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TV Moms: For Better or Worse

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, the conservative media group Parent’s Television Council Monday released its list of top 20 TV moms over the last 20 years.

Certainly motherhood on broadcast and cable shows has been depicted in virtually all forms, shapes, sizes and stereotypes from traditional moms like Harriet Nelson to widowed, single moms like Julia Baker to unorthodox matriarchs like Roseanne Connor.

As the PTC points out, TV moms today may be working mothers, step-mothers, adoptive mothers and divorced single mothers that aren’t always perfect. The organization’s list provides TV moms that can be flawed but “give us and ideal to aspire to.”

While PTC’s list will undoubtedly generate some criticism from TV pundits and viewers alike, it’s a relatively decent starting point for a discussion on the important role mothers play in today’s society and how they are depicted – for better or worse -- on television.

Below is PTC’s list of 20 moms and its reasoning for the picks. Feel free to critique, agree or disagree.

Jessie Beckett, Second Noah
Jill Taylor, Home Improvement
Harriette Winslow, Family Matters
“Dr. Mike,” Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Amy Matthews, Boy Meets World
Dee Mitchell, Moesha
Hilda and Zelda Spellman, Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Annie Camden, 7th Heaven
Claire Greene, Promised Land

Lois, Malcolm in the Middle
Marge Simpson, The Simpsons
Bonnie Malloy, Life with Bonnie
Martha Kent, Smallville
Helen Girardi, Joan of Arcadia
Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights
Frances Heck, The Middle
Erin Reagan-Boyle, Blue Bloods
Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.