To paraphrase Homer Simpson, moms: the cause of, and solution to all of life's problems. Or at least, the cause of and solution to most of television's problems. It was tough to narrow this list of TV's iconic moms to just eight—we suspect that both Sofia Petrillo and Carmela Soprano have it out for us now—but we took our best stab at it, though, OK, we kind of slipped in a ninth. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Game of Thrones: Cersei Lannister/Daenerys Targaryen
One is the mother of dragons and the other is the mother of a monster, and they're two of Game of Thrones' most notorious power players. By turns ruthless and loving, Cersei and Daenerys will do anything to ensure their legacies—including using their children to do their bidding.
Arrested Development: Lucille Bluth
Speaking of power players, Lucille, matriarch of the dysfunctional Bluth clan, turned out to be the real brains behind the "lightly treasonous" business deals that shaped the AD storyline in seasons one through three—only to be stuck under house arrest come season four.
How I Met Your Mother: Tracy (The Mother)
Tracy, the titular-yet-oft-unseen mother, is the reason we got to spend nine years with the HIMYM crew, even though we only got to spend one year (or is it more like one weekend?) with her. She may not have been integral to the story in the end, but as the catalyst of the long-running sitcom, she gets to take her place among the iconic TV moms of the new millennium.
Seinfeld: Estelle Costanza
For decades, television tended to idealize mothers. Thankfully, '90s tended towards cynicism—in large part due to the success of Seinfeld—and brought us the wonder that was Estelle Costanza. Shrill, nuts, adoring, and petty, she was every bit the equal to her husband, Frank, and a big part of what made George so, well... George.
Friday Night Lights: Tami Taylor
Not that there's anything wrong with idealized moms—and Tami is living proof. She's loving, dedicated, ambitious, brilliant and a perfect partner to husband Eric ("Coach") Taylor. She's so great, she managed to make a career jump from guidance counselor to principal after just two years at Dillon High! Coach might get cast aside, but Tami is irreplaceable (except maybe to daughter Julie, but eventually, she'll learn).
Mad Men: Betty Draper/Francis
Pity Betty. She's had a poor little rich girl existence since the start of Mad Men, what with Don constantly cheating on her, her kids not loving her (not that she's been any great help on that front), and getting remarried to a guy she's not entirely sure is on her side. As Tolstoy said, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." At least when it comes to Betty, that unhappiness makes for a mesmerizing character.
Roseanne: Roseanne Conner
Roseanne Conner might just have been the anti-Betty. She was working class, and caught zero breaks, but she was a bedrock for her family. Her husband adored her, her kids respected her, and before things went all wacky in the final season, she was one of the (very) few everywomen on TV, with a family we didn't admire so much as relate to.
Parenthood: Kristina Braverman
Kristina is the closest thing we have on this earth to an angel. She's even got a halo of white-blonde hair to prove it. She's the sounding board for her (extremely large and complicated) family, she has the patience of a saint (yes, the metaphors just got mixed; deal with it), and it's pretty impossible not to love her. You'll cry with her, laugh with her, hurt with her and generally just want to be her. Given that she's perfect, she's the only acceptable way to end this list.