And here you thought I was going to talk about Star Trek. Nope, I’m talking about the show whose theme goes like this:
Tell me why, I love you like I do.
Tell me who, could stop my heart as much as you
Let’s take each other’s hand
As we jump into the Final Frontier.
Do you remember it?
Mad About You premiered in 1992 on Wednesday night. It was later to join NBC’s storied Thursday “Must See TV” lineup which dominated TV throughout the 1980s and into the 2000s. Yet, Mad doesn’t have the fan following that Friends or Seinfeld has today despite running seven seasons.
Tell me all your secrets and I’ll tell you most of mine
Mad About You followed thirty-something New Yorkers Paul and Jamie Buchman through their married life. It was very much in the same mold as Seinfeld. Paul Reiser, who plays Paul in the show, was a standup comic and actor at the time, and Helen Hunt was known as a child actor from the 1970s. Their constant bickering, punctuated by moments of affection, made the show a hit.
Unfortunately, the producers of the show simply didn’t know what to do with a show about newlyweds once they were no longer newly wed. They made the decision to show the couple in increasing crises in order to drum up ratings, then chose to focus on the characters’ work lives in order to create additional storylines. By the fifth season, the writers could no longer resist the temptation to have Jamie get pregnant. Many viewers saw this as the “jump the shark” moment for the show. (The term that was fairly new at the time and still still signifies that moment when a show becomes so far removed from its premise that it’s no longer watchable.)
By 1999 the show had limped through its last three seasons with what were considered poor ratings at the time. It ended with a finale that saw the cast jump 22 years into the future, to 2021, for an unsatisfying end.
It’s really true this time
For years it was hard to find Mad About You on TV or streaming. The show was never remastered into HD unlike Friends or Seinfeld. Like most of NBC’s 90s lineup it was shot on film and edited on video, so this could have been possible if the owners of the show wanted. However, like Will&Grace which followed it, no effort was made to take it out of the realm of gummy-looking standard definition.
The show recently found a home at Starz of all places, despite being created by Sony (who operate the Crackle app.) All seven seasons are available for streaming now if you subscribe to Starz.
In March of 2019, Spectrum (the cable company) announced that they will be reviving Mad About You for a 12-episode run. It is expected to debut later in the year. It’s not clear if it will only run on Spectrum. It may be exclusive to those subscribers or it may be available to other streaming or pay-TV outlets. It’s not surprising. Today’s reboot-happy environment is ripe for a Mad About You remake. It remains to be seen if the show can recapture the magic of the first three seasons.
I suppose we’ll all have to take each others’ hands and jump into the final frontier to see.