Categories
Loading
Welcome to Babble,
Settings
Sign Out

Get the Babble Newsletter!

Already have an account? .

The 25 Best Fictional Parents | Best Movie Parents | Best TV Parents

Remember when you’d come home from a hard band practice, and your mom poured you a glass of milk and your dad offered homespun wisdom that made everything better? Wait, that wasn’t your parents – that was Clair and Heathcliff Huxtable on afternoon Cosby re-runs. Pop culture has always been full of enviable parents, and for a generation of latchkey kids they were always the next-best thing. Here are 25 that we’d like to adopt – or at least model ourselves after, now that we have kids of our own.

Marisa Meltzer

  • joycesummers.jpg

    Joyce Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    As if raising an adolescent wasn’t enough to deal with as a single mom, Joyce Summer has to contend with a daughter whose destiny is to slay vampires and save the world. Instead of disowning or discouraging her, though, Joyce embraces Buffy’s fate. Plus, she’s an awesome surrogate mom to Buffy’s equally eccentric crew of friends.

  • knufflebunny.jpg

    Mom and Dad, Knuffle Bunny

    Trixie’s stuffed bunny has gone missing. But as a toddler who can’t quite speak, she can’t just say that, so she expresses herself in various forms of gibberish. Instead of ignoring her baby talk, her parents figure out what she’s trying to say and save the day, proving that most parents demonstrate some kind of heroism on a daily basis.

  • roseanne.jpg

    Roseanne Conner, Roseanne

    Just the fact that a blue collar, feminist, middle-aged woman with a bone-dry sense of humor (and who wasn’t a size two!) was on TV for nine seasons was pretty radical. But what was even more radical was that, as the antithesis of the stereotypical Stepford sitcom mom, Roseanne Conner was portrayed as a great mother, who negotiated her kids’ battles with puberty and rebelliousness with ease.

  • carsondrew.jpg

    Carson Drew, the Nancy Drew series

    He may have been the most respected lawyer in River Heights, but Carson Drew seemed to have little in the way of a life of his own. As a widower, he rarely had a love interest and instead devoted himself to his spunky girl-detective daughter, Nancy. But that’s what also makes him so cool–he knows Nancy’s special and doesn’t try to get in the way of her passion, even if that means he has to get kidnapped occasionally so she can save him.

  • gilbuckman.jpg

    Gil Buckman, Parenthood

    When Cowboy Dan, a children’s entertainer, fails to show at his socially awkward son’s birthday, Gil Buckman makes himself into a DIY cowboy. Any father who will make balloon animals to placate his kids is a true hero.

  • littlehouseprarie.jpg

    Ma and Pa, Little House on the Prairie

    What other parents could successfully turn a pig’s bladder into a toy? As actual pioneers, Ma and Pa do things like make butter, trap muskrats, and chop wood, earning them an exalted place in the hearts of many a dreamy adolescent girl.

  • estelle.jpg

    Sophia Petrillo, The Golden Girls

    Fake senility, mob connections, endless straight talk… No one made cranky as lovable as Sophia Petrillo, who, as she once put it, lived through “two world wars, fifteen vendettas, four operations and two Darrins on Bewitched.

  • familyties.jpg

    Elyse and Steven Keaton, Family Ties

    As classic hippie parents who participated in the Peace Corps and went to Berkeley, they seem more amused than annoyed at the culture divide embodied in their kids: Jennifer, the tomboy; Mallory, the boy-crazy clothes horse; and Alex, the Young Republican. The Keatons’ parenting was a hit with both the health-food crowd and Reaganites.

  • walsh.jpg

    Jim and Cindy Walsh, Beverly Hills, 90210

    Let’s say your teenage son does a fictional drug called U4EA at an underground rave and can’t drive home. And he leaves the vintage Mustang he worked so hard for, waiting tables at the Peach Pit, only to come back and find it spray-painted and missing tires. How long would you be mad at him? For the Walshes, it’s just about one episode. Their twins Brandon and Brenda were constantly getting into trouble, but Jim and Cindy seemed to thrive on their kids’ drama.

  • wonderyears.jpg

    Jack and Norma Arnold, The Wonder Years

    On the surface Jack seems a little overbearing and Norma seems like a pushover, but as the series progressed, the parents’ lives started to look more nuanced: Jack quit his middle-management job and Norma went back to college. As they found themselves (it was the late ’60s, after all), we were able to watch as they became better parents.

