Humor columnist Erma Bombeck wrote about how inadequate she felt next to such seemingly perfect TV moms as Donna Reed, saying, "I was one of the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time mothers." But about the same time Bombeck began writing her column about motherhood, a new type of TV mom arose.
Wearing stylish clothing and singing pop songs, the new TV mom's relaxed smile was infectious. Her house might have been too neat to be realistic, but her creative problems-problem seemed revolutionary. Here's a tribute to the grooviest TV moms.
Samantha Stevens, "Bewitched" (ABC, 1964-1972)
On the surface, Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth Montgomery) seems normal. But her modern clothing and beautiful blonde hair masked a secret: she's a witch. With her magic powers, she fends off interference from her witchy mother, copes with her husband's mysteriously changing appearance (from Dick York to Dick Sargent), and raises the adorable Tabitha, a teeny-tiny witch.
Carol Brady, "The Brady Bunch" (ABC, 1969-1974)
With her sweetly supportive comments and sunny smile, Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) makes it seem easy to mother a large blended family. She presides over her large brood wearing color-block pants suits and a cute little bob. Of course, her work is made infinitely easier by the irreplaceable Alice, ostensibly a maid, but also a cook and nanny.
Shirley Jones, "The Partridge Family" (ABC, 1970-1974)
Arguably the grooviest TV mom of all time, Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) not only wears mod outfits but also drives around in a brightly painted bus and performs pop songs with her five children. A single mom, she resolves problems and keeps the band touring, thanks to a little outside help: from manager Reuben Kincaid (Dave Madden).
Clair Huxtable, "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992)
Cliff Huxtable might consider himself the head of the family, but everyone knows Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) rules the roost. A stylish lawyer whose mellow wisdom counters her husband's manic silliness, Clair manages her large family with panache.
Marge Simpson, "The Simpsons" (FOX, 1989-present)
While not terribly stylish (that shapeless green shift does nothing for her svelt figure), Marge (voiced by Julie Kavner) solves problems, keeps the house in order, and supports her family members enthusiastically in each new adventure. She sometimes seems distracted by household chores, but in reality, Marge is incredibly insightful: loving her family for both their strengths and their weaknesses.
Lorelai Gilmore, "The Gilmore Girls" (WB/CW, 2000-2007)
As a single mom, 30-something Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) guides her teenage daughter through high-school drama. Since she's young, and they're so close, the two are often mistaken for sisters. Lorelai's favorite hangout is a diner, where she hangs with the locals, drinking coffee and dropping pop cultural references. Her sense of humor and her way with words help her and her daughter navigate life's difficulties.
Linda Flynn-Fletcher, "Phineas and Ferb" (Disney, 2007-present)
A former teen idol (recording under the name "Lindana"), the mom of this animated series, Linda Flynn-Fletcher (voiced by Caroline Rhea), plays in a jazz band and enjoys lots of creative hobbies. Maybe that's why her son, Phineas, and stepson, Ferb, are so imaginative, doing everything from training monkeys to building their own roller coaster.
Morticia Addams, "The Addams Family" (ABC, 1964-1966)
The calm, cool center of a macabre family, Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones) adores her odd family, especially husband Gomez (John Astin), and welcomes extended family, like Uncle Fester, into her home. Through it all, she remains drop-dead gorgeous (pun intended) in a fashionable, if impractical, black evening gown.
More From This Contributor: