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Mama's Family: Season 1

4.5 out of 5 stars 334 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

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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

Special Features

  • 13 episodes on two discs

Product Details

  • Actors: Vicki Lawrence, Dorothy Lyman, Eric Brown, Rue McClanahan, Betty White
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 278 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GH3PMM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,196 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mama's Family: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Mama's Family definitely gets five stars. One of my favorite shows of all-time, especially during its first two seasons with the occasional appearances of Eunice. What a stellar cast: Vicki Lawrence, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Dorothy Lyman, Ken Berry (How was it ever canceled in the first place?) I really liked the kids Buzz and Sonja, too.

The reason I am knocking a star off the score is that these episodes are edited. They are like the syndication edits that are still aired all the time. What's up with that??!! I've been waiting to see these episodes uncut for years. I know how much they've cut because I have an audio recording of "The Wedding Part 1" from when it aired back around 1985 (a rerun even, not the first airing which was 2/5/83):

1. They cut out the part about the hoochie coochie dancer in the kitchen scene with Mama, Buzz, and Vint.

2. When Sonja asked if she was a slave, Fran's comeback line "If you were, you would've been sold years ago" is gone.

3. Mama explaining to Sonja that "strong drink can make even the daintiest of ladies seem unattractive and crude" (and then hic-ups from the beer) got the ax.

4. The scene with Mama and Fran in the kitchen is shortened.

5. They cut out Mama talking about seeing her husband Carl naked out of the shower. She shoved him in the linen closet and never looked again.

6. A lot of dialogue about the controversy over Eunice's "O Promise Me" solo is missing.

7. And the worst omission of all: Eunice screaming "Well All Right!!!" after Mama exclaimed, "This is my house and I say there ain't gonna be no da*n singing!" isn't there!
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Format: DVD
I was extremely excited when this underrated gem of 1980s TV was announced for DVD, but then I saw the review on Sitcoms Online. The DVDs are not complete, not by a long shot.

The NBC era episodes originally ran about 24 to 25 minutes and featured introductions by Harvey Korman as a character called "Alastair Quince," spoofing Masterpiece Theater's Alastair Cooke. These are gone, along with three minutes of footage from each episode. They now run 21 minutes, as they do in syndication. The later episodes (seasons 3-6, which were first-run syndication) ran at this length originally, but the first 2 seasons did not. Enough footage is gone to equal about one and one half of an episode.

After the debacles with ALF, The Cosby Show, and Roseanne on DVD one would think that Warner would have tried to avoid this. Nope. They just slapped on edited episodes and hope fans wouldn't notice. That they didn't include the original 1982 special "Eunice" which spawned this show, nor any of the Carol Burnett Show sketches which inspired it, is bad enough. But this disc fails to meet the minimum standard of presentation.

Do not buy this DVD. You need to write to Warner Bros. and tell them you will not buy this show in an edited version. Tell them you want season 1 reissued in its original, uncut, network version and then you will buy it, and that all future releases must be released in their original form. Buying this product sends a message that cutting corners is acceptable.
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Format: DVD
As a loyal fan of "Mama's Family" for years and years, I thought no one was more thrilled than me that this series was finally seeing the light of day on DVD.

But Warner Bros. did a sloppy job by giving this show the barest of releases, so why should they get my money?

They won't.

And as you can see, I am not alone---the fans are speaking out.

It's awful enough that they couldn't even bother to put the complete episodes on the discs. But no Special Features? Give me a break, how pathetic.

Where is the original opening theme song, not seen since the original broadcast?

Where are the introductory segments of Harvey Korman as Alastair Quince, also not seen since said broadcasts?

Where is the "Eunice" TV movie?

Where are any "Family" sketches from "The Carol Burnett Show"?

Where is the clip of Vicki Lawrence winning her Emmy award for "The Carol Burnett Show" in 1976, which she won partially for her portrayal of Mama?

Where is the gag reel of bloopers?

Where are any cast or crew interviews/documentaries?

Where are any commentaries?

ANY of those would have been very welcome Special Features for the fans. And while I'm at it, where is season 2? Since only seasons 1 and 2 were on NBC, why not release both seasons packaged together---since they have Fran, Eunice, Ellen, Buzz, and Sonja---complete and with extra goodies, and then you could tout the season 3 release as the "new phase" of the show with Bubba and Iola, since seasons 3 through 6 were a bit different in syndication. Season 1 has only 13 episodes, Season 2 has 22, and the others have over 20.
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Format: DVD
I bought the Mama's Family DVD today and was shocked and appalled to see that they are the edited syndication versions. This makes no sense at all. WB sucks!
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