The Retro TV Times: Mama S1 Ep28 – Mama Has a Bad Day (Jan 6. 1950)

Director: Ralph Nelson

Writers: Kathryn Forbes, Frank Gabrielson

Stars: Peggy Wood, Judson Laire, Rosemary Rice

RATING: 3 Stars

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Mama begins to believe that her family is taking her for granted and decides to spend the day playing cards with friends. – From IMDB

Fifties sitcoms really were something else weren’t they. Entire episodes where almost nothing happens, as a modern woman the gender stereotypes make me a little angry, and most of the time they are a little melodramatic and predictable. But there is also something so wholesome and enjoyable about them. You know nothing terrible is going to happen, at the end of the episode everything will end happily ever after, and there will always be a joke or two cracked to relieve any tension. And I have a weird soft spot for them.

This is one I had never heard of, and admittedly I just watched a random episode completely out of order, but I still had a pretty good time with it. It follows all the tropes good and bad that I noted above, so nothing is at all surprising or outstanding about it. But it is entertaining and probably a fairly accurate depiction of what family life looked like in the fifties, the good and the bad.

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I liked that this episode actually takes a look at the mothers role in the household and showed that actually, it was ok to have days where that role as mother and wife was not all it cracked up to be. I am a little surprised to see this kind of attitude displayed so early, when in my head the fifties are kind of the golden age of the stereotypical ‘Housewife.’ But for women of the time, I can see how that kind of validation may have been appreciated. Even if in the end she ultimately takes it all back.

I was shocked to see such competent child actors, when way into the nineties, child actors in Sitcoms could be sketchy at best. In fact little Robin Morgan as Dagmar was easily the highlight of the whole episode, having an exuberance and brightness superior to all her other co-stars. I will definitely enjoy watching more of these.

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