Does Mother Really Know Best? These Bad TV Moms Prove Otherwise

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Contrary to popular belief, mother doesn’t always know best – and pop culture has depicted plenty to reinforce this statement. In honor of today being Mother’s Day in the UAE, Savoir Flair sifts through well-known TV moms in recent times, celebrating those who sometimes make questionable choices. There’s no one along the lines of Lorelai Gilmore or Carol Brady on this list, but we can’t help but (secretly) love these fictional mothers anyway.


The Twisted Mother

Norma Bates on 'Bates Motel'

“Mother of the Year” is a title that the manipulative and possessive Norma Bates has no chance of winning. Ironically, she’s great on paper as she’s a single mother who is utterly devoted to son Norman, arguably the most notorious serial killer in pop culture history. However, her actions say otherwise.

She stabs a man to death and covers up the murder with Norman’s help, remains in denial of his mental illness, and criticizes any woman romantically involved with him. What’s most disturbing is the fact that Norma and Norman together are a distorted version of a married couple – kissing, singing, and cuddling in bed together.


The Selfish Mother

Lily van der Woodsen on 'Gossip Girl'

While Lily van der Woodsen’s intentions are usually in the right place, she’s a bit of a stereotype when it comes to self-involved parenting on the Upper East Side. Multiple failed marriages? Check. Giving up a baby for adoption and keeping him a secret? Check. Sending an innocent boarding school teacher to jail? Check. Making (even more) bad decisions as a result of living for the acceptance of high society? Check.


The Icy Mother

Betty Draper on 'Mad Men'

It’s safe to say that Betty Draper wasn’t quite ready to be a mother – or so it would seem, based on her perpetually telling her children to go away. Mad Men audiences were given a proper idea of her enthusiasm for motherhood – or lack thereof – early on in the series.

After all, it’s hard to forget that scene during the show’s second episode, in which her daughter Sally walks in with a dry cleaning bag over her head. Betty, having a cigarette as usual, reacts by saying, “If the clothes from that dry cleaning bag are on the floor of my closet, you’re going to be a very sorry young lady.”

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The Meddlesome Mother

Marie Barone on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'

The award for worst mother-in-law on television? Enter: Marie Barone. She constantly showed up unannounced, gave unsolicited marriage advice, provoked daughter-in-law Debra by dismissing how she ran her household, and played favorites between her two sons. Smothering, sarcastic, and quick to interfere, she was an always entertaining example of why you should never live in close proximity to your in-laws.


The Passive-Aggressive Mother

Judy Geller on 'Friends'

Monica and Ross would have contradictory opinions about their mother, illustrated by just how differently she treated them. Over the ten seasons of Friends, we saw Judy Geller criticize Monica’s cooking, blue nail polish, love life, and even her haircut at her own mother’s funeral – all the while glorifying Ross and his every move.


The Ruthless Mother

Cersei Lannister on 'Game of Thrones'

She is stone-hearted, and shrewd, with her eye forever on the Iron Throne. Long story short, Cersei Lannister is hardly a role model as a parent. Forget the fact that her children are unaware their uncle Jaime is actually their father, the sociopathic villainess will do just about anything in her quest for power. In fact, her lies and scheming have even led to the murder of two of her children. As for her youngest child? Nearly poisoned by Cersei herself in order to retain power over the kingdom.

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The Downright Evil Mother

Julie Cooper on 'The O.C.'

She was materialistic, married for money, had an affair with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, left her husband when he encountered financial problems, and constantly threatened to send her daughters off to boarding school – just some of the reasons why Julie Cooper is simultaneously one of the best characters on The O.C. and one of the worst moms in TV history.


The Dominating Mother

Colleen Donaghy on '30 Rock'

Yes, she raised her son Jack to be a highly successful man, but her parenting skills are still debatable. Demanding, derogatory, and always politically incorrect – that’s the hilarious character of Colleen Donaghy in a nutshell. It’s no wonder that “hit mom with a car” is on Jack’s childhood list of things to do before turning 50.



The Absent Mother

Lianne Mars on 'Veronica Mars'

Considering Lianne Mars was an alcoholic who abandoned her husband and daughter Veronica (returning briefly only to steal all of her college money), we wouldn’t be surprised if you’d forgotten that Veronica even had a mother.


The Terrorist Mother

Maya Lewis on 'Scandal'

A terrorist in the literal sense of the word – enough said.

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