Okay, what…TV moms who weren’t actually TV moms? Yep. You know ‘em, the ladies (and yes, even a group of fellas made our list) who, for all intents and purposes, act as moms to the children in their lives – for a whole variety of reasons -but aren’t actually the children’s mother.
This is just our top five list, which not so mama TV moms round out your list of favorites? (Check out the slideshow of our not so mama TV mamas).
~ Mrs. Garrett, Facts of Life – Ahh, Mrs. G. or Edna Ann Garrett, played by Charlotte Rae, was technically a TV mom – just not to the girls she played mama hen to. Housemother at Eastland Academy, she found herself with four probationary girls under her care. You know them: Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie. However, moving on from that endeavor, she opened Edna’s Edibles in order to keep the girls together following graduation. Mrs. G. ensured that this was a group that would be bonded for life.
~ Valerie Tyler, What I Like About You – Sweet, straight-laced, and determined to set her sister on the right path; Valerie (Val), played by Jennie Garth, takes her teenage sister (Holly, played by Amanda Bynes) in when their father moves to Japan. The girls’ personalities are quite different – where Val is responsible and cautious (and, okay, slightly high strung), Holly is impulsive and free-spirited. In season one of the show, it focused more closely on their relationship, while the later seasons were more focused on the various romantic relationships the girls were embarking upon. Always with Val attempting to be Holly’s voice of reason (even if romantically, Val wasn’t exactly a shining star).
~ Alice Nelson, The Brady Bunch – “Oh Alice!” Live-in housekeeper to the Brady family, Alice, played by Ann B. Davis, was so much more than housekeeper to this brood of kids. Offering her support to Jan as a fellow middle child, playing games with the kids, giving advice…Sure, the kids had Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) to call mom, but Alice was just as crucial in the raising of these six kids.
~ The men of Full House – Danny Tanner was (Bob Saget), left alone to care for his three daughters, D.J. (Candace Cameron), Stephanie (Jodie Sweeten), and Michelle (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) following the death of his wife. Enter the loveable, if entirely goofy Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) and ultra cool Uncle Jessie (John Stamos) to help Danny in raising the girls. Although, of all of these guys, perhaps the one who should get the biggest shout out should be Joey, as wasn’t related to anyone, and he did fill in on a Mother/Daughter sleepover with Stephanie, (see video).
Growing pains and all, these guys did a pretty incredible job being both dad and mom to these girls. (And hey, when in doubt, just call in Becky – played by Lori Loughlin).
~ Fran Fine, The Nanny – Oh Miss Fine. A running joke that no one (including herself) was ever really sure what Fran (Fran Drescher) did all day, but she was still a pretty outstanding stand-in mother to the three children she found herself nannying unexpectedly. Fran loved these kids as her own and was always on hand to listen and offer advice…Even if said advice got a little lost in translation from time-to-time. Now, Miss Fine also ended up becoming an actual TV mom when she and Mr. Sheffield married and she adopted the children and later had twins of her own, at the end of the series run. But before becoming Mrs. Sheffield, she was Fran, and she was just what these kids needed.
Our hats are off to these ladies (and men) for being a source of love and support to children not their own. And even more so to those who take on such a role in reality.
Three of these five shows can still be seen on TV today. You can catch reruns of What I Like About You on ABC Family; Full House reruns are aired on Nick at Nite; and episodes from The Nanny can be found on TV Land and Nick at Nite. The Brady Bunch is still listed on the TV Land website, but if they are currently airing episodes, this Examiner hasn’t been able to find them.
Which TV mom who wasn’t actually a TV mom has your vote for favorite?
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