Mother’s Day is this Sunday and it’s the time to show how much you appreciate the woman selfless enough to bring you into the world. However, sometimes you fight and bicker, you still love them to pieces.
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The complexity of the mother and child relationship has always been shown on television, but some shows have gotten it right more than others. In honor of Mother’s Day, The Urban Daily is counting down the list of the best sitcom mothers. These shows portrayed the dynamics real families go through. Take a look at our list. Did we miss anyone? Who should be ranked higher or lower?
10. Tisha Campbell-Martin as Janet “Jay” Kyle – My Wife & Kids (2001-2005)
After rising to sitcom stardom as Gina in Martin, Tisha Campbell-Martin put her acting skills to use as Jay Kyle on My Wife & Kids. She was usually the voice of reason and a slight math nerd. Jay was there for her husband and three kids, she longed for her own life outside of family. She had a job as a stock broker, but that only lasted a season. Jay Kyle was like a mix of Claire Huxtable and Chrissy Lampkin. She had a good job and took care of children, but she could get ratchet as hell.
9. Jackee Harry as Lisa Landry – Sister, Sister (1995-1999)
Loud and over the top, Lisa Landry maintained a parent-daughter relationship with the twins yet kept things open enough for the twins to confide in her. Lisa was always the life of the party. The only time her character got a little to housewife-y was when she started dating Ray. We all knew they shouldn’t have gotten together in the first place. Since nobody liked Ray and Lisa in a relationship, the writers did the best they could do and married Lisa off to Ray’s frat brother.
8. Tichina Arnold as Rochelle – Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)
Long before reality television made hood snobs commonplace, Everybody Hates Chris had that role on lock with Tichina Arnold playing Rochelle. Based on Chris Rock’s life, Rochelle was strict with a stank attitude at times. On the other hand, you come to realize though she’s rough around the edges, she loves her family to death. Don’t get too comfortable because home girl will bust you in the eye for disrespect. That’s also the Brooklyn way.
7. Sheryl Lee Ralph as Deidre “Dee” Mitchell – Moesha (1996-2001)
Dee came into the picture as a stepmom. Many of the young viewers were just as apprehensive towards her as Moesha was because they related to not really wanting a new woman to replace their mother. However, Dee eventually won Mo and the audience over with her tender, but tough love. Dee punished Moesha for sneaking out with different boys, but covered for her when she started taking birth control.
6. Isabelle Sanford as Louise “Weezy” Jefferson – The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
Weezy Jefferson was a strong woman. She was the butt of plenty of George Jefferson’s jokes and never was at a loss for words when it came to one-liners. Weezy got her name apparently because she had asthma. Though Weezy was the first black female character to show what upwardly mobile black women looked like, she was still down to earth by maintaining a great friendship with her maid.
5. Marla Gibbs as Mary Jenkins – 227 (1985-1990)
After playing her famous character on The Jeffersons for 11 years, Marla Gibbs was looking for a starring vehicle. She found it in 227’s Mary Jenkins. Mary was a quick-witted housewife with a tongue made of razor blades. She tried her best to steer her daughter Brenda away from trouble, but dealt with it accordingly as Brenda’s teenage hormones took over. Mary’s insults were usually reserved for the “harlot” in the building named Saaaandra. Though the two were polar opposites, they somehow stayed friends on the show. Their relationship in real life is a totally different post.
4. Jo Marie Payton as Harriett Winslow – Family Matters (1989-1998)
Harriett Winslow was a no-nonsense mother who kept her family and husband in check. Although the show centered more on Steve Urkel’s wild antics, viewers fell in love with Harriett for the reverence she had for Mother Winslow, but she remained her own woman and never fought for attention. She commanded it. Plus, she allowed Laura to grow into a woman no matter how much Carl wanted Laura to stay his little girl.
3. Janet Hubert-Whitten as Aunt Viv (Original) – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
When the original Aunt Viv left the show, it was never the same. The show’s writers tied to be funny by having Jazz remark about how different she looked when the second actress stepped into the role. Janet Hubert-Whitten’s portrayal was best because she balances the smug arrogance wealthy people usually have and the around-the-way girl realness. When Aunt Viv got lighter, it kind of felt like the show became watered down. #thingsthatmakeyougohmmm
2. Esther Rolle as Florida Evans – Good Times (1974-1979)
She might have been financially poor, but she was rich with love. Florida Evans was the 70s favorite sitcom in black households because she looked like us. Evans also had more kids than money to provide, but with the help of her husband James, she made due. It takes a lot dealing with children like J.J., Wilona, and Michael deserves an award. Those definitely had their moments.
1. Phylicia Rashad as Claire Huxtable – The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
What can be said about Claire Huxtable that hasn’t already been said time and time again? She was the first black lawyer holding down a great job and a house full of kids. Claire had style, poise, class, and a sense of humor to boot. we all wanted our moms to be more like Mrs. Huxtable. Claire also gave us something to aspire to. Women wanted to be her and men wanted a woman like her. Claire’s impact is so real, we’re still talking about it twenty years after the final episode aired.