Skip to main content
Performing arts

See also:

Mama's Family Season 3 debuts on DVD. Mama puts the "diss" in dysfunction

Mama makes everybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the "diss" in dysfunction
Mama makes everybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the "diss" in dysfunction
Author's collection

Get off the couch, you half-baked potato!
Following the DVD release of the first two single seasons of the hilarious and often heartwarming Mama's Family, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life delivers another season of laughter and dysfunction with Mama's Family: The Complete Third Season. The set contains four DVDs, where fans of classic TV comedy will find 25 complete episodes from the show's first full season of syndication, as well as a host of specially-created bonus features.
From the first time the wildly-popular sketch The Family aired on The Carol Burnett Show in 1974, Vicki Lawrence has been followed by a buxom, blue-haired, purse-lipped, 65-year-old widow. This is, of course, Thelma Mae Crowley Harper, Lawrence's indelible, abrasive and smart alecky alter ego who would eventually be spun-off into her own delightfully offbeat sitcom Mama's Family, which debuted on NBC on January 22, 1983 and ran for six seasons.
Set in the fictional city of Raytown, Mama's Family revolves around the eye-opening escapades of the Harper clan, headed by formidable matriarch, Mama Harper, a fiery-tempered no-nonsense woman who does not suffer fools gladly. Read my interview with Vicki Lawrence: examiner.com/article/vicki-lawrence-on-mama-s-family-miley-cyrus-joan-rivers-and-michael-jackson
One of the first sitcoms to successfully reinvent itself in first-run syndication, the creative team behind Mama's Family--which, in Season Three included the return of Joe Hamilton as executive producer and director Dave Powers, who had previously helmed The Carol Burnett Show and Three's Company---was able to build upon the first 35 episodes and reshape the series to its full potential.
In this third season, big changes are afoot in the Harper household: Vint's kids Buzz and Sonja are gone, replaced by Bubba Higgins (Allan Kayser), the son of Eunice and Ed. Bubba arrives fresh from a stint in juvenile hall, learning of his parents' move to Florida only after he settles in at Mama's place. The Harpers communicate about as well as they show each other some love. Mama's sister, Fran, mysteriously dies of "natural causes" - "natural" only if you belong to the crazy Harper clan. Before the service, Mama chides Naomi (Dorothy Lyman) about her big hair by cracking, "You're going to a funeral, not the Country Music Awards!" Thelma's mad at daughter Ellen (Betty White) for missing Fran's funeral, but she eases up when Ellen goes under the knife. And nosy old-maid neighbor Iola (Beverly Archer), who has her eye on Vint (Ken Berry), blames the Harpers when she loses her pearl necklace at their house. It doesn't take Columbo to solve this "crime."
Guest stars include Dr. Joyce Brothers, Brent Spiner, Jack Dodson and Lewis Lewis Arquette. Bonus features a-plenty, and include Family History: A Classic Family Sketch from The Carol Burnett Show, featuring Maggie Smith (Show #909, original air date: November 15, 1975).
In fact, Thelma makes everybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the Mama puts "diss" in dysfunction.