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"Mama's Family"
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Episodes cast for
"Mama's Family" (1983) More at IMDbPro »

Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Year: 1983 | 1984 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990

Season 1

Season 1, Episode 1: Vint and the Kids Move In

22 January 1983
Mama's in a hurry to get to the mall for a sale and tries to hurry Fran along to finish eating. But before that can happen Fran's boss at the newspaper calls. Telling her she has to come in and re-edit her latest story. Mama is obviously upset because she can't drive and has no way to get to the sale. Meanwhile Vinton, Mama's only son, drops by the house and announces that he and the kids have been evicted from their house. Now he's hoping that he, his daughter Sonja, and his son Buzz, can stay with Mama until he gets back on his feet. Against Fran's wishes Mama agrees. Vint gets the basement, Buzz gets the attic, and Sonja gets Fran's writing studio because she refuses to sleep on the couch. Fran is outraged by this, and her and Mama have a huge argument about it. Fran's mood turns even more sour when she finds out Sonja stumbled up on the book that she'd been working on recently and reads it. Fran says it's an invasion of her privacy and finally makes the decision that she'll move out. Because she can't take the stress anymore. Of course Mama had no idea that Fran was actually writing in her studio. But later as things settle down a bit, her and Mama have a heart to heart and she changes her mind and decides to stay after all.

Season 1, Episode 2: For Better or Worse

29 January 1983
Vinton skips out on supper to go to the Bigger Jigger, the local redneck hangout. Before he can leave, Naomi walks in with the news that she's sold her house and is leaving Raytown to manage a trailer park in Arizona. At the Bigger Jigger, Vint admits he's had a crush on Naomi since high school. Turns out she had a crush on him too. He invites her back to his "place" (Mama's basement) to see his TV Guide collection. That morphs into something else very quickly. The next morning, Naomi sneaks out of the cellar right past Mama and Fran. Mama sees her, puts one and one together and has palpitations of shock over "that floozy" spending the night with Vint. Naomi needs a partner to help run the trailer park, and since Vint's chinchilla-farm investment didn't work out so well ("a bad case of the mange"), he decides to go with her. He also proposes marriage and she accepts. When they break the news to Mama, she takes it about as badly as can be expected, particularly when they say they want to get hitched at the county courthouse before they go. Mama REALLY blows her top at this, and insists they get married right there in her house -- much to her own horror.

Season 1, Episode 3: The Wedding: Part 1

5 February 1983
'Tis the night before Vint and Naomi's wedding, and the house is a-flurry with the women hanging decorations while Vint goes to his bachelor party (Buzz is sent along to keep Vint in one piece). Ellen arrives late and distressed over her husband's behavior. To cheer her up, Naomi starts pouring wine for herself, Ellen and Fran (Mama settles for beer), and all except Sonja (who's sent upstairs to bed) get roaring drunk. During the happy times, Naomi confides to Fran that Ellen's husband IS having an affair with his secretary. Fran tells Mama. Ellen, still in the dark, calls on her husband to check up on him and is reassured enough to start on her favorite pastime -- dissing Eunice, who's scheduled to sing at the wedding. Eunice walks in and starts a war of words with Ellen, spilling the beans on Ellen's husband in the process. Naomi then vetoes Eunice singing at the wedding. Vint, Buzz and Sonja all arrive to a crescendo of catcalls.

Season 1, Episode 4: The Wedding: Part 2

12 February 1983
Vint and Naomi's wedding day arrives with everybody seemingly cooled down -- seemingly. Mama didn't have time to give Vint a wedding gift, so she takes her late husband's blue sapphire ring and gives Vint that to use as a wedding ring, with a stern warning not to let Eunice -- who's coveted the ring since childhood -- know about it. Vint, without telling Naomi, gives the ring to her to wear around her neck. Ellen arrives in a new Cadillac bought by her husband ("What did it cost him to get that?" "His secretary."). Ed and Eunice arrive, and Naomi asks Ed to give her away. Eunice pleads with Vint, Mama and finally Naomi to get back her wedding solo song. Naomi finally agrees. But all is not peaceful for long. While looking for "something old, something borrowed and something blue," Naomi finds the wedding ring and Eunice recognizes it. Eunice goes out and has a few beers to settle her nerves. "It didn't work." She avoids both Mama and Ellen while the ceremony drags on and on. Finally, it's time for Eunice's solo. It's a horrible rendition of "Promise Me," and about eight measures into the song, Eunice turns it into a rant against Mama for breaking an imaginary promise to give Eunice the ring. Finally Ed bodily carries Eunice out the door, the wedding concludes and Vint, Naomi, Buzz and Sonja are off to Arizona. For about a minute. Seems Naomi invested in the "trailer park" with a con man, and the whole family comes back to Mama's doorstep ...

Season 1, Episode 5: Family Feud

19 February 1983
Vint's latest money-making scheme is to get on "Family Feud" (the nighttime syndicated edition) and win $10,000 in Fast Money. Somehow, he actually gets the Harper clan (including Ellen, but not Fran or Sonia) on the show, where they play against an obnoxious high-society family. Since the society family is as dimwitted as the Harpers, the game is tied going into the final round and the Harpers have a chance to win by stealing a survey on "Things You Wind Up" -- if they can come up with one answer. This episode features much more game play than most TV sitcoms set on a game-show set.

Vicki Lawrence ... Thelma 'Mama' Crowley Harper

Ken Berry ... Vinton Harper

Dorothy Lyman ... Naomi Oates Harper
Eric Brown ... Vinton 'Buzz' Harper, Jr.

