Exclusively available online via StarVista Entertainment and TimeLife, Mama’s Family: The Complete Series is quite a blast of prime ‘80s nostalgia. The hefty boxed set includes all 130 episodes from the original broadcast masters, spread across 24 DVDs. The set also includes the 1982 TV movie Eunice, featuring Carol Burnett in the title role along with all the Mama’s Family regulars. Ten hours of bonus materials include a cast reunion roundtable, brand new interviews (Betty White among them), and key examples of “The Family” sketches from The Carol Burnett Show that were the foundation for Mama’s Family.
For those who may have forgotten, Vicki Lawrence was actually just 33 when the Mama’s Family pilot aired, several decades younger than the character she played. But her signature role fit her like a glove and revisiting these episodes will be a comforting treat for those with fond memories of the show. It’s a fair bet that younger viewers weaned on modern sitcoms might be less tolerant of the now-dated approach of Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon’s creation.
The teen kids of Thelma’s son, Vinton (Ken Berry), were jettisoned after the series’ makeover that followed its premature 1984 cancellation. As Buzz and Sonja, Eric Brown and Karin Argoud were notable mainly for their broad, not very funny portrayals. The characters went very nearly unmentioned once the first-run syndication began in 1986, which didn’t seem to bother viewers. The presence of future Golden Girls Betty White and Rue McClanahan certainly enlivened the early seasons and were consistently funny as part of the supporting cast.
For those fans who might balk at the $199.99 retail price for The Complete Series, StarVista and TimeLife are providing a way to acquire the seasons one at a time. Currently available so far are Mama’s Family: The Complete First Season and The Complete Second Season, priced at $22.95 and $29.95 respectively. The individual season sets are available at retailers everywhere.
Undoubtedly, the various configurations will be on many Mama’s Family fans’ Christmas lists this season. For the superfans, a limited edition set, hand-signed by Vicki Lawrence and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, is also available. Only 500 of these were made available. For ordering information on The Complete Series (and its limited edition variation), visit the official Mama’s Family DVD website.