Mothers-In-Laws From Hell: Top 10 Funniest Sitcom Mothers-In-Law.

Kendall Rivers
6 min readMar 7


We’ve dug into the best sitcom mothers once upon a time, and now it’s time to delve into those classic sitcom mothers-in-law that made their in laws miserable and made us laugh while doing it. These ladies stole the show whenever they showed up and deserve their flowers here.

10. Mrs. Slaghoople. The Flintstones.

The constant bickering and animosity between Fred Flintstone and Wilma’s mother were always good for a laugh. Poor Fred never could get his mother in law’s full approval, but we sure did enjoy Mother Slaghoople sticking it to her loud mouth son in law whenever she paid a visit.

9. Mrs. Forman. That 70’s Show.

Poor Kitty Forman was forced to endure the verbal abuse by Red’s wicked mother to our amusement. Marion Ross became famous due to her iconic role as Mrs. C on Happy Days where she played the mother from heaven, so of course it was great fun watching her play the mother, grandmother and certainly mother-in-law from hell.

8. Ruby Johnson. Blackish.

Jenifer Lewis is the ultimate mother in television and film, famously having played nearly everybody’s daggone mother in everything. The past several years she’s specifically played Anthony Anderson’s mother Rubeline “Ruby” Johnson on Blackish and is one of the major highlights of that show. Her rivalry with daughter-in-law Rainbow made for some very funny and shady moments as she never missed an opportunity to annoy or insult her poor daughter-in-law to oblivion.

7. Peggy Biggs. Mike & Molly.

Mike & Molly suffered endlessly dealing with Mike’s hilariously crass, rude and forever needy mother Peggy. The constant battle between Molly and Peggy over Mike’s time and attention never failed to make us laugh, but we have to also appreciate the development of Molly and Peggy’s relationship from outright enemies to unlikely friends.

6. Benny Lopez. George Lopez.

Benny was no one’s idea of a perfect mom, but she was even worse as a mother-in-law to Angie, who had to endure the whirlwind that was Benny. Benny never hid the fact that she didn’t approve of Angie aka “The Princess”, and although the two would occasionally be on the same side, Benny never completely give Angie a break.

5. Endora. Bewitched.

If you think that your mother-in-law is bad just imagine one that can literally turn you into a monkey, a child and even into a much older version of yourself. Poor Samantha was always stuck in the middle between her feuding mother and husband as the almighty powerful witch had endless amounts of fun screwing with her mortal son-in-law.

4. Mama Payne. Martin.

There have been many nutty and critical mothers-in-laws on tv but none have ever been as gloriously over the top or straight up cutthroat as Martin Payne’s ridiculously energetic mother who made Gina’s life hell to our amusement. Martin Lawrence was always a ball of energy with any character he played but I have to figure that it took everything he had to play Mama Payne, especially when she’d go into a holy ghost type seizure. This was one mother-in-law any wife would be scared to death of because she was always ready to “get to cuttin’!”

3. Mrs. Gilbert and Mrs. Wayne. A Different World.

Dwayne and Whitley faced many obstacles throughout their relationship but their combative and stubborn mothers were the biggest. Played by two icons like Patti LaBelle and Diahann Carroll, Adele Wayne and Marion Gilbert were legendary as well as truly funny sitcom mothers, both of whom didn’t approve of who their child fell in love with and certainly didn’t hide it. Some of the funniest scenes of the entire show were whenever Ms. LaBelle and Ms. Carroll were together arguing and throwing shade at each other as well as their child’s paramour.

2. Mother Jefferson. The Jeffersons.

When it comes to throwing wicked shade at one’s daughter-in-law and stealing the show whenever she appeared, Mother Jefferson will forever be the queen. Zara Cully was in her 80s during her time on The Jeffersons and never missed a beat. Mother Jefferson is a fan favorite character thanks to her hilarious one liners thrown at Louise and her petty doting on her baby boy George. The irony is that one of tv’s shadiest mothers-in-laws actually hated being mean to her dear friend Isabel Sanford who played her daughter-in-law onscreen. Ms. Sanford informed Ms. Cully that if she wants to keep her job on the show she will be mean to her that week and every other week. When Ms. Cully died at 86 during the fifth season of The Jeffersons, her absence was definitely felt throughout the rest of the series.

  1. Marie Barone. Everybody Loves Raymond.

When it comes to nightmare mothers-in-laws that make us laugh non stop and enjoy their torture of their poor in-laws, Marie Barone takes (and bakes) the cake. It wasn’t easy choosing between Marie and Mother J for the number 1 spot because of how truly amazing both actresses owned their roles and made their respective shows tick, but Doris Roberts’ Marie won out for one specific reason: As bad as Mother Jefferson was, at least she never sabotaged her daughter-in-law as much as Marie did to poor Debra. Mothers-in-laws are naturally critical, but Marie took it to a whole other level nailing Debra on everything from cooking, cleaning, raising her kids, and even her hair. Marie was forever jealous of the woman who stole her favorite son Raymond away from her and throughout all nine seasons we laughed and enjoyed as Marie made Debra suffer for it. Doris Roberts won four Emmy awards for best supporting actress in a comedy series for Everybody Loves Raymond.

Honorable Mention:

Grandma Ellington. The Wayans Bros.

I’d be remiss not to mention Ja’Net DuBois’ Grandma Ellington from The Wayans Bros. The outright battles between her and Pops made an already hilarious show even funnier. These two didn’t just go at each other verbally, they literally came to blows.

Till next time, folks!



Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters.