YMMV / Mama's Family

  • Adaptation Displacement: A lot of the show's younger fans don't know that it was based upon a recurring sketch from The Carol Burnett Show. This is especially ironic given that the "Family" sketches were some of the earlier show's most popular.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The whole half-hour series took the characters from the Carol Burnett Show sketches and put a completely different spin on them, particularly Mama. On Carol Burnett, Mama was a practically villainous character who browbeat Eunice into an emotional wreck. On Mama's Family, Mama was cranky, but basically good, and Eunice was a histrionic brat who caused her own problems. This is particularly true in the syndicated run, where Eunice never appears.
    • Anyone growing up in a family like that could say that both sides are equally valid.
  • Broken Base: Fans of the NBC episodes vs. fans of the syndicated episodes. Then there are those who hate both runs and tout the original sketches as superior.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: In the Christmas Episode where Mama dress as Santa, a bratty kid kicked her in the shin, in which a photo was taken.
  • Ear Worm: That theme song.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Doddering Aunt Effie was just a one-shot character from Vint and Naomi's wedding in season one. She proved so popular she was bumped up to recurring character during the syndicated run.
    • It probably helped that the actress who played Aunt Effie, Dorothy Van, worked on the show behind the scenes as a writer, as did her husband, Jim Evering, who also worked behind the scenes as a producer, co-executive producer, and executive script consultant.
  • Growing the Beard: Some consider the syndicated run to be this, given the Character Development (Vinton becoming less intelligent, but was given more to do in this role, Thelma actually became kinder—but not any less snarkier—and Naomi's sluttiness was toned down), the Denser and Wackier tone, which actually worked and the significant trimming of the cast, namely in the case of Buzz and Sonja (see The Scrappy below.)
  • Ham and Cheese: Carol Burnett's Eunice is even hammier in the series than in the original sketches (and her scenes were definitely the better for it).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Seeing Rue McClanahan be such an uptight prude as prissy spinster Aunt Fran becomes this once you consider her later role of Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls.
  • Moral Event Horizon: When Eunice was a little girl, Mama killed her pet rabbit and cooked it for dinner.
    • Eunice and Ed not showing up for Bubba's graduation was this for a lot of people.
      • And even before then, moving to Florida without telling Bubba or Mama what was going on, knowing full well that Bubba was being released from juvenile detention, and his probation prevented him from leaving the state until he was 21, forcing him to move in with Mama.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Aunt Fran was seen as this by some, due to her unnecessarily uptight manner making her come off as a bit bitchy at times. Rue McClanahan herself actually hated how prissy Aunt Fran was, as she had signed on the series under the expectation that the character would be more man hungry, thus making her the primary foil for Thelma. However, the producers were so impressed with Dorothy Lyman's performance as Opal on All My Children, that they decided to make her the resident slut and primary foil for Thelma instead.
    • Not even the writers liked Buzz and Sonja, Vinton's two kids in the NBC run, as evidenced by the characters being written out with exactly zero explanation when the show returned in first-run syndication. Buzz was a bland and uninteresting Cheerful Child who never received any Character Development throughout the two seasons, while Sonja started out a completely obnoxious, lazy, and unlikeable Bratty Teenage Daughter. Her personality lightened up considerably when season two rolled around, but the writers struggled to find much for her and her brother to do, leading to the majority of that season's episodes having the two kids appear only for minutes at a time before leaving. Vicki Lawrence has expressed some regret at the two characters and actors ultimately not having much of a chance to develop before they were removed from the series.