Mama's Family (TV Series 1983–1990) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Thelma Harper and her spinster sister Fran open their home to Thelma's recently divorced son Vinton and his teenage son and daughter. It's quite an adjustment for everyone, especially the cranky, argumentative Thelma.

  • Spun off from a Carol Burnett sketch, Mama's Family originated with Thelma "Mama" Harper, and her younger sister Fran living together in Mama's House. Mama's youngest son Vinton moved in with his two teenage kids, Buzz and Sonja on the first episode, despite Fran's unwillingness. A few episodes later, Vint married their neighbor, Naomi Oates. Mama had two daughters as well. Ellen, the oldest, tries to be proper and thinks she's rich unlike the family, but tends to rub their cons in their faces. She can be very snobby at times, and has no trouble with being a show off. The other, Eunice, the middle child, a massive drama queen, gets upset about a lot and absolutely hates Ellen, and is very jealous of her. She is married to Ed Higgins, not the most successful guy in the world, and Eunice lets him know every chance she gets. The show was temporarily canceled in 1984, being kicked off of NBC's line up. In 1986, it was brought back in first-run syndication wherein they dropped Buzz, Sonja, Fran, Eunice, Ed, and eventually, Ellen. Buzz and Sonja presumably graduating from High School, and living their own lives, Fran having choked to death on a toothpick in the bathroom of the Bigger Jigger, Ellen appeared in an early Season 3 episode, and her absence was never explained, to my knowledge, and Eunice and Ed moved to Florida, leaving Mama, Vint and Naomi with their delinquent son, Bubba. And also introduced, was their other neighbor, Iola Boylen, living (practically) alone, besides her mother, who has basically shut her self off from the world, leaving Iola to her. She makes all sorts of unique and strange handicrafts that Mama thinks little of, and she tries to keep her cool as much as possible, but occasionally loses it, proving to be very funny. The show was in first-run syndication until 1990, when they ended the show with Vint and Naomi having a baby.

  • Thelma Harper, a cranky, sharp-tongued widow shared a small house with her high-strung sister Fran. Thelma's scatterbrained son Vinton moved back in with Thelma with his teenage kids, Sonja and Vinton, Jr. ("Buzz"), after his wife ran out on him to become a Las Vegas showgirl. After Vinton moved in with Thelma, he became romantically interested in Thelma's next-door neighbor Naomi. They soon got married and Naomi moved into Thelma's house as well. Thelma's daughters, the spoiled, rich, snobbish Ellen and the foulmouthed Eunice, and Eunice's husband Ed occasionally visited (Ellen's husband, Bruce, was talked about but never seen). In 1986, Fran died, Buzz and Sonja moved out, and Ed and Eunice moved to Florida. Bubba, Ed and Eunice's son, had served a term in juvenile hall for car theft and because of this, was not allowed to come to Florida to join them; he ended up living with Thelma. Iola (who lived across the street from Thelma her whole life but did not join the cast until 1986) was the looney neighbor who lusted for Vinton.


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