What’s better than watching a sitcom about the familiar characters you come to know and love? Nothing, except maybe imagining the dream casting of who would play members of their families. With Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s time to revisit some great celebrity cameos by women you recognize playing the moms of your favorite TV characters. All of these are currently streaming somewhere, so plan accordingly.
Debbie Reynolds as Debra Messing’s mom on Will & Grace (Hulu)
The star of Singing in the Rain and countless other classics surprised audiences when she walked on set playing Grace’s mom in the late 1990s. Reynolds appeared as Bobbi Adler in 12 episodes between 1999 and 2006, but her first appearance is in episode 13 of season one, “The Unsinkable Mommy Adler.” Sadly, Reynolds passed away in 2016, before the Will & Grace reboot.
Carrie Fisher as Rob Delaney’s mom on Catastrophe (Amazon)
Passing along the tradition of celebrity casting years later was Reynold’s extremely famous daughter, the late, great Carrie Fisher. Fisher played Rob’s mom for three seasons of Catastrophe, showing up for the first time in episode five of season one before the wedding, causing drama between Sharon and Rob from her very first appearance.
Hattie Winston as Donald Faison’s mom on Scrubs (Hulu)
Winston was a facet of the 1970s, most notably for her role on The Electric Company, appearing in more than 500 episodes of the children’s show. She first shows up in season one of Scrubs as (Christopher) Turk’s mom in “My Old Man,” episode 19.
(Image credit: NBC/Getty Images)
Elaine Stritch as Alec Baldwin’s mom on 30 Rock (Hulu)
Jack Donaghy’s abrasive but smart-as-a-whip mother is perfectly played by Broadway’s own Elaine Stritch. The singer and actor was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1995, but she didn’t show up on TV as Colleen Donaghy until 2007 in the finale of season one of the NBC comedy.
(Image credit: Christopher Saunders)
Peri Gilpin as Abbi Jacobson’s mom on Broad City (Hulu)
The wonderful Peri Gilpin, aka Roz from Frasier, shows up in episode five of season four of Broad City, playing Abbi’s mom, in a hilarious turn. The episode, “Abbi’s Mom,” came a season after Tony Danza showed up playing Abbi’s father.
Molly Ringwald as KJ Apa’s mom on Riverdale (Netflix)
Where did Archie Andrews get that red hair? He inherited from the queen of the 1980s, the incomparable Molly Ringwald! We meet the estranged Mrs. Mary Andrews in season one, when she comes back to Riverdale in episode 10 to check in on her son.