As the saying goes, mother knows best — a sentiment that echoes down to our TV moms. From Aunt Vy in
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Marie Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond, these moms are the stars of some of best Mother’s Day TV episodes available to stream right now.
Whether you’re a first-time mom, a golden age mom, or looking to spend some
mother-daughter TV time, there’s an episode for everyone. Starting with The Golden Girls, the iconic show’s classic Mother’s Day episode reminds us of our aunts and grandmothers chatting around the table and talking about their grown-up kids. Or Brandy Norwood’s character grieving her birth mother in Moesha, while also trying to figure out how to open her heart to someone new. And what mom doesn’t love spa dates, barbecues, perfume (even if it gives you a rash), getaways (even if it’s just for one night), homemade gifts, or an opportunity to roast their own kids on national television? And don’t you just love when your husband and mother-in-law can put their differences aside and be nice to each other, at least for 24 hours!
After all, it’s all about mom right? Obviously, there is more to this list than is mentioned here, but here are 20 great and iconic options to keep you entertained this Mother’s Day.
Black-ish: “Please Don’t Ask, Please Don’t Tell”
There are a few Mother’s Day-related episodes throughout
Black-ish. One of the most memorable ones is in Season 1, Episode 22 titled, “Please Don’t Ask, Please Don’t Tell,” Jack and Diane are celebrating Mother’s Day. In it, Diane, played by a super young Marsai Martin tries to outdo her brother, Jack, played by Miles Brown, for Mother’s Day. Diane gives their mother, Bow, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, a gift basket of items she tricked her brother into not getting. But Jack gets the last laugh when he gives his mother a simple but greatest gift of all, a hug, which didn’t cost him a dime. Watch Black-ish on Hulu. The Golden Girls: “Mother’s Day”
No Mother’s Day telethon would be complete without an airing of this classic
. Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Dorothy (Bea Arthur), and Sophia (Estelle Getty), who are all mothers themselves, sit around the table and share their past Mother’s Day stories — from Rose’s good Samaritan act to Dorothy’s mother-in-law asking her for money. Blanche finds out her mother isn’t gone at all and Sophia recounts the hilarious time when her own mother moved in with her. Like any characteristic Golden Girls episode Golden Girls’ episode, this one is full of laughs and golden smiles. Watch The Golden Girls on Hulu. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Mother’s Day”
If your mother is a Will Smith fan, this is an episode she will definitely appreciate. The
1994 episode puts a hilarious twist on the holiday when he reluctantly allows his best friend Jazz and his wife, Jewel, to move in with him. But the couple has trouble conceiving and they ask Will for a big favor. Meanwhile, Uncle Phil (James Avery) gets inspired by Will’s bronzed baby shoes for Aunt Vy (Daphne Reid) on Mother's Day and challenges Carlton, Ashley, and Hilary to give more thoughtful gifts to their mother. Watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on HBO Max. Jane The Virgin: “Chapter Forty-Two”
This episode is all about the ups and downs of holiday family drama and how it works together for the greater good. In
Season 2, Episode 20, Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is excited to celebrate her first Mother’s Day as a mom and the Villanueva women usually have a traditional way of celebrating. However, things get thrown for a loop when Petra (Yael Grobglas) invites everyone to a brunch instead. Season two begins with Jane as a young mother who is about to get married. Rodriguez discusses her character’s growth in a 2017 interview with the Associated Press. “Jane is not your typical lead actress and we're not harping over what she looks like and what she wears,” she told AP. “She's just a beautiful strong girl. She just happens to look not like our typical ingenue. I think that's very powerful.” Watch this episode and all five seasons of Jane the Virgin on Netflix. The Cosby Show: “You’re Not A Mother Night”
This one is more like a Mother’s Day appreciation episode. In
Season 1, Episode 11, Cliff (Bill Cosby) treats Claire to a romantic day and night at the Biltmore Hotel. The idea is to get her away from motherly duties — at least for one night. But the kids are never far from her mind! Rashad, who is the sister of renowned dancer Debbie Allen, has been dubbed the “The Mother of the Black Community,” for her nurturing and maternal roles in Hollywood, for roles in movies like Creed, For Colored Girls and Jingle Jangle. But it all began as Claire Huxtable! Watch The Cosby Show on Amazon Prime. Half and Half: “The Big Mother of a Mother's Day”
What better to celebrate Mother’s Day than with your own mothers? In Season 1, Episode 22, half-sisters, Mona (Rachel True) and Dee-Dee (Essence Atkins) spend the day with their moms. But their moms do most of the treating and take their daughters to the same spa! It was a day to remember nonetheless. The dynamic between True and her on-screen mother, Telma Hopkins was reflective of their real-life relationship.
