You can’t watch the Oscar–nominated Lady Bird, which was by its director as a mother–daughter love story, on Netflix, but there are many other shows with amazing mother–daughter relationships to be found. And not just Gilmore Girls.
Jane the Virgin
This telenovela–inspired show features three generations of women in Jane Villanueva’s family. Straight–laced Jane, on her way to a teaching degree, has a five–year plan and a long–term boyfriend with whom she shares her Google Calendar. Her mother, Xiomara, had Jane at sixteen and once embarrassed her daughter by lip–syncing the song “” at Jane’s quinceañera. And then there’s Jane’s grandmother, Alba, who once crumpled a flower and told Jane this was what happened to a girl when she lost her virginity.
The differences in three women’s personalities can lead to some necessary conflicts, but also so much love. In the second episode, we see one of their family meetings, which Jane’s boyfriend is attending for the first time. “Proud to be representing the male point of view,” he says. “Oh, see, I wouldn’t lead with that,” Jane tells him. “’Cause that’s not gonna do well at our meetings.”
You can’t talk about on–screen mother–daughter relationships without talking about Gilmore Girls.This show is a classic, so popular that the abrupt ending of its final season led to the 2016 Netflix revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Rory and Lorelai Gilmore are best friends, sharing a fast–paced stream of witty banter and endless cups of coffee as they whirl through boyfriends, career moves, and, in Rory’s case, college applications. Lorelai had Rory when she was in high school, and the two look enough like sisters that in the pilot episode they get hit on together. The guy is bewildered. “You do not look old enough to have a daughter… And you do not look like a daughter.”
In this show, the huge brood of Foster siblings are raised by their two wonderful moms, Lena and Steph. With five teenagers to take care of, a lot is going on in the Foster household at any given time, and the hot water is constantly running out. Despite this, Steph and Lena manage to take time for each kid, including their daughters, Mariana and Callie. Although it’s expensive, the moms throw a massive quinceañera for Mariana, complete with a pink bedazzled ball gown and sentimental photo slideshow, because they want their adopted daughter to feel connected to her heritage.
Although often melodramatic, the show has a comforting sense of hominess—the credits are overlaid with images of chore lists, cereal bowls, and a height chart on a door frame, while sentimental music plays, the lyrics reminding us to “never feel alone, you are home with me, right where you belong.”
As the title would suggest, this show features quite a bit of political intrigue, but some of the best parts are about domestic struggles in the Secretary’s family. Her three kids, Stevie, Alison, and Jason, cause problems in her personal life that compete with international disasters. In the second episode, the Secretary’s daughter Stevie drops out of college and moves home, and their tempestuous but loving relationships takes on a starring role in the show. Her younger daughter, Alison, has her own struggles, from first boyfriends to applying to college, but her mom is always there for her.
One Day at a Time
In this Netflix original, newly divorced nurse Penelope Alvarez raises her two kids with the help of her eccentric mother, Lydia. Penelope and Lydia often clash over their opposing values: Lydia perpetually hangs up photos of the Pope on the refrigerator, no matter how many times Penelope takes them down, and Lydia disapproves of Penelope dating.
Despite the difficulties of being the sole provider for her family and dealing with her alcoholic ex–husband, Penelope does everything she can for her kids, Elena and Alex, as they move through the daily struggles of middle and high school. The show covers a lot of territory, from Penelope coping with mental health issues after her military service in Afghanistan to Elena discovering her sexuality, and it does it all with lightness and humor.