Friday, May 6, 2011

TV's Best '80s Moms!

Totally Awesome Working Sitcom Moms From The 1980s!

My mom is awesome. Back in the '70 and '80s most of my classmates had stay-at-home moms. They attended class trips, daytime performances of our class plays and rescued their kids whenever they left their homework or lunches at home. Oh how I wished I could be Kathy S. as her mom raced into school carrying every kid's dream lunch of a McDonald's Happy Meal while I suffered through my PBJ.

Seriously though, I love my mom. I envy her for balancing a career, a house, two children and various pets. As an adult, I view working moms as Super Moms. Heck, as an adult, I see that just being a mom in general forces a woman to develop these super human powers. Remember, my blog is a retro blog and this post is from my perspective as a kid. Today, I myself am just a measly freelance writer working from home without any children of my own. In other words, please do NOT think this is a dig at stay-at-home moms.

As for my own Super Mom, I've already told you about her here, here, here and here. This Mother's Day, I've decided to profile a handful of my favorite television moms -- you know, moms from old '80s TV shows I thought were super cool. Moms I would have hired to take over for my mom if she suddenly decided to quit on us.

Family Ties - Elyse Keaton 
Meredith Baxter or Meredith Baxter-Birney was one of my favorite moms. This former hippie turned self-employed architect, treated each kid with love, respect and understanding. Aside from her one-week gambling addiction, she was nearly the perfect on-screen mom. I won't lie, I was slightly surprised when actress Meredith Baxter revealed to the world that she is in fact a lesbian. I admire her courage and think she's even cooler now for coming out!

Growing Pains - Maggie Seaver
As an insane Kirk Cameron fan back in the days, I realized I've blogged about this show way too manymany, many times. So much so, that Kirk Cameron is an actual keyword used in my SEO for this retro blog. Pathetic, right? Anyway, Maggie Seaver was the coolest. She's the sitcom mom I most related to. Why? As you may or may not know, like me, the Seavers lived on Long Island. This was a huge thing to me. It was rare for one of my fave shows to take place on my very own stomping grounds. Aside from that, Maggie was a journalist -- this was my dream job as a kid, heck, still is even though I had my own fifteen minutes of fame here and there as a kid reporter for Long Island Newsday and as teen magazine associate editor.

Kate & Allie - Kate McArdle and Allie Lowell 
As a kid, Kate (Susan Saint James) and Allie (Jane Curtin) impressed me big time! I can't put my finger on it, but this show remains one of my all-time fave '80s sitcoms. No, it's not the obvious Ally-name thing, but perhaps the fact that back in those days, I seriously didn't know many single moms. I was fascinated by what I considered two strong women making it on their own and the blending of two families under one roof. Other than the Brady Bunch, you didn't really see that back then. Remember this was before Suzanne Somers' show, Step By Step! Kate & Allie had an awesome brownstone apartment in Greenwich Village (Yey, New York!) and their three kids were New York area child stars in real life. Yup, Ari Meyers, Fred Kohler (he even went to school with NYC friends of mine!) and Annie Broadway star Allison Smith were all east coast kids like me.

Facts of Life's - Edna Garrett
Although Edna (Charlotte Rae) wasn't the traditional biological sitcom mom, she was still an amazing mother figure to all of her Eastland girls. On the rare occasion we were treated to an episode featuring Blair, Jo, Natalie or Tootie's real moms, we most likely found them annoying or judgmental. Edna always offered advice and unconditional love and helped solve problems probably better than most mothers. It's easier to take on that role when the child isn't biologically your own, right? Edna went on to open the famous Edna's Edibles and the girls were able to work for her and continue their mother-daughter roles as they grew into adulthood. 

Roseanne - Roseanne Conner 
I've blogged about Roseanne in the past and loved many things about the way this particular mom ran her household. Roseanne Conner worked low-paying jobs, dealt with jerky bosses and truly represented an entire class of moms we rarely got a glimpse of back in the late 1980s. She wasn't glamorous, she was real. Not to mention, she was chubby like me, and that's something you rarely see with TV moms. They're always these perfect Hollywood thirty-or-forty-somethings. Roseanne was honest, blunt and verbally kicked her kids' asses when they messed up. This late '80s, early '90s mom was a true breath of fresh air and a sign of the times compared to the early 1980s.

How about you? Any sitcom moms you liked best back in the day or today as a mom yourself relate to?


Bossy Betty said...

Loved this post! It brought back a lot of good memories. I loved watching these shows.

Oilfield Trash said...

Oh the memories of watching all of those shows.

Ali said...

MBB as Elyse Keaton = awesome

MBB as Betty Broderick = EFFING TERRIFYING

Cheeseboy said...

All good choices, but my favorite "mom" was Erin Gray on Silver Spoons. I guess she eventually became the mom, but she was my very first celebrity crush.

Ally said...

Cheeseboy, dang! I totally forgot to include her and you know how much I loved that show :(

Ms. A said...

I loved them all, but could relate to Roseanne, (early Roseanne) the most. Couldn't relate at all, to later Roseanne.

Marlene said...

I remember all these shows well....I vote for Edna on Facts of Life. I loved that show...and she was awesome!

mamahasspoken said...

Roseann gets my vote only because my sons have told me several times that if they made my life into a movie, they needed to get her to play the part of me.

Copyboy said...

Johanna Kerns and MBB. Wow! Those moms really had it good. Even during their lifetime TV druggie movie phases. BTW...made ya blog of the day. I know. I know. you're sick of it. said...

Great picks and post, Ally. Family Ties was one of my favorites. (I had a big crush on Michael J. Fox). I loved the scene when she's helping Alex with his tie and convincing him to go after Ellen (his real life wife). That was priceless.

Teachinfourth said...

I always loved Kevin's mom (Mrs. Arnold) from The Wonder Years, Jill Taylor from Home Improvement, and also I could always seem to relate to Mrs. Brady, too. I think I had a major crush on Rebecca Katsopolis from Full House.

Also, who couldn't totally relate to Estille Costanza?

Madeleine said...

I adored Maggie Seaver when I was a kid... and loved all of these shows. My room's walls were littered with pin-ups of both Michael J Fox and Kirk Cameron.


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