An Insomniac's Review Of A Classic '90s TV Show

Mad About You, a full-on laugh track ’90s sitcom starring Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser, is currently a very weird obsession of mine. This can happen when you have insomnia and are a pop culture insomniac.

Insomnia is reaching new heights of awful and I blame the Internet. It’s just too easy of a distraction when you can’t sleep, and the glaring harsh computer light only keeps you up later. Maybe this is why we’re all sleep deprived. If The Daily Mail‘s reports are true, tweens are demanding queen beds so that they can sleep with their computers. Apparently twin beds are too small for them to Internet in. This can’t be healthy.

Admittedly, I do the same thing, but I put my laptop on my nightstand because I am not a stupid tween. I do this because at some point in my life, I got into the habit of falling asleep with the TV on. It was my comfort. I liked having the background noise. It made me feel less alone.

Right now I’m watching Mad About You for reasons even I’m not sure of; I simply decided late one night that I really, really had to start watching Mad About You.

Mad About You is a show about marriage, if you want to put it simply. Helen Hunt (Jamie) and Paul Resier (Paul) play a newlywed couple in New York City. They bicker and argue a lot. They are both really, really annoying and deserve each other, although it’s hard on the audience to have to listen to them.

mad about you

I can tell just by looking at this that one of them is about to say something really annoying.

In one episode, Jamie gets mad at Paul because he has a dream that the two of them are sitting on the couch watching the weather channel while eating potato chips. This makes her very angry. She interprets his dream as him being bored with their relationship, because she is insane and annoying. In another episode, Paul freaks out over a couch Jamie wants to buy because it’s technically a love seat and not a couch and this upsets him, because he is insane and annoying. Jamie’s sister, Lisa, is also insane and annoying. Paul and Jamie’s married friends, Fran and Mark are, for a nice change of pace, just annoying.

Sometimes Mad About You gets relationships chillingly right. Not every day is an adventure. Sometimes one of you gets a crush on someone else. I like how it can go from being your typical laugh track show to whoa, where the hell did that depth come from? Sometimes they handle certain issues with a bizarre, borderline offensive tone. There’s constant joking about Lisa’s eating disorder. It isn’t clever, it’s just clumsy. The joke is that every time Lisa and Jamie have to see their parents, Lisa eats a lot and says she’s bulimic and the audience laughs. Uh, okay.

Mad About You and Seinfeld are set in the same universe. Paul Reiser’s character sublets his old apartment to Kramer. He goes to visit him one day, points to the apartment across from his, and asks, “Hey whatever happened to that Jerry guy who lived here?” Man, it’s great. Mad About You is also set in the Friends universe. Lisa Kudrow plays a waitress named Ursula, who is also Phoebe’s twin sister on Friends. In an episode of friends, Jamie and Fran go to Central Perk, see Phoebe, and mistakenly order coffee from her. I like when television crossovers are done well.

mad men pete

I am still convinced that my Muppet Babies Mad Men crossover would be groundbreaking television.

I guess this means that Mad About You, Seinfeld, and Friends are all set in the same universe. These are the realizations I have at 4 in the morning, unable to sleep, cursing myself, wondering if I will be stuck with dark under eye circles for the rest of my life, but still not changing my sleeping habits. And it’s too late now, I’m really invested in this TV show. I heard a rumor that (potential spoiler alert for a show that ended in 1999) Jamie and Paul discover that they’re related. If this is true, it will make Mad About You a bigger mind**** than Lost and more twisted than It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I can’t wait.

Images from Hooked On Houses, Mad Men’s official Pinterest,

  • Jessica Jeffers

    I always kind of liked that all the Must See shows operated in the same universe. They also had that night during the first season of friends where all three shows took place during a black out. NBC marketed as Blackout Thursday or something.

    I remember loving this show when I watched it was my mom back in the day. I especially remember the finale being very, very touching; I wonder how well it would hold up now that I’m older and less reference would go over my head.

    • Jessica Jeffers

      *watched it WITH my mom.

  • Julie Luong

    Never was a fan of the show but did enjoy “Seinfeld” and “Friends.”

  • Deanne Kondrat

    YES! I totally went through a Mad About You Netflix binge over the winter. And was dying at the cross over tv references I didn’t catch when I was younger.

  • Jesica Vaisman

    I loved this show, but I was young at the time. Now I’ve catch an episode or two in tv and still laugh. Yes, the characters can be annoying, but they can also be sweet and funny. I’ve found characters way more annoying in tv series like Everybody Loves Raymond or The King of Queen.s I hated the ending btw, it was so sad but it also gaves a little bit of hope, like nothing is set in stone. .

  • Brittany Berger

    I don’t remember much of what I caught of this show when I was younger, but the fact that Friends and Seinfeld take place in the same fictional universe or whatever which would have made a crossover episode completely feasible has blown my mind.

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