Betty White ... Ellen Harper Jackson

Bernard Behrens ... Webster Van Courtland

Richard Dawson ... Richard Dawson

Georgann Johnson ... Bunny Van Courtland
Tina Payne ... Tiffany 'Tiffy' Van Courtland

Todd Thompson ... Binky Van Courtland
Bonnie Urseth ... Muffy Van Courtland
Gene Wood ... Himself

Season 1, Episode 6: Cellmates

26 February 1983
To Celebrate Eunice birthday, Vinton, Ed and Mama hold surprise party at the bigger jigger. It's does not go well and Eunice and mama ends up in jail and finds a way to work out their mother and daughter issues.

Season 1, Episode 7: Mama Gets a Job

5 March 1983
Mama's in a funk because she met one of her aunts, "who's three days older than God," but has a job. Mama's never worked outside the house in her life, so Vint and Naomi talk her into applying at an employment agency. Sure enough, she actually gets a position at the Raytown Travel Agency as a "mature" receptionist for travel agents, but it doesn't take long for her personality -- and frequent calls from home -- to get her into hot water.

Season 1, Episode 8: Double Standard

12 March 1983
Vint tells Buzz he can stay out an hour later than Sonja at the homecoming dance.

Season 1, Episode 9: Mama's Boyfriend

19 March 1983
Mama's old boyfriend comes into town and invites her to a cabin for the weekend. (This episode was a remake of a Family skit from the Carol Burnett Show.)

Season 1, Episode 10: Fran's Dress

26 March 1983
Fran is scheduled to cover a high-society function for her newspaper, and has bought a fancy (and expensive) dress for the occasion. Mama agrees to iron it out. The dress survives Mama taking a phone call and placing the iron down, but it doesn't survive Mama slamming the iron onto it during an argument with Ellen. Mama and Ellen band together to buy another dress which looks the same on the rack, but when Fran comes downstairs the dress is "gathered" in all the wrong places. Fran puts two and two together and accuses Mama of deliberately ruining her dress out of jealousy. That part isn't true, but the argument escalates when Fran correctly accuses Mama of running off to get married and leaving Fran to "get stuck taking care of that old witch" (their own mother). Finally, Fran and Mama patch things up and each learns from their experience.

Season 1, Episode 11: Alien Marriage

2 April 1983
Vinton Harper's scheming buddy Claude Cainmaker,talks Vint into a marriage scheme,involving a woman from Portugal who hasn't registered as a citizen. "Electric Company" alum Luis Avalos,plays her brother who has offered to pay both Vint and Claude for their participation. Since immigration checks up on marriages between U.S. citizens and people from other countries,Vint's bride to be has to be moved into Mama's house. Thelma (Mama) is outraged that her son is being taken for a fool and reminds him that "60 Minutes" did a show on how what he's doing is illegal and could wind him up in jail. Will Vinton go through with it? (This episode,clearly,was produced before "The Wedding",since Naomi is seen still living next door and Vint is single.)

Season 1, Episode 12: Positive Thinking

30 April 1983
Eunice, in her 40s, feels neglected by her jerk of a husband Ed and that her life has amounted to very little. Vint's son Buzz, tells her about a tape called "The Power Of Positive Thinking". She's skeptical at first but after a few listens, she gets up the nerve to audition at the local playhouse for a small part in an upcoming show. Mama, while glad Eunice is trying to be more positive, realizes it's also making Eunice a doormat for others. Especially the people in the play, when all of Eunice's lines are given to another actress instead.

Season 1, Episode 13: Mama's Silver

7 May 1983
Despite the fact that Vinton's friend Claude Cainmaker does nothing but lead to trouble for him,Vinton still remains his friend. Mama dislikes that he still associates with him,but Vinton wont listen to reason. Claude then calls Vinton from the local jail,where he needs Vint to come up with bail money.Enter Vint's sister Ellen (Betty White)who has just returned her mother's good silverware after borrowing it. He sneaks it out of the closet and down to the pawn shop to bail his buddy out but Mama discovers it gone! How will this effect her and Vinton's relationship?

Season 2

Season 2, Episode 1: Flaming Forties

29 September 1983
Thelma,with Vinton's help,brings down some old clothes and keepsakes from the early 1940's (when she was in her early 20s.) These are meant for a rummage sale at the school but when Buzz & Sonja see these "artifacts" they get a great idea for school dance. Thanks to Thelma telling them about how the U.S.O in Raytown used to be at the school's gym,they decide to have a 1940s theme. Thelma get all fired up to help out. They get voted down by other students who want a punk rock group called Medication to perform instead. Thelma's down & out about it but,she's called to the rescue when Medication gets arrested. Despite objections from the punker kids in the gym,she,Naomi and Fran put on the Andrews Sisters,"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and lip-synch to it. A great,funny & fun start to season #2!

Season 2, Episode 2: The Return of Leonard Oates

13 October 1983
Naomi's cheating 2nd husband, Leonard Oates returns to Raytown to try and win her back. He shows up at Food Circus (her workplace) with flowers in hand and telling her that he's rich now from breeding worms for fish bait. In the past Naomi has never been able to refuse Leonard because of his bold & charming ways. He wants her to leave Vinton (who doesn't realize what's going on yet) and re-marry him instead. She has a difficult decision to make but because of something Vinton says to her she's able to make her choice between the simple life or the rich man's wife.

