We know the impact Claire Huxtable left on televison. We remember that impactful moment when we saw Florida yelled out those words, “DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!” We even remember that full dance sequence that Vivian slayed during her audition. But, what about the 2000’s TV moms who also deserve their flowers?
Over the past 19 years, we’ve seen the mother role in television being perceived in different ways. When I was a kid, the mother was always holding the house down, aiding her husband, and correcting her child’s antics. Now in this new decade, we see not only more diversity within television but the roles women play as well. Mothers are single moms, discussing mental health, having honest conversations, and are more relatable. We wanted to highlight five television moms who are iconic in this new decade.
Fresh Off the Boat
2015 – Current (Portrayed by Constance Wu)
Jessica Haung is a no-nonsense mother who makes sure all of her boys are in check. She may aide her husband in his steak business, but she has her career pursuits as well. Sometimes they don’t pan out, but she lives by her motto of “always be the best!” One thing that I admire is not only her strength but the passion she exempts about her culture. She is the leading role in making sure her children acknowledge their Taiwanese heritage. She is cognizant of the fact she is an immigrant mother making sure her boys have both the Taiwanese culture and American culture embedded in their life.
One Day at a Time (Netflix series)
2017 – 2019 (Portrayed by Justina Machado)
One Day at a Time was unfortunately short-lived for three seasons, but within each episode, we saw the light of this momma. Penelope managed to keep herself afloat as a single mom raising her two kids in a gentrified Los Angeles. Her character evolved and opened up about her PTSD, being a veteran, accepting her Queer daughter, and dating in her 40’s. All of which we didn’t see on the screen as a kid in the 90’s. The dialogue between her and her mother (Rita Moreno’s character) was impactful and expressed how Latinx culture needs to change the narrative when it comes to society’s issues. The most iconic moment I had watched was, “Hello, Penelope.” Within that episode, we saw how Penelope’s depression had worsened when she made a conscious decision to go off her anti-depressants. It was powerful and evoked a conversation about how mental health is important.
Everybody Hates Chris
2005 – 2009 (Portrayed by Tichina Arnold)
Rochelle didn’t need this, her man had two jobs! The iconic Bed-Stuy mama had the meanest side eye and comebacks ever. She played the leading role in the family, and nobody ever tried her. If they did, she would “slap them into next week.” One thing that was always admirable about this mother is how, through the toughness, she always tried to uplift her kids with a lesson in life. In the episode “Everybody Hates the Port Authority,” we learned that the Rochelle used to help her dad gamble and discussed the effects it had on her childhood. However, it’s always the tough love mamas who always want their kids to never go through the lessons they’ve endured.
2014 – Current (Portrayed by Tracee Ellis Ross)
Rainbow “Bow” Johnson is probably my favorite mom on this list because her character’s dynamic is ever-changing. From the beginning of the show, we saw Rainbow as a successful doctor who was also a mom. She had great comedic timing and made sure everyone knew she was winning at life. As the show went on, we saw her character evolve into more a relatable person. Rainbow opened up about her bi-racial struggles, post-partum depression, and being a Black woman in a predominantly White place of work. Even now, her character still has her quirks and moments of laughter, but it feels real.
These four women are just some the example of how the dynamic is changing for mothers on television. It also shows us that each one brings a different perspective on the conversations that are circling motherhood.