typical mommy at times but her love and devotion to her family is never up for debate.

7. Vivian Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

The original Aunt Viv from Fresh Prince

As good an actress Daphne Maxwell Reid was and is, and as a much easier cast member for the cast of Fresh Prince to get along with… You just can’t beat what Janet Hubert Whitten did with the role of Aunt Viv. The original Aunt Viv was such a wonderfully crafted character: An intelligent, beautiful, sophisticated college professor who when her children were ever threatened or if she were ever disrespected her West Philly born and raised no nonsense hood side comes out full force and this Mama bear will end your life:

This isn’t to say that Daphne Maxwell Reid didn’t do a perfectly fine job as Aunt Viv herself, but, unfortunately she wasn’t able to capture the fire, zest, perfect blend of Bel Air sophistication with West Philly street that Janet was able to perfect in the role. Aunt Viv was a surrogate mother to Will as much as Uncle Phil was his surrogate father and she’s the type of mom you’d want to come down to the school and raise hell for you anytime.

6. Marion Cunningham from Happy Days.

Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham

Marion Cunningham aka “Mrs. C” was the classic type mother of the 1950’s: Beautiful, sweet smile, well dressed, handy in the kitchen and taking care of the house and children and perfectly chipper. She was the mother you’d love to come home to because she’d have a fresh batch of cookies and nice cold glass of milk waiting for you and then just brighten your day with her sunny disposition and warm nature. But Marion herself had a tough, fiery side that makes her a cut above other mothers of her period:

And she had quite the “frisky” side as well:

Marion was quite a mother and is one of the most iconic in television history.

5. Morticia Addams from The Addams Family.

Carolyn Jones as Morticia

One of the sexiest women in television history much less sexiest mother, but, Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams became an icon for many women into the macarbe and men who found the gothic look enticing. Morticia was quite a loving mother despite her choice of fashion and had an essence about her that made her quite special.

It’s no wonder that the Addams were such amazing parents. With such powerful attraction towards each other they were meant to reproduce possibly even more than rabbits:

Morticia had it all as a great mom: Beauty, warmth, intelligence, strong passion for her children, such strong affection for her husband and a fascination with all things weird and gothic. What more could a kid want?

4. Kitty Forman from That 70’s Show.

Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty

Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty is one of the great mom characters because as loving, warm and fun as she was she was also a woman who struggled to stay sane at times due to the hardships thrown at her like when her baby boy Eric was moving out and going to live with his girlfriend Donna to Madison:

But through it all Kitty kept the family together with her super mother nature and her great sense of humor. How can you not love her laugh?

3. Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show.

Phylicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable

You can’t have a list of greatest sitcom moms without including the one and only Clair Huxtable. Clair was beautiful, intelligent, strong, tough, feisty, sexy, glamorous and hilariously witty. She was a fancy lawyer by day but super mom the rest of the time. As lovely as Clair was she was not afraid to go full lethal when needed:

A true crime is how Phylicia Rashad was denied a bunch of Emmys because she was INCREDIBLE in the role of Clair Huxtable. These scenes alone shows the power of her acting ability to be funny and genuinely frightening at the same time. Clair Huxtable is certainly cream of the crop when it comes to a discussion of iconic sitcom mothers.

2. Florida Evans from Good Times.

Esther Rolle as Florida Evans

If you think being a suburban mom or a middle class mom is hard work just imagine being a mother from the Ghetto. Florida Evans and her family consisting of husband James, James Jr. aka “JJ”, Thelma and Michael all live in Chicago ghetto apartment. Florida was a strong Christian woman who ruled with both an iron fist and a gentle heart. She was often the voice of reason to balance out James’ more tough love approach but she was also not one to trifle with, especially when it came to her children:

Sadly after James had passed away, Florida was left to be the head of the family and did a phenomenal job being both Mom and Dad. Florida Evans going from a wife and mother to a single mother was brilliantly played by Esther Rolle in both eras of the show and what’s even better is that with James gone Florida became even more fierce and no nonsense when it came to her children’s foolishness which I’m sure made James proud. (R.I.P.)

Esther Rolle was a very accomplished actress of stage, film and television but she will always be best remembered as the iconic Florida Evans, a true matriarch who we all either had in our family or certainly wished we had.

And now we come down to my pick for the number 1 greatest sitcom mom of all time. This was a brutal choice I had to make because there are so many amazing sitcom mothers I had on this list to choose from and many more out there that didn’t make the top ten but for number 1 I had to go with my heart and I truly picked my number 1 because for me she was the best choice…. Ready? Drum roll………………

  1. Harriet Winslow from Family Matters.
JoMarie Payton as Harriet Winslow

What can I say? There’s just something so amazing and wonderful about the character of Harriet Winslow that I just always admired and loved. Perhaps it’s the way the actress masterfully portrayed the character or just the way she was written as the strong, tough, feisty, sassy, funny, beautiful, kind and supportive wife and mother who millions of 90’s kids grew up with as their Tv mom.

Harriet was a woman who did not play any games but was also so warm and loving and supportive that her kids never failed to come to her for some good old motherly wisdom. Even her husband Carl came to depend on Harriet’s guidance which she always gave with equal amounts of humor and love.

When JoMarie Payton left the show mid way through season 9 the final season of the show she was replaced with actress Judyann Elder who just didn’t have any of the amazing qualities JoMarie brought to the role. (Sorry, Judy!) But why am I attempting to explain how amazing Harriet is when I can just show you?

Honorable mentions:

Jill Taylor from Home Improvement, Marge Simpsons from The Simpsons, Peggy Hill from King of the Hill, Lily Munster from The Munster, Mama Thomas from What’s Happening, Rochelle from Everybody Hates Chris, Tonya Baxter from That’s so Raven,Neesee James from All of Us, Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch, June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver, Jay Kyle from My Wife and Kids, Roseanne Conner from Roseanne, Edith Bunker from All in The Family, Louise Jefferson from The Jeffersons, Ella Payne from Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Rainbow Johnson from Blackish.

So there you have it, folks! These are my top ten! Hopefully you’ll find some that you agree with and if not then I’d love to know what your choices are. ’Til next time!



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Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3