Season 2, Episode 3: Country Club

20 October 1983
Ellen (Betty White)is a member of a high brow country club that has elected her to receive a "Woman Of The Year" award. Mayor Tutwiller is the master of ceremonies and,unaware of their relationship,has invited Thelma to say a few words on her daughter's behalf. Ellen is,as always,not to pleased about this,fearing the country club members' scrutiny. Thelma starts out okay but ends up embarrassing her Daughter with stories of her childhood and basically turning her speech into a "roast".

Season 2, Episode 4: Naomi and the Stork

27 October 1983
Naomi has been feeling out of sorts and believes she may be pregnant. Vint is happy,despite having wanted to wait until they had their own home. Everyone else is up in arms about who will give up their room for the baby's nursery. When the dust settles,everyone's actually,now,happy about the future new Harper baby but...Naomi comes back from the gynecologist with the news that she's not pregnant. Everyone is now let down and maybe even feeling guilty about how selfish they had been.

Season 2, Episode 5: Rashomama

3 November 1983
Naomi, Ellen, and Eunice give their own versions of Mama's accident.

Season 2, Episode 6: Obscene Call

10 November 1983
Naomi receives obscene phone calls and the whole family tries to figure out what to do about them.

Season 2, Episode 7: Ellen's Boyfriend

17 November 1983
Mama's oldest daughter Ellen (Betty White) is dating a young man 20 years her junior. She absolutely does not want the rest of the Harpers to meet him. Fearing their jokes and their judgment,especially Thelma's,she's able to hide him,until they all happen to wind up at the town's best restaurant at the same time.

Season 2, Episode 8: Aunt Gert Rides Again

1 December 1983
Mama discovers that her Aunt Gert's life at a retirement home is less than desirable. Gert's nurse is unsympathetic and rude and tends to treat the residents like helpless children. Mama sees how this has changed Gert from a firecracker of woman to a turtle in a shell. With Thelma's help Gert finds herself again.

Season 2, Episode 9: Amateur Night

8 December 1983
Vinton is a smash at the Bigger Jigger Bar & Grill's "Ametuer Night",with his dancing tribute to Fred Astaire. (Ken Berry is fluent in song and dance by the way). He's asked to come back and perform again and between the two gigs,gets too much advice,an overgrown ego and even buys a sequined jump suit! This looks like a job for Mama to get Vint back to reality!

Season 2, Episode 10: The Mama Who Came to Dinner

22 December 1983
Vint and Naomi decide to give a dinner party for their friends. However, minutes before the guests are due on the night of the party, Mama throws out her back and is unable to get up off the floor before they arrive.

Season 2, Episode 11: Mama Learns to Drive

7 January 1984
Every member of the family is fed up with having to drive Thelma everywhere. Each one takes turns trying to teach 63 year old Thelma to drive. The results of each effort are worse than the last and Thelma's ready to call it quits! That is,until she gets a call from a hat shop saying if she doesn't get there by 12pm,they'll sell it to someone else. She eyes Fran's (Rue McLanahan)car keys and gets in her car outside. Will she make it and finally try to get her license? (In the outside shot we see Iola's mother Mrs. Boylen for the only time in the series).

Season 2, Episode 12: Black Belt Mama

14 January 1984
Thelma gets her purse snatched at a bus stop in broad daylight,which at first shakes her up badly enough to not want to report it. After the initial shock wears off though,she's boiling mad and calls the police and then takes a self-defense/karate course with Naomi,Fran & Sonja. Will Mama get even or will the bad guy get away?

Season 2, Episode 13: Mama Buys a Car

21 January 1984
Even though Thelma went the distance to get her drivers license,she still is at the mercy of having to borrow family members' cars. She lets Fran know that she has some "mad money" saved up and is going to buy herself a car. She finds a dealer,who turns out to be one of the former neighborhood kids that she used to give cookies to. He has unfortunately has grown up into a sleazy used car dealer and does not hesitate to sell her a true "lemon" and take her money! ...but just watch how Mama "switches gears' on him!

Season 2, Episode 14: Supermarket

4 February 1984
While shopping for the family at Food Circus,Thelma gets into a "tiff" with cashier Naomi. Mama feels she knows more about the store since she's been shopping there for nearly 40 years,even so far as to give other customers advice and basically making Naomi look foolish. The manager of the store hires Mama and places her in a booth where people can "Ask Thelma" for shopping advice. Right next to Naomi's express register! She does so well,the manager then goes too far and gives Naomi's spot to Thelma. Mama's got a surprise in store for her for thinking she knows it all though.

Season 2, Episode 15: No Room at the Inn

11 February 1984
To celebrate their first anniversary, Vint and Naomi plan a honeymoon weekend at a fancy motel. But they don't count on Mama's barging in them after having had a fight with Aunt Effie -- and having nowhere else to stay.

Season 2, Episode 16: Mama for Mayor: Part 1

18 February 1984
This part 1 of,one of the funniest episodes of the NBC run. Thelma and others are becoming fed-up with the way Tutwiller is doing very little as the Mayor of Raytown. Her daughter Ellen is dating him and wants Mama to keep her opinions to herself. Things come to a hilarious finish at the end of this part when Thelma,who has stated she couldn't do much worse,is asked by a reporter on her front lawn,"Are you running for Mayor Mrs. Harper". Ellen buts in saying she's not but Thelma not liking being spoken for says,"The h*** I'm not,into the camera.

