Mad About You: Wikis


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Mad About You
Mad About You title screen.
Format Sitcom
Created by Paul Reiser
Danny Jacobson
Starring Paul Reiser
Helen Hunt
Anne Ramsay
Leila Kenzle
John Pankow
Richard Kind
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 164 (List of episodes)
Producer(s) TriStar Television (1992-1999)
Columbia TriStar Television (1999)
Running time approx. 22 minutes
Original channel NBC
Original run September 23, 1992 – May 24, 1999

Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992, to May 24, 1999. The show starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a newly married couple in New York City. Reiser played Paul Buchman, a documentary film maker. Hunt played Jamie Stemple Buchman, a public relations specialist. Near the end of the show's run, the couple had a baby daughter, whom they named Mabel.

The series focused mainly on the newlyweds while they dealt with everything from humorous daily minutiae to major struggles. The show's willingness to find comedy in realistic situations and observational dialogue garnered it comparisons to Seinfeld, another NBC comedy about thirty-somethings in New York City.[citation needed]

Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser were paid $1 million per show for the last season (with their contracts calling for them to be paid equally) However, ratings fell sharply that year as the series was shuffled away from its Tuesday slot to prop up a fledgling Monday night line-up of comedies on NBC.

The show's theme song, "Final Frontier," was composed by Reiser and Don Was. The theme was originally performed by Andrew Gold, but a version performed by Anita Baker made its debut midway through the 1997 season. Baker's version was used for the rest of the show's run and appears on the show's soundtrack album. Gold's version is available on the collection Thank You For Being A Friend: The Best Of Andrew Gold.


Main characters

Paul & Jamie Buchman with their dog, Murray

Paul Buchman

Buchman (born April 19, 1962) was conceived on the table on which his mother served "mushed" potatoes. After attending the New York University Film School, he struggled for recognition before finally succeeding in filmmaking in New York City. His wife, dog, and daughter reside with him in Greenwich Village.

Jamie Buchman

Jamie Buchman (born February 19, 1963) was the younger daughter of Gus and Theresa Stemple. Her full maiden name is Jamie Eunice Stemple. After seven boyfriends at Yale University, she met Paul Buchman at a New York newsstand by stealing his copy of The New York Times with an implausible excuse. Her difficult relationship with her mother-in-law is an ongoing source of jokes on the show.


Murray is the Buchmans' Border Collie mix dog and a fan favorite, because the dog the show's crew settled on late into the first season followed instructions very well. He was a puppy when Paul found him, and Paul met Jamie while walking him. He sometimes chases an invisible mouse, and ends up banging his head against something. In a later episode, Jamie does discover the "real" mouse that Murray has been chasing. In the two-part series finale, The Final Frontier, adult Mabel says that Murray died when she was six, but she was not told until she was twelve. Murray is generally portrayed as loyal and affectionate, albeit thick-skulled.

Murray was played by "Maui." Originally found in a Castaic, California animal shelter by noted Hollywood animal trainer Boone Narr, Maui weighed 58 pounds and was also primarily trained by Betty Linn. His first assignments came in TV commercials and as the backup for the top dog in the feature film "Bingo." [1]

Fran Devanow

Jamie's best friend, Fran Devanow was the Regional Vice President at Farrer-Gantz Public Relations who hired Jamie as her assistant. Near 1989 Fran quit Farrer-Gantz to spend time with her five-year-old son and husband, Mark. Jamie was then promoted to Fran's position. Fran and Mark's relationship lasted 10 years, and their separation shocked Jamie and Paul. The Devanows eventually reconciled.

Lisa Stemple

Three years older than her sister Jamie, Lisa has unfathomable psychological issues. Jamie is referred to as "Stella" in a book written by Lisa's therapist: "It was Stella's overprotectiveness that suffocated her ability to relate to others, and tethered her to a lifetime of insecurity and neurosis." After an envious rage, she blamed Jamie for all of her problems in an interview with her shrink that became a chapter of a book called "Manics." With no place else to go, she does her laundry at Paul and Jamie's apartment while scavenging through her sister's clothes and food. Every visit from her parents triggers her eating disorder. In between bouts of weirdness, she still cares deeply for Paul and Jamie and is often trusted to house sit for them.

Ira Buchman

A "ubiquitous" individual[citation needed], Paul's cousin Ira first appeared in Mad About You in "The Wedding Affair" episode. Ira is from the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn. He worked for Paul's father, Burt, at Buchman's Sporting Goods. Paul and Ira have a close friendship, but their hidden rivalry came out when Ira obtained the store when Burt retired. However he frequently appears as loving and supportive towards Paul and Jamie.

Sylvia Buchman

Paul's mother, Sylvia almost always gives Jamie a hard time, but occasionally does show kindness towards her daughter-in-law.

Burt Buchman

Burt ran a sporting goods store until he passed it onto Ira upon retirement. His signature line in the show occurs whenever he visits Paul and Jamie's apartment exclaiming at the door, "It's me Burt! Burt Buchman, your father!"

