Mama's Family

Watch Mama's Family

  • TV-PG
  • 1983
  • 6 Seasons
  • 7.3  (6,537)

Mama's Family is a beloved sitcom that first premiered in 1983 on NBC. The show was created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, and it features an ensemble cast of talented actors and actresses. At the center of the show is Mama, played by the iconic Vicki Lawrence. Mama is a feisty, outspoken matriarch who lives with her family in the fictional town of Raytown, Missouri. She is constantly getting into arguments with her family members, but she always has a heart of gold.

Alongside Mama is her son Vinton, played by Ken Berry, and his wife Naomi, played by Dorothy Lyman. Vinton is a bit of a bumbler, and Naomi is a brash, loud-mouthed woman who always has an opinion on everything.

Rounding out the family is Mama's daughter Eunice, played by Carol Burnett alumna Rue McClanahan, and her son Bubba, played by Allan Kayser. Eunice is a neurotic woman who is always looking for her next big break, and Bubba is a teenager who is often caught up in his own world.

As the show progresses, we get to know these characters and their relationships with each other. Mama is a constant source of wisdom and humor, and she always knows just the right thing to say to diffuse a tense situation. Throughout the show, we see her navigate family drama, romantic relationships, and personal challenges, all with her trademark sass and wit.

The show is set in the 1980s and 1990s, and the fashions and pop culture references of the time are on full display. However, the humor and heart of the show are timeless, and it remains a beloved favorite among fans today.

The show features a fantastic supporting cast, including Beverly Archer as Iola, Mama's nosy neighbor, and Eric Brown and Karin Argoud as Mama's grandkids, who come to live with her after their parents split up. Another standout performance comes from the legendary Harvey Korman, who appears in a recurring role as Alistair Quince, a jealous suitor of Mama's.

Throughout its seven-season run, Mama's Family tackled a variety of topics with sensitivity and humor. From issues of aging and family dynamics to love and loss, the show always found a way to balance laughter with heart.

Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of Mama's Family is the chemistry between the cast members. Lawrence, Berry, Lyman, McClanahan, and Kayser all have incredible comedic timing, and their interactions feel genuine and authentic. The cast is truly a well-oiled machine, and their performances are a testament to the show's enduring popularity.

In addition to the fantastic writing and acting, Mama's Family is also known for its recurring sketches and catchphrases. Mama's signature line, "I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right," has become a cultural touchstone, and the show's various skits and gags are still referenced in pop culture today.

Overall, Mama's Family is a classic sitcom that has earned its place in television history. It's a heartwarming and hilarious look at family life, with a cast of characters who feel like old friends. Whether you're a long-time fan or a newcomer to the show, you're sure to be charmed by the wit, humor, and heart of Mama's Family.

Mama's Family is a series that is currently running and has 6 seasons (139 episodes). The series first aired on January 22, 1983.

