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Mama’s Family Season 4 DVD Review

Mama's Family Season 4 DVD

“Mama’s Family” is a light, amusing sitcom.

After the Mama character from “The Carol Burnett Show” and “The Family” became a fan favorite, the Vicki Lawrence character was spun off into her own series titled “Mama’s Family.” The series was initially cancelled early on before being picked up again for a new syndication run where it found new life. In the series fourth season (which is apart of the series second run), viewers get to see 25 half hour adventures of Raytown residents Mama/Thelma Harper, Thelma’s son Vinton and his wife Naomi, her “teen” grandson Bubba, and neighbor/friend Iola that involve: Mama and Bubba attending night school, TV home shopping, a burglar, a near death experience, Vinton and Naomo’s relationship, a singing competition, babysitting, wrestling, a yard sale, a lunchbox, Iola’s friends, a wedding, a parrot, tap-dancing, Mama on “Jeopardy!,” a Hawaii trip, a young Mama flashback, the prom, a room for rent, Naomi losing her memory, and Bubba and Mama’s graduation.

As a child of the 80’s, I obviously saw A LOT of sitcoms including “Mama’s Family.” While I wouldn’t call myself an avid fan of the series, I do have fond memories of watching the disposable, formulaic, but always entertaining sitcom. It was the type of show that you could just put on and forget your troubles with. It wasn’t a brainy show nor was it remotely groundbreaking, but it did feature a first rate performance by star Vicki Lawrence.

However one may feel about the series overall, there’s no denying the fact that Lawrence made the witty, grouchy, tight lipped, loud, and rude widow Thelma come to life. She stole every scene she was in and the supporting cast could never really keep up with her. Lawrence made you forget that she was playing an older larger than life character because she was that good. It’s no surprise then that the character won the heart of TV audiences everywhere.


Presentation: Fullscreen. How does it look? The episodes have not been remastered so they look only slightly better than the televised airings.

Audio Track: Unspecified Audio Track. How does it sound? The audio track is satisfactory for an 80’s sitcom.

* A 10 ½ minute interview with Beverly Archer (who played Iola). She talks about auditioning, her career, the Iola character, “Mama’s Family,” etc.
* “Mama’s Family Tree: The Neighbors (All About Iola)”- A 16 minute featurette about Iola that contains episode clips and cast and crew interviews.
* “Under One Roof: A Mama’s Family Cast Reunion”- A 27 minute roundtable chat with Ken Berry, Beverly Archer, Dorothy Lyman, Vicki Lawrence, and Allan Kayser. It’s fun to see the cast shoot the breeze about the past and present.

Overall Thoughts: Even if an episode stinks (and there were a few), the character of Thelma Harper never ceases to make you laugh. How can you not get a kick out of seeing “Mama On Jeopardy!” or Mama passionately talking about “The Scarlet Letter?” It’s just an all-around fun show. No more, no less.


July 1, 2014 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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