/Answers: Our Favorite Movie and TV Parents

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Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. This week’s edition, tying in with this weekend’s Snatched and last weekend’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, asks “Who are your favorite film or television parents?” As always, we have submissions from the /Film writing crew and podcast team.

If you’d like to share your favorite mothers and fathers from the movies of TV, please send your thoughts to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com for a chance to be featured on the site. Find our choices below!

Hoai-Train Bui: Arthur and Molly Weasley (The Harry Potter Movies)

I grew up reading the Harry Potter books, so it makes sense that, like Harry, I would grow up thinking of Arthur and Molly Weasley as surrogate parents. Immediately welcoming Harry into the fold of their seven-children family, the Weasleys looked after the orphaned and abused Harry like no one else had before. They made him custom sweaters, they gladly received him when their sons stole their car to rescue him from the Dursleys’ house arrest (after berating their own kids first), and they firmly stood by his side through the uncertainty and tragedy of war.

The only flaws that Arthur and Molly probably had were that there were none — just a series of quirks that made them all the more lovable. They were overprotective to be sure, which frustrated Harry, Ron, Fred and George to no end, but what parent wouldn’t be in the face of a murderous dark wizard? It may be too that we only knew them through Harry’s perspective, and so they would only ever be the warm, loving parents who took on to much at their own expense — with the occasional badass moment (Molly’s “Not my daughter, you bitch” will go down in cinematic history).

But we’re here to talk movies, and thankfully both Mark Williams and Julie Walters flesh out the roles marvelously. Williams sometimes leaned too hard into Arthur’s frumpy oaf personality and Walters’ cheeriness would get a bit shrill, but they brought the characters to life in a way that only improved upon their counterparts on the page.

Christopher Stipp: Bob and Helen Parr (The Incredibles)

About six months before Christian Bale showed us how dark and deep the rabbit hole went with his parental issues and ushered in a new era of moody superheroes, we got a family with their own set of issues. It was The Incredibles and the family, headed by patriarch Bob and matriarch Helen, still stand as the quintessential parents I admire most in all of moviedom.

Two of the things that makes them stand apart from the rest of the responsible adults with kids depicted in movies is just how ordinary their lives were, with Bob living a life of excruciating blandness, and just how much they cared about their family. Their fighting about the mundanity of their existence when they knew they were capable of so much more was balanced with that very real concern for their family’s welfare. The movie’s action and risks are so much more impactful when you consider it’s not just Helen and Bob whose lives are at stake, but it’s their children’s lives as well. The crescendo, which involves them working together to eventually stop the villainous Syndrome, plays a backseat to the greater story of how the Parr family functions as a unit and how it’s not just the parents versus the kids or the kids knowing more than their parents (as you would see in so many other kiddo versions of the hero’s journey).

This is a story of how a family is supposed to function when everyone works together. While everyone grows to understand how they can defeat a threat to a city’s well-being, Bob and Helen are there to demonstrate what it means to be honest and to be true to yourself.

friday night lights

Peter Sciretta: Eric and Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights)

There are no better parents in all of movies and television than Kyle Chandler’s Eric Taylor and Connie Britton’s Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights. Eric was the high school football coach in a Texas town where the game is considered to be above all else. Tami was a high school guidance counselor turned principal turned guidance counselor again, always struggling to be objective in her support of the children of a town sometimes gone mad.
They are the parents anyone and everyone would want to have. They are wholesome, but not without flaws, always trying to do the right thing and presenting the right example even when the world deals them shitty cards. Their loving, supportive relationship is almost too good, so much so that Buzzfeed once declared that they “ruined all other relationships” for anyone who watched the show. They were best friends and lovers, but also some of the most supportive parents you could ever find in fiction or non-fiction story.

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