Paul & Jamie’s Apartment in “Mad About You”

by hookedonhouses on March 27, 2011

One of the most popular sitcoms in the 1990s was “Mad About You.” Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt played Paul and Jamie Buchman, a young, married couple living in New York. The series ran for 7 seasons, from 1992-1999, and almost every episode took place in their one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village.

The building used for the exterior shots of their apartment is located on the corner of 5th Avenue and 12th Street in Manhattan. The interior scenes were filmed at Culver Studios in California.

Here they are outside their apartment with their British neighbors from across the hall:

When the series premiered, critics weren’t crazy about it. Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+ and quipped that they were “Ambivalent About You.” Ouch.

The EW article also noted, “Paul and Jamie’s biggest problems in life seem to be deciding which sofa to buy and which restaurant to choose for a leisurely brunch.” Indeed, one of the first episodes revolved around furniture shopping. And I remember being flabbergasted when that odd little sofa with the patchwork of patterns on it was what they came home with.

The Buchmans’ dog Murray was played by a Collie mix named Maui who was found in a California animal shelter by animal trainer Boone Narr. He started out in TV commercials before becoming famous as Murray.

According to an article in Mutt News, “Maui’s favorite skills are ‘hiking’ (making people believe he is relieving himself), sneezing, crawling, shaking his head and rolling over. In the summer of 1994 he shared the cover of TV Guide with fellow NBC star Moose (Eddie, the dog on ‘Frasier’).”

Paul Reiser’s production company (which produced “Mad About You”) was named Nuance Productions after a line in Diner, the first film he appeared in (1982): “You know what word I’m not comfortable with? Nuance. It’s not a real word. Like gesture. Gesture’s a real word. With gesture you know where you stand. But nuance? I don’t know.”

Thirty-nine million people tuned in to see the birth of their daughter Mabel in 1997. They named her that after Jamie’s mother (played by Carol Burnett) suggested it could stand for “Mothers Always Bring Extra Love,” and I think 39 million people collectively rolled their eyes…

Lisa Kudrow had a recurring role on the show as the inept waitress Ursula Buffay until she was cast as Phoebe on “Friends.” In one episode, Paul and Jamie see Ursula after a long absence and ask where she’s been. The answer: “Hanging out with friends.”

Paul and Jamie’s bedroom featured black and white photographs of New York hanging over their bed…

…and an old piano in the corner.

Teri Hatcher was considered for the role of Jamie Buchman but lost out to Helen Hunt in the end.

I remember an interview with Paul Reiser where he said that in the audition he was impressed by the way Helen just walked in and started puttering around in the kitchen like it was hers while they read their lines. He thought she was a natural, and perfect for the kind of comedy he wanted to do. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in that role now. She won 4 Emmy Awards for this role from ’96-’99.

Jerry Adler played Mr. Wicker, their friendly superintendent.

Back out in the living room (with apologies to Helen Hunt for snapping this horrible photo of her!) we see the swinging door that leads to the kitchen:

Helen Hunt was reportedly in serious talks to take over the role of Sarah on “Parenthood” after Maura Tierney bowed out, but it went to Lauren Graham instead.

By the final season, both Reiser and Hunt were being paid $1 million an episode, but the ratings took a nosedive after the show was moved to Monday from its former Tuesday night slot.

In this Thanksgiving episode, Paul and Jamie try to distract their family until a new turkey can be delivered through the window (long story!).

Paul Reiser hasn’t done much since “Mad About You” went off the air in 1999, but he’s returning to TV with a new sitcom on NBC starting April 14 called “The Paul Reiser Show.” He’ll be playing a fictionalized version of himself and show his life after TV.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of my favorite sitcom sets this month! In case you missed the others, they were:

P.S. You can see all of the Movie and TV Houses I’ve featured over the years here.

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Nita@ModVintageLife.com March 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm

This was another good one. All my married friend’s watched this show and loved it…I watched it too but my life was much more like Seinfeld. My Dad even asked me how I could stand to watch Seinfeld because my life was so much like it. Isn’t that funny? He did like the show though. I did watch Mad About You. I remember I loved their bed at the time and now I sooooo don’t.

Beverly from Montreal March 28, 2011 at 7:09 am

I tried never to miss a Seinfeld episode; the same with Mad About You. Loved both shows. Thanks, Julia, for giving the location of the apartment building. This will be added to the list of ‘must see’ things when we are in NYC for the Easter holiday.

