Forgotten Treasures of Americana: Mama’s Family

 In Forgotten Treasures of Americana, Humor

mamasfamilyThe anthology that has now become Forgotten Treasures of Americana (since there are two pieces now) continues with an in-depth look at long lost pearls of years past in high United States Society. 

This time, we’re taking a look at famed 80s sitcom Mama’s Family.

Yes, that Mama’s Family.

The one that your’s truly spent hours of childhood watching. Seriously, my summer vacations were chock full of Mama’s Family episodes before venturing out into the woods to throw sticks and rocks at each other because that’s what perfectly-functioning well-adjusted children do.

Vicki Lawrence was just delightful…pure electricity…as Thelma Harper, an elderly cooking and cleaning machine clearly based off the traditional stereotype of Southern grannies. Not sure, but I think that would offend someone in 2016. That’s some sort of racism I’m sure, though, I’ll admit to not knowing how ’causes’ work. Just trying to help out for social justice.

But, no one on Earth would know who Thelma Harper is. She was quite simply, “Mama.” And, hot damn, was she a lightning rod! The thing I love most about Mama is that the solution to every problem began and ended with Budweiser. At the time, I remember thinking, “God – I can’t wait to grow up. If I’m ever having a tough time, I can drink this magical elixir called ‘beer,’ and all of my problems will literally melt out of my brain.”

That’s just inspirational programming for a young child to see. In a way, Mama was a granny to all of us. She still is to this day. I have a picture of her in my wallet that I kiss it before every Budweiser I drink.

Mama has zingers for days. Simply put, you just don’t fuck with Mama’s kitchen, Miss Priss. Also, I’m with Mama. That kissing was much too risque. I mean, I don’t know what’s happening to my body right now, but, that’s not the same wholesome family fun as drinking beer in the living room. Also, is Vinton one whiny bitch or what?

Gotta feel bad for Iola, though – she just always seemed to get caught up right in Mama’s crosshairs.

DAMN RIGHT, MAMA! Let’s just sit back and take a trip down Memory Lane. Enjoy:

There have only been a few instances in my life when my mind was completely put in a pretzel. I remember being a teenager, still enjoying an episode of Mama’s Family when presented with it, when a friend told me that Mama was actually a younger woman dressed as an older woman.


Yeah – totally got pretzeled on that one. Mama was in her 30s when the show was filmed! My entire life felt like a lie. I thought she was legitimately old. I thought Mama was going to die before they could finish the 16th season of this show. It went 16 years, right?

Wait – what? There were only a few seasons of Mama’s Family? According to my memory, there are at least 3,000 episodes catalogued somewhere. What the hell? This is devastating. Only 135 episodes total for people to enjoy. Even more reason to celebrate this lost gem of America’s past.

There’s good news, though – Lawrence is still kickin’ out there, taking the Mama bit on the road. Yes, still, in 2016. Check it out.

Whatever happens when we die, I hope Heaven looks a lot like Raytown.

Catch up on the rest of the anthology
Forgotten Treasures of Americana: Playing Outside

Stoney Keeley is the editor of the SoBros Network, Tennessee Titans Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot, Contributor to FanSided’s Bama Hammer, and covers the WWE for Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley@PFSpot@WrestlingNewsCo@Bama_Hammer

Follow us on Twitter @SoBrosNetwork

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