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Most Memorable TV Moms and Daughters

This Sunday is Mother's Day, and to celebrate, I wanted to round up some of the TV mother-daughter pairs I've found most memorable over the years. There's something special and sweet about watching moms and daughters grow and change together, even when they don't have the healthiest of relationships. Check out my list (and don't forget about my roundup of memorable TV and movie mother figures), then let me know which mother-daughter pairs are your favorites.

  • Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, "Gilmore Girls" (at right): Loralei and Rory's relationship epitomizes the kind of fun, casual, girly rapport many of us wished we had with our moms during the teenage years. Having had Rory when she was a teenager herself, Loralei is an absurdly hip mom who has passed down to Rory her love of cheesy movies, penchant for extremely unhealthy food and a fast-talking language only the two of them seem to truly understand. All of this makes Loralei and Rory one of the most endearing mom-daughter combos in TV history.
  • Roseanne and Darlene Conner, "Roseanne": Roseanne was sometimes a major embarrassment to her kids, and her relationship with Darlene mostly consisted of good-natured teasing. But Roseanne was one of the first moms on TV to be like a lot of real-life moms: a wise-cracking, no-nonsense iron fist with a heart of gold.
  • Lots more great women, so

  • Susan and Julie Mayer, "Desperate Housewives" (above): Practical Julie may be the daughter, but she often seems like the adult in the Mayer household, guiding flighty Susan through her many crises.
  • Clair, Sondra, Denise, Vanessa and Rudy Huxtable, "The Cosby Show": Everyone can see something of themselves and their relationship with their moms in the stern but fair Clair, practical Sondra, free spirit Denise, boy-crazy Vanessa and wild child Rudy.
  • Patty and Angela Chase, "My So-Called Life" (at left): Sure, Angela occasionally couldn't look at her mother "without wanting to stab her, repeatedly," but in the end, she could always manage to stand next to her mom (even in a matching dress) and feel proud.
  • Jackie and Kelly Taylor, "Beverly Hills, 90210": Through the high rolling '90s of sex, drugs and divorce, this mother-daughter duo had their share of emotional roller coaster rides. But in the end when Kelly became an adult and Jackie grew up a bit as well their relationship evolved into a fabulous friendship.

  • Mona Robinson and Angela Bower, "Who's the Boss?" (below): Not unlike Julie and Susan Mayer, Angela was more of the adult in her relationship with her mother Mona, providing practical level-headedness to counter Mona's vaguely boozy childishness.
  • Marge and Lisa Simpson, "The Simpsons": Marge is a great stay-at-home mom with a strong sense of self, and she's raised Lisa to be a smart, outspoken little feminist. In the world of TV relationships, Marge and Lisa's is pretty sweet and uncomplicated.
  • Joyce and Buffy Summers, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Strong, heroic Buffy would have been nowhere without her understanding mother, whose support and gentle care helped her save the world more than once. And hey, she only actually tried to burn her daughter at the stake one pesky time.
  • Sophia Petrillo and Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak, "The Golden Girls" (at right): "Picture this": Sophia the feisty firecracker with a eye for comedy and Dorothy the stuffy conservative looking for love in all the wrong places somehow managed to succeed at being roommates, despite being set in their ways in their old age.
  • Irina Derevko and Sydney Bristow, "Alias": Talk about messed up mother-daughter relationships! Sydney thought her mother was dead for most of her life, and then once they reconnected, Irina fake-died again! So, Sydney has mommy issues out the wahzoo, which makes the spy kid's relationship with Irina intriguingly complex.

  • Julie, Marissa and Kaitlin Cooper, "The O.C." (below): So Julie Cooper slept with Marissa's boyfriend, started a prostitution ring, married both her and Marissa's best friend's fathers and redefined the limits of "golddigging." She wasn't what one would call a role model, but she would have killed for Marissa (and Kaitlin, too) — in fact, she tried to.