Mama's Family
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Bye-Bye -- Baby!
20. Bye-Bye -- Baby!
March 12, 1990
In the series finale, Naomi go into labor and Mama has to deliver the Harper's newest family member.
There Is Nothing Like the Dames
19. There Is Nothing Like the Dames
March 5, 1990
Vint and Naomi finally get their own place, but it's far from what Mama or the family was hoping for, they buy a run down motor home. They plan to fix it up and move to the trailer park out on Route 5. While Mama plans a fancy luncheon to earn a spot in a high-standing social group and Bubba gets the lead in a play his fratermity is taking part in. Bubba's lead role though forces him to dress like a girl. Mama decides to have the party in the backyard, The Dames arrive early though, and Mama forces Vint and Naomi to stay in the motor home. Telling the dames she's gonna fix it up and give it to charity. She then tells the Dames Iola is her maid. But problem is things quickly go from bad to worse. First her planned dinner of BBQ chicken wings is frowned upon by the Dames, so Mama changes it to blackened meat loaf. Then Vint and Naomi's trailer starts shaking and Mama fears the worse (Vint was trying to gimmy the leg back into the broken table). Then Bubba shows up in his dress and says h
Look Who's Breathing
18. Look Who's Breathing
February 15, 1990
Mama and Iola are busy preparing for bingo that night when Vint and Naomi come in, with Vint dressed like he's pregnant. It's all for a class he and Naomi are taking on transitional breathing, it's gives the husband the feel of what it's like to be pregnant. But right as they are about to leave, Vint's boss at Kwik Keys calls and needs him to come out to the motel and help him out. With Vint not able to go, Naomi needs a new breathing coach, so after some begging and pleading Mama finally agrees to go with Naomi and be her coach. Mama, who is in a big hurry to get to bingo, tries to rush things along, but first the teacher's late, when she attends the birth of one of the other classmates. Then they watch a long boring movie, which Mama keeps fast forwarding to get through the "dirty parts" as she calls them. Then as she's ready to leave, Naomi tells her it's time for the breathing exercises and this is the part she needs a coach for. Not wanting to wait any longer Mama decides to deliv
Pinup Mama
17. Pinup Mama
February 8, 1990
Mama and Iola are trying to figure out ways to get more men to come to the senior singles mixer, and Naomi mentions making a flyer to do a little advertising. Mama and Iola think that's a great idea and go about making the flyer. Meanwhile, Bubba is taking pictures for his creative photography class, and Mama suggests he set up a shoot to take pictures of all of them. Iola explains why she is camera shy,(seems her father fell over Ray Falls trying to get Mother Boylen in a single picture and after her Mother saved him, she ended up winning the wet t-shirt contest at the lodge). Bubba gets everyone's pictures taken, including Melanie in a skimpy bathing suit. Mama finally strikes upon the idea of putting her picture on the singles flyer. While Bubba has Mama's head super-imposed on Melanie's body and wants to have it blown up into a poster as a joke. They both send Vint to RayRrint to get them done and he gets them mixed up. Mama and Iola discover Vint's screw-up after they arrive at th
The Big Nap
16. The Big Nap
February 1, 1990
Mama is in an investigating mood. It is revealed that she has a love of watching detective moods so the premise of the episode revolves around Mama pretending to be a detective in a movie to discover Iola's missing mom.
Guess Who's Going to Dinner
15. Guess Who's Going to Dinner
January 17, 1990
Vint spends all his money on raffle tickets at the mall on a drawing for a new mini-van, but he ends up winning the 10th price. A Mother's Day dinner for two at "Abdul's", the most expensive and exclusive restuarant in the mall. But Mama and Naomi both think they should get to go, so he has to make a difficult decision. Both Naomi and Mama make plans with Vint to trick the other one into thinking they got other plans, so they can secretly meet him later at the resturant. Mama pretends to go to church, while Naomi acts like she has to work. But what they don't know is Vint gave them the coupons and couldn't bring himself to explain what had happened or to say no to either one of them. So Mama and Naomi arrive at the resturant only to discover that Vint's not there. He sneaks in a minute later and asks the waiter to give them a note which explains everything. They realize how selfish they are being and decide to get the 8 course meal to go (which is against policy, but for Mama they make
Mama Gets Goosed
14. Mama Gets Goosed
January 10, 1990
When Mama gets a Christmas present from her cousin, a live goose for Christmas dinner, memories of her childhood come back.
Mama Takes A Dive
13. Mama Takes A Dive
January 3, 1990
Mama has concocked a scheme to try to get the bank to pay her some money after an accident she has.
War of the Roses
12. War of the Roses
December 18, 1989
Tension's become heated when Mama and Iola get in to a contest for a rose competition. What will be the outcome?
Bubba's House Band
11. Bubba's House Band
December 4, 1989
