Paul Reiser: No revivals for Mad About You

The warm chemistry betweenPaul Reiser and Helen Hunt anchored Mad About You, which ran from 1992 to 1999.
The warm chemistry between Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt anchored Mad About You, which ran from 1992 to 1999.PHOTO: TRISTAR TELEVISION

Star Paul Reiser, who created the series about a newlywed couple, says he has done everything he wanted to do with the show

There is good news and bad news for fans of the long-running 1990s sitcom Mad About You.

The good news is that it airs on Monday to Friday nights on StarHub TV's Hits channel. The bad news is that creator and star Paul Reiser does not see the possibility of a revival a la The X-Files.

"We did everything we wanted to do," he says.

"I never saw the merit of that (a revival). We did a final episode where we jumped ahead five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road, and part of it was because we wanted to really finish it. We didn't want to be tempted to come back."

Along with Danny Jacobson, Reiser, 58, created the series about a newlywed couple, Paul and Jamie Buchman, in New York played by himself and Helen Hunt.

It ran from 1992 to 1999 and won praise and accolades for its realistic and humorous portrayal of marriage.

I was really proud to say I could check off every box.

PAUL REISER on the ideas for Mad About You that he kept in a notebook

He had a notebook in which he used to write down ideas for the show and, when it ended, he was a little scared to open it up and find that he had left something out.

But he says: "I was really proud to say I could check off every box."

Some of these were very specific things, such as doing an entire episode in one continuous shot. That was accomplished in Season 6 in an episode titled The Conversation as Paul and Jamie debate letting their child cry herself to sleep without comforting her.

The show was nominated for more than 100 major awards and won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical in 1995. Hunt racked up four Emmy wins for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series from 1996 to 1999.

Speaking over the telephone from Los Angeles, he says: "We did a lot of the emotional stories that people go through - difficulties in marriage, some people having a hard time having a baby, sometimes people getting a baby and not knowing what to do."

That made the show a relatable one and it is one of the reasons why it still resonates with viewers.

It is a role that he is still strongly associated with and he says: "I was very clever, I called the character Paul so if anybody said my name, I could turn around. They could have meant me or the character - either way, they'd be correct."

The show was anchored by the warm chemistry between Reiser and Hunt - who also clinched a Best Actress Oscar for 1997's As Good As It Gets - and that has also burnished a lasting friendship.

He turned up at the premiere of her last film, Ride, in Los Angeles in April last year. He adds: "We had lunch four days ago. We get together all the time and are very close."

Incidentally, the show was shot in California even though it was set in New York and the production team went to great pains to keep things authentic.

Reiser recalls: "There was an episode where I went out to get a cup of coffee. There's a certain kind of coffee cup that you see in New York. It's a blue, Greek-design paper cup you never see anywhere else. I found the guy who makes them and they sent us 6,000 cups."

After the sitcom ended, Reiser, who is married with two children, did other television projects, including the short-lived comedy, The Paul Reiser Show (2011).

He says: "You make a show as good as you can and then it's out of your hands and, when somebody doesn't market it or promote it, it can be very frustrating and heartbreaking."

Which is perhaps why he treasures the success that Mad About You enjoyed because "even if you do everything right, there's still so many things (beyond your control)".

•Mad About You airs on Hits (StarHub TV Channel 519, Singtel TV Channel 326) from Monday to Friday at 10pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Mad About You's not coming back'. Print Edition | Subscribe