Monday, February 27, 2017


Everyone's favorite indelible and smart alecky small-town matriarch is back - and, she's brought her whole crazy family with her!  After breaking out from "The Family" sketches on "The Carol Burnett Show," Thelma "Mama" Harper's home-spun humor earned its own well-loved sitcom which ran for six knee-slapping seasons.  Set in the fictional city of Raytown, MAMA'S FAMILY revolves around the eye-opening escapades of the Harper clan, headed by Mama Harper, who does not suffer fools gladly.  In fact, she makeseverybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the "diss" in dysfunction.  Now, for the first time, home audiences can revel in the very best episodes of this outlandish family comedy with MAMA'S FAMILY: THE MAMA'S FAMILY FAVORITES COLLECTION.
The 6-disc set features 37 complete episodes hand-picked by Mama (Vicki Lawrence) herself, packaged together for the very first time at retail: 
  • MAMA'S FAVORITES: SEASON ONE -- Mama dispenses no-nonsense motherly advice, discipline, and verbal kicks in the backside.  There's her nervous sister Fran (Rue McClanahan), slow-witted son, Vint (Ken Berry), his bubble-headed girlfriend (and later wife) Naomi (Dorothy Lyman), plus frequent appearances by Betty White as Mama's snobbish daughter, Ellen, and Carol Burnett as Mama's uptight daughter (and anger-management-class failure) Eunice. As you may guess, this isn't the Brady Bunch!  The seven episodes include "Vint and the Kids Move In"; "The Wedding- Part 1"; "The Wedding -Part 2"; "Cellmates"; "Family Feud"; "PositiveThinking;Mama's Boyfriend."  (170 minutes) 
  • MAMA'S FAVORITES: SEASON TWO -- The second season of MAMA'S FAMILY finds the Harper matriarch meddling and peddling her homespun wisdoto anyone within earshot. She ghosts as an advice columnist for her sister, Fran, and helps spring cousin Gert (Imogene Coca) from a retirement community.  Mama takes her lumps, especially when she's clocked by a pot while making gooseberry jamwith daughters Eunice and Ellen. But you can't keep the old lady down for long.  The six episodes include "Country Club"; "Rashomama"; "Gert Rides Again"; "Mama Learns to Drive"; "Mama Buys a Car"; and, "AsAunt Fran." (165 minutes) 
  • MAMA'S FAVORITES: SEASON THREE --  Big changes are afoot in the Harper household asMAMA'S FAMILYswitched fromNBC to syndication. Vint's kids Buzz and Sonja are gone, replaced by Bubba Higgins (Allan Kayser), the son of Eunice and Ed.  Ken Berry's Vinton shines in the episode "Soup to Nuts," in which he must decide who has the best chili recipe -- Mama, Naomi, or Iola (Beverly Archer).  Hilarity ensues when Iola is so distraught over her cat dying that she goes to great lengths to "preserve" its memory. And an anonymous letter convinces Vint that he's adopted, so he sets out to find his biological mother...on Mother's Day.  The 6 episodes include "Soup to Nuts"; "Cat's Meow"; "Steal One, Pearl Two"; "Where There's Smoke"; "Birthright"; and, "It Takes Twoto Watusi." (138 minutes) 
  • MAMA'S FAVORITES: SEASON FOUR --   In SEASO4 Mama and Bubba are FINALLY graduating from high school, but not without some last-minute schooling.And, Mama wins the jackpot on Jeopardy, affording everyone the opportunity to take their small-town charm to Hawaii.  The 6 episodes include "Zirconias Are A Girl'sBest Friend"; "Educating Mama"; "The Sins of the Mother"; "Mama on Jeopardy!"; "Mama Goes to Hawaii Part 1"; and, "Mama Goes to Hawaii Part 2." (165 minutes) 
  • MAMA'S FAVORITES: SEASON FIVE -- The Harper Family refutes the old expression "there's no such thing as bad publicity" when Bubba gets a video cameraDespite her crankiness, ThelmHarper does the right thing after the bank ATMspits out $20 bills like a slot machine. And, when Iola is cast out of her home, Thelma invites her to stay with the Harpers, which was probably not the swiftest idea Mama ever had.  Those hilarious episodes are part of 6 included from the fifth season of MAMA'S FAMILY: "The Really Loud Family"; "Naomi's New Position"; "Found Money"; "Mama's Layaway Plan"; "Mama in One"; and,  "Dependence Day." (128 minutes) 
  • MAMA'S FAVORITES: SEASON SIX -- In the last season of the series fans will be treated to Mama's swansong, in which she does not go silently into that good night. Instead, she chews out K-RAY radio's consumer watchdog on the air and promptly gets hired as his replacement. In another madcap adventure, Bubba mistakenly books The Bone Crushers, an all-female heavy metal band for his college's homecoming and it's up to Mama to rein the hellions in. However, the big news in the show's finalseason involves Vint and Naomi: they finally move out of the basement into an RV parked in Mama's driveway, and after much anticipation, Naomi gives birth to Tiffany Thelma Harper. Odds are the bickering bloodline will stay strong in this last season of MAMA'S FAMILY, which features the episodes "Mama Fights Back"; "Bubba's House Band"; "The Big Nap"; "Pinup Mama"; "Look Who's Breathing" and; "Bye-Bye - Baby!" (129 minutes) 
When MAMA'S FAMILY was released in 2013, leading home entertainment site DVD Talk called it "the single best vintage television DVD release of the year" and said that MAMA'S FAMILY has "never looked better."  It's never too late to invite TV's most dysfunctional family into your home for a stay with MAMA'S FAMILY: THE MAMA'S FAMILY FAVORITES COLLECTION!     

My Thoughts

Mama's Family is one of my favorite shows from my childhood. I remember sitting with my family and watching it. Thelma was one of the best characters. She reminded me so much of my own grandmother, but with a little more humor. With her quirky family, she had to handle some pretty crazy situations. There was her handsome grandson Budda who was  the sexiest redneck alive and the heartthrob of all the girls. I always felt a little bad for him because both of his parents ran off on him. Vint and Noami were great too. They were a cute couple in their own way, and I loved seeing them get hitched eventually.

One of my favorite regular characters was Iola, the spinster next-store neighbor in her signature gingham dress. There was lots of other great guest stars who usually played family members, including Carol Burnett (after all, Mama's Family as a spin-off of her show). She was Budda's irresponsible mother and only showed up when she wanted something.  And of course, the amazing Rue McClanahan and Betty White, who would eventually go on to play two of the Golden Girls, both made an occasional appearance.

This show is so 80s, and so much fun. It's hard to catch this show on television, so I was super excited to see it available in a full box set. Now, Mama's Family is part of my family again, even though my teen children don't get half the jokes! If you'd like to grab a copy of this fabulous DVD collection, you can find it in stores nationwide or online at Amazon.



Jackie said...

Wow...I forgot all about this show. I loved watching it when I was younger.

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