The Mill Creek Entertainment CS DVD set of the 1992-99 NBC "Must-See" sitcom "Mad About You" is must-own for any OS fan and/or folks able to watch the current reboot on the Spectrum Originals on-demand channel of the cable provider of the same name. The same is true for anyone who enjoys the fare from the downtown section of TV Land.
The first bit of good news is that this collection, which provides each well-marked disc (complete with episode titles) its own sleeve, puts right what once went wrong as to the individual sets of this seven-season series stopping after releasing the fifth season. The second bit of good news is more specific to folks who own those single-season sets. The MCE set being readily available for between $20-$25 easily justifies buying it if only to complete the collection.
The premise of 4-time Golden Globe winner "Mad" is similar to that of the 1972-74 urban comedy "Bridget Loves Bernie" starring David Birney and a pre-Birney Meredith Baxter. That former is a wealthy Catholic woman who marries the latter, who is a Jewish cabbie, Many of the "sits" that provide "com" in that series revolve around the Titanic clash of the in-laws.
The kinder-and-gentler "Mad" opens with newlyweds Paul (Paul Reiser) and Jamie (Helen Hunt) Buchman living in a typical above-their-means apartment in Greenwich Village in New York. It is paired with "Seinfeld" in the then-Wednesday night slot of that series.
Interaction between those companion series include tenant Paul visiting his sub-tenant Kramer in the apartment of the latter. Further, Seinfeld makes a cameo in the S9 season premiere.
Watching at least 60 of the 164 "Mad" episodes in preparation for this review facilitated picking up on nuances missed while watching network broadcast airings. The first is the live-stage vibe both particularly in the first season and in scenes between Reiser and Hunt in their aforementioned abode.
Series creators Reiser and Danny Jacobson hit the mark in their attempt to depict the the daily lives of typical NY yuppies of that era; this is in contrast to the more middle-class existence of the titular "King of Queens" and his queen of that sitcom, which also is a (reviewed) MCE CS DVD set.
The "Mad" pilot starts things strongly. Paul and Jamie still are in their figurative honeymoon period but have not made whoopie for several days due to their busy schedules. They plan an intimate evening, only to have a forgotten invitation for friends to come over for dinner interruptus their coitus. Suffice it to say, this leads to a multi-tasking effort.
A variation of this occurs in the S3 Thanksgiving episode. Hilarity ensues when an effort to host a perfect Thanksgiving for both sets of parents and other friends and family repeatedly goes comically awry. Much of this revolves around trying to sneak numerous substitute turkeys past the guests.
The theme of gathering the eccentrics in the lives of our leads evokes thought of cast members of fellow "Must-See" series "Friends" stating that their favorite episodes are the ones in which all the action involves the sextet hanging out sans the other people in their lives.
One of the best "group" episodes of "Mad" has that couple, and others who include lovably immoral Paul cousin Ira (John Pankow), kooky therapist Sheila (Mo Gaffney), and British neighbors Hal and Maggie who regularly find themselves the victims of mishaps and gaffes by the Buchmans gather at Chez Buchman for a birthday party for Paul. The main "sit" that provides "com" is the misdeeds of this Seinfeldian group as they separately or in pairs go unescorted into the apartment of the British couple.
Another episode has Jamie's kooky sister Lisa babysitting for the weekend only to get trapped while engaged in forbidden activity; the folks who are called to come help soon become equally ensnared.
The bigger picture is that "Mad" presents the anatomy of a marriage over its first seven years. We see the highs and lows and the arrival of baby Mabel. Themes include the periods in virtually every relationship in which you love but do not like the other person and face whether you would be happier without him or her than you are with them.
The "Mad" series finale evokes strong thoughts of the final episode of fellow NY-based "Will and Grace." The last hurrahs for both shows depict the lives of the main characters roughly 20 years in the future. "Will" semi-famously undoes that regarding the recent reboot of the series; "Mad" follows suit.
The copious DVD bonus features include a blooper reel, promo spots, and episode introductions by Reiser and Hunt.,