Mama’s Family, two shows, one name.


First Series

Because I moved recently, I’ve had the t.v. on a lot as I’m trying to unpack and sort through my stuff.  I’ve been a little confused with Mama’s Family.  There seems to be two different versions of it.  One is much better than the other.  So I had to do a little research on it.

Turns out there were two versions of it.  The first one wasn’t very successful.  As a result, it was canceled.  A few years later, someone decided to give it another chance and, after a few changes, produced a more successful version of the show.

The first show had Mama living with a maiden aunt, (her sister, not her own aunt) and her son had moved home with his two kids.  He then takes an interest in Mama’s neighbor.  Betty White and Carol Burnett occasionally pop in.  Mama’s grand kids are really annoying and the weakest part of this show and Rue McClanahan, who plays Mama’s sister, isn’t rally much better.  The actress playing Naomi is good but she comes across as a much sweeter person.  Mama’s husband shows up rarely.  It isn’t a shock that this show was canceled.  Despite Carol Burnett’s guest appearances, it doesn’t live up to the character of Mama as in the Carol Burnett show.


Second Series

The second attempt at Mama’s Family was better.  Mama is more like the character as reflected in the Carol Burnett show.  The show has her husband having left her and her sister has moved out.  Actually, I don’t think she is ever mentioned.  The grand kids never are and Carol Burnett and her husband have moved to Florida to explain why they never show up now.  Instead, there is a new grand child, Bubba, who is Eunice’s son.  He gets sent to live with Mama after a stint in jail.  Naomi is now married to Mama’s son.  Naomi come off as much harsher and less wholesome than the character was before.  Wikipedia indicates that Naomi and Ed are more dimwitted than in the first series, that is probably true.  They are less assertive while Mama is more assertive.  I don’t see that on the part of Naomi but I do see it on the part of Ed.  And yes, Mama is a bit more abrasive.

All things considered, the show just worked a whole lot better.  And the new neighbor, Iola, was an improvement over Rue McClanahan and Betty White both put together.  Moving on to Golden Girls was a good move for both the shows.

Now I know why it felt like I was watching two different shows.  I really was.


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