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Most Memorable TV Moms, From Lorelai Gilmore to Moira Rose

Mother's Day is the perfect time to celebrate your favorite fictional mothers (and mother figures)!
by Taylor Freitas — 
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From left to right: Lauren Graham in 'Gilmore Girls' and Catherine O'Hara in 'Schitt's Creek'

Courtesy of Apple TV / YouTube

Moms and mother figures play a pivotal role in our lives, offering their love, support, and guidance from birth onwards. Through good and bad, we hope to count on them to be our biggest cheerleaders and confidantes.

To some extent, our favorite TV moms can also make us feel warm and fuzzy, just as the best real-life moms do. We spend years watching them on the small screen, seeing how they provide advice and unconditional love to their kids.

To celebrate Mother's Day, Metacritic is ranking some of the most memorable moms in TV history. These iconic women appear on a variety of shows, including animated series (The Simpsons), quirky comedies (Arrested Development), sentimental dramas (This Is Us), and family-centric sitcoms (Black-ish). Several of the actors who play these moms have received major awards for their performances, including Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

In some cases, these TV moms are remembered for their nurturing ways and outstanding parenting skills (like Friday Night Lights matriarch Tami Taylor). Others made the cut for their outrageous personalities, hilarious one-liners, or other memorable qualities (we're looking at you, Moira Rose).

Whether you're craving some motherly love or just in need of a few laughs, celebrate this Mother's Day with one (or more) of these unforgettable TV moms. Our list features something for every taste, whether you're in the mood for a serious show or an easy watch.

Here, Metacritic lists 10 of TV's most memorable moms, ranked by the Metascore of the series on which they appear.


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Marge Simpson

Courtesy of YouTube

Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner)

The Simpsons (Metascore: 87)
Best for: Fans of animated comedies
Where to watch:

, , fuboTV, Google Play, , iTunes
Seasons: 33 (so far)

As America's longest-running primetime scripted series, the Matt Groening-created cartoon The Simpsons is a cultural phenomenon — and the family's matriarch, Marge Simpson, is one of the most memorable characters on the show. Voiced by Kavner, Marge is known for her sweet and well-intentioned nature, as well as her love (and concern) for her three kids (Bart, Lisa, and Maggie) and her husband, Homer (whom she affectionately calls "Homie"). She's also recognizable for her unique blue beehive-style haircut, as well as her raspy voice (for which Kavner won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992).


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Connie Britton in 'Friday Night Lights'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Tami Taylor (Connie Britton)

Friday Night Lights (Metascore: 83)
Best for: Football fans, lovers of sports dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Netflix, , Vudu
Seasons: 5

Set in Dillon, Texas, Friday Night Lights revolves on the town's high-school football team, the Dillon Panthers. The squad is coached by Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), a well-respected coach who has high hopes for the team and strives to make a positive impact on each player's life. His wife Tami (played by Britton) is also a popular figure at Dillon High, starting as a guidance counselor and eventually accepting a job as the school's principal. Not only is she a maternal figure for daughters Julie (Aimee Teegarden) and Gracie (Madilyn Landry), but she's also viewed as a mother for others in the Dillon community.


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Estelle Getty in 'The Golden Girls'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty)

The Golden Girls (Metascore: 82)
Best for: Fans of classic sitcoms
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Seasons: 7

The Golden Girls' Sophia Petrillo (Getty) was one of the most memorable TV moms of the late '80s and early '90s. In the show, she's known as the stubborn, straightforward, and sarcastic mother of Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), providing comic relief and tough love to her daughter and their two roommates, Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan). Getty's performance as Petrillo was lauded by critics and awards voters alike, winning her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.


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Gina Rodriguez in 'Jane the Virgin'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez)

Jane the Virgin (Metascore: 81)
Best for: Fans of magical realism and telenovelas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix,
Seasons: 6

Jane the Virgin pokes fun at traditional telenovelas, offering a satirical spin on the Spanish-language soap operas. The show's titular character, Jane Villanueva (played by Rodriguez), is in her early 20s when her doctor accidentally inseminates her with donor sperm. Shocked by this news, Villanueva is forced to share it with her close-knit family, including her extremely religious grandmother Alba Villanueva (Ivonne Coll). She decides to keep the baby and the show follows her learning to co-parent with Rafael (Justin Baldoni), whose sperm was used in the accidental insemination and who she also gets involved with romantically, while also trying to start a writing career. In 2015, Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for her performance as Villanueva.


