The Interesting History of the Popular TV Series Mad About You

There are numerous underrated TV shows that have come out of the 90s and have become quite popular in the 2000s and the 2010s, and one of these shows is Mad About You. In case you don’t know, Mad About You is a television sitcom (situational comedy) that was first aired on NBC on September 23, 1992. Despite being severely underrated during its early years, its viewers eventually increased and made it one of the most popular television shows during the mid-1990s. 

Today, there are still a lot of people that enjoy watching Mad About You, as it is relatable and quite funny for many viewers. Because of its popularity in the 2010s, Spectrum Originals launched a limited series revival of the show in 2019. While the show is indeed very popular today, there are still plenty of facts about it that even fans don’t know about. To learn more about these facts, let us take a look at the interesting history of the popular TV series Mad About You.

Conceptualization of the Show

New York setting for Mad About You

When the TV show was first pitched to NBC executives Jamie Tarses and Warren Littlefield, the creators of the show, Danny Jacobson and Paul Reiser, said that the show was initially going to be about a couple living a very private life instead of what we actually saw on the show, which is a couple that deals with struggles in New York with the help of their friends and other family members. The creators also compared the plot that they had conceived to another TV show called Thirtysomething, which aired from 1987 to 1991.

Thirtysomething is about a group of baby boomers (people born from 1946 to 1964) that are trying to have a better life while living in Philadelphia. While Thirtysomething is about a group of couples, Mad About You just focuses on one particular couple to make the show shorter and much more concise in terms of storytelling.

Writing the Pilot Episode and Casting Helen Hunt

Paul Reiser, the co-creator and one of the main protagonists in the show, met his on-screen partner Helen Hunt at a dinner party organized by one of his wife’s friends. Helen Hunt was sharing a house with a friend of Reiser’s wife during that time, and through mutual friends, Reiser and Hunt became acquaintances. When Reiser met Hunt, he was beginning to write the pilot episode for Mad About You, and when he finished writing it, he offered the script to Hunt.

It is important to note that Helen Hunt was already an in-demand actress when she was presented the pilot episode’s script around 1991 and 1992, and many people assumed that she would turn down the role to appear in a TV show. Surprisingly, Hunt accepted the gig mainly because she was intrigued by the script. According to Hunt, what made her interested in the show were the moments where a couple would be alone together after they had left the party, which would mean that intimate conversations about their relationship and other people would be talked about.

However, what a lot of people don’t know is that Hunt was competing with another actress for the role of Jamie in the show. The actress was Teri Hatcher, who was a relatively new actress during the early 90s. There were other actresses that were considered for the role, but it just came down to choosing between Hunt and Hatcher. The showrunner eventually chose Hunt when she supposedly imitated Reiser choosing what to eat for lunch or dinner brilliantly. As for Hatcher, she got the role of Lois Lane in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 1993. Hatcher’s show would also become quite popular, as it lasted until 1997.

Creating the Name of the Show

When the comedy show was being pitched and the pilot episode was being written, it didn’t have an actual title yet. According to Richard Kind, who played the iconic character Dr. Mark Devanow, the show was first called “The Paul Reiser Show” or simply “Reiser,” which are titles that the network did not approve of. While everybody was coming up with a potential title for the upcoming show, Kind saw an item that said “Mad About You.” Kind then thought that it would be a good title for the show, and he pitched it to the others. The showrunners then decided to make “Mad About You” the show’s official title.

It was widely known by the producers and cast members of the show that it was originally supposed to be called “The Paul Reiser Show,” and Reiser’s manager pushed for the title before being rejected by NBC executive Warren Littlefield. Littlefield stated that the show was about the couple portrayed by Raiser and Hunt instead of being only about Reiser, so the proposed title didn’t really make sense.

The Success of Mad About You

Spectrum Originals revival of Mad About You

Although Mad About You was underrated during its first year of airing, it would eventually become a very popular show in the United States. Many viewers and critics praise Reiser and Hunt’s acting and chemistry, which are supposed to be the focal point of the show. Because of how excellent the show was acted and produced, it was able to win four Golden Globe Awards and 12 Primetime Emmy Awards.

The popularity of Mad About You made Reiser and Hunt household names in the showbiz industry. For the last season of the show, Reiser and Hunt were paid about $1 million per episode, which is quite a large paycheck for a TV show during that time. Unfortunately, the last season was the most unpopular season for the show, so it quietly ended in 1999.

But, the show was revived in 2019 by Spectrum Originals, and the revival served as the eighth and supposed final season of the show. Most of the cast members in the original show appeared in the revival. It is currently unknown if the show would have a ninth season, although many say that it is unlikely, as the revival wasn’t met with a lot of positive reviews.