Move over, Simpsons and Bundys! Sorry, Bluths and Sopranos! The honor of “Most Dysfunctional TV Family” goes to the Harper clan from MAMA’S FAMILY, the fan-favorite comedy spun off from the wildly-popular “Carol Burnett Show” ongoing sketch “The Family.” Headed by the ornery and formidable matriarch Thelma Mae Crowley Harper, Vicki Lawrence’s indelible and abrasive alter ego, the Harper family puts run-of-the-mill relations to shame.
From the first time the wildly-popular sketch “The Family” aired on “The Carol Burnett Show” in 1974, Vicki Lawrence has been followed by a buxom, blue-haired, purse-lipped, 65-year-old widow. This is, of course, Thelma Mae Crowley Harper, Lawrence’s indelible, abrasive and smart alecky alter ego who would eventually be spun-off into her own delightfully offbeat sitcom “Mama’s Family,” which debuted on NBC on January 22, 1983 and ran for six seasons. Set in the fictional city of Raytown, MAMA’S FAMILY revolves around the eye-opening escapades of the Harper clan, headed by formidable matriarch, Mama Harper, a fiery-tempered no-nonsense woman who does not suffer fools gladly. In fact, she makes everybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the “diss” in dysfunction. Across 130 episodes viewers were treated to family comedy of the highest degree.
Here The Lab NYC’s Arthur Kade sits down #InTheLab with TV icon Vicki Lawrence right after her appearance on NBC’s Today Show to talk about the DVD release of seasons 1 and 2 of “Mama’s Family”, her relationship with Carol Burnett after so many years, and playing Miley Cyrus’ grandmother on “Hannah Montana”.
Here is Vicki Lawrence on NBC’s “Today Show” right before joining me #InTheLab: