Created by: Danny Jacobson & Paul Reiser
Starring: Paul Reiser, Helen Hunt, Leila Kenzle, Richard Kind, Anne Ramsay
- Twenty-two episodes
Released by: Sony Pictures
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Rent it.
Meet Paul and Jamie Buchanan (Reiser and Hunt). They’ve only recently gotten married and are still, a lot of times, dealing with the aftermath of having each other. Paul has a friend, Selby (Tommy Hinkley), who’s your archetypal Useless Male Friend. Jamie’s friend Fran (Kenzle) is the stereotypical Annoying Female Friend whose husband, Mark (Kind), is your average Browbeaten Husband. They all live in New York City and all have a tendency to bicker. A lot.
[ad#longpost]In case you haven’t figured it out, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this series. Bickering couple has problems but really, they love each other and will generally work things out–this is a formula you can find in every episode of The Honeymooners. But, see, this series–at least at the beginning, I can’t speak for later years–isn’t exactly trying to pioneer. It just wants to be funny. And that’s why it succeeds…it decides what it wants to do and then proceeds to do it, and well.
The overall premise of the show may not be anything new, but the situations are novel. A shopping experience that goes horribly awry; quality time in the bathroom–too much in fact; and how dry cleaning and desperation got Jamie and Paul together in the first place. These are all well and good, but they’d fall flat if the writers didn’t have the laughs coming almost nonstop throughout an episode. Hunt and Reiser act like a married couple, so the entire setup is completely believable at the same time that the certain situations they find themselves in are preposterous. Do they act like they’re completely head over heels in love and that their passion for each other will overcome all obstacles indefinitely? Well, no–but why would you want to watch a sitcom about such people?
Unfortunately, we get no features on the set, which is a shame. You’d think at least Reiser would get a chance to do a commentary on the first episode, if not both he and Hunt, or he and his co-creator Jacobson. Perhaps this is just another example of a TV show being so expensive to produce on DVD with so little known about what kind of sales they’re going to get–as a result, they err on the side of caution. I can’t say–but I can tell you that fans of the series will want to own this, but with no features, I’m afraid there’s no reason for anyone but the diehards to grab a copy.