6 thoughts on “When Did Mad About You Jump the Shark?

  1. The baby. It’s always the baby. Honestly, if the show at the end Season 4,the season they almost divorced, the show would be much more fondly remembered. The next two seasons dealing with the pregnancy and then the baby were almost unbearable.

  2. Oh, it would be SO much better remembered if they ended at Season 4, but I think Seasons 5-6 were still OKAY, just not as good as Seasons 2-4 (1 was good, but not as good as the peak 2-4 years), but holy shit, Season 7 just went right into the toilet.

  3. I think it’s when they were both flirting with someone else and one of them kissed the flirtee. Yes, as Reiser pointed out, it happens IRL but the show always presented their marriage as something a little special (like the episode where the New Year’s ball doesn’t drop until they’re together). After that came couples therapy, resolved by the baby, and then the baby.
    There were still good episodes after that kissing bit, but the decay had begun.

  4. I should really write about the marriage woes arc. It’s fascinating because it’s so well done, and yet, yes, I agree, it was probably also a bad idea for the show overall. But really, they were always sort of stuck with the baby window. It didn’t make sense for the Paul and Jamie that we met in Seasons 1-4 to NOT have a baby, even if it hurt the narrative of the show.

  5. Agreed on the end-on-season-4 thing, and that season 7 was new heights of suckitude for a show I’d previously enjoyed a lot. Part of that was the baby, but I wish they’d adopted the Bob Newhart show philosophy of refusing to go down that road. It really did ruin the dynamics.

    One other element I’ll mention: I think the “nothingness” thing was something they were borrowing from the juggernaut that was Seinfeld at that time. MAY was just not absurdist enough to pull it off, and I think forcing it is what hurt the show a lot as well.

  6. Oh my goodness, did that show jump the shark over and over again in Seasons 5, 6 AND 7. You can tell a show has jumped when an episode of a series which you had adored is SO excruciating that you need to fast forward or hit mute. Some major Mad About You jump candidates therefore (in my opinion) ..

    Season 5 when Sheila the therapist arrives on the scene … and stays.
    S5 Ep 15 — The Hoomoo5 Affair. An episode filled with bad vibes and bile being chucked in many directions. Hard to believe that anyone forgives anyone else after this debacle.
    S5 Ep 17 — “On the Road” in which, during their road trip, Paul is inexplicably nasty to Marvin (himself an unlikeable addition to the show).
    S5 Ep 19 — “The Touching Game”. Cringes galore as Paul and Ira mistake the gender (and pregnancy) of someone they meet on a bus. Could have been handled in a funny way (or not handled at all), but instead written in a tone-deaf manner.
    S6 Ep 12 — “Separate Planes”. Again lots of general unpleasantness, compounded by Paul’s obtuseness and Helen Hunt’s near-perpetual scowl. (Contrast that to her warmer portrayals in Seasons 1-3.)
    Sp Ep 22 — “Nat and Arley”. Jamie’s sleep aggression against Paul is so, so overplayed. First of all, it’s impossible to believe that he sleeps through this extended pummeling every night. Secondly, it hints at such a great level of anger on Jamie’s part that the entire premise of the show becomes shaky. Could have been way subtler and therefore way funnier.
    S6 Ep 15 — “The Second Mrs. Buchman”. Again, weird and not-very-credible script gymnastics in the service of a one-joke story line.
    Then, of course, there’s Season 7, which (as many folks agree) is entirely and thoroughly Post-Jump. And perhaps we should count the reboot which is heavy on unrelenting unpleasantness and light on laughs.
    My advise: Just keep re-watching Seasons 1-3!

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