Did Hollywood Give Us Unrealistic Expectations About Mother-Daughter Relationships?

You don't have to be BFFs, nor do you have to harbour a deep-rooted, raging resentment. Sometimes your relationship with your mum will just stop-start in a bit of a meh fashion for a few years. And that's ok too...

mean girls mom

by Jazmin Kopotsha |
Updated on

'I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom', asserts Mrs George. And thus, one of our beloved, nostalgia-fueled memes was born.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't come out the side of *Mean Girls, *a generation-defining and reference-heavy sensation, a little bit disappointed that my mum didn't saunter into my room wearing pink velour tracksuits, super eager to be pals with my pals, with a tray of hump day (alcohol-free) cocktails for me. As much of a stress as I'm sure it would've been for dear Regina after a time, at the very least it would've been one of the nicer things to resent your mother for.

READ MORE: Here Are All The Celebrity Cameos In Friends That You Missed The First Time Around


The Debrief Celebrity Cameos In Friends

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Janine, aka Elle Macpherson

Joey's Australian dancer roommate who is the real reason we got to witness Ross and Monica perform 'The Routine'.

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CREDIT: Getty Images

Philip Schofield?!

Phillip Schofield shocked This Morning viewers by admitting he'd been on Friends, well, kinda. He's a superfan of the show, and so he actually went along to a viewing of Friends in the 90s. His laugh can be heard in a scene between Jennifer Aniston's Rachel and Matt Le Blanc's Joey in series three.He said: 'I have actually been on Friends. I've been in an episode of Friends. The one where they keep the scary books in the fridge. When I say I was on Friends... my laugh was on Friends.'

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Sandy, aka Freddie Prinze Jr.

The male nanny who Ross had an uncomfortable, definitely not okay, problem with.

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Melissa Warburton, aka Winona Ryder

Remember the big kiss? The one that Rachel apparently had in college with Melissa but no one believes her? That was with Winona.

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Ben, aka Cole Sprouse

Ross's son with Carol was not in the show anywhere near as frequently as he should have been. But the episode where Rachel teaches him how to pull pranks is gold.

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Ralph Lauren, aka Ralph Lauren

Kind of makes sense to have the real life fashion person referred to in Rachel's TV world job, played by the real life person.

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Susie Moss, aka Julia Roberts

Susie stole Chandler's clothes after having him undress in a cubicle in some restaurant toilets as revenge for teasing and pulling up her skirt when they were at school.

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Officer Goodbody, aka Danny Devito

Phoebe's last minute stripper for her bachelorette party was a fantastic dancer, and I won't hear otherwise.

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Dr. Michael Mitchell, aka George Clooney

Meet hot doctor number one who somehow finds himself in the middle of Rachel and Monica's identity swap after Monica loses her health insurance.

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Jamie, aka Helen Hunt

Helen popped up way back in the first season to give Friends a weird cross over into the Mad About You world. She tries to order coffee from Phoebe. It's a bit awks.

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Cousin Cassie, aka Denise Richards

Ah cousin Cassie Gellar. A relative who comes to stay with Monica but is oogled at a bit too much by Chandler so then goes to stay with Ross and has a weird moment over there too.

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Andrea Waltham, aka Jennifer Saunders

What a role, eh? Andrea played mother to Emily (Ross's wife who's name he did not say at the alter) and answers the phone to poor pregnant Phoebe who wasn't able to fly to London for the wedding.

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Tim and Tomas, aka Billy Crystal and Robin Williams

The award for the most out of nowhere cameo probably goes to these two guys who sat on the gang's sofa in the coffee house. Robin's character thinks his wife is cheating on him and for such an impromptu skit, it's pretty funny.

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Will Colbert, aka Brad Pitt

Aka co-president of the 'I Hate Rachel' club and lover of Thanksgiving food.

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Paul Stevens, aka Bruce Willis

Paul is dating Rachel after she breaks up with Ross who is dating Paul's daughter Elizabeth. It's one of the best awkward relationship squares that I can think of and that pep-talk moment in the mirror is A-grade brilliance.

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Richard Crosby, aka Gary Oldman

If you thought the guy who plays opposite Joey in a film then here's why. There's an awkward joke about an Oscar that he hasn't won (in real life and on the show).

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Leonard Hayes, aka Jeff Goldblum

Leonard/Jeff ends up getting peed on by Joey while congratulating him for a great audition, and I think we'll leave it there.

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Erica Ford, aka Brooke Shields

Yep, Joey's creepy Days Of Our Lives stalker is played by the Brooke Shields.

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Zack, aka John Stamos

To jog your memory, Zack is someone Monica and Chandler want as a sperm donor - they just don't tell him this!

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Amy Green, aka Christina Applegate

Here we have one of the Green sisters. We only meet Amy twice, and she has a real issue with getting Rachel's daughter Emma's name right.

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Jill Green, aka Reese Witherspoon

And here we have the other Green sister. She's Rachel's younger sister who comes to find her in the city hoping to start a new life like Rachel did but, well, doesn't. We think dating Ross to spite Rachel might have had a little something to do with it...

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Tommy, aka Ben Stiller

Remember Tommy the screamer?

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Erica, aka Anna Faris

Fun fact, Monica and Chandler's baby girl (one of the twins they adopted from Erica) would be about 17 now.

