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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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