Mabel Buchman

The arrival of Paul and Jamie's daughter was a turning point in the show. She was finally named when Jamie's overbearing mother proclaimed that "Mothers Always Bring Extra Love." The twins Alyssa and Justin Baric played the original role of Mabel, from the beginning of Season Six when Mabel was brought home from the hospital ("Coming Home"). They continued to play the role of Mabel for numerous episodes. Carter and Madison Gayle played the role of Mabel at a later time. In the series finale, a teen Mabel was played by Cara DeLizia, and an adult Mabel was played by Janeane Garofalo.


Regular guests

Guest stars


It is being released on DVD and syndicated for reruns on Oxygen Network in the U.S. and on other stations across the globe. It currently airs on TV Land.


  • Two episode names are names of The Beatles songs ("Get Back" and "When I'm Sixty-Four"). Another shares the title with John Lennon's "Instant Karma!". A fourth episode is entitled "Yoko Said".
  • When the 1992 NBC fall schedule was announced, the show had working titles of "Loved By You" and "The Paul Reiser Show."
  • Cosmo Kramer played by Michael Richards in Seinfeld was revealed to be renting Paul's bachelor pad in a first-season episode. Seinfeld himself appeared in the seventh-season premiere in the fall of 1998 after Seinfeld had concluded. It was not explained if it was the real "famous" Jerry Seinfeld or the character from the series who would have still been in prison since the series finale.
  • Helen Hunt was the second person (after Cloris Leachman) to win an Oscar while still doing a weekly TV show.
  • On September 12, 1999, Helen Hunt won her fourth consecutive Emmy Award for her performance on the show.
  • Bonnie Hunt was the first choice for the part of Jamie, but she turned it down. Teri Hatcher lost the part at the last minute to Helen Hunt.
  • Helen Hunt's father, Gordon Hunt, won a Director's Guild Award for directing the third-season episode The Alan Brady Show. TV Guide named it one of the greatest episodes in TV history.
  • Lisa Kudrow played Ursula, the forgetful waitress at Riff's. She also played Phoebe in Friends, who was Ursula's twin sister. Ursula, played by Kudrow, appeared as a recurring minor character in Friends (see "Crossovers" below). She also once played a woman called Karen who was on a date with Paul Buchman in a flashback episode at a time just after he met Jamie.
  • Mad About You was produced in association with TriStar Television Inc. under Sony. Hunt currently owns her own production company called Hunt/Tavel Productions, also under Sony.
  • Lifetime Television paid USD$58 million for the rights to broadcast Mad About You.
  • Hunt's favorite episodes of Mad About You are: "Our Fifteen Minutes" in season three and in season six "Moody Blues" (she won her third Emmy Award for the latter).
  • Helen Hunt directed five episodes, including the series finale.
  • John Pankow (Ira Buchman) is the brother of James Pankow of the band Chicago.
  • Reiser and Hunt hosted an hour special called "Mad About VH1."
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, there is an advertisement on the side of a bus that is illegible unless played in slow motion. The sign reads: "Are You Missing "Mad About You"? NBC - Must See TV - Sundays at 8". At the time, Mad About You aired opposite The Simpsons on Fox. According to the commentaries for that episode of The Simpsons, the sign was intended as a dig, with executive producer Bill Oakley questioning how anyone could be watching Mad About You instead of The Simpsons. However, Paul Reiser was honored and responded by putting a Bart Simpson doll on the set of Mad About You.
  • In the original episode, Jamie and Paul were living together and not married. Because of the moral panic that was brought about by Murphy Brown's unplanned pregnancy, this was quickly changed and the couple were married.
  • The original title of the series was The Final Frontier. That title was kept for the theme song.
  • Ira always referred to Jamie as James and Paul as Paulie. Some other main characters also did the same.
  • Years after Tommy Hinkley had left the series without mention, Paul and Jamie made a comment about Selby. Jamie: "Whatever did happen to Selby?" Paul: "Oh don't go there."
  • Mad About You was remade in the United Kingdom as Loved By You, starring John Gordon Sinclair as Michael (Paul) and Trevyn McDowell as Kate (Jamie). The series was made by Carlton Television and ran for two seasons, from 1997-1998.
  • Paul Reiser, who created the series, was emcee of the 1987/88 MTV New Year's Eve show. A performance from that show by former Go-Go's lead singer Belinda Carlisle was given with her singing her single "Mad About You". Years later Paul Reiser created a show with the same title.
  • In season 6, episode #9 entitled "The Conversation" (directed by Gordon Hunt, Helen's father), Paul and Jamie do a rare 'single take', 'no edits' episode in which both try to help each other getting through the excruciating process of "Ferberizing" the baby--they must allow the child to cry herself to sleep without comforting her. The psychological and moral implications of this are discussed and debated at length.


Mad About You won a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award, a Genesis Award, five Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, and was chosen Best Quality Comedy by the Viewers For Quality Television. Helen Hunt won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series four years in a row (1996–1999).