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Jessica Walter in 'Arrested Development'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter)

Arrested Development (Metascore: 78)
Best for: Fans of quirky comedies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunesNetflix,
Seasons: 5

Arrested Development depicts the lives of the Orange County-based Bluth family, who are loosely led by middle son Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman). His mother, Lucille (Walter), isn't memorable for being a great parent, but instead for being self-absorbed, out of touch, and fond of alcohol and other substances — as well as her untraditional relationship with her youngest son Buster Bluth (Tony Hale). The show began airing in 2003 on Fox and ran for three seasons before it was canceled. Shortly after, it developed a cult following, which prompted Netflix to revive the show in 2013 for another two seasons.


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Lauren Graham in 'Gilmore Girls'

Courtesy of Apple TV

Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham)

Gilmore Girls (Metascore: 78)
Best for: Fans of female-led dramedies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix,
Seasons: 7 and a follow-up limited series

Lorelai Gilmore (Graham) and her teenage daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) are the focus of Gilmore Girls, a seven-season series that premiered on the now defunct WB network in 2000. The show is set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Conn., where the mother-daughter duo moved early in Rory's life. As a single mom, Lorelai is protective and extremely close with her daughter, serving as both a mother and friend. For her performance in Gilmore Girls, Graham received several major award nominations, including a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama.


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Tracee Ellis Ross in 'black-ish'

Courtesy of YouTube

Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross)

black-ish (Metascore: 77)
Best for: Fans of family-centric sitcoms
Where to watch:

, , fuboTV, Google Play, , iTunes,
Seasons: 8

In Black-ish, the Kenya Barris-created sitcom, Ross stars as Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, the strong and caring mother to Zoey (Yara Shahidi), Junior (Marcus Scribner), Jack (Miles Brown), Diane (Marsai Martin), and Devante (August and Berlin Gross). Over the course of the eight-season series, Johnson is a constant source of support and love for her kids, whom she shares with husband Dre (Anthony Anderson), while also juggling a demanding job as a doctor. In 2017, Ross took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for her performance. Two years later, she narrated and served as executive producer on Mixed-ish, a spin-off based on Bow's early life growing up in a hippie commune.


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Mandy Moore in 'This Is Us'

NBC

Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore)

This Is Us (Metascore: 76)
Best for: Fans of heartfelt dramas
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google Play, , iTunes, ,
Seasons: 6

This Is Us is an NBC drama that revolves on a trio of siblings and their parents, depicting the family at different points in their life. Moore plays Rebecca, the mother of sons Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), and daughter Kate (Chrissy Metz), through multiple decades. In flashbacks, she is youthful and married to Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), while in present day, she is living with early-onset Alzheimer's and married to Miguel (Jon Huertas). The series documents the highs and lows of their lives, dealing with serious themes such as death, racism, and substance abuse. The cast, including Moore, won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2018 and 2019, and Moore alsoe receivedGolden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominations for her performance in the show through its run.


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Catherine O'Hara in 'Schitt's Creek'

Courtesy of YouTube

Moira Rose (Catherine O'Hara)

Schitt's Creek (Metascore: 73)
Best for: Fans of clever comedies
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix,
Seasons: 6

Created by father-son duo Dan Levy and Eugene Levy (who also star in the show), Schitt's Creek follows the formerly wealthy Rose family, who are forced to move into a motel and live a small-town life. The family matriarch, Moira (played by O'Hara), is a former soap opera star who struggles to adjust to her new, more humble lifestyle. Mothering doesn't always come naturally to her — particularly when it comes to her daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy). But Moira's eccentric personality, way of pronunciation, and wigs are certainly memorable, making her a favorite among many Schitt's Creek fans.


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Debra Jo Rupp in 'That '70s Show'

Courtesy of YouTube

Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp)

That '70s Show (Metascore: 63)
Best for: Fans of teen comedies
Where to watch:


Seasons:
8

Set in suburban Wisconsin, That '70s Show is a period sitcom about a group of high-school friends, led by the geeky but endearing Eric Forman (Topher Grace). Much of the show is set at his home, where he lives with his good-natured and nurturing mother Kitty (Rupp) and stern father Red (Kurtwood Smith). Most of the time, Kitty acts as a mother figure to her son's friend group, which means she is kind and nurturing, but she isn't afraid to set them straight when she needs to. Netflix recently announced plans to produce a spin-off of the series (That '90s Show), in which Rupp will reprise her memorable role.