Mama, Vint, Naomi and Iola are preparing for Church Carnival. Where Vint will guess people's weight and Naomi will sell Silhouette's of people's heads, while Iola's project is the "Civil War Kitchen Cozy Collection". But Poor Mama can't decide what kind of cake to make for her booth. Bubba, after a few hours of negotiating, finally signs a band for Homecoming. Thier called the "Bonecrushers" and Bubba, who didn't have enough money to pay for their hotel room, says they can stay with the family. The band soon arrives and everyone is shocked when they find out, thier three girls. Cooking breakfast the next morning one of them begins talking about her Gram-Gram and the candy cakes she sends them on the road. That gives Mama an idea for her booth, so they show Mama how to make the candy cake. It goes so well that they decide to help her, and they're soon working on a number to do in front of the booth at the Church Carnival. Mama's cakes are a huge hit as is Iola's "Civil War Cozy Collecti
Mama Takes Stock
10. Mama Takes Stock
November 27, 1989
Mama is once again going through some old junk when she finds a stock certificate, for 10 shares of the "Raytown Trolly Company". Which Bubba wants to use for a class at the Raytwon JC where he is studying the stock market. While Vint is trying to get the store in tip top shape because the owner of Kwik Keys parent company, Bernice Corporation, is coming in for an inspection. Seems they may be planning to close the shop, so they can open a new Yogurt shop. Bubba informs Mama a little later, that her shares aren't worthless after all, since the company was taken over and merged with several other companies and the end result is she now owns 10 shares of Bernice stock. So finding out about Vint's impending unemployment, she gets some financial advice from Bubba's professor. Learning that, an emergency board meeting can be called if there are ten share holders present. So she gets some friends (from the beauty parlor) to help her and they convene the meeting right as B.D. Larson (The Owne
Take My Mama, Please!
9. Take My Mama, Please!
November 13, 1989
Mama and the family (with Iola of course), spend the night out at the Bigger Jigger, where there having a special $4.99 rib-tickler night. Hosted by Shecky Lewis, a broken down second rate comic as Mama says. Thinking she could do better she accepts his challenge to appear next monday night at the Open Mike Night. Originally deciding not to go, until she hears the entire congregation from the church will be there, she then must then work up an act. So she buys a one liner and put down joke book. Although Bubba suggests she do imitations and Naomi suggests some lymrics. Mama decides to use the book and works up a good act by the time the show comes around. So good in fact that the guy right before her uses the same jokes and scores a big hit. Which causes Mama to have to completely scrap her act and try to fake her way through. But she hits on the idea of telling about her family and their strange habits and the whole house is soon laughing.
Psycho Pheno-Mama
8. Psycho Pheno-Mama
November 7, 1989
When Naomi and Vint return from a friend's mobile home with news that they saw a psychic, Bubba and Iola become impressed that a psychic is doing business in Raytown and soon become ecstatic when Naomi tells them they invited her over to their house for a reading. While Madame Rita promptly impresses Iola and almost all of the Harper family, Mama suspects the psychic is a phony out to make a quick buck. When Vint brings Madame Rita home for their most recent reading, Mama decides to take matters into her hand and prove to her family that the psychic is just reciting gossip that she heard at work.
Mama Fights Back
7. Mama Fights Back
October 23, 1989
Mama tries to return a blender to Raymart,but without her reciept they refuse to take it back.So Bubba suggests she call Chuck Duval "The Shopper's Pal",KRAY's consumer advocate.After Mama tells him a thing or two about his not helping anyone.They offer Mama the job after they fire Duval. Bubba,Vint,Iola and Naomi act as Mama's crew.and the show quickly becomes a big hit.So Mama against the advice of Iola decides to go after every business in Raytown. Iola does an expose on the donut industry and Vint and Bubba act as judges,and report that the Raytown shops finshed last.After the last show Mama's has plans of expanding the show,but the station manager has other ideas,her show is canceled.It seems there losing money from her show,because all the advertisers are pulling there ads.
A Blast From the Past
6. A Blast From the Past
October 30, 1989
Mama gets an invitation in the mail to her 50th (Gilmore Junior High School) Reunion. Which she originally decides not to go to. While Naomi's catering career gets off to a terrible start when she gives food poisoning to Vint's men's club, the "Mystic Knights of the Cobra". But fortunately for Naomi she convinces the organizers of the reunion to let her cater their event. Mama's reason's for not wanting to go are revealed soon after she arrives. It seems in high school she went on a date with Clayton Gibbons, and when he ran out of gas on a country road, she wouldn't make out with him and twisted his arm until he went and got gas. So the next day he tells everyone his version of the story and from then on, Mama was known "Hot Pants". But she sets the record straight as soon as Clayton arrives, she again twists his arm, until this time he tells the whole truth. Then Mama feels right at home and starts having fun. But Naomi's catering career comes to a mercifully quick end, as her food o
Tri-State's Most Wanted
