Good sitcoms and great screen chemistry are more difficult to manage than people think. With Mad About You, a show set in New York City about a newly married couple, we got both in spades. It jumped the shark in my opinion because of the addition of a baby but whatever, the 7 seasons and 164 episodes represents a very solid run for a show with so simple a premise.
It begins right after they get married and much of the humor derives from them getting adjusted to themselves as a young couple but also from them living in New York City, the setting for a lot of sitcoms, including Seinfeld, Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Paul Buchman (Paul Reiser the actor) and Jamie Buchman (Helen Hunt the actress) live together in the Manhattan neighborhood of Union Square.
Paul went to New York University and struggled for a while as a documentary filmmaker before making a living out of it in New York. Jaime had many boyfriends in college and when she met Paul, they got married and she settled down. A bit. She is still sassy, like her mother, and a lot of the comedy in the series came from the conflicts that arose with her mom.
The rapid fire dialogue and snap timing of the two leads added to much of the appeal and there was rarely a dull moment on Mad About You, especially when you add in their dog, a border collie mix named Murray. The dog was crazy, just like his mommy and daddy and Paul was actually walking him when he met Jaime, so the animal is as much to thank for their chance encounter as anything. Serendipity is a great thing sometimes.
There were tons of other characters on the show, all filtering in and out of their lives when the mood struck the writers to inject some new energy into the concept of filming two people living together. That was fine. They were great characters and the show worked, but it was nice when other people invaded their space and brought some fresh perspective on the proceedings.