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Top 10 Most Embarrassing Parents in Movies & TV

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson

Well-intentioned though they might be, these parental units come with a serious cringe factor. For this list, we’re looking at any and all embarrassing parents found throughout the world of television and film, and we’ll be considering both individual parents and couples. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Embarrassing Parents in Movies and TV.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Embarrassing%20Parents%20Moments%20from%20Movies%20and%20TV Special thanks to our user Spotlessmind for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Caitlin Johnson

Top 10 Embarrassing Parents in Movies and TV

Well-intentioned though they might be, these parental units come with a serious cringe factor. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 embarrassing parents in movies and TV.
For this list, we’re looking at any and all embarrassing parents found throughout the world of television and film, and we’ll be considering both individual parents and couples.

#10: Mrs. George

“Mean Girls” (2004)
As she likes to remind us herself, she’s not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom. Regina however, would much rather her mother stay out of her room when she has her clique over. In her small but memorable role, Amy Poehler steals the show by offering the teens mocktails (before offering real booze on the condition that they drink it there) as well as condoms. She even coaches them on their “Jingle Bell Rock” dance. But it’s the moment where the dog she’s carrying is desperately trying to chew on her breast that was the final straw for both viewers and her daughter, who promptly orders her to go “fix her hair.”

#9: Beverly & Murray Goldberg

“The Goldbergs” (2013-)
The ultimate embarrassing mom, Beverly loves her kids so much it hurts. Ridiculously proud of them and their sometimes-limited abilities, she won’t stop getting involved in their lives, be it with their friends, or just hyping them up to no end. Murray, on the other hand, believes adamantly that his wife smothers the kids way too much and isn’t above plain insulting them if they do something dumb – frequently calling them “morons”. Eccentricities and embarrassment aside, Beverly and Murray ultimately have good relationships with their three kids.

#8: Bernard ‘Bernie’ & Rozalin ‘Roz’ Focker

“Meet the Fockers” (2004)
Pam’s ex-CIA father Jack was already embarrassing enough in “Meet the Parents”, obsessively trying to ruin his daughter’s relationship – but Greg’s hippie mom and dad are on a whole other level. Greg even convinces them to lie about their professions in order to appear more normal to Jack and Dina, getting Roz to pretend to be a yoga instructor when in actuality she’s a sex therapist for elderly couples. If her handing out sex tips to Pam’s parents wasn’t bad enough, Greg’s father Bernie reveals way too much about his son’s sex life to his future in-laws. It’s the definition of “too much information.”

#7: Clark Griswold

“National Lampoon’s Vacation” franchise (1983-)
In the first film, Clark Griswold decides on a whim to drive him and his family cross-country in an RV to go to an amusement park, only to discover that the park is closed for two weeks so their trip was a waste of time. The Griswold patriarch getting absolutely everything wrong is the running thread throughout the saga. At Christmas he can’t talk to a pretty girl in a shop without freaking out, and when they go to Vegas he gambles away almost all of their money. Clark doesn’t really need to do anything particular to embarrass his family - just being himself is enough.

#6: Frank & Estelle Costanza

“Seinfeld” (1989-98)
George’s parents are a constant source of embarrassment for him, especially when they’re allowed to interact with others. Often called some of the most underrated minor characters in a sitcom, Frank and Estelle Costanza steal each and every scene in which they appear. At one dinner party with George’s future in-laws, Frank can’t understand how chicks are born and Estelle doesn’t know what merlot is; Frank even co-invents a male bra with Kramer he likes to call a “mansierre” because of his “feminine breasts.” When they’re not embarrassing George, they’re embarrassing themselves; they’re almost always bickering and seemingly can’t stand each other.

#5: Lois & Hal

“Malcolm in the Middle” (2000-6)
The domineering matriarch of the Wilkersons, Lois is widely disliked by all the other characters and often takes an antagonistic role in the episodes. An ultimate control freak, it takes up all of her time trying to keep the boys in check and she often submits them to unreasonable punishments. By contrast, father Hal is much more laid back and reserved, only disciplining the kids when they actually deserve it. He always defers to Lois however, and his natural awkwardness and subservient nature make him embarrassing in an entirely different sort of way.

#4: Tobias & Lindsay Bluth Fünke

“Arrested Development” (2003-06; 2013-)
An embarrassment to the entire family, including their daughter, the grossly mismatched Lindsay and Tobias were only married so that Lindsay could spite her parents – the equally embarrassing Lucille and George, the latter of whom goes to prison for embezzling and the former who frequently mentions how much she dislikes her own son, Gob. Tobias and Lindsay aren’t remotely affectionate towards each other and have few, if any, romantic moments - namely because of Tobias’ ambiguous sexuality and Lindsay’s general disinterest in him. Embarrassingly for daughter Maeby, Tobias calls his previous combined profession of being an analyst and therapist being an “analrapist”, while her mother frequently forgets she even exists.

#3: Noah Levenstein

“American Pie” franchise (1999-)
Having a parent who’s open and understanding about sex seems like a good thing, but for Jim, his father’s lectures on girls and masturbation are definitely not welcome. For all the compromising situations Jim finds himself in, it’s usually his father who walks in on him; Noah even helps his son cover up the mess he makes of the eponymous apple pie. Mr. Levenstein is the only character to appear in every movie, handing out sex tips to the various teens who come his way. But Jim’s Dad isn’t the series’ only embarrassing parent; Stifler’s Mom is ordered by Stifler to stay in her room during parties – though this doesn’t stop her from repeatedly sleeping with Finch.

#2: Homer Simpson

“The Simpsons” (1989-)
A father figure more inconsistent than Homer Simpson is hard to find. His attitude towards his kids seemingly changes from one episode to the next – though more often than not, embarrassment is all but guaranteed, especially for Lisa. At the very root of Homer’s frequently embarrassing behavior is a persistent lack of foresight and self-awareness. He has ideas, he executes them, and then catastrophe of both the physical and social variety ensues. Thankfully, Lisa is one of the few people Homer will actually listen to when she calls him out for his behavior. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before he reoffends. Also, it would be good if he stopped strangling Bart.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:
Mrs. Wolowitz
“The Big Bang Theory” (2007-)
Papa Cletus & Mama Anna Klump
“The Nutty Professor” franchise (1996-2000)
Marie & Francis ‘Frank’ Barone
“Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005)

#1: Frank Gallagher

"Shameless" [UK] (2004-13) / [U.S.](2011-)
Whether you’re talking the UK version or the US version, he’s one of the most, if not the most, irresponsible father in television history. Frank is also a lot more than just plain embarrassing to his kids. And with over half a dozen offspring - that we know about – that’s a lot of embarrassment to go around. There are very few times throughout the episodes when he’s sober enough to be capable of doing something helpful, let alone actually give his children advice. At the start of the show, they generally don’t like him, and despite relations subsequently improving, he still never fully takes on responsibility as head of the family.


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