×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Mad About You’ Reboot With Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser

With:
Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser
Release Date:
Nov 20, 2019

Mad About You” would seem an unlikely show to reboot: Unlike fellow 1990s NBC comedy hits “Frasier,” “Friends,” and “Seinfeld,” it’s had no meaningful second life on streaming, and its central story, of a couple living together in New York, is hardly one that feels either proprietary to the show or urgently in need of restaging. Which makes the “Mad About You” reboot, to air exclusively on Spectrum cable systems, a pleasant surprise. It is by its nature unoriginal, and it has little, really, to say about its moment — while most recent reboots have drilled down on aspects of politics in the late 2010s. But in allowing its characters to float unaffected through a soundstage version of lower Manhattan, it feels easygoing, at least.

It’s not much, but it’s more than can be said for reboots of “Will & Grace,” “Roseanne,” and “Murphy Brown,” all of which felt strained and pinched by their need to comment on the political moment, sacrificing characters and tone in the process. “Mad About You” was never that show — it’s a pleasantly solipsistic piece of work about two wealthy and blissfully unaffected New Yorkers. Viewed a certain way, this show about people with no real problems but the ones they create for themselves is “Seinfeld” without the misanthropy.

The little problems Jamie and Paul Buchman (Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser) create can be, at times, a bit too much to bear. The first episode of the reboot concerns Mabel Buchman, the couple’s daughter (now played by Abby Quinn) and a freshman at NYU. (It’s worth briefly noting that, like the “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne” reboots, this one completely discards disruptive plot developments in the show’s finale in order to situate us back in the heart of the story.) Though she is attending college but blocks away from the Buchmans’ mansion of an apartment, the pair dig into newfound personae as empty-nesters once she’s gone, with Jamie obsessively dropping in on her daughter in order to make points in an ongoing argument.

Is it groundbreaking? No. But the story is solidly enough built to distract from certain annoying contrivances of sitcom-making that would be less present today, perhaps. (Class is still not sufficiently dealt with on TV, but I don’t know that a new sitcom family would have quite as much unexamined wealth as the Buchmans now.) Reiser and Hunt retain an amiable chemistry, and Hunt  — too little seen in recent years — especially makes a compelling case for her continued stardom. She makes neuroses, then as now, seem less like a curse and more like a side effect of thoughtfulness. There could be far worse company for some half-hour stints, and there have certainly been companions who’ve aged less well in their time offscreen. “Mad About You” stayed itself, for worse and better; by the standards of the modern reboot, that’s accomplishment enough.

TV Review: 'Mad About You' Reboot With Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser

Spectrum Originals. Twelve episodes (three screened for review). Running time: 30 MIN.

Production: Executive Producers: Peter Tolan, Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser, Brian Volk-Weiss, Michael Pelmont, Matthew Ochacher.

Cast: Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser, John Pankow, Richard Kind, Abby Quinn.

More TV

  • Succession

    How 'Succession' Costume Designer Dressed the HBO Drama's Leading Men

    Few shows in recent history have received as much attention simply for the clothes as “Succession.” The costuming on the show is indulgent, and impeccable; it arguably plays as big a role as the actors. Entire articles have been written about Shiv’s backless turtleneck — her clothes and her hair. The men on the show [...]

  • Game of Thrones Avengers Endgame

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers: Endgame' Among Most Popular Tweets of 2019

    Twitter released its top-trending topics and tweets of 2019 with “Game of Thrones,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and actor Tom Holland commanding the most tweets in the TV, movies, and actors categories. BTS holds both the No. 1 spot in the most-tweeted-about musicians category and the second-most-retweeted tweet worldwide. Since its release in June, a video of [...]

  • Andrew Scott'1917' film premiere, Arrivals, London,

    'Fleabag' Star Andrew Scott Teases Future Projects With Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    To the delight of “Fleabag” fans everywhere, the “Hot Priest” Andrew Scott received his first-ever Golden Globe nomination Monday morning. His role instantly became an internet phenomenon, thanks in large part to his chemistry with “Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge. He’s up against Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”), Kieran Culkin (“Succession”), Stellan Skarsgård (“Chernobyl”) [...]

  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's

    Canal Plus, beIN Sports In Exclusive Talks For Distribution Deal

    Vivendi-owned pay-TV banner Canal Plus Group and the global network beIN Sports have started exclusive talks to sign a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal in France. The two companies previously tried to forge a partnership in 2016 but it was denied by France’s anti-trust board. Under the proposed deal, Canal Plus would distribute all [...]

  • The 'Watchmen' Season Finale and More

    What to Watch on TV This Week: 'Watchmen' Season Finale on HBO

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Watchmen” airs its season 1 finale on HBO, and “The Expanse” returns for [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    ViacomCBS Will Explore Sale of Black Rock CBS Headquarters

    ViacomCBS will explore the sale of the famous Black Rock building, which has served as the headquarters of CBS since the mid 1960s. Bob Bakish, CEO of the company, which was created last week from the merger of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., said the newly combined entertainment conglomerate would explore the sale of sundry [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content