Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Some say Hollywood only has one idea at a time. This TV season, it seems that idea was introducing character's parents! From dastardly matriarchs (Revenge, Hawaii Five-0) to downright quirky parental units (New Girl), many of our favorite characters got some family time this fall. But that wasn't always a good thing.
What are the top TV shows of 2012?
As the holidays approach and you prepare to spend a lengthy amount of time with your own family — or in-laws! — we here at TVGuide.com are taking a look at the TV parents who might make you thankful you're not spending your holiday with them. Then again, there are others that may make you jealous your parents aren't nearly as cool. Who were the best and worst parents of the fall TV season? We grade their parental skills below.
Mr. and Mrs. Kerkovich (Christopher McDonald and Julie Hagerty), Happy Endings
McDonald and Hagerty were perfectly cast. Not only do they both have a background in comedy — Airplane! and Happy Gilmore, anybody? — but the juxtaposition of Jane (Eliza Coupe) emulating her tough and anal-retentive father while Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) is more like their flakey and flighty mother was spot on. Their parenting skills, however, aren't the best since Jane went to great lengths — see: Pulling a Gallagher — just to make her uptight father laugh.
Doris McGarrett (Christine Lahti), Hawaii Five-0
Presumed dead for decades, Steve's (Alex O'Loughlin) mother finally resurfaced after an international manhunt led Steve to "Shelburne" in Japan. Though she claims to have faked her death to protect her family from Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), she also inexplicably let the deadly villain escape when she had a chance to put him down for good. Lahti has been so adept at switching from kickass former CIA agent with secrets to heartbroken mom (how could you not be moved by her bawling about how her actions hurt her daughter?) who wants nothing more than her kids' forgiveness, that we still don't know what side she's on
Joan and Bob Day; Charmaine Bishop (Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner; Anna Maria Horsford), New Girl
We could think of no one better to play Jess' (Zooey Deschanel) parents than this legendary duo. Jess' mother is quirky and light-hearted, while her father is the straight man among the crazy women in his life. But despite their divorce, they always play nice when Jess tries to Parent Trap them into getting back together. As for Winston's mother, anyone who doesn't like or trust Schmidt (Max Greenfield) is a smart parent in our book.
Grade for All: A-
Which actors gave the best performances in 2012?
Julia and Steve Wyatt (Glenne Headly and Jonathan Banks), Parks and Recreation
Unable to be in the same room with each other, Ben's (Adam Scott) parents are (emotionally, at least) some of the worst on this list. At Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben's engagement party, Steve causes a stir when he brings his new pregnant (!) girlfriend Ulani along. And Leslie's Unity Quilt is far from helpful: Once Leslie pens Ulani in to satisfy Steve, Julia swiftly cuts her out. Seriously folks, get it together before this blessed union!
Dee Bennett and Raymond McCray (Alfre Woodard and Richard Roundtree), Private Practice
A mama's boy at heart, Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs) was forced to grow up without a father. Little did he know, his single mother had an affair with her boss, and she kept him away from Sam. It turns out, Raymond's the one who gave Sam his first stethoscope, but Sam denies that Raymond had anything to do with the kind of man Sam grew to be. Still, having Shaft as your father does explain why Sam is so easy on the eyes.
Grade for both: C+
Kara Clarke and Marion Harper (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Adrienne Barbeau), Revenge
Emily (Emily VanCamp) and Victoria (Madeline Stowe) have one thing in common: They both have decidedly terrible mothers. Because she's literally crazy, Kara tried to drown Emily when she was a child. She also went on to marry the white-haired man who murdered her former husband David Clarke (James Tupper). Great taste, right? Shockingly, gold-digger Marion wins (loses?) in that department, as she kicked her own daughter out of the house after one of her marks molested Victoria.
Grade for both: F
What were the worst moments of the year?
Alex (Malin Akerman), Suburgatory
There's a reason Tessa (Jane Levy) grew up with George (Jeremy Sisto): Alex is not capable of being a mother. She proved that time and again after finally meeting with her daughter. But the icing on Alex's "World's Worst Parent" cake was her asking Tessa to go to Europe on a whim, disregarding the fact that her daughter has school and a life of her own in Chatswin.
NOTABLE UPCOMING PARENTS:
Wendy (Jane Seymour), Ben and Kate
Wendy is described as a pretentious Brit who will discover that her daughter BJ (Lucy Punch) has been keeping secrets from her.
Benny Severide (Treat Williams), Chicago Fire
It looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree: Kelly (Taylor Kinney) followed in his father's footsteps as a firefighter, but will Pops be as brash?
William Winger (James Brolin), Community
Since William hasn't seen his son Jeff (Joel McHale) since he was a baby, we're guessing an absentee parent won't suddenly be an amazing one.
Pilar (Elizabeth Pena), Modern Family
Sure, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is high maintenance, but just think about the kind of woman who birthed her? How Jay will react to that?!
Walt Miller (Dennis Farina), New Girl
We hear Walt mysteriously reappears to enlist his son Nick (Jake Johnson) in some less-than-legal activities involving a racetrack. This can't end well.
Which fall TV parents did you like or dislike? And who are you excited about meeting? Hit the comments with your thoughts!