Your mom. She's great. You know it. I certainly know it. Your mom is world-renowned for being very, very good.
Really. We're in love. Happy Mother's Day.
But not everybody can be like your mom. Not everybody's Mrs. Huxtable, either. Network TV is filled to the brim with moms that shouldn't be allowed near flammable things, let alone be allowed to raise children.
It's not just standard neglect, either. It's putting children in the line of fire of a rampant serial killer. It's adopting children solely to annoy other children. It's forcing one of them to -- gasp! -- make programming decisions at NBC.
I know. The horror.
Yep, Sunday is Mother's Day. But no one will show off what a loving, beautiful mom you have quite like the 10 worst TV moms of all-time. -- Ben Collins
10. The Dowager Countess -- Downton Abbey
Why might we, a culture of people so ready to dislike the rich One-Percenters, be madly in love with a wealthy, spoiled white lady who hates progress? Sure, she may not have the best bedside manner. And sure, she might be that mom that wouldn't come to your soccer game because she doesn't want to sit in the sun. Taking you to Chuck E. Cheese's would be out of the question because of the "crowd". And yes, she would probably scorn at the idea of you choosing to become an entrepreneur. But can you imagine having the Dowager Countess on your side at your family's Thanksgiving? Oh, the ways she could burn that drunk uncle for having quit his job to become a professional skateboarder, or the jab she would deliver to that cousin who won't stop talking about her trip to Vegas. Or you could just watch American Idol with her. It's not just that she speaks her mind, but that she does it with full conviction, full loyalty to her family, and delivers it as if properly served on English toast with jam. -- Janet Wood
9. Colleen Donaghy -- 30 Rock
Emotionally manipulative, vindictive and style for days... Colleen Donaghy is one mother you don't want to mess with. She even left the idyllic Lemon family "tearing at each other like drag queens at a wig sale." Her own son couldn't stand to be around her and even went so far as to run her over (accidentally?). So why do we even bother liking such a hateful, vitriolic woman? It takes a tough woman to raise a phenomenal success like Jack Donaghy, which she did at any cost... like any good mom, so you can't help but love her. -- Martin Moakler
8. Cersei Baratheon -- Game of Thrones
She may be an evil queen, but Game of Thrones' villainess Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is one fierce mom. After all, there's nothing she won't do to protect her son and get him on the throne -- even if she has to lie and kill a few people along the way. Never mind that he's born of incest (hello, brotherlover) and that she's a major bitch to her dwarf brother, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). -- Rebecca Harper
7. Claire Matthews -- The Following
Claire is just hopeless. The only thing outweighing her abysmally poor judgment is her overriding death wish -- outstanding qualities to have in a child's sole caretaker. Why the death wish? The father of her young son Joey is a deranged, murderous cult leader with a poor understanding of classic literature. Joey's hand-selected nanny turned out to be a matricidal psycho well versed in the finer points of child abduction. And the man she wants as Joey's new father figure may be the most incompetent FBI agent of all time and also carries a 'death curse'. Can anyone blame her for voluntarily running off -- twice! -- with creepy cultists out to kill her? Sure, she said it was to be reunited with her kidnapped son, but subconsciously she wanted to end it all before little Joey started to imitate his father, painting demonic "Cat in the Hats" all over his bedroom walls. Why do we love her anyway? She makes us grateful that our own mother didn't marry a Poe-worshipping nutjob. (Though we still hold out hope for one that adores Eric Carle.) -- Kristin Knox
6. Lois (from Meg's Perspective) -- Family Guy
You know that expression "a face only a mother can love?" Meg Griffin thinks that's a joke. A funny joke. A joke almost as funny as her face.
Sorry. Don't mean to pile on. That would make me like Quagmire, who has piled on before.
