2. Which Mother Knows Best?
Last year, the Huffington Post featured “Mom Advice: Tips from Our Favorite TV Moms for Mother’s Day.” Included was the matriarch of the Family Guy clan, Lois Griffin, who has said such heartwarming things as, “Ya know, I wanted us to live in a place with real family values, but values don’t come from where you live or who your friends are. They come from inside, from your own beliefs.” Then, of course, you’re given the Lois Griffin fans love through YouTube montages highlighting the perfect mother as a sex-craved slut, porn star, and parent who feels it’s important to remind her daughter that she is, indeed, hotter than her. Lois is also happy to teach her daughter the important lessons of life, like how to make out with another girl in case she wants to turn a guy on (or just can’t find one).
In a rather bizarre piece published last year in the New York Times (oddly enough, on Mother’s Day — is this the only time of year we talk about mom?) media critic Neil Genzlinger cited a litany of bad television mothers stretching back to their nascence in the character of Jane Wyatt from Father Knows Best.
This was the moment that civilization began to fall apart. A mother has told her child that Father, the universal authority figure who for centuries has kept society from devolving into chaos, is an incompetent boob, and she has done so on a show named “Father Knows Best.” There can be no stability, no constancy after this. Margaret has effectively neutered the only thing standing between us and social and political anarchy, the Omniscient Patriarch. All of the bad TV mothering that followed was inevitable.
I’m assuming this to be a tongue-in-cheek review, but given the fact that feminism is fighting hard to make sluts of us all, the idea that women have emasculated men is nothing new. Apparently, neither is the idea of a mother leading her daughter down the road of sexual depravity. (I’m sure I suddenly became quite uncouth by using that phrase. Then again, Victoriana has come around, so chalk it off to a minor in Steampunk.)
Contrast Lois Griffin’s hypersexualized behavior with that of Frankie Heck. The mom of The Middle is disorganized, to say the least. When the shower ceases to work, Frankie washes up at the kitchen sink; oblivious to the constant mess around her, she stores the quilts in the oven and opts to provide fast food for dinner. Moreover, she happily encourages her daughter Sue to mature at her own rate, without applying pressure to conform to societal norms or cultural expectations.
Which mom would you go to for advice?
A. Lois Griffin
B. Frankie Heck