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Ryan, aka Charlie Sheen

Ryan, one of Phoebe's old flames, comes into town for a couple of weeks and hangs around even though Phoebe has the chicken pox. I suppose you could say it's kind of sweet.

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Kristen, aka Gabrielle Union

Kristen is one of the many women that Joey and Ross bicker over. She appears in The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress (when the girls go to that crazy discount store to help Monica find her dress) and ultimately choses to date neither of them.

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Wendy, aka Selma Blair

Miss Oklahoma runner up and causer of Christmas friction between Chandler and Monica.

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Jessica Lockhart, aka Susan Sarandon

We really hope no one took Jessica's screen kissing tips seriously. She's one of Joey's Days of Our Lives co-stars who is involved in that weird brain swap scenario.

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Mackenzie, aka Dakota Fanning

Nine-year-old Dakota Fanning played the little girl who chats to Joey when he's taken by Chandler and Monica to visit a house out in the suburbs. Neither of them wanted the sale to happen so they bonded.

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Guy on plane, aka Hugh Laurie

Let's have a moment for the unfortunate, nameless guy who has to sit next to Rachel on the flight from New York to London when she's adamant about telling Ross how she feels.

Looking back at the catalogue of films I watched in the nineties and noughties, if the the dynamic between a young woman and her mum is referenced at all, it's one of two things: catastrophic and dysfunctional (we're talking deep-rooted, raging resentment that is never fully put to bed until one day, differences are unexpectedly put aside and they suddenly see eye to eye), or the epitome of BFF aspirations that are actually really difficult to live up to IRL (hello, Gilmore Girls).

I grew up expecting at least one of the above from my mum, and got neither. Not through either of our faults (at least, not entirely) but because, at that age, I blithely assumed that what I saw on TV was an accurate depiction of everyone else's lives and thus making me feel really shit about mine for a time. Thank god I didn't have Instagram back then...

'You're ruining my life', Anna shouts in *Freaky Friday. *'I'd rather die than be like you', Merida screams in Disney's *Brave. *Cue the slammed doors, scowlly faces and long drawn out episodes of the silent treatment in every other fight scene between a mother and her teenage daughter on record.

Which is why I was weirdly disappointed when my big chance to release that Hollywood-worthy, pent up residual angst on my mum finally came along - I was sixteen and wanted to move to New York to be a dancer and she wasn't too enthusiastic - it didn't play out like it does on TV.

I gave her a thorough groan. I mumbled something about it being 'just so unfair' and held back my angry tears. Through gritted teeth, as she gave me that particular 'mum expression' that seems to befall every woman after giving birth, I frustratedly tried to explain that it did, in fact, make perfect sense for her to put up tens of thousands of pounds to fund my new life on the other side of the world. When she said no again, I left the room (there was no door to slam), retreated to bed (without actually being told to) and inwardly resented her lack of understanding of my dream for a few months.

The argument never came up again but we didn't make up either. We just resumed usual service and got on with our lives. No big kiss and make up scene where we hug, exclaim how much we mean to each other and candidly re-bond over a special in joke over a tub of our favourite ice cream. It was just, well, life.

You see, the bit that's missed out of the fights and reconciliation between the likes of the Rory and Loreli Gilmore, Alex and Clare Dunphy and Lily and Serena Van Der Woodson of the entertainment world, is the nothingness. The meh of indifference that sometimes comes with a relationship that lasts your whole life, with peaks and troughs, and highs and lows.

The 'meh' isn't always negative. If you're lucky its a companionable meh that both you and your mother share. Not quite indifference, but it's not fierce adoration or hatred either. It's just companionable interaction between you, and the woman who pushed you out of their vagina and fed you for eighteen years or so, but also stopped you from getting a tattoo when you were 15, which you're still kind of annoyed about now.

WATCH NOW: The Debrief Meets Saoirse Ronan From Lady Bird

Lady Bird comes close with this. It's one of the most recent hits purposefully about the intricacy of a young woman's relationship with her mother (and her best friend, too) but, SPOILER ALERT, the film couldn't come to an end without Lady Bird making amends with her upset and disassociated mother, could it? Hollywood can't let that relationship lie. If we've focusing on it at all, it needs to feel wholesome, complete and straight-forward. It needs at least a hint of Happily Ever After. Whereas in reality? They'd have had a couple of stilted conversations on the phone during her first term at college, and normally service would have wordlessly resumed during the Christmas holidays.

Whatever it is we have between ourselves and our mothers, it's anything but straight-forward, even if you do consider your mum to be her best friend in a way that rivals Rory and Lorelai Gilmore. Yes, it can be wonderful, affectionate and messy. But also? things get left unresolved, forgotten, over done, undone and confusing. And that's ok too.

For a long time I thought that my mum and I were meant to have A Thing. It could be positive or negative, but if we were going to have a relationship, it had have an anecdote-worthy schtick. But of course, it doesn't have to be that. It doesn't have to be anything. Because defining our relationships with our mothers by the Hollywood standards puts unwelcome pressure on the real deal. And let's be honest, the bond between mums and their little girls are complicated enough on their own.

**Follow Jazmin on Instagram **@JazKopotsha

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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