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Mad About You Information

"Mad About You" Show Description

Renowned for capturing the essence of a loving marriage maintained despite the pressures of modern-day problems and anxiety-provoking relatives, "Mad About You" returns for its sixth season. Having earned a reputation as one of television's most well-written, funny and thoughtful sitcoms, "Mad About You" continues the tales of Paul and Jamie Buchman (Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt), trying their best in a very complicated world to be in love, to be married...and now to have a family. While the series still focuses on the Buchman couple, the birth of a baby daughter last May in a highly-rated, much-acclaimed episode will cause Paul and Jamie to learn new things about themselves.


"Mad About You" has long succeeded in relating the pinnacles, plateaus and pitfalls of marriage, effectively portraying a couple madly in love, while they experience the urbane, the inane, the mundane, and the profound. Their foibles delight viewers as they watch -- and relate to -- the couple buying a sofa, celebrating an unwanted birthday, discovering an aphrodisiac, finding a lost wedding ring, arbitrating meddling parents, falling apart and staying together. The series also has seen Paul and Jamie reflecting back and looking forward to the very real events of meeting for the first time, getting engaged, preparing for a wedding, experiencing the threat of separation, making up, being pregnant...and now having a baby.

With a new Buchman baby and the hit beginning its sixth season, Reiser says, "We're committed to keeping the show fresh. In a selfish way, we want to entertain ourselves, so we always think, 'What stone can we turn over?' Like our viewers, we don't want to do what we've seen before on other shows or on our own show. Our challenge is to take the best of what we do, and nurture it to create something new or better. In this vein, the baby only accelerates the depth of the characters and the comedy."

Still, the core of the show is Paul and Jamie: a love that audiences believe in while they revel watching the couple's dance through life.

The tenor of "Mad About You's" plots in the upcoming year also will be consistent with the kind of stories audiences expect from the show. "Real life" and real time will prevail, which have always been traits distinguishing the series from others. The show, Reiser proudly points out, continues to get "better, deeper, richer and funnier year after year."

As exemplified by last year's stories, "real time" gives "Mad About You" plenty of opportunity to mine comedy from life's experiences -- petty and milestone. Last year's pregnancy arc found Paul and Jamie selecting the right doctor or hoping a "Dr. Wonderful" would take them on, helplessly watching plans to announce their pregnancy spiral out of control as an ill-kept secret, miserably attempting to pass a "birthing" class, mediating mothers-in-law over catastrophic crib purchases, and hopelessly realizing that none of their friends or family wanted to be guardians for their unborn child.

Other plots from season five found Paul and Jamie visiting a therapist; learning that, after visiting an astrologer, Jamie has been celebrating the wrong birth date all these years; arguing over Paul's "mystery man" persona at his gym; and his filming the documentary "Buchman," despite his Uncle Marty's on-camera heart attack and the subsequent family secrets that unraveled because of dying words.

Reiser realizes that television's legacy has dictated that often, a series veers into adding babies and children to a series' cast when a program has run out of ideas. But for "Mad About You," this theory hardly applies.

He says, "We resisted the idea of introducing a baby over and over again, but then saw what these characters were telling us: this is where they wanted to go. Paul and Jamie had talked about it and thought about it. So we decided we had to let their lives move forward with it."

Fellow Executive Producer Victor Levin adds, "Having a baby became a natural extension of this couple's life. And the show will be even better because of this baby. Audiences don't need to worry that we will change the context of the show or lose the intimacy viewers have come to experience. They'll have everything they loved, something else they will love now, too."

Loyal to the fans which have made the series a hit, Reiser makes clear that "We're not taking the audience's investment lightly. The baby just gives you another avenue into these people's lives and gives you somebody else to care about. How funny and how real we can make it is what we are always striving for. Plus, we like hearing people say, 'Boy, is that my husband,' or 'Boy, is that my wife,' and we expect that people will be saying that more and more."

As the series probes Paul and Jamie's outlooks, views, assessments and schedules with their baby's newfound influence, other characters will also be similarly examined. The way the baby girl will show two sides to Paul and Jamie, she will also draw out facets of other characters, and how all their lives are affected, including Cousin Ira (John Pankow); Fran (Leila Kenzle); Lisa (Anne Ramsay); Paul's parents, Burt and Sylvia (Louis Zorich, Cynthia Harris); as well as Jamie's, Gus and Theresa (Carroll O'Connor, Carol Burnett); Paul's sister Debbie (Robin Bartlett); and her companion and Jamie's obstetrician, Dr. Joan (Suzie Plakson).

Last season found Cousin Ira often pursuing his own get-rich-quicker schemes while playing a role in Paul's less-successful exploits; an excitedly engaged Lisa falling in love with a handyman and subsequently losing her Klarik's department store heir/fiancÚ Sanford; Fran continuing her revived relationship with ex-husband Mark; and both sets of parents exhibiting the loony, but lovable, aspects of being in-laws and expectant grandparents.

A string of relatives alternately enhanced, exacerbated, enlightened and exasperated the couple's lives: Uncle Phil (Mel Brooks) inadvertently helped Paul start to film the documentary "Buchman;" Uncle Harold (Sid Caesar), Aunt Ida (Estelle Getty) and the now-deceased Uncle Marty (Shecky Greene) played roles in unintentionally uncovering family secrets; and Carol Burnett and Carroll O'Connor joined the guest cast as Jamie's parents, Gus and Theresa.

"Writing for this extended family keeps the show growing. As Paul and Jamie's world gets bigger, colorful people keep entering it, and we're so lucky to find people to play these roles so beautifully," says Reiser.

The guest stars that have come to "Mad About You" have lent a prodigious presence to several episodes during the past five seasons. The casting has included comedy greats Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis, Brooks, Caesar, Burnett and O'Connor, other celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Cyndi Lauper, Eric Stoltz, Bruce Willis, and Lyle Lovett, as well as contemporary comedians like Mo Gaffney, who currently portrays the Buchmans' therapist Sheila Kleinman. "These stars have always been so willing to come do the show because they've all been fans," says Reiser. "We've been so honored that those we have invited have said 'Yes.'"

Stories for the new season will include Jamie's vacillating over a return to work, highlights of the baby's first year of life, and relatives' interminable involvement with bringing her up. And Paul's documentary film "Buchman" will also continue, having successfully served as a window into Paul's work and family.

Reiser still culls from his own life for some plots and ideas often pop out of life's unpredictable mishaps. Inspiration for an element of the highly-rated fifth season finale occurred when Reiser and then-executive producer Larry Charles were marveling over the mayhem outside a Beverly Hills hospital when Michael Jackson's first child was born. Watching that event translated into the premise for Bruce Willis' guest appearance.

Collaboration is also key to the "Mad About You" writing staff, which balances show veterans with up-and-coming writers. Levin, who has been with the series for the past four years, is the new executive producer, after serving last season as co-executive producer. According to Reiser, "We're excited to have Victor in charge because he knows the voices so well, and has written some of our best episodes."

"Mad About You" has been honored with one 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.

Paul Reiser and Danny Jacobson are the creators of "Mad About You". Reiser, Jacobson and Victor Levin are executive producers with Helen Hunt serving as co-executive producer. "Mad About You" is produced by Infront Productions and Nuance Productions in association with TriStar Television, Inc.

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Updated 9/1/06  


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