5. Tri-State's Most Wanted
October 16, 1989
Iola wants Mama to donate her sofa for the play she is producing for the pepper pot playhouse. But she refuses, until she meets the star of the play itself, New York actor, Leslie LeMoyne. After spending the afternoon with him eating cookies and drinking tea, Mama and Lemoyne make a date for the night of the premiere. Mama promises him some real home cooking. After kicking out Vint and Naomi, she catches the end of the show "Tri State's Most Wanted" and mistakenly thinks the murderer, the program is looking for is Leslie. So when he arrives she panics and ties him up and calls the police who arrest him. This causes him to miss the play and everyone comes home after the play bombs and wonders where Mama is. Mama and Leslie arrive home from the police station moments later. Where Leslie had to explain, he was playing the part of the murderer in the re-enactment for the "Tri-State's Most Wanted". Meanwhile, Vint and Naomi decide to try and become Bounty Hunters after hearing about the $20
Now Hear This
4. Now Hear This
October 9, 1989
Vint installs an intercom so that they can monitor the baby when it is born. Although Mama wants nothing to do it she lets them do it anyway. One reciever goes out on the front porch, and one each in the upstairs bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, and ofcource in the basement. After testing it out and seeing that it works fine, Vint, Bubba and Naomi retire to the front porch to let Mama do her housekeeping. Mama gets the idea to spy on them. Unbeknownst to them of course. Mama storms away to the kitchen with Iola after hearing an ear full. When Vint and Bubba get the same idea. It just so happens that Mama and Iola are talking about them and discussing what Mama thinks of all of them and how much they annoy her. Bubba, according to Mama is a pre-madonna, Vint acts like an over grown kid and Naomi is a lazy slug. Getting upset at what they just heard. It all comes to a screaming head at the dinner table, when it comes out that Mama listened in on them on the porch, but it also come
Mr. Wrong
3. Mr. Wrong
October 2, 1989
Naomi is so happy to be pregnant at last, she proclaims her life is complete. Which gets Iola to thinking about her life and how she wants to have kids and a family some day. But Mama thinks she's too picky and convinces her to go to some of the singles events in town. But the hayride is the last draw for Mama's plan to get Iola hitched, seems it was a ride for newlyweds and Iola got bumped off and had to walk the 5 miles home. But to the surprise of everyone, Iola does find a man and they start dating. So Mama invites her and her new beau, Burt Cooper, to dinner, where Iola makes the announcment to Mama he might ask her to marry him and she plans to say yes, if he does. Burt and Iola arrive and Burt tries impressing everyone with his magic and wild stories, but it doesn't work on Mama who can't stand him. So Mama brings up the subject of living with in-laws, when Burt announces he and Iola are gonna send her Mom and Dad to a retirement home and the cheaper the better. Iola refuses, te
An Affair to Forget
2. An Affair to Forget
September 25, 1989
Naomi is feeling the effects of being pregnant and wants to spend some quality time with Vint. Who has to work late again, for the 4th night in a row. A discouraged Naomi tells Mama Vint hasn't touched her in 4 days. Vint says he has to stay late to train his new assistant, whom he neglects to mention is a buxom blonde bombshell. Mama begins to suspect Vint is doing more than just training her to run the store. Which leads Mama and Iola to make a little trip down to Kwik Keys. Vint and Heather go into the store room to get suppilies when Mama and Iola arrive. They hear some very suggestive dialogue coming from the store room and begin to think that there doing it right there. Right as they come out Naomi walks in with a picnic for her and Vint. As Mama begins to panic Heather recognizes her old friend Noami. It turns out Heather is Luanne's Sister, a good friend of Naomi's who appeared in an earlier episode.
Mama's Medicine Show
1. Mama's Medicine Show
September 18, 1989
Naomi and Vint read in a magazine how it will cost 168,000 dollars to raise there kid. So they set about coming up with a scheme to make some fast money. Just then Bubba comes home feeling bad, and Mama gives him some of her "Mother Harper's Tonic" and that gives Vint and Noami an idea. They could sell the tonic and make a fortune. So Noami gets some bottles from the recycling bin at Food Circus and they start to bottle it. It sells fast and everyone wants more. So Bubba takes it to his swim meet and Thelma takes it with her to the Church Ladies League meeting. Everyone samples some and it's a huge hit as everyone including Thelma and Iola get up and start dancing. Alberta even tells Thelma that she's gonna nominate her for CCL Woman of the Year. Bubba comes home and tells Vint and Noami about what happened at the swim meet, his team lost every race and they sent the Tonic to be analyzed and it came back that it was 35 percent alcohol. Which closes down the family's business.
Where to Watch Mama's Family
Mama's Family is available for streaming on the NBC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Mama's Family on demand at Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    January 22, 1983
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (6,537)