Season 2, Episode 17: Mama for Mayor: Part 2

25 February 1984
In part 2,Thelma has successfully unseated Mayor Tutwiller from office. Altough she starts off okay,she soon discovers there's more to being Mayor than she thought. Her attempts at holding meetings are hilarious! She realizes she's not as qualified as she thought herself to be and soon almost the whole town is against her. Mama has to swallow her pride and admit she's failed but how can she undo this fiasco? Surprsingly,daughter Ellen has the answer!

Season 2, Episode 18: Harper Versus Harper

10 March 1984
Mama's carpet cleaner has had it, so she uses Naomi's instead. Unfortunately, a key Naomi has lost gets stuck in the gears and ends up wrecking Mama's rug, which has been in the family for generations. The two, naturally, blame each other and decide to take the matter to court. Mama overdoes it making the judge annoyed and Naomi is just as bad. The two bicker in court, leading the judge to the obvious resolution to the problem.

Season 2, Episode 19: Mama's Birthday

17 March 1984
The poignancy which had marked "Eunice" two years earlier and turned up a few times during the NBC run (causing TV Guide to label this as a "comedy-drama" during its first season) resurfaces again as Mama's birthday causes her to remember the day she turned 30. As the "responsible" family lady, she even then had to put her dreams on hold and cater to her own mama (Vicki Lawrence plays both roles). There is a sense of hope here so lacking in the "Eunice" special.

Season 2, Episode 20: Mama Cries Uncle

24 March 1984
Carl's brother, Roy, returns for a visit after many years at sea. He convinces each family member to pursue an individual dream, no matter how unrealistic it may appear to be. Mama thinks that Roy's attitude is disrupting the household, and would prefer to leave things as they are.

Season 2, Episode 21: Ask Aunt Fran

31 March 1984
Fran has taken over writing the local newspaper's advice column. When she finds that Thelma's down-to-earth advice works better than her own "psychological" approach, Fran asks Thelma to help her.

Season 2, Episode 22: A Grave Mistake

7 April 1984
On her annual trip out to the cemetery to visit with her late husband, Thelma discovers another woman has been buried in her plot next to Carl's.

Season 3

Season 3, Episode 1: Farewell, Frannie

27 September 1986
Mama is determined to give Fran the perfect funeral despite everyone's insistence on knowing the details of her mysterious death, and her nerves are tested even further with the arrival of her grandson from reform school.

Season 3, Episode 2: Where There's a Will

4 October 1986
The Harpers stand to gain a small fortune from Fran's estate, but only if Mama can follow the will's impossible stipulation.

Season 3, Episode 3: Best Medicine

11 October 1986
Mama is angry with Ellen for passing up Aunt Fran's funeral for a bridge tournament; but changes her attitude when she learns Ellen has been hospitalized.

Season 3, Episode 4: National Mama

18 October 1986
Mama's bizarre dreams coincide with horse race winners, leading the Harpers to believe they've got a sure-fire betting system.

Season 3, Episode 5: Soup to Nuts

25 October 1986
Mama, Naomi, and Iola have a chili cookoff, forcing Vint into the unenviable task of judging which most deserves inclusion in the church cookbook.

Season 3, Episode 6: Mama and Dr. Brothers

1 November 1986
When Dr. Joyce Brothers appears on a local talk show, Mama is shocked and embarrassed when Naomi phones in for advice on her and Vint's marriage.

Season 3, Episode 7: Cat's Meow

8 November 1986
Iola is inconsolable when her nasty cat, Midnight, dies. Mama tries to cheer Iola, but is uncomfortable with the solution Iola finds to deal with her grief: having Midnight freeze-dried.

Season 3, Episode 8: The Love Letter

15 November 1986
A love letter meant for Naomi mistakenly ends up in the hands of both Mama and Iola, leading to hilarious complications for all.

Season 3, Episode 9: An Ill Wind

22 November 1986
Family animosities come to light (and the boiling point) when the Harpers are trapped together due to a Thanksgiving Day tornado.

Season 3, Episode 10: Steal One Pearl Two

29 November 1986
All eyes fall on Bubba in suspicion when Iola's pearls come up missing and he comes home with a new drum set.

Season 3, Episode 11: Where's There's Smoke

6 December 1986
Mama's plans for the Church Ladies League presidency are jeopardized with the arrival of an acquaintance if Bubba's who has run away from reform school.

Season 3, Episode 12: Fly Naomi

13 December 1986
Naomi is fed up with her job as a supermarket cashier, and signs up for stewardess school, believing it will lead to an exciting career. As the weeks pass, Vint is feeling neglected as Naomi spends all her time on her studies. And Mama is unsympathetic -- until she learns that flight attendants' families can fly anywhere they want for free.

Season 3, Episode 13: Santa Mama

20 December 1986
Mama is in no mood for Christmas merriment, and matters are not helped when she must fill in as Santa at the mall.

Season 3, Episode 14: Desperately Seeking Anyone

10 January 1987
The Harpers are tired of Iola's constant presence and wish she had someone else to spend time with, so Mama and Naomi enroll her in a matchmaking service. But the match date has eyes for someone other than Iola.

Season 3, Episode 15: Porn Again

17 January 1987
Mama finds an adult magazine in Bubba's room. When she learns he bought it at Food Circus (where Naomi is employed), she leads a boycott of the store.

Season 3, Episode 16: Have It Mama's Way

24 January 1987
Mama and Bubba get jobs at the same fast food restaurant. Their relationship as co-workers does not go smoothly.

Season 3, Episode 17: Birthright

31 January 1987
Mother's Day for Mama comes crashing to a thud when Vint comes to believe he is adopted, and arranges a meeting with the woman he believes is his real mother.