“It was a very silly family-friendly show and I was really lucky to have Telma Hopkins play my mom,” True told
in a 2016 interview. “She's a great comedic actress. She was very generous to me and by generous I mean — I was very new to sitcom acting, she'd done a ton of them and she'd help me out. Help me figure out jokes because there are some actors who are selfish and they don't want you to get a laugh and they want to get all the laughs and she could've easily gone out her way to make my life horrible but she's not that person at all.” HuffPost Watch this episode of Half and Half on Amazon Prime. Moesha: “Mother’s Day”
This Mother’s Day episode is touching for anyone who has lost a mother and is coping with how to accept a new mother figure in their lives. In Season 1, Episode 12, Dee (Sheryl Lee Ralph), Moesha’s stepmother is celebrating her first Mother’s Day with the family. However, Moesha (Brandy Norwood) is torn on how to care for her stepmother and her loss of her birth mother and still honor the memory and loss of her birth mother. The series never explains how Moesha’s mother died but
fan theories suggest causes from childbirth complications to a car accident and cancer. Nonetheless, at the end of every episode Moesha and Dee come to a common understanding and throughout the seasons, the two work on their relationship. Watch Moesha on Netflix. The Nanny: “I Don’t Remember Mama”
One of the more sweet episodes of
The Nanny, starring Fran Drescher. In Season 1, Episode 22, Maxwell tries to distract the kids from thinking about their mother, Sara, who passed away, but Fran thinks it's a good idea to talk about their late mom. Common Sense Media gives The Nanny a four out of five-star rating for kids ages 9 and up. So if they’re into throwback sitcoms that have been off the air for over 20 years ( The Nanny ended in 1999), this one is not bad to watch. And yes, if they ask about Fran’s fashion, let them know that was the style for back in the day! Watch episodes of The Nanny on HBO Max. Roseanne: “Scenes From The Barbeque”
Here’s another throwback one to introduce the kids too! In
Season 3, Episode 23, the Conners have a good ol’ fashioned barbecue for Mother’s Day and ends with a fun sing-a-long, in which Bonnie Bramlett spits out some serious vocals! In another Mother’s Day episode, Roseanne is treated to a spa date by Becky and Darlene. But there are some other motives at play with this one. These days the classic ‘90s sitcom is a little harder to find. ABC canceled reruns of the show in 2018 after actress, Roseanne Barr, posted a racist tweet. Watch Roseanne on Peacock. Full House: “A Date With Fate”
Season 7, Episode 22, Jesse, Joey, Nick, and Alex are making Mother’s Day gifts for Aunt Becky. Although the Mother’s Day scene is not the central focus of the episode, their custom handprints are adorable. Once you’re done watching this classic episode, check out Fuller House on Netflix. It ran for five seasons between 2016 to 2020.
“There’s a lot of moms bringing their little girls — it’s such a wonderful full circle moment to see these moms who were like, ‘I grew up with you guys, and now my daughters are growing up with you on ‘Fuller House,’” actress Andrea Barber told
in a March interview. The cast says they’re open to another reboot, even without the patriarch Bob Saget, who died in January 2022. The group believes Saget would give them his blessing. The TODAY Show Watch Full House on Hulu. Modern Family: “Mother’s Day”
Season 2, Episode 21, Claire and Gloria want to spend Mother’s Day hiking with the kids, but that’s easier said than done. Meanwhile, Phil and Jay stay home to cook dinner, which ends up becoming a plate full of tears when Jay starts to remember his mom. And in the Tucker-Pritchett household, Cam is upset that everyone sees him as the “mom” in the relationship. It’s a good one. Screenrant ranked Claire as one of TV’s favorite moms, and called her a “business powerhouse who deserves recognition.” “With three kids and a husband who considers himself a kid in many ways, Claire is the only parent in the household who creates boundaries,” reporter Lynn Gibbs wrote. Watch Modern Family on Hulu. Orange Is The New Black: “Mother’s Day”
Season 3 opens up with a few of the inmates hosting a Mother’s Day fair. While it brought some joy, it also brought some lingering, mixed feelings about family. Fans of the hit Netflix drama series will recall that there are a few mothers and mother figures locked up at Litchfield Correctional Institution, such as Gloria Mendoza, played by actress Selenis Leyva. Mendoza was the head cook in the prison’s kitchen and a maternal figure to many of the women. "It was really refreshing to see that we were tackling motherhood because we hadn't done that," Leyva, who is also a mother in real life, told
in a 2015 interview. Vice Watch Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. Everybody Loves Raymond: “Mother’s Day” In Season 6, Episode 22, Maria and Deborah buck heads. But in classic Raymond style, the two manage to come together for a halfway decent Mother’s Day and both get their ways and both get their ways in the end. After all, what’s a day with mom if you don’t let her have her own way? Screenrant reporter Kasy Long wrote that there are a lot of things about Doris Roberts’ character, Marie, that would probably not fly these days. For one, she was very overbearing, the constant insulting of Debra and favoritism of Amy over Debra. But watch a few episodes and we will let you be the judge of that! Watch Everybody Loves Raymond on Hulu. Everybody Hates Chris: “Everybody Hates Mother’s Day”
Season 3, Episode 21, Chris buys his mother perfume for Mother’s Day. But the perfume is a cheap, knock-off of the original brand and gives her a rash! It’s the thought that matters, right? Watch Everybody Hates Chris on Peacock. Good Times: “A Matter Of Mothers”
Where else can you see little Janet Jackson? In the
classic ‘70s sitcom, one of the first African American sitcoms on television, Jackson plays Penny, played by the late Ja’Net DuBois, whose birth mother wants her back, but her mother is abusive. And Willona has stepped in to be the mother Penny deserves. Needless to say, Penny goes where the love is!
