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Jennifer Garner is becoming America's Mom — and you can thank Netflix for that

Jason Guerrasio   

Jennifer Garner is becoming America's Mom — and you can thank Netflix for that
  • With a spate of family-friendly Netflix films under her belt, Jennifer Garner is becoming "America's Mom."
  • Garner's wholesome Instagram presence and organic baby food brand have also contributed to her "Mom" image.

Before she was best known for her disarmingly friendly Instagram presence and her Capital One commercials, there was a time when Jennifer Garner could more accurately be characterized as an action star.

Her role as the disguise-wearing, butt-kicking CIA agent Sydney Bristow on ABC's early-2000s hit series "Alias" earned her multiple Emmy nominations over its five seasons and made her a bonafide star.

She followed that by playing the assassin Elektra Natchios in the 2003 superhero movie "Daredevil" and her own spin-off movie "Elektra" two years later. This led to a highly publicized marriage with her "Daredevil" costar, Ben Affleck.

All of that is over now. Garner is no longer in wigs beating up bad guys, nor is she married to Affleck (they divorced in 2018 and have three kids).

But in the ensuing years, Garner made a major pivot to family-friendly content, and it's led to the kind of fame only a few can capture: she's become America's Mom.

Like Tom Hanks, whose career choices made him so beloved by audiences that he became known as America's Dad to Gen Xers, Garner is becoming "Mom" for Millenials. And you can thank Netflix for that.

For the last three years, Garner has shown up in highly-watched family-friendly Netflix original movies — 2021's "Yes Day," 2022's "The Adam Project," 2023's "Family Switch" — and Deadline reported this week that she's signing on to star in the streaming giant's upcoming holiday comedy "Mrs. Claus."

Though all these titles have zany PG-rated premises — in "Yes Day," she's a mom who cannot say no to her kids for 24 hours; in "The Adam Project" she's the mother of a time-traveling Ryan Reynolds; in "Family Switch" she's a mom who switches bodies with her daughter — what all these titles have in common is they cast Garner, 51, as a strong mother who is a role model to her kids. And while the plot for "Mrs. Claus" is unknown, it's hard to believe she'll play anything other than a hardworking mother figure to all the elves.

Assuming the mantle of America's Mom isn't a left-field move for Garner. Whether she was in romcoms ("13 Going on 30," "Valentine's Day") or dramas ("Juno," "Draft Day"), Garner has always shined playing roles where she could sell a character's warmth and positivity with her friendly smile.

In the last decade, she's leaned into those qualities off-camera, too. She was seen supporting Affleck while they were estranged in 2018 when he was struggling with alcoholism. She's built a healthy living brand through her Instagram and launched the organic baby food company Once Upon a Farm. And then there are those very wholesome Capitol One commercials.

While many female actors of Garner's cohort are focused on serving looks on the red carpet or attending glitzy events to supplement their acting careers, Garner seems content in a more casual arena, where she can rock sweaters and mom jeans and post a video of herself cleaning her cat's butt on Instagram.

Her Netflix roles have cemented her status as America's Mom even further. At the end of "Yes Day," Garner's character comes to the rescue of her rebellious daughter (played by Jenna Ortega), who's stranded at a concert. In "Family Switch," body swapping with her daughter makes Garner's character understand the pressure her child is under. They're typical "mom" roles that Garner imbues with genuine pathos — and after playing so many of these types of characters, audiences feel like they know her.

That's great for Garner's career, and it's great for her businesses. Being friendly and approachable lends authenticity to anything she hawks, whether that's her newest Netflix Christmas movie or another Capital One card. After all, if America's Mom tells you to watch her Christmas movie or drink your fruit juice, she probably has your best interests in mind, right?

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