Season 3, Episode 18: Grandma USA

7 February 1987
As a practical joke, Bubba enters Thelma into the Grandma USA contest using a young woman's picture. But it's no joke when she's picked to compete and everybody gets a load of the real Thelma Harper.

Vicki Lawrence ... Thelma 'Mama' Crowley Harper

Ken Berry ... Vinton Harper

Dorothy Lyman ... Naomi Oates Harper
Beverly Archer ... Iola Lucille Boylen

Allan Kayser ... Bubba Higgins
Betty Bunch ... Grandma Betty
Rosemarie Castellano ... Contestant #2
Joy Claussen ... Contestant #3
Nancy Marlow ... Contestant #4
Pamela Morris ... Contestant #5
Wayne Morton ... Eddie Edwards
Micki Varro ... Contestant #6

Francine York ... Grandma Francine

Season 3, Episode 19: Buck Private Bubba

14 February 1987
Bubba's spur-of-the-moment decision to join the Army proves disastrous, and it's up to Mama to get him out of it.

Season 3, Episode 20: Mama's Cousin

21 February 1987
Mama questions her life's accomplishments when her successful, glamorous cousin comes to town.

Season 3, Episode 21: Mama with the Golden Arm

28 February 1987
Mama's big mouth lands her in an armwrestling match, where she meets her most formidable foe yet.

Season 3, Episode 22: It Takes Two to Watusi

7 March 1987
Bubba is smitten with Naomi's curvy, but much older, friend. Mama, however, will stop at nothing to prevent their romance.

Season 3, Episode 23: Fangs a Lot, Mama

14 March 1987
Vint is keen on joining a secretive men's club, but its bizarre trappings cause concern for Naomi. It is up to Mama to get to the bottom, and to save Vint from disaster.

Season 3, Episode 24: The Best Policy

21 March 1987
Vint has a series of near-death accidents shortly after a major life insurance purchase, causing Mama and Iola to suspect Naomi may be responsible.

Season 3, Episode 25: After the Fall

28 March 1987
Mama brings Aunt Effie, who's been in shock since she fell off her roof, home from the hospital and spends two weeks trying to rehabilitate her while her family puts together Vint's new 'miracle' jigsaw puzzle.

Season 4

Season 4, Episode 1: Educating Mama

26 September 1987
Thelma reveals that she never finished high school because the professor humiliated her in front of the class. To inspire Bubba to get his diploma, Thelma enrolls in night school to get hers as well. But all doesn't go well when she clashes with the new professor and is faced with the challenge of giving a report on The Scarlet Letter.

Season 4, Episode 2: Zirconias Are a Girl's Best Friend

3 October 1987
Mama discovers at-home television shopping, and soon has a house full of tacky bric-a-brac and cheap jewelry. Her family realizes they must intervene when the credit card bill arrives.

Season 4, Episode 3: The Key to the Crime

10 October 1987
Raytown is plagued by a rash of burglaries, and the police believe Vint is responsible. Mama and Iola aim to find the real culprit.

Season 4, Episode 4: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

17 October 1987
Vint and Naomi have a terrible fight and part ways. It is Mama, however, who suffers for it.

Season 4, Episode 5: A Big Hand for Mama

24 October 1987
After Mama narrowly misses death during a thunderstorm, she vows to turn over a new leaf and be more generous to her family.

Season 4, Episode 6: Flounder's Day

31 October 1987
Mama's disdain for Raytown Founder's Day goes back to a painful incident from her youth, but she gets a chance to right the wrongs of the past.

Season 4, Episode 7: Teacher's Pet

7 November 1987
Mama has fallen for her handsome night-school teacher, Mr. Hansen. Naomi and Iola give her advice on how to attract him, but Mama finds out she would do better just being herself.

Season 4, Episode 8: Child's Play

14 November 1987
The Harpers are put through hell when they must babysit Reverend Meechum's wayward grandson.

Season 4, Episode 9: Mama Mania

21 November 1987
A female TV wrestler turns out to be one of Naomi's old schoolmates, and ends up needing her help (and Mama's) in her upcoming match.

Season 4, Episode 10: Gift Horse

28 November 1987
To earn money for a VCR, the Harpers decide to hold a yard sale. The items include Iola's unique handmade gifts to the family. The Harpers plan to do this without Iola's knowledge, as Iola is away for the weekend. But everyone gets a surprise when Iola returns unexpectedly.

Season 4, Episode 11: Workman's Holiday

5 December 1987
An old lunchbox that Mama made for Vint as a child gets unearthed, causing a chain of events that leaves Vint injured and perhaps unemployed.

Season 4, Episode 12: Mama Sees Red

12 December 1987
The Harpers host a Soviet citizen as part of a State Department exchange program. Their guest soon finds American life too comfortable to give up.

Season 4, Episode 13: A Room with No View

19 December 1987
Bubba is tired of his bedroom being so near to Mama's watchful eye. Vint and Naomi are tired of living down in the basement. When they follow Iola's suggestion to swap rooms, Mama must find a way to thwart the new living arrangements.

Season 4, Episode 14: The Sins of the Mother

9 January 1988
When Bubba comes home drunk one night, Mama punishes him severely the next day. The family is mystified by Mama's harsh attitude, until Iola explains that this stems from a humiliating incident involving Bubba's mother, Eunice, getting drunk as a teenager.

Season 4, Episode 15: A Friend Indeed

16 January 1988
Mama has had it with Iola's constant intrusion into her home and family life. But when Iola starts spending all her time with a new friend, Mama feels left out and must find a way to get her back.

