Monday, May 4, 2009

Why Alfre Woodard is Awesome...

and why all writers (me, too) should think about what she's saying...

Just a little bit of wisdom found at The A.V. Club at The Onion:

"Americans have a hard time writing moms. I'll get a script and everything's really great, everything's well-drawn, but the mom is like this character, like stock footage, they go and get that out. They plug it in, this idea of "mother." You could lift moms out of any script, no matter what the culture, what the neighborhood, what the economic status, even if it's a period mom, and you could switch them around, and they'd be the same person. I think it's because most people don't really have a human idea, a specific life that they attach to who their mother was. Their mother was there for them, so it either gets deified, or the opposite. That Mommie Dearest kind of thing. We love them or we don't, or we rebel, but we can't see who they are. That they are a person in life with taste, with sexuality, with opinions, who is pissy also, who has a right to not be the big tit for you every time you want something. And then we leave, and we go off to college or off into the world to work-you really appreciate your mom then. But there's that big chunk when you don't know your mom's faults, desires, wishes, distastes."

She's currently starring in "American Violet".

Some of my favorite "Mother" roles written for screen and page:

1. All the mothers on "The Golden Girls." Yes, I'm a HUGE Bea Arthur fan and GG fan, too. I watch it every day only because the Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia are written as full-blooded, sexual, caring, sometimes selfish women who are mothers.

2. Claire Huxtable, The Cosby Show. Sassy, smart, sexy and no nonsense. She also had a life outside of her children.

3. Ellen Ripley, Aliens. Technically, she is not a mother, although she does end up becoming one in her defense of Newt.

4....I'm looking at my vast bookcase. I'm scanning titles, trying to identify one in which a well-rounded mother is portrayed. Having a hard time - either she's a mystical mom, or a crazy mom, or a slut and junkie, or has such a small part in the story that she's not really there... hmm...

Maybe Ms. Woodard has a point.

Can you help me - what are some awesomely-written mothers in literature/television/movies? I know there has to be...

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