Aida March 27, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked this show… my favorite episode(s) was the one when they didn’t get together and almost forgot each other…I’m a sucker for stuff like that…lol

Handy Man, Crafty Woman March 28, 2011 at 12:07 am

Oh I remember this show, I loved it!! :-) Loved their apt, too. Wow, I haven’t thought about this show in ages!

Natasha March 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

That was one of my favourite shows! I still watch the re-runs when they come on. Thanks so much for this post!

Off to see the Modern Family post now-I love all of those houses!!

Best wishes,
Natasha.

Angus March 28, 2011 at 12:44 am

I liked this show too, even though it was totally unrelatable to me, I was in jr and sr high at the time.
Anyway, my mother could never remember the name of the show and ALWAYS called it “The Murray Show”.
My most memorable storyline was the dip in the floor. I think of it every time I walk on a dip, including the one in our living room.

Billy March 28, 2011 at 2:01 am

Enjoyed the show but look at that kitchen triangle. The dishwasher is in the opposite comer of the sink.

Kim March 28, 2011 at 2:36 am

What a great show! I watched most of the episodes when I was a kid. The one that sticksout in my mind, is the one where Jaimie gives birth to her baby.

Thanks for the sets. This is one of my favorite apartments featured on screen. I would love to live in a place like this.

E. George March 28, 2011 at 3:04 am

Hi Julia thanks for a great blog – I loved this show it had some funny moments and moments that you thought gee she is tough like the episode where she got mad at him for not replacing the toilet paper so she gave him a demo. An apartment in NYC now that would be somethin. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney…..

Luciane at Homebunch.com March 28, 2011 at 5:08 am

Good Morning, Julia!

I hope you had a great weekend. As you kno, we just found out we’re having our 3rd baby! WOW! I’m so happy! What a wonderful Blessing, huh? :-)

This is so fun to see, Julia! I love the space… just looking around this apt makes me laugh! Thank you for putting it together for us.

Have a Blessed week!

xo

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish March 28, 2011 at 5:32 am

Oh I loved this show!! It was so great. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

laney March 28, 2011 at 6:09 am

…this was such a fun tv show…loved everthing about it…characters…situations…sets…except…as you mentioned…i did indeed roll my eyes over the mabel name and comment…

Hoyt Clagwell March 28, 2011 at 6:30 am

One thing I always appreciated about the production design of this show was how the apartment was originally furnished somewhat sparsely, with a loose hodgepodge of furniture presumably dragged along from each of their former lives, and as the seasons passed they accumulated more and more stuff and their once-roomy apartment became more and more cramped in a way that can be very true to life.

Quite unlike a show like Frasier where, apart from a few pieces of art being swapped out and rearranged, the apartment stayed exactly the same for the show’s entire run.

Hoyt Clagwell March 28, 2011 at 6:33 am

P.S.: Why do sitcom couples so often have such ugly beds? Paul and Jamie’s bed is in much the same style as the bed on Everybody Loves Raymond, and during bedroom scenes in both shows a part of my brain was obsessively preoccupied with how much I hated the butt-ugly faux-country style bed.

Suzann March 28, 2011 at 6:43 am

OMG! Okay, first off, this is one of my all-time favorite series ever!!! I JUST told hubby last night that I must own this series on DVD. Couple that with the fact that I’m over the top excited about Paul’s new sitcom and you’ve made me one very happy gal on a Monday morning!!!

Jane March 28, 2011 at 7:00 am

Is that the reason they named their baby Mabel? Were they hanging out with Gary Bussey or something? I remember when they got that loveseat thinking that it was odd with all the different patterns, now I see them all the time.

Sally March 28, 2011 at 7:06 am

Love this, and LOVED “Mad About You!” I just saw the promo for “The Paul Reiser Show” yesterday — can’t wait!! I hope it’s a hit!

T. March 28, 2011 at 7:25 am

I enjoyed this show. My big life moments followed Paul and Jamie’s–I was married when they were married, and had my first child when they had their child. Hated the name Mabel and the reason behind it, and I thought the show took a serious nosedive after she was born because their lives did not reflect new parenthood at all.

