A Last-Minute Gift Guide for Your Mom’s TV Doppelganger


Isn’t this always the way? It’s the Friday before Mother’s Day, and you’ve put off buying Mom a gift until today. So, what will it be this year? Some droopy tulips? Perhaps a bottle of lavender-scented body wash? Or are you actually going to look for something your mother will both like and use? If you’re in the latter camp, peruse our last-minute gift guide for our favorite TV moms, and decide which archetype best represents your own maternal unit.

The Clair Huxtable:

The quintessential ’80s mom-who-does-it-all, Clair somehow managed to maintain a successful law career while also raising five great kids. If your mother is also a busy professional with demanding home life, why not buy her some time with a virtual personal assistant, from a service like AskSunday or GetFriday?

The Roseanne:

A tough, sharp-tongued mother with a feminist streak and a driving desire to give her kids the best life possible, Roseanne has always been one of our favorites. If, like her, your mom is a proud blue-collar woman, working long hours as, say, a diner waitress or beauty-shop cleaner, soothe her barking dogs with a foot massage. Don’t know how to give one? Check out the tutorial video below. And don’t forget the best thing about this gift: It’s free.

The Lucille Bluth:

If your mother is as manipulative, demanding, and withholding as Arrested Development‘s icy matriarch… well, for one thing, we’re sorry. We’re afraid the only way to take the edge off her bad behavior is with this classy Dorothy Parker martini glass set, which bears the famous rhyme: “I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!” Words to live by.

The Betty Draper:

While we’re tempted to set Mad Men‘s Betty Draper up with some cocktail accessories of her own, we’d rather give her something she really needs: a reality check. Should you believe that your poor mother is similarly deluded, we suggest you follow suit. If only He’s Just Not That Into You had been written half a century earlier…

The Vivian Banks:

You know how women say they “turn into a whole new person” after giving birth to a baby. Well, that’s exactly (literally!) what The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s Vivian Banks did — as in, the original actress who played the character left and was replaced by a woman who looked nothing like her. And those weren’t all the changes! She also abruptly ended her career as a professor and became a reticent homemaker. If your mom has suffered a similar postpartum identity crisis, allow us to suggest this handy cradle-rocker combo, where she can rock back and forth trying to remember who she is, anyway, while also keeping a close eye on her new offspring.

The Patty Chase:

As TV moms go, My So-Called Life‘s Patty Chase may be among the least distinctive. Like any mother of a teenager who’s traded good grades and pocket protectors for flaming-red hair and wild parties, she’s concerned. And yet, the more worried she gets, the more her daughter hates her. If your mom is like Patty, it may be time to read that classic of ’90s parenting hysteria, Reviving Ophelia .

The Carol Brady:

Think about this for a second: Carol Brady was (well, for most of the show) a housewife with a full-time housekeeper. We’re not sure how that works, or how she spent her time, but we have a guess: Ever notice what a clotheshorse Carol was, always prancing around in colorful, new ’70s-tastic apparel? If your mom reminds you of Carol, tell her to get a job (just kidding!) and then pick her out something psychedelic to wear.

The June Cleaver:

These days, the June Cleaver is a rare breed: A happy stay-at-home mom with a dazzling wardrobe and a flair for the domestic. If your mother would feel right at home on Leave It to Beaver, why not get her a charming, apple-green KitchenAid stand mixer, the perfect marriage of retro style and utility? Sure, it’s a little pricey… but doesn’t the lady who sacrificed her hopes and dreams to give you a great childhood deserve it?

The Norma Arnold:

Oh, Norma. You are the ’60s suburban mom who discovered women’s lib, got her degree, and (when your kids were old enough) started at the software firm Micro Electronics, and we love you for it. If your mother is a tech geek like this wonderful Wonder Years lady, may we suggest you save your pennies and buy her a new 3G iPad for all her leisure computing needs?

The Lorelai Gilmore:

We couldn’t list all the unique things about Lorelai Gilmore if we tried. But the one thing that sticks out at us from years of Gilmore Girls history is her incessant chatter. And we’re pretty sure she’s not the only mom out there who wears out her voice on a daily basis. If your mother’s vocal chords could use some soothing, why not buy her some artisanal honey? Mix it with some hot tea and lemon, and she’ll be good as new.