TV Moms – Our Other Mothers

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BY TERRI BRYCE REEVES

Mother’s Day is May 14th and on that day, we will be remembering and honoring our own special moms that taught us so much of what we know. But let’s not forget our other mothers, those memorable matriarchs of the TV screen who doled out advice, made us smile and expanded our worlds. Here, we give props to some of our favorites and what they taught us.

Lucille Ball will be remembered as the kooky, disaster-prone comedienne, Lucy Ricardo, from the ‘50s show, I Love Lucy. Whether she was stomping grapes or packing chocolates with her BFF Ethel Mertz, she kept us laughing and guessing how each crazy episode was going to end. We had to admire her passion, creativity and ambitious schemes to break into showbiz.
Her lesson? Humor can be found in nearly every situation, no matter how messy or embarrassing it may be.

Mary Tyler Moore was perhaps our favorite mom when she starred in the ‘60s comedy, The Dick Van Dyke Show. She was gorgeous, for sure, but she was also human. Always a bit nervous, she was unable to control her curiosity and had a flair for accidentally spilling the beans. But perhaps she is best known for defying the cookie-cutter image of housewives in pearls and skirts by wearing capri pants with flat shoes. The tight-fitting pants created such a shock wave in the beginning, the writers initially limited her to one pants scene per episode.
Her lesson? Women can dress comfortably and still look great.

Shirley Jones oozed flower
power in the ‘70s show, The Partridge
Family. She was by far
the coolest of moms, touring the
country in a psychedelic school
bus and acting as lead vocalist for
her family of sugar-pop musicians.
Her lesson? Being a mother
and being cool are not mutually
exclusive.

Donna Reed played the wholesome,
pretty mother in The Donna Reed Show (1958 to 1966). Married to a handsome pediatrician, she strutted around the house in perfectly
coiffed hair, pearls, heels, a dres and lacy frocks. And she was always ready to handle the problems of the day whether they were measles, poor report cards, teen-age dating or
white lies. But alas, all was not really perfect at all. Her first two (real world) marriages ended in divorce.
Her lesson? Aim for perfection but realize that life is never perfect.

Jean Stapleton was best known for her award-winning role as Edith Bunker in the ‘70s hit, All
in the Family. The kind-hearted “dingbat” was the perfect foil to husband Archie, who was outspoken, testy and bigoted. She was
submissive – up to a point – and baffled about almost everything. But as the show progressed she became a symbol of emerging feminism, and audiences loved her even more.
Her lesson? Be sweet, understanding
and noble. And if you have to sing, sing with gusto, even if you sing off-key.

Phylicia Rashad played the
role of Clair Huxtable in The
Cosby Show, which ran from 1984
to 1992. She was a loving mom
and attorney who worked to instill
good moral values in her brood.
She could evoke her authority with
just the lift of an eyebrow, a roll of
the eyes, or a smirk, but could also
be silly and lovable too.
Her lesson? Laugh. Love. Have
a family. Have an interesting career.
And don’t give into peer pressure.

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