TITLE: THE MAD ABOUT YOU COLLECTION
DVD Release Date: February 8th, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
color/approx. 491 minutes
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 21
Languages and subtitles: English, Closed Captioned - Subtitles
in Spanish, Portuguese
Special features: Blooper Reel - The Seven Warning Signs of Madness; Audio Commentaries
by Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt on "The Pilot" and "The Final Frontier" Featurette:
Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt Are Mad About Guest Stars; Featurette: Paul Reiser & Helen
Hunt Are Mad About the Theme; TV Spots; Paul and Helen Introduce and Discuss each episode
Mad About you explores the romantic ups and downs of an endearingly neurotic couple, Paul
and Jamie Buchman, as they cope with marriage, mood swings, love and life. Starring
Paul Reiser and Academy Award winner Helen Hunt, the romantic comedy series Mad About
You captivated TV audiences with the marital tribulations of Paul and Jamie,
two newlyweds trying their best in a very complicated world to be in love, be married
and be cool in New York City. During its seven-year run on NBC (1992-1999, 164 episodes),
the series was honored with a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award, a Genesis Award,
five Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding comedy series and was also chosen as
Best Quality Comedy by the Viewers for Quality Television. In addition, Helen Hunt won
four Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes for her role as Jamie Buchman. Overall,
the show received 10 Emmys and 22 nominations.
Co-stars Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser have personally selected their favorite episodes
for this inspired collection. You'll experience the ultimate in laughs and entertainment
with shows featuring many celebrity guests. This is truly the ultimate collection for everyone
who is mad about Mad About You.
Episodes Included / Notable Guest Stars:
The pilot and finale episodes are included along with a handful of episodes from
each of the seven seasons. Here is the breakdown by season: Season 1 episodes included -
The Pilot and Meet Someone; Season 2 - Virtual Reality and Cold Feet; Season 3 - Giblets
for Murray, Our Fifteen Minutes, and The Alan Brady Show; Season 4 - Yoko Said and
The Finale - Parts 1-3; Season 5 - Citizen Buchman, The Penis,
and The Birth Parts 1-2; Season 6 - Letters to Mabel, Moody Blues, Le Sex Show,
and The Conversation; Season 7 - Paved with Good Conentions and The Final Frontier (One Hour
Episode). The first two complete seasons have already been released, so there isn't
that much overlap with only 4 episodes from the first 2 years.
Mad About You always had a tremendous amount of celebrity guest stars. Lisa Kudrow
was Paul's blind date in "Met Someone." Christie Brinkley and Andre Agassi guest
starred in "Virtual Reality." Carl Reiner won an Emmy for Best
Performance by a Guest Star in "The Alan Brady Show." Yoko Ono appears in "Yoko Said."
Ed Asner makes an appearance in "The Finale" Parts 2 and 3 during the 4th season. Sid
Caesar earned an Emmy Nomination for his role in "Citizen Buchman." Mel Brooks appeared
as Uncle Phil in "The Penis" and won an Emmy for Best Performance by a Guest Star.
Carol Burnet and Carroll O'Connor appeared as Jamie's parents in "The Birth" Parts 1 and 2.
Carol Burnett would win an Emmy for her role. The final episode "The Final Frontier"
included guest stars Lyle Lovett, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Cyndi Lauper, and Janeane
Garofalo as Mabel.
The Mad About You Collection has some of the most attractive packaging and better
style/color combos that I've seen on a dvd set in recent memory. The dvd cover art features a nice closeup photo
of Helen and Paul with New York City in the background. The back of the box features
a large photo of Murray (the dog) and several smaller photos from the shows and it gives
a summary of the set and a listing of the special features. There are 4 slimcases
inside the box. Each slimcase has a black, white, and gold theme and features a different
photo of Helen & Paul. Episode titles, short summaries, major guest stars, and the
various credits are listed on the back of the slimcases. Additional sepia colored photos with
a New York city background and Mad About You in large text
are found inside the cases. Nice color photos of Helen & Paul are found on each disc. Disc
1 contains episodes 1-5 (note the numbers are not the actual airdate order number), Disc 2 has
episodes 1-6, Disc 3 offers episodes 12-17, and Disc 4 contains episodes 18-21.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus have the same white, gold, and blue colors with the New York City background
as the dvd cover art which I think look very nice. As you start the discs, the theme song is playing with a montage of photos that leads to the main menu.
Each disc has a different photo of Helen & Paul on the right side of the screen with the episode titles listed
vertically on the left. There is a sub-menu for each episode that has a photo of Murray on the left and a smaller photo
from that particular show at the top of the screen. There are options to play the episode by itself, play the episode with
the introduction by Helen & Paul, and a Languages screen.