Season 4, Episode 16: I Do, I Don't

23 January 1988
After attending a family wedding along with their own significant others, Mama, Iola, and Bubba daydream about what marriage could be like for each of them.

Season 4, Episode 17: Mama Gets the Bird

30 January 1988
Mama's beloved uncle dies and leaves her his pet parrot. The bird speaks in rhymes that the family believes are clues to the late uncle's hidden fortune.

Season 4, Episode 18: Mama's Girls

6 February 1988
Mama, Aunt Effie, and several other senior citizen ladies take up tap dancing as a form of exercise. They enjoy it so much that they decide to form their own professional tap dancing troupe. But the possibility of their dancing becoming an insurance liability may force their show to close down.

Vicki Lawrence ... Thelma 'Mama' Crowley Harper

Ken Berry ... Vinton Harper

Dorothy Lyman ... Naomi Oates Harper
Beverly Archer ... Iola Lucille Boylen

Allan Kayser ... Bubba Higgins
Dorothy Van ... Aunt Effie Harper
Betty Bunch ... Belle Scoggins
Marguerite Hickey ... Bambi
Earl Houston Bullock ... Hartley Scoggins (as Earl Bullock)
Meg Brown ... Mama's Girl
Gloria Larson ... Mama's Girl
Patti Joy Neal ... Mama's Girl
Frances E. Nealy ... Mama's Girl (as Frances Nealy)

Beverly Polcyn ... Mama's Girl

Season 4, Episode 19: Mama on Jeopardy!

13 February 1988
The producers of "Jeopardy!" are holding auditions in Raytown, so Iola decides to try out. Mama answers all the questions on William Shakespeare which Iola misses and is chosen to appear on the game show.

Season 4, Episode 20: Mama Goes Hawaiian: Part 1

20 February 1988
Mama is a fan of "Jeopardy!" and so is Iola. When the show's staff comes to town looking for contestants they both try out. Iola flops but thanks to Thelma's outgoing personality and ability to answer at least something correct,she gets chosen. She finishes last but gets a consolation prize of a trip to Hawaii! The family (and tag along Iola) all head for Honolulu. Naomi get sunburned on day one,ruining her romantic nights with Vinton. He goes golfing and gets mistaken for a Wall Street genius by some vacationing corporate executives. Iola,Bubba & Mama experience almost magical romantic encounters,in which Thelma has grabbed the attention of a supposed beach bum.

Season 4, Episode 21: Mama Goes Hawaiian: Part 2

27 February 1988
In part 2;Iola,Bubba & Mama's romances continue in Hawaii. Iola spends time and finds much in common with a sailor from Sweden. Bubba has found a local young Hawaiian beauty,who may not be what she seems. Mama is desperate to ditch her "beach bum" admirer but finds out something about him later that's quite surprising at a lavish luau. Vinton's new executive golf buddies,are still convinced that he and now Naomi are financial market experts.

Season 4, Episode 22: Bubba's Double Date

5 March 1988
After Bubba's date, Wanda Lynn, lets him down before the prom, Mama and Iola arrange for him to take Iola's shy young niece, Vernette, instead. But when Wanda Lynn suddenly becomes available again, Bubba, who is reluctant to let Vernette down, faces a conflict.

Season 4, Episode 23: Bed and Breakdown

12 March 1988
Mama's stove is falling apart. In order to earn money for a new one, she decides to rent out a room in her house to a couple in town for the county fair. But Naomi and Bubba have also rented out their rooms, and the house becomes overcrowded with the very different--and clashing-- crowd of guests.

Vicki Lawrence ... Thelma 'Mama' Crowley Harper

Ken Berry ... Vinton Harper

Dorothy Lyman ... Naomi Oates Harper
Beverly Archer ... Iola Lucille Boylen

Allan Kayser ... Bubba Higgins
Michelle Burkhart Black ... Billy Joe (as Michelle Burkhart)
Lois De Banzie ... Rhoda Thornberry
Courtney Gebhart ... Bobby Sue

Tom McCleister ... Ernie Carruthers (as Thom McCleister)
Cheryl Pollak ... Kim
Dennis Robertson ... Andrew Thornberry
Julie Tesh ... Nancy Ann

Season 4, Episode 24: Naomi's Identity Crisis

19 March 1988
A hit to Naomi's head leaves her an amnesiac. When she asks Mama to fill her in on who she used to be, Mama convinces her she was a housekeeping and cooking whiz.

Season 4, Episode 25: Pomp and Circumstance

26 March 1988
Mama and Bubba are about to graduate from high school --indeed, Mama is to be the class valedictorian. But when Bubba learns that his parents won't be coming up from Florida for the ceremony, he is deeply hurt and decides not to attend the graduation.

Season 5

Season 5, Episode 1: Ladies Choice

5 November 1988
Mama seeks a repeat term as Church Ladies League president, but finds herself running against the last person she thought would be her opponent.

Season 5, Episode 2: Baby Talk

12 November 1988
After visiting a friend with a new baby, Naomi and Vint decide they want a baby themselves. But Mama, who feels that there isn't room in the house for another person, decides to have them babysit another friend's cranky infant, in order to discourage them.