Lois hates Meg, but so does Peter and Brian and Stewie and Chris and all of society. She is, in fact, a terrible mom. But if you conceived a child that's basically the Brown Note of children, would really act any differently? -- Ben Collins
5. Snow White -- Once Upon A Time
So, Snow White's whole schtick is that she's brave and good and Bambi-eyed, which makes you a terrible person if you don't love her. But the same traits that make her bedtime story material also make us want to take her by the shoulders and shake her violently. She has had exactly one billion chances to get rid of the Regina -- the Evil Queen whose goals vary between torturing Snow's family and assassinating them -- but the opportunity to make a saccharine speech about second chances and the good within always trumps her family's safety. If she had had the balls to off Regina back in the Enchanted Forest when she had fifty chances to, the Curse that caused her to send her newborn daughter through a portal into an unknown land that dumped her on the side of a highway and destined her for a life of foster care and petty crime, never would have happened. Yes, she did kill Cora, the Even Eviler Queen, but it threw her into a bed-ridden tailspin that she has barely recovered from. Regina will live to scheme another day. -- Naivasha Dean
4. Lois -- Malcolm in the Middle
What is there to love about Lois, mother of Malcolm and 3 (eventually 4) other trouble makers...is it her short temper? The fact that she's merciless? Or maybe her unhealthy need to control everything? I might have said all of these things had you asked me to describe her during my youth, but now? Simply put, Lois is a genius and puts into perspective how lucky we all are. She kicked Francis out of the house, denied Reese food and water, forced Dewey to bathe in the yard, and humiliated Malcolm publicly in almost every single episode. Honestly, staring at a wall for "timeout" was a cakewalk in comparison to what these boys deal with...but I've also never burnt my parents belongings, convinced them they have cancer, or destroyed the family car (on purpose.) Lois takes the cake when it comes to dishing out original punishments, and although these acts of discipline seem mostly ineffective, it's always a pleasure to watch the agony she puts those kids through...because it's not me. So thanks Mom, for not being like Lois! -- Razmig Arabian
3. Betty Draper -- Mad Men
When someone is as confused about who they are and what they want as Betty Draper/Francis is, it's easy to see how parenting skills might get lost in the mix. She simply doesn't understand her children's behavior. She has no concept that they're simply mirroring her own erratic nonsense or crying for attention from their mostly absent father. But the true moments of disturbing mothering come when she chooses to use her children as pawns of nuclear family warfare, such as earlier this season when (SPOILER ALERT) she sent her own children into Manhattan during a full scale riot after an assassination just because it was Don Draper's time to be with the kids and to contrast Don with her new husband. And of course let's not forget this is the same woman who gave a lock of hair to her pre-teen daughter's creepy boyfriend-to-be. Betty needs to stop blaming the world and those around her kids' strange behavior and start spending some real time getting to know who they are. Unfortunately it's likely too late for that now. -- James Goux
2. Lucille Bluth -- Arrested Development
I don't how she feels about this, but Jessica Walter was born to play the part of a manipulative mother. (We mean that in the best way possible.) There are so many actors in Arrested Development that make the show as brilliant and iconic as it is. But Jessica Walter's Lucille Bluth is just... perfect. Scarily perfect.
Michael Bluth may be "the one son who had no choice but to keep his family together," but Lucille arguably is the one who actually does it: with scare tactics, guilt-tripping, and a bucket of lies. And, oh yeah, she adopted a Korean child to make her youngest child jealous. Then lost him in the walls.
We admire her ability to function despite her rampant alcoholism, her witty putdowns, her style -- but we're mostly just impressed at the lengths this woman will go to force her children to love her. Or at least pretend to. -- Katherine Rea
1. The Mother -- How I Met Your Mother
I mean, who is this woman? How absent can she possibly be? She lets her husband talk to her children for, what, 96 consecutive hours? And she lets him talk to those children about every previous sexual escapade spanning over a decade of his life? Is she at the world's longest pedicure?
Is this intentional neglect? Is this woman on the lam? Is she an actual invisible woman? Is she just very quiet? Is she locked somewhere, maybe in a garage or closet or shed? Is a woman who is capable of locking herself in a garage, closet, or shed logistically capable of raising two kids all the way to adolescence? Isn't this a lot of questions? Should a woman with so many questions about her viability as a parent really be allowed to keep her children? Worst of all, do these kids believe this behavior -- the 100-plus hours of non-stop talking with no breaks to eat or use a bathroom -- to be normal? This is abuse, full stop, and it must end now. We must find out the identity of this woman so we can bring her to justice. -- Ben Collins
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