Video and Audio Quality:
Mad About You was shot on film and the oldest episodes are only around 12 years old, so they still look great.
The colors look very sharp and vibrant and the stereo soundtrack audio is crisp and at a nice volume. All of the episodes are presented
in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. There are no more than 6 episodes per disc, so there are no compression problems
that may have been on the first 2 season releases. There are chapter stops within the episodes, but no scene
selection menus. There is no 'Play All Episodes' option which I don't think is a major deal since this is not
a season release. All episodes appear to be unedited, running around 22 episodes with the finale running
nearly 45 minutes. Closed-captioning is available for all of the episodes. There are subtitles in Spanish
and Portuguese for the episodes and some of the special features.
There are a good number of special features which add value to this set. Each episode has an introduction
and discussion by Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser. These are moderated by Professor Richard Brown of N.Y.U.
They sit at a table he asks them questions and they offer their comments. Dr. Brown must be about
the biggest Mad About You fan or he watched all the episodes in their entirety as he seemed he well-prepared to
ask the initial and follow-up questions. The introduction segments run around 4-8 minutes in length with most
in the 4-5 minute range. Paul and Helen had obviously watched the episodes beforehand and they offer
many interesting and funny stories about the production and guest stars for the shows. The discussions
they have are serious and almost scholarly, but there is also a lot of laughter. Each introduction has
credits that are the same that contain about 1 minute, 16 seconds worth of bloopers/outtakes.
Audio commentaries by Helen and Paul are provided on the "Pilot" and "The Final Frontier" episodes.
They offer many interesting comments and their discussion is quite lively and it's surprising how many
small details they can remember about the episodes after a number of years. They discuss many of the production details and
guest stars. The chemistry they had on the show is still there on these commentaries.
Additional special features are found on the first disc. The 7 Warning Signs of Madness is 7 minutes, 49
seconds worth of bloopers organized by topic. The categories are Loss or Memory, Uncontrollable Giggling,
Spntaneious Vocalization, Violent Behavior, Unprovoked Silliness, Denial, and Stuff So Word It Defies
Description. The bloopers are really not the best quality as they look to be from a videotape source, but they
are still a lot of fun to watch.
Next up are 2 featurettes on the guest stars and theme songs. Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt Are Mad About Guest
Stars runs 10 minutes, 41 seconds. They would usually get an idea and write it into a storyline, and then try
and get that person to guest star on the show. Numerous videoclips of guest stars are shown including: Bruce Willis,
Carl Reiner, Richard Belzer, Sid Caesar, Barbara Feldon, Nathan Lane, Michael Moore, Michael Richards,
Steven Wright, Fred Willard, Cyndi Lauper, Carroll O'Connor and Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, Christie Brinkley,
and Jerry Lewis. They discuss Carroll O'Connor, Carol Burnett, and Mel Brooks in some detail at the table.
Finally, still images are shown of some more guest stars including: Kevin Bacon, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Seinfeld,
Lisa Kudrow, Rhea Perlman and Richard Benjamin, Jamie Farr, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Klein, Edward Asner,
Tim Conway, Eugene Levy, Garth Brooks, Rudy Guilani, Regis Philbin, Mark McGwire, Rachel Hunter and Jay Leno,
Billy Joel, Mary Matalin, James Carville, Patrick Ewing, Andre Agassi, and Yoko Ono. Paul Reiser & Helen
Hunt Are Mad About the Theme runs 4 minutes, 8 seconds. They talk about they didn't have a theme song
a few weeks before the premiere and they met Don Was at the airport on their way to New York. They talk
about Andrew Gold singing a short and long verison of the theme and about the Mad About You soundtrack
which was released during the 6th season with Anita Baker singing a full version of the theme.
Mad About You.. The Promos features about 6 minutes and 18 total promos for the show. It is interesting
that in the early promos before the season premiered, they had a different dog like a pitbull which
apparently was too aggressive so he was replaced. There are also some additional previews
for other Sony releases including 13 Going on 30, 50 First Dates, Maid in Manhattan, Little Black Book,
and Contemporary TV.
I am generally not a fan of "Best of" DVD releases, but this set has a lot going for it. It has an overall great
look with some of the best episodes and a good number of bonus features. Some fans may be disappointed
that they didn't continue on with the 3rd season being released. Perhaps, with some strong sales, Sony will
decide to continue on with the series with season sets. Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt had great chemistry, and I
think Mad About You is very underrated. It is certainly one of the best romantic comedies of all-time and would be a great
set for couples to pick up around Valentine's Day.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Video quality: 4.5/5
Audio quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4.7
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 02/07/05
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