TV Moms' reunion

May 8, 2008 5:59:57 PM PDT
Not every one of these Mother's Day celebrants is really a mom - but they play one on TV. On-screen children honored their television mothers at "A Mother's Day Salute to TV Moms," an event put on by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Attendees included Marion Ross ("Happy Days") and her TV offspring Erin Moran; Diahann Carroll ("Julia," "Dynasty" and "A Different World") and "World" co-star Jasmine Guy; Bonnie Franklin ("One Day at a Time") and Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli; and Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men") with Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen.

Questions arose at the Tuesday night event about another show-biz mother - Britney Spears - who had scored greater access to her two sons in a custody proceeding earlier in the day.

"You know, I always say, 'If the camera followed you all of your life, we would think differently about you, as well,"' said Tishina Arnold, who plays the mom on the sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris." "There are certain things that we don't need to see or know. But Britney's always in our prayers - that she will be a productive mother."

Productive, like TV moms such as Ross' Marion Cunningham, Carroll's Julia Baker and Franklin's Ann Romano, whose go-it-alone character on "One Day at a Time" made for groundbreaking TV.

"She was the first one, who, on television - since then, I mean, it's all over the place - a single mother raising two kids," Franklin told AP Television. "And it was reflective of what was happening in the country. I mean, I hear that, still, to this day: 'That was me. That was my mother. You were my mother."'

"One Day at a Time," incidentally, was inspired by the life of the show's co-creator, actor-writer-producer Whitney Blake, the mother of a TV mom, event attendee Meredith Baxter, who did her own matriarchal duties on TV's "Family," "Family Ties" and recently on "Cold Case."

As in reality, not all TV moms are good ones, especially Taylor's bawdy Evelyn Harper on "Two and a Half Men."

"I think that's pretty accurate," Taylor replied. "I mean, if you think 'Antichrist'/'Anti-mom.' I think what has trained me and prepared me for this role, as this particular mother, is that I have never had children. And not only have I never had children, but I didn't even notice that I haven't had children. So, with that in mind, I am beautifully equipped to play Evelyn Harper."