Pomp On TV: Mad About You

January 13, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

There are things in this world that are so pompous, they make monocles and ascots look like something a hobo would wear to the local soup kitchen.

There are things in this world that are so pompous, they make lamb shanks look like day-old White Castle sliders.

There are things in this world that are so pompous that even Keith Olbermann won't go head to head with them.

One such thing is the show Mad About You.

I've always had a long standing grudge against Mad About You. Don't get me wrong, I can deal with pompous happenings in my life. But Mad About You takes pomposity to an entirely new level. Nay, labeling it with mere words is a futile effort, one that will most likely land a normal man or woman in the hospital, nude and weeping.

Every once in a while, television can do pompous comedy just right. The perfect example of this is Frasier. For 11 amazing seasons, Frasier was at the top of the pomp world, hurling insults and witty banter back and forth like a well-played ping pong match (Side Note: Ping Pong = VERY pompous). But where Frasier succeeded was being in on its own joke. From day 1, Frasier knew that it was completely pompous and embraced that fact.

Mad About You failed when it tried to hide its pompousness and pretend to be a show about an average newlywed couple and their 'everyday problems'. Sorry, Mad About You, but you are completely unrealistic and I hate you with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.

Let's take a look at how ridiculously pompous every aspect of this show was.

This is Pompous Guy. We'll look at each pompous feature of Mad About You and award it anywhere from 1 to 5 Pompous Guys.

Paul Reiser's character on the show went to NYU film school and is a successful documentary filmmaker.

Are you serious? We're only on the first point and already the pompous level is dangerously in the red! We're going to need to slow down here or the Pomp Meter is going to overload! I award you 5 Pompous Guys.

Paul Reiser plays a character *creatively* named 'Paul'.

You can't get much more pompous than playing a character on a TV show or in a movie that shares your actual name. What, are you too lazy to remember that when someone says 'Frank, what do you think?' that you have to respond because that's your character's name? Are you saying that you're better than 99% of all actors ever in the history of time? Yes you are, and for that, I award 4.5 Pompous Guys.

'Paul' and his wife Jamie (Helen Hunt) live in Greenwich Village.

I've never been to New York, but I found this on Wikipedia: Greenwich Village was known in the late 19th/earlier to mid 20th centuries as the bohemian capital, and the birthplace of the Beat Movement. Ironically, what provided the initial attractive character of the community eventually contributed to its gentrification and excessive commercialization.

If that's not a pompous place to live, I don't know what is. 5 Pompous Guys.

During 1997, the show's theme song switched in midseason.

You can't even wait for the end of a season to change up the theme song to your show? The Spanish have a term to describe you, Mad About You: El Pompsito! Dos y medio Senors de Pompous! Ole!

Four Legs = Quadruple the pompousness.

You know your show is pompous when one of the most popular characters is the dog. And that dog chases an invisible mouse. Dumb. Also, Murray the dog's name in real life? Murray. 3 Pompous Guys.

In the final episode, you fast forward in time.

A staple of pompous shows set in New York (See: Will and Grace), at the end of Mad About You, their baby is shown all grown up. Not only that, but pompous things are thrown in for no apparent reason. Remember the dog I just mentioned? In the final episode, Mabel (the grown up version of the baby) says that Murray the dog died when she was six, but she was not told until she was twelve. WHO THE HELL DOES THAT TO THEIR KID? What did they tell the little 6 year old when she asked about where her dog went? Why did they lie to her for the next 6 years??? Unnecessary lying about pets? That's damn pompous. 4.5 Pompous Guys.

Speaking of Mabel...

You know how the daughter on the show came to have the name 'Mabel'? It stands for 'Mothers Always Bring Extra Love'. Are you kidding me??? "Not only am I going to give my daughter a stupid meaning behind her name, but it's going to be a tribute to how awesome I think I am!" If the Pompous Scale went to eight million, I don't think it would be enough to measure the sheer level of pomposity. Add to that the fact that grown-up Mabel was played by Janeane Garofalo, one of the most pompous comics on the planet, and you're reaching unmeasurable and potentially dangerous levels of pompousness. We'll have to settle for just 5 Pompous Guys, but even if you took Pompous Guy and his entire polo team and their families, that still wouldn't be enough.

Mad About You was an early-to-mid-nineties sitcom on NBC.

Just being in the same category with Seinfeld and Frasier can bump you up by at least 2-3 Pompous Guys. Shit, even The Single Guy rates a 2.5 on this fact alone! I award 4 Pompous Guys.

The entire show was based on cute little problems that never happen to real people. Ever.

This is what makes me hate Mad About You so much and what really drives the final nail into the pompous coffin. Like I said earlier, this show tried so hard to make itself seem like it was about 2 normal, everyday people that deal with the same everyday problems as the audience watching it. HA! I wish the worst problem I had to deal with during the holidays was the fact that my significant other and I accidentally bought each other the exact...same...CHRISTMAS GIFT!!! Oh my God!!! How quirky and funny!!!

They have little problems like that, exactly the way that nobody does in real life.

Go on iTunes and just read some of the episode descriptions for Mad About You. The sheer pompousness of just the descriptions defies all logic:

Season 3, Episode 4: When I'm Sixty-Four
Arriving home with a new armoire, Jamie is surprised to find it doesn't fit through their apartment doorway. Calling on their super, Mr. Wicker, for help, Paul begins to suspect that his wife's poor eyesight caused her to misread the measurements.

If that episode actually happened in real life, I think the description would have ended up more something along these lines:

Arriving home with a new armoire, Jaime wonders why it is that she was even buying an armoire in the first place, other than the fact that something similar worked on Seinfeld once, so what the hell, right? Calling on their super, Mr. Wicker, for help, Paul secretly seethes as his wife continues to spend his money on frivolous things she doesn't need. Mr. Wicker tells both of them to fuck off and that they'd better not be keeping a dog in their apartment.

Or what about this fantastic gem from later in the season?

Season 3, Episode 9: Once More, With Feeling
During an after-sex conversation, Jaime concludes that Paul doesn't like her new haircut or her meatloaf, while he is convinced that she thinks he is getting fat and that she hated their trip to Aruba.

Here's how it really would have happened:

During an after-sex conversation, Paul falls asleep. Jaime then gets high so she can daydream of a life that doesn't so closely resemble hell as she struggles to fall asleep unfulfilled and unloved.

Doesn't get much more pompous than that, does it? I award the maximum score of 5 Pompous Guys.

That gives Mad About You a score of 38.5 Pompous Guys out of a potential 45. Why out of 45 and not something like 50 or 100? Because even and round numbers aren't pompous at all, jerk. Look buddy, I don't know what your problem is, but I'm sure it's hard to spell. With that, I say good day to you.

I said...good...day!