In 1997, Atlantic Records released a Mad About You soundtrack. The soundtrack from and inspired by the sitcom, is composed of fun and sentimental songs and clips from the show. The tracks are organized chronologically marking the milestones of the couple's relationship. The album is bookended by the two versions of Paul Reiser's song "Final Frontier"--the first track is the classic version used in the show's opening, and the last track is Anita Baker's jazzy, full-length rendition, with Reiser on keyboard. The 21 tracks are as follows:

  1. "Final Frontier (TV Theme)" - Andrew Gold
  2. "Who I Am" - Faith Hill
  3. "No Pressure" - Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt
  4. "I've Been Lonely Too Long" - The Young Rascals
  5. "At Last!" - Etta James
  6. "That's Marriage?" - Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt
  7. "Ice Cream" - Sarah McLachlan
  8. "I Love The Way You Love Me" - Eric Martin
  9. "Nobody Knows Me" - Lyle Lovett
  10. "Sneaky Feelings" - Elvis Costello
  11. "A Talk In The Park" - Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt
  12. "Love And Forgiveness" - Julia Fordham
  13. "A Magic Moment" - Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt
  14. "The Things We've Handed Down" - Marc Cohn
  15. "Lullaby For You" - BeBe Winans
  16. "She Crawls Away" - Hootie & the Blowfish
  17. "My First Child" - Nil Lara
  18. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" - John Lennon
  19. "Baby Girl" - The Tony Rich Project
  20. "Unconditional Love" - Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt
  21. "Mad About You - The Final Frontier" - Anita Baker

Episode list

See List of Mad About You episodes.

DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the first three seasons of Mad About You on DVD in Region 1 and 4. Season 3 was released nearly 4 years after the release of season 2. Due to poor sales, no subsequent seasons were released by SPHE.

On February 22, 2010, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to release the remaining seasons of Mad About You on DVD. They subsequently announced that the fourth season will be released on June 29, 2010.[3][4]

Season releases

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
The Complete 1st Season 22 October 22, 2002
The Complete 2nd Season 25 April 22, 2003
The Complete 3rd Season 24 February 6, 2007
The Complete 4th Season 24 June 29, 2010

Best-of releases

DVD Name Release Date Ep # Additional Information
Mad About You Collection February 8, 2005 22
  • Blooper Reel: The Seven Warning Signs of Madness
  • Audio commentaries: Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt on "The Final Frontier" and "The Pilot,"
  • Featurette: Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt Are Mad About the Theme
  • Featurette: Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt Are Mad About the Guest Stars
  • Paul and Helen Introduce and Discuss each episode.


Mad About You has had numerous connections to other NBC sitcoms set in New York City, as well as various other programs.

Friends (owned by Warner Bros. Television): Lisa Kudrow played the recurring role of Ursula, a flaky waitress at Riff's, a local restaurant that Paul and Jamie frequented. Kudrow went on to star in the NBC sitcom Friends, playing the also somewhat flaky character of Phoebe Buffay, and for a time both series shared the same Thursday night line-up. While not originally intended, the characters of Ursula and Phoebe were later found to be identical twin sisters. In a Friends episode ("The One With The Two Parts", 1st Season), as part of a night of NBC sitcom crossovers, Jamie and Fran walk into Central Perk and mistake Phoebe for Ursula. Possibly for legal reasons (Mad About You was produced by TriStar Television, Friends by Warner Bros. Television), Hunt and Kenzle were not identified on screen as Jamie and Fran. In the 3rd season episode, "Pandora's Box," Jamie causes a city-wide power blackout in New York City, and the effects of the blackout are seen in the Friends episode, "The One with the Blackout," and also in the episode "Birthday in the Big House" of the short-lived NBC sitcom "Madman of the People." All 3 episodes originally aired during the evening of November 3, 1994, alongside a Seinfeld episode which did not incorporate the blackout premise.

Seinfeld: In one episode ("The Apartment", 1st Season), Paul, pressured by Jamie, decides to sign over the lease of his old "bachelor pad" to the current tenant who is subleasing. This tenant is revealed to be Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld. Seinfeld, however, twice contradicted this connection, one even featuring a running joke about George's distaste for his fiancee's Susan fondness for watching Mad About You. In the Seventh Season episode, "Season Opener" of Mad About You, Paul, under the effects of Viagra, ran into Jerry Seinfeld in the street, who tells Paul to go away. At this point in Seinfeld's chronology, Jerry Seinfeld was supposed to be in prison.

The Dick Van Dyke Show: Carl Reiner reprised the role of Alan Brady from the 1960s sitcom (a series acknowledged as an inspiration for Mad About You). The episode made several references to the older show, such as Jamie at one point crying and whining "Oh, Paul!!!" - a signature move by Mary Tyler Moore's character Laura Petrie. Ten episodes earlier, Paul almost trips over a box and says "Get me, I'm Dick Van Dyke."


External links

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