Mad About You

Mad About You Information

Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992 to May 24, 1999. The show stars 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 focuses 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.

Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser were paid $1 million per episode 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 final episode of the series was "The Final Frontier".

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 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 Union Square.

Jamie Buchman

Jamie Buchman (née Stemple, born February 19, 1963) was the younger daughter of Gus and Theresa Stemple. Her full maiden name is James 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. 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."

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, usually with unfortunate results.

Ira Buchman

A "ubiquitous" individual, 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 took ownership of Buchman's Sporting Goods upon Burt's retirement. Even so, 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 Season 6 Episode 2, an 18-year-old Mabel was played by Meredith Bishop. In the series finale, a teen Mabel was played by Cara DeLizia, and an adult Mabel was played by Janeane Garofalo.

Mark Devanow

Fran's ex-husband, with whom she is on good terms. A former obstetrician, Mark left Fran and their young son because he felt smothered and wanted to see the world. After returning to New York, he converted to Buddhism and worked for a grocery store. He eventually was able to win Fran back.


  • Paul Reiser (Paul Buchman)
  • Helen Hunt (Jamie Stemple Buchman)
  • Anne Ramsay (Lisa Stemple)
  • Leila Kenzle (Fran Devanow)
  • Richard Kind (Dr. Mark Devanow)
  • John Pankow (Ira Buchman)
  • Maui (Murray the Dog)
  • Cynthia Harris (Sylvia Buchman)
  • Louis Zorich (Burt Buchman)
  • Robin Bartlett (Debbie Buchman)
  • Alyssa and Justin Baric in Season Six; later Carter and Madison Gayle (Mabel Buchman)
  • Tommy Hinkley (Jay Selby, Paul's college friend who was a constant visitor at the Buchman apartment in the first episodes and was soon written out)

Regular guests

  • Jerry Adler (Mr. Wicker, the apartment building superintendent)
  • Judy Geeson (Maggie Conway, British neighbor across the hall)
  • George O. Petrie (Sid, Paul's film editor colleague)
  • Paxton Whitehead (Maggie's first and third husband Hal)
  • Jim Piddock (Maggie's second husband Hal)
  • Lisa Kudrow (Ursula Buffay, waitress at Riff's who frequently forgets orders)
  • Suzie Plakson (Dr. Joan Golfinos, Debbie Buchman's life partner)
  • Hank Azaria (Nat Ostertag, Jamie and Paul's dog walker)
  • Mo Gaffney (Dr. Sheila Kleinman, Jamie and Paul's therapist)
  • Nancy Dussault (Theresa Stemple, Jamie's mother 1992)
  • Penny Fuller (Theresa Stemple, Jamie's mother 1993-1996)
  • Carol Burnett (Theresa Stemple, Jamie's mother 1996-1999)
  • Paul Dooley (Gus Stemple, Jamie's father 1992)
  • Carroll O'Connor (Gus Stemple, Jamie's father 1996-1999)
  • Patrick Bristow (Troy, Jamie's scheming office underling)
  • Jeff Garlin (Marvin, Ira's employee and semi-pro wrestler)
  • Mel Brooks (Uncle Phil, Paul's uncle)
  • Cyndi Lauper (Marianne Lugasso, Ira's on and off girlfriend/ex-wife)

Guest stars


It is being released on DVD and syndicated for reruns on Oxygen in the U.S. and on other stations across the globe. It aired on Antenna TV. It now airs on WGN America. It is currently shown on channel 7Two in Australia.

Nielsen ratings

  • 1992"93: #54 (10.18 rating)
  • 1993"94: #31 (12.69 rating)
  • 1994"95: #11 (15.2 rating)
  • 1995"96: #37 (10.8 rating)
  • 1996"97: #24 (11.0 rating)
  • 1997"98: #32 (13.4 million viewers)
  • 1998"99: #85 (9.1 million viewers)


See List of awards and nominations received by Mad About You for more information Mad About You won a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award, a Genesis Award, received 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


Main article: 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. The first two seasons were also released in Region 2. Due to poor sales, no subsequent seasons were released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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 have subsequently released seasons 4 and 5 on DVD.

Season releases

DVD NameEp#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
The Complete 5th Season 24 November 2, 2010

Best-of releases

DVD NameRelease DateEp #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 Bar, 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 there was also a blackout in the episode "Birthday in the Big House" of the short-lived NBC sitcom Madman of the People, which leaves open the possibility that the characters from this program may exist in the same universe as the characters of Mad About You also. 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 (Michael Richards) of Seinfeld. Seinfeld, however, twice contradicted this connection, once even featuring a running joke about George's distaste for his fiancee Susan's fondness for watching Mad About You. In the Mad About You seventh season episode "Season Opener", 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."

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