In The Lion King 1½, Ma is Timon's caring mother who initially lives in a meerkat colony with her son Timon and Uncle Max. Her husband is never mentioned, only appearing in deleted scenes; it is implied throughout the movie that he has passed away. Ma understands Timon's struggles to find his place in the colony and tries to help him in whatever manner she can. Although the rest of the burrow doesn't like Timon very much, she stands by his side in most of his decisions. No other information is known about her since her last appearance in this film and its media.
Ma is a devoted and supportive mother. She is very down-to-earth about what's important and will sacrifice her time and efforts to make others happy. She is also the only meerkat who's willing to stick up for Timon when he messes up. Throughout the film, she yearns for him to fit in and be happy. When he tells her that his place is not with his colony, because of his constant screw-ups, she reluctantly lets him leave, in hopes that he'll find a better home. But she has a very strong attachment to Timon, as she can hardly stand being parted from him. Other traits of Ma's include bravery, devotion, a willingness to help, and forgiveness. She is also known to be sassy and strong-willed at times. Throughout the film, she tries to keep Timon's hair as neat as possible.
She goes to see Timon and his "wife" Patty (in reality, Pumbaa in disguise) and decides to move in. Pumbaa is then forced to disguise himself as other people, and in the end, he finally reveals to her that he's in fact Timon's friend from a long time ago (even saying his infamous phrase, "They call me... MR. PIG!!!"). But then Ma says she isn't really Timon's mother, and then reveals herself to be Fred in disguise.
Ma made her first actual appearance in the episode "You Bet Your Tuhkus". When Timon is asked the question, "What person is you parent, but is not your dad, and is standing right over there?", Timon's mother can be seen waving. In this appearance, Timon's mother was slimmer, had orange hair and glasses, and wore lipstick and a dress. Timon answers the question wrongly, answering, "My uncle Larry?" Timon's mother wasn't voiced in this episode.
In this film, Ma is a kind and younger adult meerkat. Her appearance is somewhat lighter, though still slightly plump with orange hair.
At the beginning of the film, Ma is looking for Timon. She asks Uncle Max where he is and accidentally scares him out of his "Digga Tunnah" chant. He tells her that he hasn't seen Timon all day, and that there had been no sign of his "handiwork" either. Seconds later, the tunnel collapses and the colony discovers that Timon is behind the incident. As her son is scorned by the other meerkats for destroying another tunnel, she quietly expresses her disappointment. She then jumps in and tries to defend her son's "skylight," before pulling him outside to have a word with him.
When they are alone, Timon tries to defend himself, but Ma tells him that this can't go on. She reminds him of all his previous accidents, and then goes on to say that their survival depends on working together. But Timon is still unconvinced, and reminds her that all they do is dig and hide. He asks her what's wrong with wanting a better home. Ma then parts the grass so they can see the world beyond. She tells Timon to look out over the land. But the beautiful moment is broken when Ma reminds Timon that "everything the light touches... belongs to someone else!"
Timon expresses that he had thought she was heading in a different direction, to which Ma replies, "What can I say? It's nature's design." Uncle Max then appears out of the grass and tells Timon that they were "feared by no one and eaten by all." Ma sarcastically thanks Max and tells him that he's a big help. Despite her sarcastic tone, he keeps persisting his point, until Ma pointedly tells him to go and he leaves. Timon comments on how crazy Uncle Max was, but Ma begrudgingly points out that he was right. She then exclaims that there has to be some way for Timon to fit in.
A moment later, Uncle Max can be heard off screen, asking for a sentry guard. Ma lights up and quickly nominates Timon for the position. Uncle Max protests against this and Timon backs him up. But Ma reminds Timon that all he has to do is watch out for hyenas and yell if he sees one. She then gestures to Iron Joe, the former sentry guard. She reminds Timon that the position is out in the open, under the sky; just what he wanted. She then comments that if he didn't guard, he could go back on tunnel duty, to which all the meerkats shout, "No!" Ma then agrees that it's settled, and tells Timon to learn the basics from Uncle Max. As an afterthought, she begs him to make this work.
After Timon fails his job as sentry, the hyena trio infiltrates the meerkat colony. In the midst of the panic, Ma grabs Timon and pulls him into a hole. She then takes role and finds that Uncle Max is still trapped outside the tunnels. When he manages to escape, the whole colony turns the blame on Timon. He tries to defend himself, but all the meerkats turn and leave, except for Ma. She then emerges out of the tunnels to see Timon sitting by himself.
Timon tells her that he was never going to fit in here and that no one even liked him. Ma protests this, and Timon says, "Besides you, Ma." She then tries to think of other meerkats who like him, but can find none. Timon interrupts, telling her that he has to find his place.
Ma tells him that his place is with his colony, he just hasn't found it yet. She then starts to comb his hair, but Timon tells her to stop it. He then proclaims that his place is somewhere far from the colony. Ma tries one last time to protest, but finally gives in to Timon's wishes. She then pulls him into a tight hug, so hard that Timon can hardly breathe. When they finally part, Timon turns and sets out to on his own path. As he leaves, Ma tries to give him little reminders about not talking to strangers, washing behind his ears, and always swimming with a buddy. She tries to tell him to send them a message, but he is too far away and her sentence is inaudible. Finally, Timon waves her off and says good-bye for the last time.
