“There Is Nothing Like the Dames” (February 17, 1990)

Believe it or not, Mama’s Family has a deeply queer history. While the final result — the syndicated revival that returned to TV after NBC canceled it — bears little of that, this episode goes over all the ways a recurring sketch on The Carol Burnett Show originally told the story of a queer-coded artist who can’t relate to his family back home. It’s all the stranger to consider that Mama’s Family never did an explicitly queer episode, even with all those Bob Mackie costumes.

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Buy the new issue of Beyond Sunset here.

Read the article in which Bubba actor Allan Kayser talks about his famously tight jeans.

Vicki Lawrence sings the original, non-instrumental version of the Mama’s Family theme song. But also listen to her disco banger “Don’t Stop the Music” and the no. 1 murder mystery pop hit “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.”

Watch the brilliant 1982 TV movie adaptation of the Harper family saga, Eunice. Also watch The Carol Burnett Show’s famous “Went With the Wind” sketch. But most importantly watch the original sketch version that led to Mama’s Family, when it was just called “The Family.” It made Drew way sadder than sketch comedy usually does.

Episode artwork by Ian O’Phelan.

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