Syndicated TV, 1987
This week’s induction is “Mama Mania,” the ninth episode of the fourth season of Mama’s Family. Why is a situation comedy being featured on a wrestling website? Bear with me, perplexed reader, as your confusion shall be dispelled in due time.
The show begins with the Harper family sitting down to a macaroni dinner. Supper time is quickly interrupted, though, when Vinton and nephew Bubba leave the table early to watch wrestling — specifically the Tri-State Wrestling Semi-Finals.
That’s right, it’s a wrestling episode! This particular wrestling episode was created by “Nature Boy” Dick Clair and Jen O’Mac.
Naomi can’t understand why anyone would want to watch a bunch of sweaty, muscular, scantily-clad men… but wait a minute!
She and neighbor Iola rush over to join the boys around the TV set, where Iola is surprised to discover that the wrestlers are women.
“They certainly are!” says Naomi, because she needed more lines in the script.
Mama Thelma is disgusted with the spectacle, however, calling it a “hoochie coochie show”, which is a really filthy term when you break it down.
But Vinton and Bubba won’t turn it off – after all, this is the most important tag team match of the entire year, which is even more impressive given that it’s only the semi-finals. Maybe the finals are held January 1st.
Naomi, who has apparently never seen this wrestling promotion before despite her husband apparently watching it all the time, recognizes one of the Queen Bees as her old high school friend, Didi.
Say, do you think a character is going to end up in a wrestling match due to wacky circumstance, as in such previously featured wrestling episodes as Fuller House, Family Matters, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and Hey Dude?
The Queen Bees beat the Siberian Huskies via pinfall with a Boston crab. And before you complain that you can’t possibly pin someone with a Boston crab…
— Art O’Donnell (@Art0Donnell) July 5, 2017
…remember that Bret Hart somehow nearly pinned Fatu with a sharpshooter in 1993.
The victory means that the Bees will be wrestling next week right in town, so Naomi invites her wrestler friend to dinner. Didi arrives, but has bad news: her never-seen tag team partner has injured herself in a shower mishap.
No tag team partner? What in the world is a pro wrestler on a sitcom to do! Luckily, Naomi agrees to fill in, despite Mama’s skepticism, after Didi tells her all she needs to do is stand on the apron while the real wrestler does all the work.
At the match, Iola gifts Mama with a home-made Hulk Hogan seat cushion.
Bubba takes the JYD cushion…
…so Iola sits on Andre the Giant’s face. Now there’s a story I want to hear about in HBO’s new Andre doc!
In no time – really, because it’s the first and only match – it’s time for the main event! I think it’s cute that WWE likes to tout its “Women’s (R)evolution” when Tri-State Wrestling was getting by just fine in the 80s using a lone women’s match to pack the house.
(Oh, and that ring announcer?
He would go on to promote Chicago’s WrestleRama on Family Matters seven years later. Since this show is set in the Midwest, it’s not out of the question that this is the same character on both shows.)
The Queen Bees enter without anyone noticing that Didi has a different partner…
(although, admittedly, making Naomi wear shoulder straps for once is a brilliant piece of trickery)
…followed by the reigning champions, the Masked Mabels, played by two wrestlers from GLOW: Emily “Mountain Fiji” Dole (who passed away earlier this year) and Dee “Matilda the Hun” Booher (who invented phone sex in the early 1970s).
With the whole cast seated on the hard cam side, Mama is in perfect position to trash-talk the Mabels.
Soon, Mama’s in the ring trading fat jokes for age jokes.
Mama gets overzealous, though, and accidentally KO’s Didi with a metal bucket. Because Tri-State Wrestling’s concussion policy is decades ahead of WWF’s, this means that the Bees will have to forfeit the match…
…unless there were somebody else standing around who could fill in as a wrestler for one night only.
But there isn’t, so the Queen Bees forfeit and the episode ends.
No wait – Mama could wrestle the match! After getting volun-told by the ticked-off Masked Mabels…
…Thelma reluctantly emerges from the dressing room in Didi’s bee suit, which Iola has altered significantly so as not show Thelma’s hoochie-coochie.
A frightened Naomi tags in Thelma, so Mt. Fiji wants a piece of the action…
…resulting in this highly illegal tag.
I’ve seen sitcom families eating all at the same side of the table so everyone can face the camera…
…but I’ve never seen it applied to the wrestling ring.
Thelma escapes the world’s weakest headlock with a stomp to Mabel’s foot, then twists her mask around and delivers a kick to the butt…
…resulting in the world’s worst bump and/or attempt at the worm.
With Mabel incapacitated, Mabel runs in (yes, they are both named Mabel)…
…but after some more mask trickery, Mama hits her with an Irish whip even sillier-looking than a normal Irish whip.
Mama pins both Mabels to win the match, the tournament, and the titles. Of course, this shocking turn of events is quickly forgotten by the next episode.
For once – for once – I would like a wrestling episode to result in a sitcom character becoming a sports-entertainer full-time for the rest of the series’ run.
I mean, Family Matters started off as a down-to-earth family sitcom, and ended up revolving around a nerdy teenaged boy who loved polka, built a robot, transformed into Bruce Lee, cloned himself, and went into space.
Would it have been too much to ask to make him a wrestler, too?
Wrestlecrap has been running longer than Mama’s Family and Family Matters combined. How about throwing us a few bones on Patreon?