Mother’s Day Names: Remembering TV Moms
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Once upon a time—let’s say pre-Roseanne—the TV mom was the paragon of domestic motherhood, as exemplified and epitomized by the Beaver’s understanding mom, June Cleaver, who famously did her vacuuming in high heels and pearls and pencil-slim skirts on Leave It to Beaver. This idealized image persisted via later near-perfect parents like The Cosby Show’s Claire Huxtable, who was able to effortlessly combine high-powered career with being the wisest and most compassionate of moms, never losing her cool.
Of course there were blips over the years, such as vibrantly vulgar characters like Roseanne Conner and Married with Children’s Peg Bundy and later cranky (older) moms like Marie Barone and Estelle Costanza, but for the most part television moms set a pretty high—if not unattainable—bar.
So here’s our Mother’s Day salute to those Margarets and Marions, Harriets and Helens of TV Momdom past– and their perfect period names.
CLAIR Huxtable—The Cosby Show
EDITH Bunker—All in the Family
JUNE Cleaver—Leave It to Beaver
KITTY Forman—That 70s Show
MAGGIE Seaver—Growing Pains
PEG Bundy—Married, With Children
SHIRLEY Partridge—The Partridge Family
So, do you think most of these are pretty much still Mother/Mom/Mama/Ma names, or are some of them ready to go into reruns?
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on May 5th, 2011 at 2:01 am
Wasn’t the mom in Little House on the Prairie named Caroline, not Carolyn? I know she was definitely Caroline in the books.
on May 5th, 2011 at 7:44 am
on May 5th, 2011 at 8:22 am
Just pointing out… Kitty Forman, not Froman. 😀
Great post! Loved seeing my name there, even if I have no idea what half of these shows are.
on May 5th, 2011 at 10:05 am
I like these:
Abby, Amy, Angela, Ann, Carol, Dorothy, Helen, Kitty, Natalie, Nora
Natalie is a real contender if I have a lot of girls, and maybe Helen. Charity nn Kitty is a possibility. I don’t think Abby, Kitty, Natalie or Nora seem old-fashioned at all–lots of littles named Abby, Natalie, and Nora around.
Olivia and Kate are very hot right now.
Alice, Caroline, and Margaret/Maggie are undergoing revival, imo.
I don’t think Jill and Laura were ever really unpopular, though Laura was certainly eclipsed by Lauren (probably still is). I know lots of Jill/Jillians in their 20s, so it doesn’t seem like a mom name to me.
Elyse seems more modern to me, and June and Clair(e) are definitely getting more popular as well.
on May 5th, 2011 at 10:18 am
Winnie is definitely ready for a reboot! So darling, Winnie! Edith is a long time love of mine,and watching “Dennis the Menace in re-runs, I always thought Alice Mitchell deserved a medal or six for putting up with Dennis!
Leslie Owen Said
on May 7th, 2011 at 2:40 pm
I don’t remember what the Sada Thompson’s character’s name was in Family but since the great actress just passed away, it would be nice if you added that to the list.
Personally, my favourite mom is Hyacinth Bucket (lol). Everytime someone on her mentions Sheridan as a name, I hear her talking to her son on the telly….
on May 7th, 2011 at 3:58 pm
Leslie–I just added the Sada Thompson character on Family–Kate Lawrence.
Leslie Owen Said
on May 7th, 2011 at 5:35 pm
Thanks. I saw her live. She was a great actress.
on May 7th, 2011 at 10:03 pm
Leslie, I love the character Hyacinth Bucket too. British comedies are fantastic.
This an American show, but if you love quirky characters how about Mary Cooper mother of Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper on Big Bang Theory. Or Dr Beverly Hofstadter mother of Dr Leonard Hofstadter on the same show.
For a British show Susan Harper on My Family.
Aussie shows Kath Day-Knight from Kath & Kim or Maggie Beare from Mother and Son.
on May 8th, 2011 at 12:15 am
Angela I love the suggestion of The Big Bang Theory mothers.
Laurie Metcalf and Christine Baranski are absolutely hilarious on the show!
on May 9th, 2011 at 7:11 pm
the 90210 mom was Walsh, Potter was the actress
on May 9th, 2011 at 7:53 pm
Oops–you’re right–I fixed it. Thanks!!
on May 9th, 2011 at 11:01 pm
Oh dear, how could you forget Lucy? The funniest (and best!) TV mom! I don’t see her anywhere!
on August 10th, 2011 at 8:53 pm
When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any manner you’ll be able to remove me from that service? Thanks!
on February 28th, 2012 at 11:46 am
let’s opinion pre-Roseanne—the TV mom was the model of domestic motherhood, love quotes as exemplified and epitomized by the Beaver’s uptake mom, June Cleaver, who famously did her vacuuming in high heels and pearls and pencil-slim skirts on Leave It to Beaver. Mothers Day Quotes
on May 23rd, 2013 at 8:02 pm
I’m seriously considering Roseanne, as my mom’s name is Suzanne, my mother-in-law’s name is Romeline, and I love the nickname ‘Rose’ (plus, I for one, LOVE Roseanne Barr! She rocks! And so does Roseanne Conner. She’s real)
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