Monday, May 11, 2009

mom and pop (culture)

Mother's Day made me think about all the mom pop culture icons we have had through the years, 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, but what about Alice? Shirley Partridge was OK, but who was paying any attention to her, really, in that show? So a beautiful witch was my first 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 and her trademark mix of wisecracking and a 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.

I'll never forget the episode when Roseanne takes older daughter Becky to the doctor to 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.

Darlene: 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: what about D.J?
Roseanne: we'll flip for it

Roseanne: If I ever get off this sofa I will be unstoppable.


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