Much later, after Timon has met Pumbaa and found his "dream home," Ma talks to Rafiki, who tells her about "Hakuna Matata." At first she is confused, but Rafiki explains to her that it means "no worries." He then tells her that he had told Timon "to look beyond what he sees." Ma mistakes Rafiki's words of wisdom to be a metaphor, and when he tries to correct her, she gets angry at him and demands to know why he'd used a metaphor on Timon. She then calls down to Uncle Max, telling him that she has to go save Timon. Uncle Max isn't crazy about this idea, but Ma is determined to go. As she is about to set off, Rafiki says to her, "Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Ma then says, "Thanks. Here's my first step." And jumps squarely onto Rafiki's foot.
Later, while Simba is confronting Scar, Ma shows up at Pride Rock with Uncle Max. After Pumbaa scares away the hyenas, Ma emerges out of a tunnel under his feet. Timon and Uncle Max are shocked to see each other, but Ma is delighted. Timon asks what she's doing here and Ma replies that she's looking for him. She then embraces him in one of her full-on hugs. After the embrace is over, Timon introduces his mother and uncle to Pumbaa. The group then looks up to see Simba being backed to the edge of Pride Rock by Scar. But after Simba slips, Timon and Pumbaa begin to get worried. Ma offers to help and Timon quickly instructs her and Uncle Max to dig a trap. While they're constructing the tunnels, Timon and Pumbaa would lure the hyenas away from Simba. As Timon rides away on Pumbaa, Ma comments that something was different about Timon, to which Uncle Max says, "You think? He's wearin' a dress!"
After Timon and Pumbaa draw the hyenas into the cave, Timon yells down to his mother that they've gotten their attention. But the tunnel is incomplete, and Timon and Pumbaa try to stall the hyenas while Ma and Uncle Max finish the tunnel. But when the tunnel is finally finished, the whole plan falters as one stick needed to knock down the others in order for the ground to collapse is stuck by a rock.
Timon bravely jumps in to finish the job, and Ma screams in fear as he dives between Shenzi's legs. But the hyenas quickly lose interest in Timon, and start closing in on Pumbaa and the meerkats, who hug each other in terror. Timon dives for the last tunnel supporter and it crumbles on impact. The hyenas leap for their victims, and Pumbaa, Ma and Uncle Max gasp and steel themselves as lightning flashes. But as Shenzi lands in front of them, the ground gives way, followed by the whole ledge. The entire floor collapses into a huge crater and swallows all the hyenas whole. The hyenas then slide through a huge subterranean tunnel complex, screaming, until they disappear into the darkness.
Ma becomes frantic about what happened to Timon, and shakes Uncle Max uncontrollably, convinced that her son is dead. She then grabs Pumbaa by his nostrils and proclaims that they have to find him. Timon emerges out of the tunnel and tells Ma not to relax. At first, she doesn't recognize him, but when she does, she embraces him in a hug and calls him a hero. She reaches up as though to comb his hair, but catches herself. She then looks at her hands in embarrassment, but Timon informs her that she "missed" a spot" and, delighted, Ma continues combing his hair.
After Scar and the hyenas are defeated, she is present at Simba's accession to the throne of the Pride Lands. She is seen looking at Simba in wonder and exchanging a look with Pumbaa and Uncle Max. As the lionesses roar in reply, she turns to Timon and comments that he's come a long way. She then asks him if he had found what he was looking for. He admits that he had found a place beyond his wildest dreams, but it still wasn't home. He then invites her and the meerkat colony to live in the jungle he calls his "dream home." Ma is awestruck by the beauty of the oasis, and tells Timon that the jungle has everything. She then joins in the reprise of "Digga Tunnah." Finally, when the movie is over, she joins Timon and Pumbaa in the respective theater. She asks what they're doing and then, upon seeing the screen, demands to know why they'd watched the movie without her. Timon tells her the movie is over, but she tells him that he'll have to rewind it. She then takes the remote from Pumbaa and begins rewinding the film. She then calls to Uncle Max that they're going to watch the movie. He enters a moment later with a bag of popcorn. Soon, the entire theater fills up with various Disney characters, and Timon gives in to his mother's wishes.
- In her first appearance, Ma was voiced by Estelle Harris, best known for voicing Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise, whereas in The Lion King 1½. Ma is voiced by Julie Kavner who is famous for voicing Marge Simpson from The Simpsons.
- In an early concept of the film, Ma had an unnamed partner, Timon's Father. His deletion in the movie's development, as stated above, suggests in the final cut of the movie that he died.
- In one deleted scene with Timon's father, he and Timon were discussing about "why meerkats have to keep digging tunnels?" Then comes Ma, bringing food and saying that whatever Timon does, he is going to make her proud.
- It is very likely that Ma doesn't have a relationship with Timon's father anymore, since Timon believed that she was single in the episode "Mombasa-In-Law".
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