Mamas Family The Complete First Season from Warner Home Video

Mamas Family The Complete First Season from Warner Home Video
Mamas Family The Complete First Season from Warner Home Video (click images to enlarge)

Mamas Family The Complete First Season from Warner Home Video

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Description of Mamas Family The Complete First Season by Warner Home Video

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Mama's Family: The Complete First Season (DVD)

A spun-off sketch from the Carol Burnett Show, Mama's Family mined humor from a squabbling family in the Midwestern blue collar suburb of Raytown. The noisy clan was headed by Mama, a buxom, gray-haired widow with sharp opinions and a sharper tongue who shared her small house with her high-strung sister Fran, a journalist for a local paper. Mama's lazy, dimwitted son, Vint, a locksmith by trade, moved in at the start of the series with his troublesome teenage children, Buzz and Sonja, after his wife run off to become a Las Vegas show-girl. Much to Mama's disgust, Vint soon took up with the flirtatious neighbor Naomi.


Do you remember Mama? How could you forget her? As indelibly portrayed by Vicki Lawrence, formidable Mama put the "diss" in dysfunctional. Like Tyler Perry's Madea a decade later (but without the penchant for firearms or corporeal punishment), Mama dispenses no-nonsense motherly advice, discipline, and verbal kicks in the backside. She makes Dr. Phil look like Stuart Smalley. Thelma Harper does not suffer fools. She makes them--well, everybody--suffer. These include her sister, Fran (Rue McLanahan, The Golden Girls), a journalist who lives with her; her feckless son, Vint (Ken Berry, F-Troop), who moves in with his two teenagers after he is evicted from his house; and "bleached-blonde bimbo" Naomi (Dorothy Lyman, the original Opal on All My Children), who marries Vint by episode 4. Mama's extended family includes her two daughters, highfalutin Ellen (Betty White) and high-strung Eunice (Carol Burnett), who, to say the least, has issues. No one will mistake Mama's family for the Cleavers or the Bradys. They communicate mostly by screaming, and with put-downs often more cruel than comical. As a bystander tells Mama and Eunice in one episode, "Hold it, you're giving me a headache." One of the most memorable episodes is the one in which the Harpers must stick together when they appear on Family Feud (featuring a game Richard Dawson). Lawrence and Burnett, who appears in four episodes, share a palpable chemistry, honed all those years on The Carol Burnett Show, where Mama originated. As with those classic sketches, the best of these episodes, such as "Cellmates," in which Mama and Eunice are jailed after a disastrous birthday celebration, can make you laugh one minute and move you the next. Mama's Family is a great place to visit. Thank god we don't have to live there. --Donald Liebenson

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