She’s BAAAAACK!! Yes, my Little Pretty, there’s a reason you’ve been waking up soaked in sweat. In a few days, you’ll be sitting down to dinner with HER, your dreaded mother-in-law. Now, I know some of you have “wonderful” MILs. But for those of you who lost the MIL lottery, here’s a list of the TEN WORST MOTHER IN LAWS from films and movies, MILs so terrible that they’ll make your MIL look downright chummy.
1. Livia from “I, Claudius.” Wife to Emperor Augustus in this mega-hit BBC miniseries, Livia was literally poison to everyone she met. A manipulative monster, Livia racked up a huge body count. Livia makes this list because of her nasty habit of “interfering” in her sons’ marriages. Livia turns one daughter-in-law into an abandoned divorcée and exiles another to a desolate island. Worse yet, Livia murders her own son, turning her third daughter-in-law into a widow. Ouch!
2. “Bunny” MacDougal from Sex in the City. Way too close for Freudian comfort, this pearl-wearing society dame watches her 30-something son bathe and picks out his marital bed. Worse, Bunny snipes at Charlotte constantly. When she finds out about fertility-challenged Charlotte’s plan to adopt a Chinese girl, Bunny announces that she doesn’t want a “Mandarin baby” for a grandchild. I was yelling too loudly at the screen to hear the next line.
3. Marie Barone from Everyone Loves Raymond. Imagine a passive-aggressive monster who criticizes your cooking, cleaning, parenting and basic grooming. Now imagine she lives across the street and has the key to your house., Marie Barone (Doris Roberts) hovers over her adult son and takes potshots at her long-suffering daughter-in-law. I never understood why that poor girl didn’t just move.
4. Viola Fields from “Monster in Law.” Aging newscaster Viola Fields (Jane Fonda) tries to stop her doctor son from marrying his temp-worker girlfriend “Charlie” (Jennifer Lopez). Viola shames Charlie for not having a high-status career and for her J.Lo. padding. Next, Viola tries to sabotage the wedding under the guise of “helping” to plan it. Plus, she poisons the bride by triggering the girl’s peanut allergy.
5. Martha from Hush. Martha (Jessica Lange) goes full-out psycho when her son marries Gwyneth Paltrow. Martha has pregnant Gwynnie mugged and tries to break up her marriage. Next, Martha ups the ante by trying to kill Gwynnie and claim the baby as her own. Martha comes in at #5 here because even though her crimes were great, her movie wasn’t.
6. Jackie Florrick from The Good Wife. A “good” political wife in her own right, Jackie tries to manipulate her philandering son and his long-suffering, ex wife into reuniting. A passive-aggressive jedi master, Jackie toys with everyone and dips into her grandkids’ trust fund.
7. Endora from Bewitched. A magical snob with way too much eyeliner, MIL Endora (Agnes Moorehead) thinks son-in-law Darrin isn’t good enough for her Samantha because Darrin’s a muggle. Endora tries to sabotage the marriage by barging in constantly, insulting Darrin, and casting spells on the poor shlub. Eventually, she relents, admitting that Darrin loves Samantha too much to make him magically disappear.
8. Rose from The Ref. Wealthy, arrogant matriarch Rose micromanages her son’s life and shows contempt for her quirky daughter-in-law. Fortunately, this MIL from Hell gets her comeuppance when a thief posing as a marriage counselor (Denis Leary) takes her down a peg. Oppressed daughters-in-law everywhere rejoice!
9. Mrs. Marcus from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. As Mrs. Marcus, the late, great Ethel Merman gives us the prototype for the loud-mouthed, tyrannical MIL. Nagging her milquetoast son-in-law nonstop in her great trumpet of a voice, Merman is as subtle as a sledgehammer . . . and just as effective.
10. Mama Ling from American Dad. For Mama Ling, awfulness is a team effort with hubby Papa Ling. This Chinese immigrant duo is loud and cheap. They drive son-in-law Stan crazy by popping in for long visits, filling their daughter’s house with smelly, strange Chinese food (duck feet, anyone?), and speaking their “China talk” all the time. Someone on American Dad’s writing staff is getting revenge on their Chinese inlaws.