I used to watch random episodes of Mad About You a few years ago. It was fun, as much as Seinfeld, Friends and similar sitcoms. Lighthearted, funny, it was very pleasing to watch. But it wasn't until recently, when I decided to watch the entire series, from the first episode to the last, that it really became my favorite show.
I was so amazed by it, so impressed! The characters were so involving, so easy to relate. The story, funny and filled with smart ironies, while at the same time always dealing with relevant life, society and family issues. Well, I became absolutely fascinated by it.
So it came as a surprise to see how low was the score here on IMDb, which is usually very precise. After some thought, I believe the reason is on the first place a matter of style. I'm 22 years old, and I really doubt the style Mad About You was made is really appealing to most people of my generation, used to Friends, How I Met Your Mother and so on. It's very different. Not that it bothered me, but well, people are different. Also, Mad About You wasn't aiming to be simple entertainment, at least the way I see it. I believe the point was to be not only fun, but artistic, creative, and socially relevant. So, even though it was brilliant, it might not always be appealing to everyone.
But, if you're reading this, and you don't find much interest in the series, I urge you: please reconsider! It's a classic, and if you give it a chance you will really appreciate it. I hope to have convinced you by the end of this review :)
So, I'll describe three reasons why I fell in love with the series.
First, it has an elaborate sense of humor. There are so many different kinds of jokes throughout the series. Some are just picturing silly things common people do, the contradictions we all have. Take the theme song, for instance: "tell me all of your secrets and I'll tell you most of mine". It's the little things, you see? :) Other jokes are more elaborate, connecting the beginning of the episode to the end, with impressive cohesion. It is filled with so many ironies, making the entire show extremely pleasing to watch. And, even though it's not the kind of series in which you'll be laughing the entire time, it does have a few hilarious moments.
Besides that, it is beautifully crafted, from the plot line to the direction and acting. Really, it has a remarkable quality. Some episodes must have been extremely difficult to film and were still perfect. Yes, some of them were really impressive works of art. Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt not only have that chemistry others have mentioned, but they are also incredible actors. And whoever trained Murray (the dog) has made an awesome job. Mad About You wouldn't be so cool if Murray wasn't a part of it. Also, many episodes had a very creative way of being "meta-linguistic", kind of referring to itself in the end. That was often funny too!
Finally, and most importantly, it is deeply meaningful. Even while describing seemingly unimportant daily events, it had a deep message. Basically, while the mass culture of our time praises lives without commitment and makes marriage seem somewhat obsolete, here are Jamie and Paul showing that it is not true. It's better to be together than to be apart. More than that, it is better to be married than just together. "That paper in the city hall" is not irrelevant, it has an important role, and it is worth it. And, you see, it's not that Jamie and Paul are perfect; far from that! They are a quite troublesome couple, in fact! But still, they find a way to be happy together. The show is extremely honest describing their issues, and just like real couples, they undergo some pretty rough times. Still, after watching it, most people (me included) feel motivated and anxious to get married, not naively thinking it's easy, but knowing that it is worth it.
Not to say that the show is only meaningful or relevant because of what it says about marriage. But I'll leave that for other reviews to describe :P
So, yeah, Mad About You is pretty awesome. Don't discard it for the latest hype. If you have the chance, watch the entire series, you won't regret it.