I always thought their apartment was so cute, and seeing it now, I still love it. It doesn’t even look that dated to me. I always liked that patchwork love seat! Where would they put their flatscreen now? And unlike a previous commenter, I always loved their bed. (However, I agree about the bed on Everybody Loves Raymond. In fact, I like absolutely nothing about the house on Everybody Loves Raymond!!)

Brandon @ Southgate March 28, 2011 at 7:37 am

Loved this show! Surely you’ve visited “Fantasy Floor Plans” a site whose owner has done floor plans for the homes of our favorite TV characters…he has the Buchman’s apartment!
http://www.fantasyfloorplans.com/The-Big-Apple/Fantasy-Floorplan-for-Mad-About-You-Apartment-of-Jamie-Paul-Buchman-13×19-Archival-BluePrint.html

black eyed susans kitchen March 28, 2011 at 8:17 am

Good one Julia..I forgot how much I enjoyed the show…me being a transplanted New Yorker and all. I liked the role of Jamies sister…she was just weird enough.

anna see March 28, 2011 at 8:37 am

Memories! Thanks for sharing this. I remember being puzzled about that little couch, too. Now I like it.

Susan R. March 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

I loooved this show too. It started at the same time as my first marriage and I found it so relatable. (Except for the living in NYC part)
Murray get the mouse!!…thunk.

bungalowbliss March 28, 2011 at 8:58 am

Aww, what a great show! Thanks for the walk down memory lane…I always loved Paul and Jamie–and their cool apartment. :)

Mike March 28, 2011 at 9:12 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE this show! Thanks for all these greats shots. Without a doubt this one of my top 3 faves in the 90′s. When I got stationed in Germany in 1996, my parents used to tape this, Friends, and Seinfeld and then ship the VHS tapes to me.

I still use some of Paul Reiser’s frequently-repeated phrases from the show, such as “This is what I’m saying!”

I hated the way this show ended, with them being divorced. Although this was one of the great NBC shows of the 90′s, the series finale was awful. Even worse than the Seinfeld finale!

Holley March 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I am totally with you on hating how it ended. It almost spoils the show for me now.

Cathy Rust March 28, 2011 at 9:15 am

Hi Julia,
It’s funny that you should pick two iconic series like Mad About You and The Newhart Show. Both series, in my opinion, had the most original and satisfying series’ endings I’ve seen on TV (most are such a let down). Do you remember Janine Garafolo playing a grown-up Mabel and recounting her parents’ on again off again relationship through the years?

April March 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

I loved Mad About You! It was one of my faves. Oooo this makes me want to rush out and buy the series.

Gina September 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

April, you must! I have all seasons (that are currently out) still waiting on the last two. :-) Clemenza!

Nichole@40daysof March 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

I watched this show off and on, but spent more time watching Friends and Seinfeld. There’s a really funny Seinfeld where George’s fiance, Susan forces him to watch Mad About You instead of the baseball game. :)

I always thought their apartment looked very realistic and lived in.

Erin March 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

Stimulation overload. Can’t handle all of the clutter and mismatched furniture but it did reflect their personalities.

Heather Collins March 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

AAHHH!!
Julia you must have read my mind because I have been thinking about that show all week!! I used to love that show! Do you remember the last episode when they showed they had bought the apartment across the hall and joined them with the bathroom??? That was weird.
And I agree with you, their “decor” was a little……quirky. Like the goose throw over the couch? And yes, that couch! Yuck!
But overall a really funny and memorable show.
Thanks Julia! Lots of detective work on that post!

Destiny March 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

Great post, Julia!

! I LOVED Mad About You, back in the day, — and even bought two copies of the soundtrack which is amazing…

I thought their apartment was quintessential New York, but I’m not someone who could live with open shelving housing video equipement and a bike in the living room.

I’m hoping Paul Reiser’s new show is good — something tells me he is more Paul Buckman that not…

Lindsay H March 28, 2011 at 11:21 am

Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed the Lisa Kudrow fact, as I was a huge Friends fan. What is funny is her character’s name in this show…Ursala Buffay, as on Friends, Lisa’s character’s name is Phoebe. Phoebe is a identical twin and her twin sister’s name is Ursala Buffay.

Melinda March 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Loved that show !! Helen was just in our small little neck of the woods visiting cancer patients. Our local paper wrote a great article praising her for having a genuine personality. She was very friendly and sincere. Anyway —- I used to obsess over baby names and when they named their daughter Mabel I was devastated !!! