This Is What I’m Saying, Paul Reiser.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever done this, but if you look up a certain creation of yours on Wikipedia, Paul, this is what you’ll find:

Mad About You is an American television sitcom starring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a married couple in New York City. It initially aired on NBC from September 23, 1992, to May 24, 1999, winning numerous awards including four Golden Globe Awards and twelve Primetime Emmy Awards. On March 6, 2019, a limited series revival was picked up by Spectrum Originals for 12 episodes.

When my lovely bride and I were first married in 1995 we didn’t have a lot of money (not much has changed, truth be told), and so, like most newlywed couples, we found ways to pass the time…

No, I’m not referring to just that, all of you perverts reading this. We cuddled up on our couch in Niagara Falls, Canada, and watched television. Can you guess which program quickly became our favorite?

Paul and Jamie Buchman were newlyweds who didn’t have all the answers to the riddle that is marriage and while this scared the hell out of them at times, they never forgot that love conquers all – even a three-part season finale involving two infidelity near-misses. Needless to say, we were hooked from the pilot.

And yes, I used “hooked”. Get over it.

We cringed every time Murray failed to get that mouse. We empathized as Paul and Jamie tried to find time to engage in sexual congress. Like the rest of the world, we became emotionally invested as that weasel Doug Burkess planted one on Jamie, testing the strength of the Buchman’s marriage like never before.

To be clear, I’ve always felt Helen Hunt, the young lass from Culver City, had something I found irresistible, and this was long before you tapped her to be your Jamie, Paul. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it – and my wife would cut it off if I ever did – but Helen has always had that Girl Next Door accessibility. She’s the natural beauty that doesn’t know it, the one you feel comfortable with, even though she can drive you crazy with a simple toss of her hair.

This pic proves my point perfectly, no?

In fact, I was initially attracted to my own Jamie, coincidentally named Jackie, because she reminded me of Helen the first time I saw her.

(I waited awhile before divulging that information, naturally.)

Incidentally, Teri Hatcher is a brilliant actor, its true, Paul, but you captured lightning in a bottle with with Helen Hunt.

Getting back yo my own experience in couplehood, like Paul and Jamie, we had our ups and downs. There were battles over everything from daily minutiae to major struggles; I’m not the easiest guy to live with at times, truth be told.

But no matter what was happening, we always found time to cuddle up on that couch and watch the Buchmans struggle with the dissolution of Fran and mark’s marriage, trying to schedule romantic rendezvous (not sure what the plural is for that word), and a plethora of other challenges. Seven seasons passed, for us, and Paul and Jamie.

Then, as you no doubt remember, the show ended and took its place in television history and your bank account. (Thank God for residual checks, right?)

Unlike the Buchmans, our life together went on. We struggled with infertility and had our own series of adventures attempting to use science to conceive a child. One particularly memorable incident unfolded the first time I had to provide a “donation” for testing. The hospital’s donation room was a dimly-lit bathroom with no magazines or videos, just a photography magazine that contained no pictures whatsoever. To make matters worse, hand soap was the only lubricant available.

We really should have realized something was off when a couple came out of the room together before it was my turn…

In the end though, our little miracle, an amazing girl, was the result of science, love and luck. As you can no doubt attest, Paul, being a dad is like juggling jars filled with nitroglycerin while walking a tight rope suspended above a tank overflowing with ravenous piranha.

Oh, and the rope is on fire.

In other words, I screw up more than I succeed, but I’m always in there swinging, so that’s something, right?

Getting back to our lives, we moved in with my in-laws to save money for the IVF treatments, we had our own series of solo adventures in the working world and we faced one life-changing moment after another as a couple.

All the while, with the exception of the odd rare rerun and viewings of our DVDs of the first three seasons, we never really returned to the Buchmans’ world. But they were always present in my consciousness.

I lost one of my best friends to suicide in June of 2017. He found himself too much in this world and surrendered to the power of the Falls. (They’re as deadly as they are breathtaking, Mr. Reiser.)

There were many moments in the first few days following this tragedy that my mindscape was occupied by memories of my love and I visiting the Buchmans.

We were told my mother would pass from bone cancer over the course of a June weekend in 2018. Instead it took months, during which time she survived solely on bottles of iced tea and the will to live. (Life really is more absurd than fiction, Paul.)

Then, in January 2020, my wife contracted a mysterious respiratory ailment that lasted a month, the longest of our lives. We later became convinced she had developed what the world came to know as Covid. In that time, however, something happened that changed us as a family.

The Mad About You revival finally started airing in Canada. We had been anticipating this milestone for some time but it didn’t look we were ever going to get to experience it. And so, we began to watch the revival as a family as my wife struggled to breathe.

It was more fun than it sounds, Paul.

My twenty-something daughter is a fan of Helen’s film work like Twister and Soul Surfer. (She really needs a name for her diehard fans. “Huntnatics” or “Helenraisers”, maybe?) But Murray is the real draw for our kid.

For my wife and I though, revisiting Paul and Jamie’s world all these years later was like looking in a mirror. Once again, we’re going through the same struggles in the same humorous, madly-offbeat way. There was no Season Nine, but it didn’t matter; the world was reminded of the Buchmans’ amazing chemistry and now reruns of the original run air every day in the Great White North.

And we watch faithfully.

My wife and I have changed over the years (who doesn’t, right?) but becoming mad about Mad About You again has engulfed my Jamie and I in a wave of nostalgia that has proven to be an invaluable comfort as the world implodes around us.

My wife is the light in my darkness, Paul, of which there is a great deal. I look at her sometimes with the same gleam in my eyes I had over twenty-seven yeas ago.

Then she notices, tells me its weird and orders me to stop.

So, I want to thank you, Paul, for creating a world that has changed my world and that of so many others. Mad About You will always represent a simpler time in my life, one free of so much heartache and tragedy. Not only that, but Mad About You is my wife and I on the couch, madly in love, even today, even if we fail to remember that at times.

You can be proud of your legacy, Mr. Reiser, as can Helen, John, Leila, Anne, Richard, and so many others. Even now, you’re all bringing so much laughter and light into a world that sorely needs it.

Thank you all.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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17 Responses to This Is What I’m Saying, Paul Reiser.

  1. humbirdheart8 says:

    Yes. To all of it… Yes.

  2. I never watched it when it was on but it sounds like something I would enjoy.

  3. I do hope Paul Reiser gets to read this. It’s funny, I always felt a bond with Paul’s character much more than Jamie’s. In fact I wasn’t fond of Jamie at all and often felt sorry for Paul being browbeaten so much. Maybe it’s because Paul and I shared the career aspect and the spouse that didn’t quite get it.

    The show was really well written and the actors were brilliant. I still watch it in re-runs. And I confess to liking Jamie a bit better now. An episode of the re-boot popped up one day and I watched it and tried to find a way to watch the season but I haven’t seen anything of it since. Please tell me where and when.

    In the meantime we need to find Mr. Reiser.

    • The Hook says:

      The reruns of the original are on every day in Niagara, but the sequel aired once and that’s it for now.

      I’ll let you know if I locate it in the future.

  4. Jennie says:

    That was just beautiful, Hook. Thank you for pouring your heart out and sharing your anchor of a memory. Yes, Paul needs to read this.

  5. Loved that show! And I watched the reboot also. Helen Hunt has always been one of my favorite actors. She was truly awesome in Twister! It’s interesting when hollywood mimics real life. It happens more often than one would think.. .

    Glad you are still writing Hook! Rock on! 😊

  6. Well crap.. feel free to delete the 2 extra comments. Have no idea how that happened! 🤦‍♀️

  7. Hook, you are the best. Just the best! And your wife is such a blessed woman to have you – as you are her. Love to you both.

    • The Hook says:

      She’d disagree with you on certain days – I’ve really had to learn to pull my weight at home during this pandemic – but you’re right, we’ve been blessed.

      I’m sending that love right back to ya, lady.

  8. Funny how a series can provoke all those lovely memories. My parents and I used to religiously sit down for War and Peace, a BBC Tolstoy thing. To this day I have fond memories of the 1812 overture and the Romanov eagle.

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