Sunday, May 12, 2013

Terrible Mothers of Popular Culture

Today's Geeky Question of the Day in the Kentucky Geek Girl community on Facebook asked, "Who is the best mom of Popular Culture?" The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are some pretty terrible moms in Pop Culture as well, even specifically in Science Fiction. Folks in the ?otD thread included some great moms such as Molly Weasley, Catelyn Tully, and even *shudder* Lori Grimes, but I thought that there has to be a flip side to this. So, I put on my Thinking Fedora and came up with a sampling of terrible mothers of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

Jackie Tyler is one of the best moms in pop culture

These are by no means in-depth character analyses.This is more just a fun look at the way people perceive characters, not a true character study. I don't necessarily agree with all of these points 100%, but I think that there some pretty obvious points. Also, there will be spoilers, which I am sorry is a bit unavoidable. If you haven't seen these TV shows or watched these movies, then either don't read or prepared to have some details spoiled. List after the break.

Sylvia Noble & Francine Jones (tie) - Doctor Who

These Doctor Who mums both have their own reasons for being absolutely terrible. Let's start with Sylvia first. Though she is changed in some ways by her experiences, she no where near is the mother to Donna that Jackie Tyler is to Rose. While Jackie sometimes rags on Rose for working in a shop (which The Doctor subsequently destroys) she does not put her down in the ways that Sylvia seems to crush Donna. Granted, I know that Donna lives with her mum and she works a lot of temp jobs, but it's hard out there for a single gal. I really don't think that she ought to try and rule Donna's life the way that she did, especially trying to stop her from working at H.C. Clements (Turn Left). I mean, it's posh! Seriously though, she puts Donna down a lot of tends to act as if she doesn't much care how she turns out.

Beyond that, when Donna disappears on HER WEDDING DAY they continue with the reception anyway. How rude! And, she blames The Doctor for ruining everything when Donna clearly knows that her mother wouldn't have been able to handle the truth.

Sylvia does soften to The Doctor somewhat, but even the last time we meet her she is still fairly cold to him.

Francine, Martha Jones' mum, loves her daughter very much, but is pretty pushy and demanding of Martha. I know that his new girlfriend Annalise caused some problems and that Francine stood up for Annalise claimed that Martha was making up the events of Smith and Jones. However, and I say a BIG however, she really started to doubt The Doctor during The Lazarus Experiment even though he saved (almost) everyone from the terrible monster that Richard Lazarus had become. She even bought into whatever was being told to her by someone who worked for Harold Saxon.

Whether or not it was done in duress, I don't know, but she allowed to have her phone tapped so that associates of Saxon could listen in on her calls to Martha and ultimately track down The Doctor. I get it, she was a pawn, but still, she could have trusted her daughter a bit more.

Lorraine Baines McFly - Back to the Future

Things take a terrible turn when Marty travels to 1955 to ensure that his mother and father end up together. After accidentally getting hit by a car, Marty assumes the identity of Calvin Klein and inadvertantly gets crushed on by his own mom. Ew. And because Lorraine had a tendency to crush pretty easily, she started to fall hard and foil all of Marty's plans. Unless he could find a way to get George and Lorraine together, he and his siblings would be completely erased from history. Meanwhile, she throws herself at him pretty fiercely.

In an alternate 1985, she has married Biff after he murders George and is destitute. I can see why she'd feel the need to provide for her family, but in 1955 she tells Biff that she'd not marry him even if he had a million dollars. In 2015, she gives Marty a hard time for his car accident that causes problems with his wrist and affected his potential career in music.

Cersei Lannister - Game of Thrones

Incest. Attempted murder. Manipulation of, well, everyone around her. One could argue that it's self preservation for her, but her actions that she's a pretty terrible mother. She has absolutely no control over her batshit, Ned Stark-beheading son, and now she's going to have to marry Ser Loras Tyrell at her father's mandate. For Cersei, she uses everything as an opportunity to get ahead, so I'm sure she'll find a way to manipulate that situation to her benefit. (I'm still reading A Storm of Swords, so all of my knowledge is up through Episode 6 The Climb). She's nearly broken Sansa (I have my issues with her, even still) and gave the orders to murder her poor direwolf for "attacking" Joffrey, the events of A Game of Thrones reveal to be untrue.

Margaret White - Carrie

Carrie White was a traumatized teenager who develops telekinesis and uses it as a way to get back at those who tormented her during her daily life. A number of factors drove her off of the deep end and one of the antagonists of her story was her own mother, Margaret. Mrs. White, who is depicted a bit differently in the 1976 film than she is in the novel by Stephen King, is a religious fundamentalist and fanatic who thinks that anything related to the female body is made of sin. She calls her daughter a witch, she says that she is impure, and has mentally and emotionally abused Carrie so badly to the point that she is almost constantly in in head. One of the most iconic lines of the entire movie is Mrs. White saying "They're all gonna laugh at you." Oh, and she locks her in a closet. Mother of the year 1976 goes to Margaret White.

I'm interested to see Julianne Moore's interpretation of the character in this year's remake. I have heard that it is more faithful to King's original novel.

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