"...you have to leave. I've got some stuff coming up. I need to lay down and sob for an hour."
Margaret Chenowith has been a wife (of Bernard Chenowith), and is a mother (of Brenda and Billy Chenowith) and career woman (psychiatrist). By her standards, she and her late husband met cute; while an intern, she was one of his patients. As Margaret tells it, she walked into his office in a "tight blue Givenchy skirt slit up to my wazoo" and, with a few notable exceptions, they were together until his recent death from cancer.
Margaret and Bernard, AKA Bern, had an "agreement"; they were allowed to sleep with other people as long as they adhered to certain rules. When Bern violated the primary protocol by taking a new partner without first notifying Margaret, she was livid. She had Brenda accompany her while she staked out a spa where Bern's "whore" was having a treatment. When the very attractive - and much younger - woman emerged, Margaret decided to "humanize the situation" by lunging at her. Margaret subsequently left Bern, but the separation was brief; when the whore dumped Bern, Margaret welcomed him back. In spite of everything, she still believes that Bern was her "soul twin" and when he died from cancer she was inconsolable.
Margaret's relationships with her children are also thorny. But whereas Billy is trying to accept his parents - "Who else would have either one of them?" he asks - Brenda refuses to. She is openly contemptuous of them and holds them responsible for her and Billy's emotional problems. Margaret, however, refuses to accept blame. After one especially rancorous confrontation, she looked her daughter in the eye and told her why: "Listen, Miss High-and-Mighty, this is life. People have crises. They push each others' buttons, they inflict pain on each other. And once in a f***ing blue moon they bring out the best in each other...but mostly they bring out the worst."
Having recovered from her husband's death, Margaret is now involved with Olivier, Billy and Claire's former art teacher - the one who managed to lure both Billie and Claire's ex Russell into sexual affairs.
Now that Brenda has undergone treatment for sex addiction and decided to become a therapist herself, she appears to be softening towards her mother.
played by Joanna Cassidy