Season 5, Episode 3: Naomi's New Position

19 November 1988
Naomi's new store manager Archie Woods has offered her the newly opened position of assistant manager. She's flattered to have been selected but is not flattered one bit when Mr. Woods makes it clear,in words and actions,that she has to be "very friendly" to him to secure the promotion. Naomi realizes this is why the the last female assistant manager was let go. He tells her to go home and think it over. She lets it be known to Mama & Iola what he's done. After giving her a talk about how what he's done is sexual harrassment,she's still too upset to do anything. Mama comes up with a plan to give Archie Woods a taste of his own medicine and get positive proof of his sleazy doings. (You have to see this plan in action! LOL! )

Season 5, Episode 4: The Really Loud Family

26 November 1988
Bubba has a class project: to make a video about his family. The Harpers and Iola are happy to participate. But a short in the camera makes for awkward moments, as everyone's comments come out differently than intended.

Season 5, Episode 5: Many Unhappy Returns

3 December 1988
All Mama wants for her birthday is an electric mixer. When she discovers a hidden expensive piece of jewelry meant for someone else and assumes it's for her, disaster ensues.

Season 5, Episode 6: Found Money

10 December 1988
An ATM malfunction leaves Mama with a small fortune. Her plans on what to do with the money prove vastly different than her family's ideas.

Season 5, Episode 7: My Mama, Myself

17 December 1988
Mama considers selling a brooch that belonged to her late mother, but has second thoughts when the old woman's spirit begins to haunt her in protest.

Season 5, Episode 8: Full House

7 January 1989
Vint wants to join a poker circle and, unsurprisingly, needs Mama's help. But her "help" may do more harm than good.

Season 5, Episode 9: Bedtime for Bubba

14 January 1989
Mama finds evidence suggesting that Bubba has been engaging in hanky panky, and convinces Iola to help her catch him in the act.

Season 5, Episode 10: What a Dump

21 January 1989
It's Mama vs. City Hall when the town decides to turn her neighborhood into the new landfill.

Season 5, Episode 11: Mama Bell

28 January 1989
The Harper family has gotten an answering machine. Meanwhile, Mama is unaware that the rest of the family is hiding a dog -- which Naomi has named "Old Lady" -- in the garage, and are trying to find a home for it. When messages turn up on the answering machine offering a new home for "your Old Lady", Mama thinks the rest of the family is trying to get rid of her.

Season 5, Episode 12: Very Dirty Dancing

4 February 1989
Mama finds herself competing against Vint and Naomi in a dance contest. The kind of dancing she must do to win makes her unsure of the whole thing.

Season 5, Episode 13: Mama's Layaway Plan

11 February 1989
After attending a barebones funeral with no mourners, Mama vows her own funeral will be an unforgettable extravagance. Her all-consuming plans alienate her family.

Season 5, Episode 14: My Phony Valentine

18 February 1989
It's Valentine's Day, and romance is in the air. But Cupid has less-than-romantic plans for everyone.

Season 5, Episode 15: The Big Wheel

25 February 1989
Mama and Iola quarrel over ownership of a winning lottery ticket. The winner appears on TV to try for more money, but things don't go as expected.

Season 5, Episode 16: More Power to You

4 March 1989
Mama believes the electric company has made an error on her bill, and refuses to pay it. They respond with expected results.

Season 5, Episode 17: Mama in One

11 March 1989
A weekend alone seems like Mama's dream come true, but the quiet and loneliness prove more than she can handle.

Season 5, Episode 18: There's No Place Like... No Place

25 March 1989
Mama has no sympathy or understanding for the homeless. But after being accidentally arrested during a police round-up of homeless people,she lands in jail and gets to know them better...and is surprised to find her cousin Cora among them.

Season 5, Episode 19: April Fools

1 April 1989
Vint, Naomi, and Bubba subject Mama to pranks every April Fools Day. Mama thinks she's finally going to outprank them, but it seems her plan isn't so watertight.

Season 5, Episode 20: Reading the Riot Act

15 April 1989
Lolly Purdue has been an inept President of the Church Ladies League, forgetting directions and piling mailing list duties onto Mama and Iola, among other things. Mama, Iola, and two other CLL members, Florence and Inez, have a secret meeting to discuss impeaching Lolly. But then, Mama discovers the reason behind Lolly's seeming incompetence, and decides to turn the situation around to help her.

Season 5, Episode 21: A Taxing Situation

22 April 1989
Mama does some creative accounting on her income tax return. Her victory over Uncle Sam is short-lived, however, when an IRS agent comes calling.

Season 5, Episode 22: The Mother of Invention

6 May 1989
Iola believes her invention is a million dollar idea. But when the product's marketer favors Vint's brainless idea over Iola's, Mama smells trouble.

Season 5, Episode 23: Hate Thy Neighbor

13 May 1989
Mama's age-old feud with her neighbor reaches a new boiling point when Bubba becomes smitten with the neighbor's granddaughter.

Season 5, Episode 24: Dependence Day

20 May 1989
Mama emboldens Iola to finally stand up to her domineering mother. When the old woman responds wrathfully, it's Mama who suffers the surprising consequence.

Season 5, Episode 25: And Mama Makes Three

27 May 1989
After receiving a discouraging report from their fertility doctor, Vint and Naomi decide to adopt. Everything seems to go well until the adoption agency psychologist asks to meet Mama. The interview is a disaster; and the outlook for Vint and Naomi's starting a family is bleak. But then, Naomi receives some astonishing news.

Season 6

Season 6, Episode 1: Mama's Medicine Show

23 September 1989
Naomi and Vint read in a magazine how it will cost $168,000 dollars to raise their 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 Naomi an idea. They could sell the tonic and make a fortune. So Naomi 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 Naomi 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.