Jackson later spoke about her experience on the set and revealed a lot of her
self-esteem issues about her weight and body came from that experience. But it was also one of her most treasured experiences, especially working alongside DuBois. When DuBois died in 2020, Jackson paid tribute to her TV mother in a touching post. “I saw first hand how she broke stereotypes and changed the landscape for Black women in entertainment,” she said in an Instagram post. “I’m grateful in recent years I had a chance to see her and create more lasting memories.” Watch Good Times on Viki, Amazon Prime, and check your local cable listings. Saturday Night Live’s “Mother’s Day” Open
What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than letting your mom talk about you? The cold open of the 2018 episode of
is a roast feast of moms picking at their celebrity kids. But don’t worry! It’s all in good fun! Saturday Night Live SNL has had a few memorable Mother’s Day skits but the 2018 one is considered one of the best. After all, anytime a mother has a moment to pick on her kids, makes it timeless. The harsher the roasting the more the love, is that how it works? We like to think so! Watch Saturday Night Live on Peacock. The Flintstones: “Mother-in-Law's Visit”
It may be one of the few times Fred actually gets along with his mother-in-law. In this
classic 1963 episode, Fred promises to try and get along with his mother-in-law after Wilma finds out she is pregnant, but the effort is easier said than done. Fred and Wilma’s mother’s, Pearl Slaghoople, relationship has always been estranged. Pearl never liked Fred and is constantly disapproving of everything about him from his behavior to his financial status. Elizabeth Taylor portrays Pearl flawlessly in the 1993 live-action of The Flintstones. In one scene, she tells her daughter, “what has he [Fred] ever given you besides shade?” Well, can’t please everyone, especially in-laws. Watch The Flintstones on HBO Max. The Goldbergs: “Smother’s Day”
Surprise, not surprised, Beverley’s three kids have no Mother’s Day plans for their mom. Why? Because they completely forgot about it! But after a chorus of persuasion and taking out everything in their rooms, including the samurai swords, they make her an awful breakfast. This is an episode that makes you regret being such a jerky teen to your mom, and it’s also a trip down memory teenage lane for ‘80s kids, which could seem like a century ago to kids and young adults today. While they tease you about it, just tell them growing up during that time was just as much fun. We didn’t have social media to document all of our shenanigans (thank goodness).
Watch The Goldbergs on ABC and Hulu. Futurama: “Mother’s Day”
Even robots want to show love to their mothers. In
Season 2, Episode 14 of Futurama, Bender’s card pretty much wraps up his feelings for mom! The card read, which said in part: “You’re as tender as corn beef and warm as pastrami. I love my mommy!” What better way to say ‘I love you mom’ than with a food analogy. But it’s an interesting comparison in Bender’s case since his mom doesn’t have a mom and is basically a robotic arm that works in a factory building bending units and communicates through sign language. So we’re not sure if she knows what corn beef and pastrami taste like. Watch Futurama on Hulu. 30 Rock: “The Moms”
Season 4, Episode 20, the moms of The Girlie Show’s cast and crew are invited to visit the set for Mother’s Day. During the visit, Liz’s mother shares with her that the love of her life was astronaut Buzz Aldrin and not Liz’s father. The reveal leaves Liz thinking what her life could’ve been like if Aldrin was her dad. Meanwhile, Jack’s mom puts herself in the middle of his relationships with CNBC host Avery Jessup and his high school crush, Nancy Donovan. And Jenna’s mom makes a comeback. Needless to say, this episode is full of OMG moments. Watch 30 Rock on Peacock. The Middle: “Mother’s Day”
It’s all about the pampering in this one of lack thereof. The ABC original series has a few Mother’s Day episodes, but arguably the best one is
Season 1, Episode 22, when Frankie gets upset by the childish gifts she receives from her kids. To make up for it, she sees her own mother the next day but the visit doesn’t go as planned. The Middle aired for over 10 years before getting the plug pulled in 2018. The show focused on a middle-age, middle-class, mother who used her witty sense of humor to navigate the ups and downs of life including parenthood. Watch The Middle on HBO Max.
This article was originally published on
April 20, 2021