The Oedipus Complex, in which a man subconsciously wants to sleep with his mother and kill his father, is no stranger to TV. There are plenty of smothering mothers whose relationships with their sons are a little too close for comfort. Here are the top 10 examples of moms and sons who cross the line.
#10 Lucille and Buster Bluth, Arrested Development
Not only do they live together, but he even dated one of her friends, also named Lucille. If that’s not bad enough, there’s the Motherboy pageants they competed in together.
#9 Carol Fisher and Kevin Ball, Shameless
So Carol isn’t Kevin’s real mom, but she is the mother of Kev’s longtime girlfriend Veronica, and when Veronica learned she couldn’t get pregnant, she asked her boyfriend to have sex with her mom so they could have a baby that shares her DNA (which he did, graphically and repeatedly). And yes, it’s every bit as messed up as it sounds.
#8 Margene Heffman and Ben Hendrickson, Big Love
This may not technically qualify, but in the polygamous world of Big Love, Margene is one of Ben’s three mothers, and his sexual and romantic feelings for her after they accidentally see each other naked were definitely impure.
#7 Lysa and Robin Arryn, Game of Thrones
There are plenty of incestuous, inappropriate relationships on Game of Thrones, but I’m not sure any is more disturbing than the one between Catelyn Stark’s sister and her son who is way, way, WAY too old to still be breastfeeding.
#6 Jules and Travis Cobb, Cougar Town
In terms of comedies, no mother/son relationship is creepier or more hilarious than this one. Jules is way too invested in her sons life, even suggesting at one point that she wanted to miniaturize herself so she could be injected into her son and live in his blood. In season 4, Jules even told her son that she wanted to be “friends with benefits,” though she didn’t actually know the real meaning of the phrase.
#5 Genevieve and Jason Teague, Smallville
We never saw if these two (played by Jane Seymour and Jensen Ackles) actually had a romantic relationship, but he was definitely under her thumb, doing everything she asked, and Lionel Luthor more-than-implied on several occasions that the Teague family was unnaturally close.
#4 Anne and Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Before he was a Slayer-killing bad-ass, Spike was William Pratt, a meek aspiring poet with a domineering mother. When he became a vampire he sired his mother to cure her so they could stay together forever, but she turned mean and pointed out his decision was based on a sexual desire to be with her. To prove her point she tried to seduce him, but the altercation turned violent when Spike killed his own mom.
#3 Barbara and Scott Little, Boston Legal
Season 3 began with an ongoing trial involving a young man accused of murdering a much older judge’s wife he was sleeping with. The case ultimately revealed that Scott had sexual feelings for his own mother (hence his attraction to older women), and after he was acquitted when his mom was pegged as a potential suspect, the shocking and disturbing truth was shown as mother and son engaged in a deep, passionate kiss.
#2 Norma and Norman Bates, Bates Motel
Knowing where the story of Psycho ends up, the early years of Norman’s relationship with “mother” takes on disturbing new levels as the isolated young man struggles with his very, very, very protective mommy.
#1 Gillian and Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire
Yes, this HBO period drama actually went there when it was revealed via flashback that Gillian had full-on sex with her biological son, Jimmy. That was gross enough, but after he died she found a young man who looked just like her son, slept with him, and killed him in a bathtub in order to use his corpse as a stand-in for her son, who was missing.