Earlier this week, Tracy and I started watching Mad About You… for the third time. This is Tracy’s choice for me having made her watch 325 episodes of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. We first started watching it early in the 2Ks. I had never even heard of it. It stars Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a young married couple living in New York in the ‘90s. We got up to whatever season it was, then the DVDs stopped coming out because of some sort of legal dispute. Years pass. The dispute is resolved, but so much time had passed we decided to start over at the beginning again. We get caught up, then they stop again. More years pass, but when the collections resume, they released a “best of” series retrospective rather than the next season, which would have been the sixth (of seven), I believe. Recently they released a seven-season set on DVD, so… we started over at the beginning again.

Is anyone else here familiar with the series?

Is anyone interested in season 1-5 sets?

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I didn't like it at first but it grew on me through syndication.  They did one comic book themed episode that was fun.

I don't remember that one; it must have been from one of the seasons I did not see (or chalk it up to me faulty memory). I do remember one in which Paul Reiser's character was watching Aliens, starring Paul Reiser, on TV. "I do not trust that Burke guy."

I'd watch it intermittently; it was a funny show. There was something about Helen Hunt's voice that reminded me of my girlfriend at the time... the same cadence of speech and tone of voice, I think. 

I think some later episodes brought in an older generation of comedians to be Paul Reiser's family? Maybe Mel Brooks or Carl Reiner? Elaine Stritch, maybe? It's been ages since I've seen the show, but that's something to look forward to.

I think we watched the whole series from when it started. The thing that bugged me was the standard cliché that the husband is something of an idiot and the wife is basically perfect. Helen Hunt's character sometimes seemed to have nothing but contempt for Paul Reiser's character. I had trouble believing they could possibly stay together.

The best thing going forward is the waitress Ursula played by Lisa Kudrow. The show Friends started while Mad About You was still going, and Kudrow 's character Phoebe started referring to her twin sister Ursula who was a waitress. This eventually led to Ursula appearing on Friends several times. Lisa Kudrow is much more suited to comedy than either Paul Reiser or Helen Hunt.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I didn't like it at first but it grew on me through syndication.  They did one comic book themed episode that was fun.

The IMDB tells me it was "My Boyfriend's Back!", Season 3 Episode 22. Eric Stoltz played the creator.

About the in-laws... I think the father-in-law was originally played by John Karlen (who played Willie Loomis on Dark Shadows). Then later Carrol O'Conner was recast in the role with Carol Burnett as his wife. Does that sound right? I tried verifying online, but kept running up against spoilers for seasons six and seven.

Regarding the Lisa Kudrow character and the Friends tie-in... that's what cuased the delay in releasing that later seasons.

That sounds about right. A quick search shows me that Mel Brooks plays Paul's Uncle Phil.

Paul Reiser I thought was really good as one of the supporting characters on TBS's 2-season sitcom Marriage.  

You can check something like that without spoilers by searching by character name at the IMDB.

  Jamie's sister was fun too.

Richard Willis said:

I think we watched the whole series from when it started. The thing that bugged me was the standard cliché that the husband is something of an idiot and the wife is basically perfect. Helen Hunt's character sometimes seemed to have nothing but contempt for Paul Reiser's character. I had trouble believing they could possibly stay together.

The best thing going forward is the waitress Ursula played by Lisa Kudrow. The show Friends started while Mad About You was still going, and Kudrow 's character Phoebe started referring to her twin sister Ursula who was a waitress. This eventually led to Ursula appearing on Friends several times. Lisa Kudrow is much more suited to comedy than either Paul Reiser or Helen Hunt.

I watched Mad About You only a few times when it was on the air and did not take to it at all. It was one of a string of New York-set sitcoms on NBC in the '80s that were all alike -- Friends, The Single Guy, etc. -- in that they were about young, immature White people engaging in young, immature shenanigans with nothing but other young, immature White people in sight.

And yeah -- the bumbling husband and perfect pretty wife tropes didn't help. And like Richard Willis, I couldn't believe these two would stay together either.

  That may have been so in the first season, but I think they got better as the seasons progressed.  This is a clip from the comic book episode where Helen's old boyfriend draws her as a supervillainess in his comic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAXrvkuZTaE


ClarkKent_DC said:

I watched Mad About You only a few times when it was on the air and did not take to it at all. It was one of a string of New York-set sitcoms on NBC in the '80s that were all alike -- Friends, The Single Guy, etc. -- in that they were about young, immature White people engaging in young, immature shenanigans with nothing but other young, immature White people in sight.

And yeah -- the bumbling husband and perfect pretty wife tropes didn't help. And like Richard Willis, I couldn't believe these two would stay together either.

Mad About You shares a universe not only with Friends, but with Seinfeld as well. On the show, Paul sublets his bachelor apartment to Jerry’s neighbor Kramer.

“The thing that bugged me was the standard cliché that the husband is something of an idiot and the wife is basically perfect.”

I don’t see it that way at all. Paul is a bit neurotic, but other than that the two are equals who love and respect each other.

“It was one of a string of New York-set sitcoms on NBC in the '80s that were all alike… in that they were about young, immature White people engaging in young, immature shenanigans with nothing but other young, immature White people in sight.”

I can’t refute that the show is not very racially diverse, but I disagree with the young and immature part. Paul and Jamie are both professionals in their early 30s, and their friends are professionals, too.

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