My recent post regarding opening titles reignited my interest in Mad About You. So, I’ve been re watching the first season slowly. I’ll watch two, maybe three episodes a night before going to bed. At 22 minutes, it’s a nice, relaxing way to get sleepy, without a huge time constraint. (Sex and the City is another excellent pre-bed option, BTW, as is Friends. You don’t have to pay TOO much attention, and there’s funny and there’s pretty people. Just a little tip from me to you.)
Anyway, I’m loving this re watch. While the show is dated in its references and clothing choices (Jamie wears flannel shirts all the time. Man, I miss being able to wear flannel shirts.) the relationship between Jamie and Paul Buchman is timeless. While it does delve into the “cartoonish” trap of sitcoms on occasion (getting stuck selling tokens to subway passengers; befriending an eccentric billionaire played by a very over-the-top and annoying Jerry Lewis), for the most part, it’s a sweet vignette of married life in New York. The show is at its best when it just focuses on what it’s like to share a life withsomeone – buying a couch together, dealing with neighbors, having parents visit.
While watching this week, I had a flashback to the first time I ever saw Mad About You. I couldn’t believe I still remembered it, but there’s a little slot in my mind reserved for this specific memory.
I had to be in sixth or seventh grade, and it was a Friday night. Mad About You spent most of its time on Tuesday nights, but it must have aired on Fridays in early seasons. Or maybe it was being rerun. Either way, I am positive it was Friday. I had spent the evening at a friend’s house, and was getting ready for bed. For some reason, the 12-inch portable TV we got for my dad, back when portable TVs were a big thing, was in my bedroom. It had twelve channels. There was no remote; the different channels were on top of the TV, along with a power button, and you switched channels by selecting the different buttons. A lot of them repeated. I think there were maybe five different channels in total.
Anyway. It was 9:30 on Friday, and I decided to see what was on. But, it was 9:30 on Friday, so nothing was on. (Well, I guess TGIF was, but according to Wikipedia, the 9:30 slot was filled with Camp Wilder, which I don’t think I ever watched.) So I turned over to NBC, and watched two people trying to find each other in New York. The man had tickets to The Who’s Tommy, in celebration of his wife’s 30th birthday. Only he wanted to surprise her so he didn’t tell her what they were doing, and somehow their meeting arrangements got mixed up, and they lost each other. This was before cell phones. Remember that? At the end of the show, they found each other somehow, and sat in the subway, getting serenaded by an a capella group. That was the 8th episode of the second season of Mad About You, entitled “Surprise.” I remember loving it, but watching it with caution, the volume turned down, occasionally switch the channel. Why? Because my parents were very strict about TV – the classic example of this is being forbidden to watch Facts of Life– and I was scared that this was “too racy” for my 12-year old self. So, the next day, I cautiously asked my father if he had ever seen some show called Mad About You, only to be met with enthusiasm. “Oh, yeah!” he said. “That’s a great show.”
And thus, my years-long love affair with Mad About You began.
But that’s not the only first time I remember.
There’s the first time I saw Friends – I’d heard about it from a friend at school, but didn’t watch until the season 1 finale. I subsequently spent all summer catching up, falling in love with Ross and Rachel, laughing at Chandler, scratching my head at Phoebe.
There’s the first time I caught a glimpse of Gilmore Girls, senior year of college. I was doing homework, trying to find something to put on in the background. Flipping channels, I saw a woman standing in an unfinished kitchen, a man with a French accent and a woman with red hair frantic in the background. The woman took a phone call, and then stared reverently at a gum wrapper, while the camera panned out. That’s it. That’s all I saw. But even then, I remember being struck – this was something special. For some reason, I then changed the channel, which is a shame, because had I watched, I would have seen “The Incredible Sinking Lorelais”, one of the best episodes of the series. But, all’s well that ends well – a few months later, I started watching the show from the beginning. And when I got to the Sinking Lorelais, I remembered the scene perfectly.
Another pivotal moment in my young TV life was the first time I saw Lois and Clark. Laugh if you must, but Pre-teen Sarah loved that show. It was a spring Sunday night. My mom was working and my sister was out. My father and I were having dinner by ourselves (cheese omelettes and thin French Fries). Flipping channels, we settled on a Superman-themed show. “I’ve seen this once of twice before,” my dad said. “It’s not bad.” We watched, and I was transfixed. The superman guy was stuck at the Daily Planet withhis coworkers. They were being held hostage, and superman had to play along or else risk giving away his identity. In the end, he saved them, even the guy that Lois woman was on a date with. He seemed like bad news. The moment in which I became absolutely smitten was when Superman saved Lois, and slowly flies her to freedom. They look at each other tenderly, but then of course Superman has to go away, and when Clark comes around, he’s all but forgotten.
If only my dad knew what he was getting into.
There’s a lot of other “firsts” in TV I remember – Buffy, HIMYM, Cosby, A Different World, but those are the ones that stick out in my mind.
Mostly, I just can’t believe I remember Mad About You and Lois and Clark so vividly. That was 1993, dude. 15 years ago. Crazy.
Video of the Day: Classic TV Clip
Well, classic to me. In remembering my first foray into the world of Stars Hollow, I remembered this lovely scene, from “The Incredible Sinking Lorlais.” Imagine a world where I’d never seen this. Unthinkable. Thank god I decided to start watching the show.