The Age Differences In These TV Families Might Surprise You

Photo: Scott Everett White/ABC.
It's no secret that Hollywood often casts actors in parental roles who are younger than they should be. Remember when Amy Poehler played Rachel McAdams' mom in Mean Girls — even though there was only a seven-year age difference between them?
And then there's the fact that Angela Bassett played Cuba Gooding Jr.'s onscreen sister in American Horror Story: Roanoke, after she she played his mom in 1991's Boyz n the Hood. (For the record, there's only a decade's age difference between them — Gooding Jr. is 49, and Bassett will turn 59 this year.)
That said, there doesn't always seem to be rhyme or reason behind the casting decisions for parents of adult TV characters. And while we can't imagine anyone else in these roles, some of these actors are closer to being their onscreen kids' siblings than they are to being their parents.
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Photo: Scott Everett White/ABC.
Anthony Anderson & Laurence Fishburne, black-ish

Yes, Fishburne is perfect as Pops. But in reality, he's less than a decade older than his onscreen son — Anderson is 46, and Fishburne is 55. (Jenifer Lewis, who plays Anderson's onscreen mom, Ruby, is 60.)
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Photo: John P Fleenor/FOX.
Andre Braugher & L. Scott Caldwell, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Fox sitcom recently announced that Caldwell will be playing Captain Holt's mom. Caldwell is great — but she's only 66 years old, and Braugher is 54. That's not much of an age difference for a mom and son.

To be fair, Brooklyn Nine-Nine's casting of Jake's dad was more realistic. Andy Samberg is 38, while Jake's absent father, played by Bradley Whitford, is 57.
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Photo: Colleen Hayes/FX.
Zach Galifianakis & Louie Anderson, Baskets

This is already a special case, since Anderson is playing a female character. (Galifianakis has previously said that when he and Louis C.K. cast the role, they envisioned Christine's voice before the rest of the character, and immediately thought of Anderson.) But in terms of age, there's not much difference between these two. Anderson is 64, and Galifianakis is 47 — and based on what we know about her younger days, Christine wasn't a teen mom.
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Photo: Scott Garfield/ABC/Getty Images.
Ellen Pompeo & Jeff Perry, Grey's Anatomy

Before he was accused of killing a president-elect on Scandal, Jeff Perry was playing Meredith's dad. It was a stretch, though; Perry is just 61, and Pompeo is 47.
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Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FOX.
Zooey Deschanel & Jamie Lee Curtis, New Girl

We'll give New Girl credit for this genius casting. Not only was Curtis hilarious in all the episodes she guest-starred in, but she really could be Deschanel's mom. Deschanel is 37, while Curtis is 58. That's a more realistic age gap than the parents who are only 10 or 15 years older than their TV kids.
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Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC.
Kerry Washington & Joe Morton, Scandal

Papa Pope is just the right age to be Olivia's dad. And his Shakespearean speeches about race are always a welcome addition to the show. Washington is 40; Morton is 69.
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Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW.
Rachel Bloom & Tovah Feldshuh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Tovah Feldshuh couldn't be more perfect as Rebecca's overbearing but supportive mom. Bloom is 30, and Feldshuh is 64.
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Photo: Tyler Golden/The CW.
Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, & Ivonne Coll, Jane The Virgin

Andrea Navedo is absolutely perfect as Xo. But in reality, there's no way she'd be Rodriguez's mom – Rodriguez is 32, and Navedo is 39. Although, to be fair, Rodriguez's Jane is in her late 20s, not her early 30s.

Xo's onscreen mom is more realistic, age-wise — Ivonne Coll is 69.
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Photo: MitchHaaseth/ABC.
Viola Davis & Cicely Tyson, How To Get Away With Murder

Tyson's casting as Annalise's mom is perfect in more ways than just her age. Davis told People earlier this year that she wanted to become an actor after watching Tyson's performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Davis is 51, and Tyson is 92.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ellie Kemper & Lisa Kudrow, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Kudrow isn't that much older than Kemper, but we know her character had Kimmy at a young age. Kemper is 36, and Kudrow is 53.