It seems that television series' often revolve around romantic pairings or the relationships between friends and coworkers. But every so often, a series will provide us with inspiring mother and daughter duos that portray the often complicated, but loving, bonds that they share.
It's true that no mother-child relationship is perfect on screen (or in real life), and tensions can fly between on-screen moms and daughters. But this is all a part of what makes these shows so interesting and easy to relate to. Through the years, several television shows have managed to capture mom-daughter duos beautifully, providing viewers with an opportunity to watch both realistic stories between parents and their children play out on screen, as well as conveying what makes these kinds of relationships so unique and important. From the 1980s moms and daughters featured on shows such as the Golden Girls and The Cosby Show, to more recent series such as Downton Abbey, we’ve highlighted some of television’s most memorable mother and daughter pairs from the past couple of decades.
10 Joyce Summers and Buffy - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
9 Reba Hart and Cheyenne Montgomery - Reba (2001-2007)
8 Susan and Julie - Desperate Housewives (2004-2014)
7 Nora and Kitty - Brothers & Sisters (2006-2011)
6 Mary Margaret and Emma Swan – Once Upon a Time (2011-current)
This television series is about fairy tale characters that are stuck in the “real world” thanks to a curse. Mom Snow White, or Mary Margaret as she’s sometimes known (Ginnifer Goodwin), finally reconnects with the daughter, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), that she was separated from since her birth. Although Mary Margaret is nearly the same age as her daughter (the curse she was subjected to conveniently prevented her from aging over the years), despite their similar ages, she attempts to foster a relationship with Emma, often doling out advice (with varying success – it’s not easy, after all, to forge a relationship with your long-lost, adult daughter). The two are slowly building a relationship while they manage to work together against the various obstacles that the fantasy world throws their way.
5 Claire and Denise Huxtable - The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
4 Cora Crawley and Lady Mary, Edith and Sybil – Downton Abbey (2010-current)
The historical soap opera Downton Abbey features the daily life and struggles of an early 20th century aristocratic family. Mom Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), a wealthy American who married the Earl of Grantham, provides a steady presence and often offers up advice for her daughters as they navigate their lives under the strict social expectations of the time. Her daughters aren’t always the warmest toward her, but Cora nonetheless provides a loving and supportive presence in their lives.
3 Roseanne and Darlene – Roseanne (1988-1997)
2 Sophia and Dorothy - Golden Girls (1985-1992)
1 Lorelai and Rory - Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
A warm mother-daughter relationship was front and center throughout the seven seasons of Gilmore Girls. Over the years, viewers watched mom Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel), who were relatively close in age because Lorelai gave birth at age 16, “grow up” together. Inn-owner Lorelai had many relationships and friendships throughout the years, but none was ever more important than her connection with daughter Rory. Rory, meanwhile, a book-smart prep school-turned-Yale student, also went through her fair share of growing pains but managed to always find a way back to her mom. Although the two clashed occasionally, most of the time they were best friends, enjoying each other’s company and sharing quick-witted, spot-on jokes about everything from small town politics to pop culture. By the time the series ended, the mother and daughter duo may have each gone their own way into separate new lives, but the bond that they shared on screen for all of those seasons immortalized the two as one of the most well-known mother-daughter duos on television.
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