On Mother's Day this Sunday, it's important to honor our moms. It's also important to celebrate all the stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors and other women who nurture and raise children that are not biologically their own. Thus, I present my homage to these women with a list of TV and movie mother figures, those characters whose hearts are generous enough to take in children who are not technically theirs. Don't worry that you don't see Henry from "Punky Brewster" or other male caretakers since dad figures will be featured next month for Father's Day! And stay tuned for tomorrow's list of memorable moms-and-daughters from TV.
Mrs. Garrett, "The Facts of Life"
As the housemother of a girls' school dormitory, Mrs. Garrett functions as a stand-in mom for several teenage girls. And with all the morality lessons those girls had to learn each episode, Mrs. Garrett certainly has her work cut out for her, yet she always comes through with her sense of humor intact. She even taught me to "take the good, take the bad, take 'em both and there you have... The Facts of Life... The Facts of Life."
Many more great ladies if you
Corrina, Corrina, Corrina
Sure, she's paid to clean the house and take care of Molly (Tina Majorino), but it takes a very special person to bring the somber, mute little girl out of her shell after her mother's death. And Corrina (Whoopi Goldberg) is just the person for the job. I smile-cry every time I watch Molly and Corrina sing "Pennies From Heaven."
Angela, "Who's the Boss?"
Angela (Judith Light) provides a feminine influence for tomboy Samantha (Alyssa Milano), helping her out with issues that the sweet but kinda bumbling Tony (Danza) can't quite grasp. You know, girl stuff. It was always a relief to know that little Sam had a woman to turn to if needed.
Aunt May, Spider-Man
Together with Uncle Ben, Peter Parker's gentle Aunt May raises Peter, molding him into a sweet, gentlemanly young man who has deep respect for his elders. Aunt May is particularly good at dispensing pearls of wisdom such as: "A man must always put his wife before himself." Damn straight, Aunt May. Damn straight.
Alice, "The Brady Bunch"
Sure, the Brady kids already have a mom (or a stepmom) in Mrs. Brady, but Alice has just as much to do with those kids growing up right. Who makes their food and cleans up after them and makes wry, sarcastic comments? That's right: Alice.
She might not start out as the most obvious choice to mother young Victoria when her mother dies, but the powerful sisterly bond that CC and Hillary shared during life means that all of Hillary's love for her daughter will continue to live on in CC's relationship with Victoria. Plus, despite her selfish, narcissistic nature, CC will probably make a pretty fun mom.
Rebecca, "Full House"
"Full House" is a house full of little girls being raised by three grown men. Aside from alleviating the weirdness of that which is hitting me only now, Rebecca is a great addition to the group for a variety of reasons. Most of all, she's a smart, pretty role model for those little girls and often provides a voice of reason.
Jen's grandmother/"Grams," "Dawson's Creek"
Similar to Peter Parker/Spider-Man's Aunt May, Grams is an older lady with a solid sense of propriety, though she's got a little more fiestiness in her, probably due to the fact that Jen is a rebellious turd sometimes. Seriously, there were moments when I was like, give the old lady a break! But Grams never gives up on her granddaughter, and always lets her know she is loved.
I'm not sure how I feel about this movie, but it is an interesting look at a family going through some painful transition, and smack-dab in the middle of it is a young woman (Isabel, played by Julia Roberts) who will soon be the guardian of some grieving kids. It takes a fiercely strong, loving person to enter into this kind of situation, so I give props to Julia Roberts' character Isabel, the stepmom.
Lynette, "Desperate Housewives"
I feel sorry for little Kayla, I really do. Sometimes kids are really angry after the death of a parent, and they take out their anger on the easiest target, which is usually a stepparent. I don't fault Kayla for any of that, though she makes it darn near impossible to feel sympathy for her when she's so thoroughly trying to ruin Lynette's life. And I think Lynette's doing a pretty good job with the whole thing. She's patient and kind, which is saying a lot, seeing as she now has five kids in her house and a new restaurant to take care of. Kudos, Lynette!
"Desperate Housewives" photo copyright ABC, Inc 2007