Mama's Family: Season 3
DVD | Box Set
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MAMA'S FAMILY, the delightfully offbeat TV comedy which ran successfully from 1983 to 1990, originally began as a skit on the legendary Carol Burnett Show, with Vicki Lawrence playing the outspoken, "elderly" Mama. In SEASON THREE big changes are afoot in the Harper household as MAMA'S FAMILY switches from NBC to syndication. 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.
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The season begins with Aunt Fran’s funeral (she dies in the most sitcom way) and Bubba getting out of juvenile hall. The introduction of Bubba and Iola give us some of the series greatest moments, freeze dried dead cat anyone? But I also thought they gave the show a more human edge as Mama has a confidant in Iola, who can also drive her crazy at any given moment. Mama also has to confront some of her past parenting mistakes with through Bubba.
Mama embraces the modern family and leaves us all lost in laughter
I do remember this cast ensemble the best and the writing of episodes seemed to get better. I mean that Rue McClanahan and Betty White were great in their episodes, but the Mama's family ensemble seem to jell efficiently with the new cast. The next door neighbor who's always in your house, and the grandson who acts much better than the 2 kids did in two seasons! <g> No matter what-- Mama's Family Season 3 is a hoot!
I'm editing this review after viewing Season 3 and watching the special features. That's one thing I like about any old TV series that has interviews of the cast who sit down and maybe tell you a back story. What I didn't know was that Mama's Family was cancelled after the 2nd Season. Vicki Lawrence explains that the head executives didn't exactly understand the rural humor of Mama's Family, and during the reunion segment kept asking everyone "didn't they remember the show always being put in horrible time slots up against outstanding TV shows!?" I can relate to that seeing other or favorite TV shows that I always liked get the boot so to speak, and wonder why when they had a miserable time slot? You would have to watch the special features I can't remember which broadcasting stations did what, but eventually they got Mama's Family back on the air and of course, Rue McClanahan and Betty White were on "Golden Girls" by then (2-year lapse) and thus some new editions to the cast. The new character of a new neighbor "Iola" and the new character as I described previously of "Bubba." Vicki even stated she felt sorry for the actors who played the 2 kids on her previous 2 seasons, and they were never given a chance during the show. I'm pretty sure she meant that half the time they didn't even have speaking parts in a lot of the episodes, or you never got to really understand their characters. Remember the first season they were still trying to flesh out the Mama character besides any of the other main characters of the show. I'm not sure how the writing went down, but I think they had trouble writing and creating all the characters in the first few seasons--no matter what they tried. Even the character Naomi was changed around. Actor Allan Kaysar explains his auditions for Bubba. Dorothy Lyman explains her commute from New York to California when she was called personally by Carol Burnett to come join the Mama's Family ensemble while she was still under contract with her soap opera.