Mother's Day is almost here, so if you haven't already gotten your mom a cheeky card or heartfelt gift, you'd better get the hell on it. To be fair, though, all a mother really wants on the holiday is to know her children love her — it doesn't matter whether you show that to yours through material goods or simply time spent together. Just show the appreciation somehow.
Unsurprisingly, Mother's Day has been a ripe area for TV over the years, which loves to center special episodes around holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, and so on. Many long-running series in both comedy and drama have done tributes to the moms at some point, so what better time than now to call out some of the best ones?
Actually, if you're looking for a fresh gift idea this year, maybe just binge all of the below episodes in a row with your mom while you both laugh, cry, and appreciate your own mother-child relationship.
1. Modern Family — "Mother's Day"
"Mother's Day" sees Claire and Gloria attempt to take their kids on a hike while Phil and Jay cook dinner for the entire family back home. In classic Modern Family fashion, the two women hurt their kids' feelings and the two men have an awkward moment together. The highlight is Jay's emotional outburst at an unearthed letter he wrote to his mother when he was 9 years old, and by the end of the episode, everyone's sharing in one big, literal family hug.
2. Futurama — "Mother's Day"
In a story that has nothing in common with Modern Family's special outside of the name, Futurama's "Mother's Day" centers on Mom's Friendly Robot Company. Every year on the holiday, robots made in the factory give gifts, money, and cards to the founder of the company, Mom herself. Mom just so happens to hate Mother's Day, though, and lets her bad mood from a failed romance with Professor Farnsworth 70 years prior drive her to lead a robot rebellion against humanity.
Her sons, not too fond of the idea, enlist the help of the Professor's team to hatch a plot that would have him seduce her to get to the robot control Mom keeps in her bra. The plan goes pretty well until the olds' love is rekindled, and they fall into an actual bout of passion. Just for the sake of not ruining the romance, Mom calls the rebellion off at the last moment, then the two lovebirds go their separate ways after learning of the plot.
3. Orange is the New Black — "Mother's Day"
Yep, another appropriately named "Mother's Day." In this one, Pennsatucky gets the spotlight in a flashback that sees her mother forcing her to chug Mountain Dew in front of a Social Security office. The whole point is to make it seem like she has a mental disorder and get a check from the government, a story which Pennsatucky recounts to a couple other inmates to explain what her mother taught her. Cheerful stuff!
4. The Simpsons — "Moe Letter Blues"
Shockingly, as it's been around for nearly three decades, The Simpsons doesn't have a lot of Mother's Day episodes to sift through. "Moe Letter Blues" from season 21 is one of the few examples, and it follows Homer, Rev. Lovejoy, and Apu as they reveal the cracks in their respective marriages upon receiving a letter from Moe that says he will steal one of their wives.
One by one, the men rush back to their wives, each convinced it's their marriage they've been taking for granted. As it turns out, Moe engineered three different nerve-wracking situations for them to encounter and be reminded they should treat their relationships with more respect. It's a nice nod to the idea that male partners should appreciate the mother of their children on Mother's Day, too — not just the kids themselves.
5. Mad Men — "Babylon"
At the top of "Babylon," Don Draper is walking breakfast in bed up the stairs to his wife Betty on Mother's Day morning when he slips, falls, and has a flashback. In it, his mother has given birth to his half-brother, and he doesn't look to pleased.
It's just the sixth episode of the whole series, and a fascinating look at the early symbols and story threads that creator Matt Weiner and team spun out across seven seasons of one of the best TV shows of all time. Lying, cheating, existential wonder, repeating mistakes, and much more. It's all there.
6. 30 Rock — "The Moms"
In 30 Rock's classic "The Moms" episode, The Girlie Show with Tracy Jordan (TGS) is celebrating Mother's Day by having the mothers of its cast and crew visit. Jack Donaghy's mother also makes an appearance, of course, and, needless to say, no one really leaves the episode too happy. Good old-fashioned can't-stand-your-mom comedy.
7. Rugrats — "Mother's Day"
Rounding out the list is a heavy dose of nostalgia: Rugrats. In the babies-can-talk cartoon's "Mother's Day" episode, the little ones all set out to find presents for their moms. Be careful if you watch this one — the holiday's full of enough callbacks to your childhood as it is.