All the mom pop culture icons I’ve become familiar with through the years, come mostly from television. I was too young for Mrs. Cleaver (and found the show a bore when I saw it on Nick at Nite) and too old for Claire Huxtable (and found her perfection a tad annoying.)
When I think about the TV moms from my childhood, Samantha Stevens was the coolest. Mrs. Brady was cute, I guess, but what about Alice? She was really raising those kids. I even love the sly Brady movie spoofs of the nineties. Shirley Partridge was OK, but who was paying any attention to her, really, in that show? It was all about Keith. At least for me. I guess some folks liked the comedy team of Danny & Reuben. So a beautiful witch was my first true pop icon role model. I’m still working on the nose twitch, but so far my magical solution to housework has been to hire a maid service every two weeks.
There is one TV mom I have always connected with, and seems to me both entertaining, and also realistic (if you ignore the last season or so.) Roseanne with her trademark mix of wisecracking and fierce loyalty to her family is something I can connect to. Re-watching the Connors go through hard times would be especially resonant in today’s tough financial climate. Roseanne always worked hard, sometimes at two jobs, and didn’t have a Mrs. Trumbull to step in, like Lucy Ricardo. In fact, she was probably more Ethel to sister Jackie’s Lucy. As a single mom who has to work hard in order to pay the bills and hopefully get in some playtime with her kid (which is no mean feat), I relate to her character’s struggles. And cracking wise more often than not is another trait I share.
And maybe Rosanne can help with future parenting issues and choices. I’ll never forget the episode when Roseanne takes older daughter Becky to the doctor to help her get birth control. She is completely freaking out inwardly, but manages to maintain her cool in front of her kid. Especially difficult for her personality type. I only hope I can manage the same.
Another favorite episode is when Rosanne is experiencing p.m.s. It is sheer brilliance. I’ve been on both sides of those three little letters, as oppressor and oppressed. My favorite moment is when Dan warns his clueless family of the impending danger. If only pms actually only lasted 24 hours, like the episode depicts, but television is escapist fantasy…
Some favorite quotes:
Darlene Conner: Hawks generally don’t pass out on the couch after eating a quart of ice cream (after Roseanne has been “watching her like a hawk”)
Roseanne: no matter what we do we’re gonna screw our kids up! Let me have Darlene and you can have Becky.
Dan Conner: what about D.J?
Roseanne: we’ll flip for it
Roseanne: If I ever get off this sofa I will be unstoppable.
Dan Conner: Whoa! Cool it before I give my wife a donut to kick your butt.