Season 6, Episode 2: An Affair to Forget

30 September 1989
Vinton has been spending his evenings away from Naomi, educating a new locksmith. When Mama and Iola find out that the new trainee is a beautiful young woman, they fear the worst, and try to shield the pregnant Naomi from this information.

Season 6, Episode 3: Mr. Wrong

7 October 1989
Iola would like a husband and family of her own. Mama encourages Iola to date, but is not pleased by Iola's choice: a boorish loudmouth.

Season 6, Episode 4: Now Hear This

14 October 1989
Vint and Naomi buy an intercom for their new baby's nursery. But when Mama, and later Vint and Naomi, use it to spy on each other's private conversations, they overhear some unflattering opinions.

Season 6, Episode 5: Tri-State's Most Wanted

21 October 1989
Vint and Naomi have been following the TV show, "Tri-State's Most Wanted", in order to earn big rewards by catching crooks. But after seeing him appear on the show, Mama believes that the handsome new actor at the Pepperpot Playhouse is one of the criminals.

Season 6, Episode 6: Mama Fights Back

28 October 1989
Mama is not satisfied with the advice she receives from a local consumer affairs radio show. She calls in to complain, and offers advice to other callers on how to resolve their complaints. The radio station is so impressed by Mama's knowledge of local merchants and products, that they give her a radio program of her own.

Season 6, Episode 7: A Blast from the Past

4 November 1989
Mama is reluctant to go to her junior high reunion because of the untrue nickname given to her by the class jerk: "Hot Pants". But then, she decides to go in order to set the record straight.

Season 6, Episode 8: Psychic Pheno-Mama

11 November 1989
Mama is dubious when a psychic visits the house; but is surprised when the psychic gives Mama messages from Carl -- with personal information no one outside the family could possibly know.

Season 6, Episode 9: Take My Mama, Please

18 November 1989
When Mama heckles a comic at the Big Jigger, the comic challenges her to do better, and invites her back for "Open Mike" night.

Season 6, Episode 10: Bubba's House Band

25 November 1989
Bubba invites a punk rock band, the Bonecrushers, to stay at Harper House.

Season 6, Episode 11: Mama Takes Stock

2 December 1989
Vint fears he will lose his job when Kwik Keys is taken over by the Bernice Corporation and turned into a frozen yogurt shop. But then, Mama discovers that she actually has stock shares in Bernice -- and a say in whether they can take over Kwik Keys.

Season 6, Episode 12: War of the Roses

9 December 1989
When a unique hybrid rose shows up in Mama's garden, Mama and Iola quarrel over its ownership, as Iola believes one of her roses cross-pollinated with one of Mama's to produce the beautiful rose.

Season 6, Episode 13: Mama Takes a Dive

16 December 1989
After Mama is turned down for a bank loan for a new furnace, she slips and falls on a roll of pennies left on the floor of the bank. Her injuries are minor, but the rest of the family encourages Mama to sue the bank for a million dollars for negligence.

Season 6, Episode 14: Mama Gets Goosed

23 December 1989
Mama's cousin sends her a live goose for Christmas. The rest of the family wants to keep it as a pet; but Mama wants to have it for Christmas dinner.

Season 6, Episode 15: The Big Nap

20 January 1990
Thelma spends the nights watching a detective movie marathon. When Iola's mother disappears and the family goes to search for her, Thelma dreams she's a private eye on the case of the missing mother.

Season 6, Episode 16: Pinup Mama

27 January 1990
Bubba has a photography project for school. The whole family participates. But when Bubba's secret gag photo of Mama's head on a pin-up model's body accidentally gets printed on a flyer for a senior citizens' dance, confusion and chaos ensue.

Season 6, Episode 17: Guess Who's Going to Dinner

3 February 1990
Vinton has won a free Mother's Day dinner for two at a new restaurant. But he faces a hard decision. Which mother should he take out: Mama or mother-to-be Naomi?

Season 6, Episode 18: Look Who's Breathing

10 February 1990
When Vint is called away by a sudden work emergency, Mama --who would rather be at a bingo game-- has to substitute as Naomi's childbirth coach. Mama is disbelieving about natural childbirth, and inadvertently scares the class by telling them about what childbirth and parenthood will really be like.

Season 6, Episode 19: There Is Nothing Like the Dames

17 February 1990
Vint and Naomi have finally found a new place to live, a rundown mobile home; and are preparing to move to a trailer park. However, the unsightly trailer breaks down in Mama's driveway just seconds before Mama has to entertain the Dames, a snobbish women's club Mama wants to join.

Season 6, Episode 20: Bye Bye Baby

24 February 1990
In the Series Finale, Mama is trying to calm Naomi down, who freaks out when Vint leaves her to go to work. Mama tells her the story of how great Carl was when Vint was born. Of course she's lying just to make Naomi feel better. She then tells Iola the real story. Seems she had to take the bus to the hospital when Carl refused to come out of the bathroom, as she went into to labor. Bubba, who's trying to make the college Water Polo team, is driving Mama nuts by running up and down the stairs. When Naomi finally goes into labor, after seemingly being pregnant forever, she refuses to go to the hospital until she gets her hot rollers. Vint, who gets home just then, goes to get the car and panics and smashes his pickup into Mama's car, then promptly passes out when Mama tells him to calm down. Bubba (who made the Water Polo team) and Iola show up a little later and hear a baby cry coming from the trailer. As it turns out, Mama had to deliver the baby, and now they need to pick a name for the Harper's newest addition, a beautiful girl. Vint suggests they call it Thelma, but Naomi wants to name it Tiffany. They compromise and name it Tiffany Thelma.

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