Who wouldn't love a gray-haired matriarch sweet as pie, tough as nails, and funny as a rubber chicken? That, in a nutshell, is Thelma Harper, the titular character of Mama's Family, which is one of my favorite sitcoms of all time.
I would have to say that MF is in a class of its own. What made it so unique? Probably the fact that it was made with only one goal in mind: comedy. And comedy it was! The producers, writers, and directors didn't care about family concerns, social issues, or even being "true to life". They just cared about making us laugh. And they certainly succeeded: the sharp, opinionated, sardonic Thelma and her dim-witted family and neighbors were excellent foils for each other. The family's activities in and around the home and Thelma's forceful, one-sided opinions of them provided many good laughs. The most memorable part of the series was undoubtedly Thelma's many clever quips and one-liners. You really have to see it to appreciate it.
The show had two runs, one on NBC and one in syndication. The syndicated episodes, in my opinion, were much more enjoyable than the network ones. Thelma showed more of her always-funny sarcasm in the syndicated episodes, and Vint and Naomi became more active characters. Bubba, Thelma's college-age grandson, replaced Buzz and Sonja, the high-school-age grandchildren from the NBC episodes, thus removing the unneeded "teen angst" portion of the show. Iola, Thelma's naive friend and next-door neighbor, proved funnier than Thelma's rebellious daughters Ellen and Eunice and her high-strung sister Fran. But the show was still hilarious throughout all of its run. We love you Mama!!!