  • motherbunny.jpg

    Mother Bunny, The Runaway Bunny

    Not only do we have fond memories of this being read to us by our own moms, but the character of Mother Bunny embodies maternal love herself by morphing into a rock, gardener, fisherbunny, and the wind.

  • henrywarnimont.jpg

    Henry Warnimont, Punky Brewster

    A young girl is abandoned by her mom and an old widower, undeterred, fosters her. This is not Masterpiece Theatre, but the plot of the totally ’80s sitcom Punky Brewster. For Henry, Punky’s aggressive uniqueness – embodied in her awesome, mismatched fashion sense (bandannas tied around the leg, tights with legs two different colors, pigtails) – was more of a reason to love her.

  • ramona.jpg

    Mr. and Mrs. Quimby, the Ramona series

    Theses parents deal with real life: layoffs, trying to quit smoking, arguing in front of their two precocious kids. And yet, even if their lives aren’t fairy tale-perfect, they try their best and prove that’s enough.

  • christmasstory.jpg

    Mr. and Mrs. Parker, A Christmas Story

    It takes secure parents to buy a nine-year-old a BB gun.

  • wrinkleintime.jpg

    Alex and Kate Murry, A Wrinkle in Time

    As an astrophysicist and a microbiologist respectively, these superachiever parents made science and math seem cool to generations of impressionable readers.

  • lword.jpg

    Bette Porter and Tina Kennard, The L-Word

    They’ve dealt with miscarriages, parent kidnapping, and cheating on each other in this soap version of Sapphic life, but through it all, they always remember to put their daughter Angelica first.

  • theoc.jpg

    Sandy and Kirsten Cohen, The OC

    As a couple, they’re a case of opposites attracting: Sandy is an idealistic lawyer from New York, and Kirsten is a WASPy heiress to a real estate conglomerate, but they managed to make their love believable in a nighttime soap filled with fakes. Plus, they gave genuinely sound love advice.

  • gavinandstacy.jpg

    Mick and Pam Shipman and Gwen West, Gavin and Stacey

    As the parents of the titular characters, Gavin Shipman and Stacey West, they don’t seem to mind that their kids get engaged after just a couple dates. They’re supportive while also allowing their kids lead their own lives.

  • hairspray.jpg

    Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, Hairspray

    Edna and Wilbur never make their plus-size daughter Tracy feel anything less than beautiful. And they champion racial integration! In a brilliant casting move, director John Waters cast his muse Divine as mom Edna, making drag queens seem like ideal mom material.

  • incredibles.jpg

    Mister Incredible and Elastigirl, The Incredibles

    Their attempt to trade in their superhero identity for a bland suburban life fails, and proves to their freaky budding superhero kids (and us!) that it’s never a good idea to hide who you truly are.

  • prep.jpg

    Mr. and Mrs. Fiora, Prep

    Parents don’t loom large in this boarding school novel, but they are nonetheless memorable for the scene where they drive up from South Bend in their old Datsun to visit their daughter, who’s at an elite eastern prep school on scholarship. She acts like a sulky, thankless jerk who’s embarrassed by her class status – and she ends up getting slapped across the face. In real life, we’d never endorse corporal punishment, but in the context of the story, it quickly restores the balance of power.

  • annejuergens.jpg

    Anne and George Juergens, The Secret Life of the American Teenager

    When their band-geek daughter gets pregnant the first time she has sex, these parents put their own differences aside (they’re in the middle of their own divorce) and support her every decision.

  • prettyinpink.jpg

    Jack Walsh, Pretty in Pink

    Harry Dean Stanton, as single dad Jack Walsh in John Hughes’ ’80s teen masterpiece, had his issues: he was chronically unemployed and was seemingly unable to get over his ex-wife’s abandoning him and his daughter. But he was savvy enough to know that his teenage daughter’s greatest concern is fitting in, and he redeems himself by buying an admittedly tacky dress he can’t afford so she can attend prom.

  • brady.jpg

    Mike and Carol Brady, The Brady Bunch

    With six kids, a housekeeper and a dog, the Bradys didn’t make having a blended family look easy, but they always made it look fun.

  • cosby.jpg

    Clair and Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show

    As the Huxtables, Bill Cobsy and Phylicia Rashad reigned supreme for eight TV seasons as the brownstone-dwelling, advice-dispensing parents of five kids. Their ability to raise kids in a big city no doubt inspired many young fans to stay (or move) to the city when they started their own families.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrPinterest
Tagged as:

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrPinterest