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Newcastle Herald

Mad about Mabel, but they haven't lost the plot

Author: James Joyce
Date: 21/04/1998
Words: 379
          Publication: Newcastle Herald
Section: News
Page: 21
BANISH all thought that Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt have lost the plot now that they're sharing screen time with baby Mabel.

Tonight's two episodes of Mad About You (on Ten at 7.30pm and 8.30pm) are arguably this sitcom's finest hour.

Reiser is his usual painful, super-sensitive, neurotic self as New York yuppie Paul Buchman and Hunt is simply superb as his sharp but ultimately fragile missus, Jamie.

The first episode is billed as `commercial free'.

What that really means is the 22 minute show was filmed in one take, with Reiser and Hunt exchanging dialogue in real time.

As a technical exercise it is pretty impressive but as intimate and emotional comedy and drama it is incredibly touching.

The set-up is dead simple: the Buchmans have put Mabel to bed and are waiting nervously outside the bedroom door as she cries herself to sleep.

They hope this tough-love technique will teach Mabel self-reliance but they also want their daughter to know they'll always be there for her.

Everyone's talking about sex on the 8.30pm `bonus' episode.

Paul and Jamie open up to their therapist about their post-pregnancy sex life, with hilarious results.

Paul coins an inspired dessert cake analogy that makes for some lovely punch lines when the neurotic pair finally do get back in synch in the sack.

Highly recommended.

ON Better Homes & Gardens (Prime/Seven, 7.30pm) kitchen whizz Belinda Jeffery joins the crew of HMAS Sydney to bake Anzac biscuits.

ON The Great Outdoors (Prime/Seven, 8pm) Bridget Adams tours Stockton Beach by camel train.

FOUR of the stars of the hit British film The Full Monty, Mark Addy, Steve Huison, Paul Barber and Hugo Speer, have cameos on The Drew Carey Show (NBN/Nine, 8pm).

Funnyman Carey loved the movie so much he invited the actors on his sitcom for an episode inspired by their kit-off caper.

The plot is as contrived as you'd expect: When Drew accidentally neuters his boss's champion stud dog (the double entendres are many) he convinces his pals to help him raise cash to buy a replacement pooch by staging a strip show.

The climax of the risque routine is suitably cheeky.

? James Joyce

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