Mama's Family
Mama's Family
| 22 January 1983 (USA)

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  • Reviews

    That was an excellent one.

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    Allison Davies

    The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.

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    Fatma Suarez

    The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful

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    Haven Kaycee

    It is encouraging that the film ends so strongly.Otherwise, it wouldn't have been a particularly memorable film

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    This show is OK. It's not that funny. I'd watch it if there was absolutely nothing better on. I'll tell you why. I've seen most episodes of this show. None of them are that good. A few are mediocre. It's a mediocre show at best.Mama's Family started out as a little sketch on Carol Burnett and Friends. It was funny, I'll give it that. It was fun to peer inside the lives of a dysfunctional family and see how they behaved. The sketches essentially started out like this: They'd be put in some situation, and they'd try to behave nonchalant, and loving to one another, but then the dam bursts, and they go nuts and start breaking down and pointing out little flaws about each other and so on. You know, the usual dysfunctional family stuff. They break down playing Sorry, they break down in front of Roddy McDowall, and so on. This was funny up to a point. It was NOT meant to turn into a hundred-episode separate sitcom.Carol Burnett and Friends is funny, Mama's Family is not funny. Why? Well, for one, Carol Burnett has variety. They do a thousand different things on there, from the sketch where Carol plays the queen of England to the one where she's Houdini's niece or something, and they always have big guest stars. It's funny. Mama's Family is not funny. It's the same formulaic plot structure used over and over again. In fact, they don't even usually use the plot how it's supposed to be- sometimes they don't even break down, they just act nonchalant. And, in order to stop the audience from falling asleep, they keep coming up with new plots- but it doesn't work, it just doesn't have the same charm that Carol Burnett and Friends had.Another thing I hate is that Mama's family doesn't even have Carol Burnett OR Harvey Korman, who were crucial to the original sketches. they're both funny. Carol shows up in the pilot episode or something, then she vanishes and she's never seen again, and Harvey Korman's character, Ed, is even less heard from. The original sketches were also funny because Tim Conway played Ed's stupid sidekick. No more Tim Conway. Or Carol Burnett. Or Harvey Korman. they don't keep a single one. Just Vicki Lawrence. Don't get me wrong, she's pretty funny, but not as funny as Carol. Once Carol is gone, all the charisma gets sucked out of it. It's not funny anymore. To replace Carol, we have Iola, a weirdo who's stuck with her elderly mother. She's not funny, just sort of pitiful and depressing. To replace Harvey Korman's boisterous Ed, we have Ken Berry as Venton- who's not as funny as Harvey Korman because he's a mentally unstable sissy with relationship problems. To top it all off, we add Naomi, the sexy lady, Venton's wife- who annoys everyone with how snobby she is. The family is still dysfunctional, but not in a funny way. Vicki Lawrence isn't a very good old lady- she wasn't old when the show was made, so it seems insane- like she's pretending to be old or something- she just screams in a little nasally voice and does silly things and bugs everyone. She's not that funny. Betty White is in the first few episodes, and you think the reboot might turn out successful, but then she leaves, too.They try to revive the show many, many times- through an episode where Thelma dreams she's a detective and one wheere she does dirty dancing and one where she goes to a yoga place or something- but it's not funny. The plots become bizarre. Then, in the last season, they have a baby, just to tweak the hearts of the viewers a bit- but it doesn't work. This rotten tomato is cancelled soon after, and the dysfunctional family fades away into obscurity. Honestly, I just don't know why those five minute long sketches on Carol Burnett were turned into a sitcom. it was a bad idea. To be honest, a Carol Burnett spinoff didn't have to be bad- it could have been pulled off well. maybe there could have been a sitcom about those sketches where Carol and Harvey play a modern married couple and Vicki plays Carol's younger sister. maybe there could have been a real life adaptation of As The Stomach Turns, the show's soap opera parody. Maybe we could have seen Tim Conway swallow that hand grenade. Maybe there could have been a Dorf/Carol Burnett crossover. the possibilities are endless, really. They just made the wrong choice. Mama's Family is not absurd or funny in any way- it's an undead thing trying to reclaim its glory days, and it just goes on for too long. I don't care about watching Southern hicks fight it out. That's not funny. This show is dull and lifeless and I don't know why it was even a thing, or why the guys behind the Carol Burnett show saw relevance in the character of Thelma Harper. everything about it is wrong. I'm giving it a three, though, because the theme song is OK.

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    Very simply, they are all the syndicated episodes and NOT the original uncut/unedited NBC episodes. It is NOT the complete first season, all eps are edited to conform to 21:00 for syndication meaning jokes are cut, an extra commercial fade is included, all of the Harvey Korman intros are not here...very poorly done! Shame on a series I've been waiting for....booooooooooooooooo! If you're a true die hard Mama fan, don't buy this and go to and send them comments on why we're unhappy on this butcher job to a classic sitcom!

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    I have not heard anyone say that they noticed this, but it was very obvious to me. The character of Naomi in the first season when she became engaged to Vint seemed a lot harder and brittle than in following seasons. Even Dorothy Lyman's facial features seemed to change, along with the Naomi character. In the beginning, Naomi was much more serious and no-nonsense; also tough-talking. Later, Naomi became more flaky and silly. Did Dorothy Lyman purposely soften her character? I wish I knew. Naomi's voice also went through a change. In the beginning, her voice was much more hard-bitten. Later, it became more comedic along with her facial expressions. Am I right?

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    Mama's Family while not the greatest show on TV is at least able to get a few laughs out of me each episode unlike some so called great sitcoms, such as sienfield.At 6AM on TBS weekdays it is pretty much the only show on TV that is not an infomercial of someone trying to sell me faulty exercise equipment or get rich schemes.The later episodes of Mama's Family are easier to watch than the earlier, but that is because I was never a fan of the characters of Buzz and Sonya and was happy to see them go off to their mothers.Sadly though my days of watch Mama's Family are at an end due to having seen every episode at least three times and now they are growing tedious at best.I say give it a shot, somedays it is hokey as heck, but still worth a watch.

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