Thursday, May 08, 2014
For the most part, they have no real comic persona. They’re the support system. It kills me to see the super talented Nancy Travis relegated to being the sounding board for goofball Tim Allen in LAST MAN STANDING.
Most TV moms are generic. They’re pleasant, sensible, capable. June Cleaver (who wears dresses and pearls while she bakes meatloaf), Donna Stone, Clair Huxtable, Carol Brady, Harriet Nelson, Elysee Keaton, Margaret Anderson, Jill Taylor, Kathy O’Hara (THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW). If they do have a comic persona it’s generally either dingbat (Edith Bunker, Lucy, Mrs. C.,), broad foreign accent (Gloria Pritchett), or ballbuster (Roseanne).
Thanks to great writing and the terrific Patty Heaton, she was able to make Deborah Barone sensible, bitchy, and funny. And she’s doing the same on THE MIDDLE. Julie Bowen is another whose pitch-perfect comic timing elevates Claire Pritchett above the standard family lunch maker/soccer mom. And Nancy Travis tries her best, playing opposite an 800-pound gorilla.
I’m sure you have other favorites I didn’t mention. There have been almost 70 years of TV moms. Laura Petrie may have been the sexiest TV mom. I also loved Peg Bundy, Morticia, Florida Evans, Marie Barone, Weezy, Lois from MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, and who can ever forget Estelle Costanza? Who are some of your faves?
So happy Mother's Day to TV moms. Throw your aprons to the sky.
A great salute to TV moms will be on tonight’s episode of INSTANT MOM at 8:00 on Nick at Nite. It features guest appearances by Florence Henderson, Marion Ross, Jackee, and Tempest Bledsoe. The episode is very funny, and just happens to have been written by Annie Levine & Jonathan Emerson. Call your mother for Mother's Day and watch this show.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM