TOUR, DAY 6: Opposing Viewpoints: Mama’s Family
In order to show fairness and eliminate biases, this blog entry will have TWO points of view.
CANDISE: You may or may not know this, but Leslie is a HUGE fan of the “classic” Vicki Lawrence television show, Mama’s Family. I kind of can’t fathom how Leslie (who I think is one of the funniest people I know) can enjoy “comedy” devoid of humor. I think I hate Mama’s Family so much because it had so much potential. I LOVED The Carol Burnett Show as a kid, and always thought Vicki Lawrence’s version of “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” was far superior to Reba’s take.
I ended up spending a large portion of the trip baiting Leslie by commenting on its “un-funniness” (as I am now). But even with this serious difference of opinion, I set down my gauntlet so Leslie could take a pilgrimage to the site of the facade of the Mama’s Family house. The show was not actually filmed there, but a video of this particular house’s exterior was used at the beginning of each episode, much like the Full House house (see Day 3). As much as I hate Mama’s Family, I love Leslie more. And how could I say no to that cute face, pleading us to take a short detour to Pasadena? Friends, I just couldn’t say no. And that is how I ended up here.
LESLIE: This may be the easiest defense of position argument that I’ve ever made. I could simply post a few youtube video clips and rest my case. However, I am going to go the extra mile here in order to convince Candise (who I think has probably not seen even ONE entire episode of the MF oeuvre) that there is some artistic and comedic merit to be considered in this classic sitcom.
Let’s start with critical acclaim. Mama’s Family dominated evening television in 1984, sweeping the Emmy Awards “Outstanding Costume Design” category – leaving Bill Cosby crying in a pile of his own shattered multi-colored woolen dreams.
Next, there’s the cast. Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Carol Burnette! If Mama’s Family were a house, it would be on the national historic register. Feeling the shame yet, sweet Candy? You have no national pride.
And, finally, there’s just the comedy. Cranky old beer-drinking midwestern lady takes care of her foolish family and insults everybody? Yes. I am in. For life.
In all honesty, this show just reminds me of my own cranky but loving grandmother who would threaten to “mash” my teeth down my throat or to hit me with my own paddle-ball toy if I got out of line. She would scream at a second-grade me who noticed her friend down the street. As I was telling my grandmother who she was, she screamed “I DON’T CARE IF HER NAME IS LAFETTE!” Who is Lafette?! I still don’t know.
I also remember vividly a day when she came flying into the room where my grandpa and I were watching TV and threw an entire Whitman’s Sampler across the living room, chocolates flying everywhere, because my grandpa was so lazy. That shit is funny. And so is Mama’s Family.