"Gilmore Girls" picture courtesy of The CW
"Desperate Housewives" picture copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.
"The Golden Girls" picture Source
"The O.C." picture courtesy of Fox
"Who's the Boss" and "My So-Called Life" picture Source

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Join The Conversation
pargie pargie 8 years
Out of all of these Gilmore Girls was my favorite, I so wish I had that with my mom! I also loved Mona & Angela, Roseanne and Darlene, the Golden Girls, and vaguely remember Kelly and her mom on 90210. The OC mom sound's juicy, I never watched that show, but I'll be sure to watch the reruns when it gets syndicated. Good stuff!
catschi catschi 8 years
it's so sad, that the gilmore girls time is over... i love them!
veronicaraye veronicaraye 8 years
The OC!!!!
genvessel genvessel 8 years
The highest compliment that one of my students ever gave me was to call me "lorelai" - i love Lorelai and Rory. So. Much.
aistea311 aistea311 8 years
Golden girls!!!
prettybychoice prettybychoice 8 years
Cosby show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! www.prettybychoice.wordpress.com
mom2 mom2 8 years
omg golden girls golden girls golden girls!
mystique22 mystique22 8 years
Lol - I don't even know who some of these people/shows are. Love Marge and Lisa - they would have to be the healthiest mother/daughter combination.
demeter demeter 8 years
I love Julie Cooper-Nichol.
celeb_obsessed25 celeb_obsessed25 8 years
My fav is probably the Golden Girls! They were such a great mother-daughter, the mom especially was HILARIOUS!
kiddylnd kiddylnd 8 years
Definitely the Gilmores! Even though I have a son, I want our relationship to be similar.
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 8 years
My favorite is definitely Lorelai and Rory. Too bad, that they're no longer going to be on every Tuesday night. Bummer.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 8 years
(crying) I am going to miss the Gilmore girls! Snif Snif!
partysugar partysugar 8 years
Yeah for buffy! And I mean come on Julie Cooper is like the coolest mom around buying her daughter all of that Chanel, how fabulous is that?
yiddidea yiddidea 8 years
Great list! Gilmore Girls will be sorely missed, but at least we have reruns. :) Loved the relationship between Angela and Patty on MSCL. I was the same age as Angela when that show was on and I could really relate.
Miami-Gal Miami-Gal 8 years
I like the Seventh Heaven mom and how she was with her daughters.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Great list, Buzz. Love Sophia Dorothy Petrillo most of all. I'd add Tami and Julie Taylor to the list as well.
1missy 1missy 8 years
I totally agree with The Gilmore girls. I love them, I will miss watching them.
ALSW ALSW 8 years
I'm a huge Golden Girls fan, so that mother/daughter relationship is definitely one of my favorites! But I have to admit that I'm a sucker for the bond between Lorelai and Rory. So cute!
Jinx Jinx 8 years
Cool post Buzz, I love it. Lorelei and Rory have one of the coolest mother daughter relationships. I would have loved to be able to be as open and honest as Rory is allowed to be. Rosanne was ground breaking. I love and have so much respect for her. Rosanne and Darlene were great playing off each other. I will never forget the parent teacher conference, where Rosanne is informed that Darlene's been barking in class. Rosanne responds, "Our whole family barks"! LOL
-Maryan- -Maryan- 8 years
It's so heartbreaking that they are cancelling this show! I don't know when exactly, but it comes... Lorelai is the best...!
lala788 lala788 8 years
nice list , I've always wanted a mother like Lorelei from the Gilmore girls , she seem to be such a cool mom.
LadyCopenhagen LadyCopenhagen 8 years
What about Vanessa from the Cosby show?? She's one the daughters too...
swwonder swwonder 8 years
Most of my favourites are here; Rory and Lorelai and Patty Angela. I always wanted to be a Cosby kid, it just seemed like such a cool normal family. And of course, Julie was my favourite OC character.
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