What Happened to Moms? How Dads Became the New TV Role Models

Family Watching TV

When you think about the best TV moms, who comes to mind? Clair Huxtable? Carol Brady? Lorelai Gilmore? Or perhaps June Cleaver? But what about moms currently seen in primetime?

Nurturing moms appear to be getting less-and-less screen time while, let’s say complicated mothers are becoming the norm. The so-called “Momsters,” as coined by the New York Daily News, include characters like Games of Thrones’ Cersei Lannister, Mad Men’s Betty Draper, and Scandal’s Maya Pope, who just happens to be a for-hire terrorist. (Yes, Rowan Pope is no saint either, but at least he’s not a terrorist…yet.)

While there certainly are still positive mom characters on TV (Kristina on Parenthood, Lily from How I Met Your Mother, and Claire from Modern Family come to mind), doesn’t it seem like moms are getting a bad rep recently? Even moms that don’t make regular appearances on shows can’t catch a break. In The Big Bang Theory, one of the most popular shows currently airing, the moms of the four main characters can seem less than ideal – they include one who’s emotionally-unavailable to her son, one who, though loving, is judgmental of her son and his friends’ ‘alternative’ beliefs and lifestyle, one who screams at her son from another room, and one who’s constantly pressuring her son to marry, preferably within their own race.

What gives?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, dads are getting a nice boost in the positive role-model department on TV. Have you noticed?

Burt Hummel on Glee is incredibly supportive of his openly-gay son and often encourages Kurt to follow his seemingly impossible dreams. Danny Williams (aka Danno) on Hawaii Five-0 is a single dad who moved more than 4,000 miles just to be closer to his daughter. And the Reagan men on Blue Bloods have proven time and time again how much they value family time.

For years, we’ve heard complaints about how dads are portrayed as absent or the ‘dummy,’ but as the number of stay-at-homes dads continues to increase, and more fathers are spending more time at home.

A 2012 Wall Street Journal article asked, “Are Dads the New Mom?” and declared “the age of dads as full partners in parenting has arrived.” And apparently popular culture has followed suit.

So, is the demise of the good mom character connected to the rise of the good dad? I certainly hope not! Why can’t we have co-parents who love their kids, support them emotionally, and don’t murder people? That’s not too much to ask for, right?

 

Tell us! Who are your favorite TV parents?

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