Sarah Braverman – Parenthood
Maybe it’s the Gilmore girl in me, or maybe Lauren Graham is just genius at playing moms, but Sarah Braverman is among my most treasured TV moms. Flawed and constantly stumbling, Sarah often makes decisions that are directly in opposition to her own best interest, but she has more pluck than all the rest of the mothers on this list, combined.
Sarah is one of the four of the Braverman siblings on the tear-jerking drama, Parenthood. The series hinges on the personal inter-workings of the brothers and sisters and their respective spouses. Sarah is positioned as the most troubled, having married a drug-addicted musician, and the rest of her family view her as the Bad News Bear of the bunch. Riddled with money and romantic troubles, she returns home to her parents’ house to try to start a new life.
Her new life is still filled with missteps, and she spends the first few seasons picking herself up and dusting herself off, over and over again. Her relationship with her daughter, Amber, is not idealized or glossed over, and they’ve had screaming matches that would rival any mother/daughter relationship IRL.
One of my favorite episodes of the show centers around Sarah’s 40th birthday, in which Amber blows off, not realizing how hurt her mother would be. The restraint with which Sarah mildly scolds her daughter is admirable, but the desperate heartbreak behind her eyes is palpably heart-breaking.
Amber eventually grows up and realizes how precious her mother and this change in paradigm is one of the more hopeful moments between mothers and daughters. They wind up forming a beautiful friendship that can only happen between a mother and daughter.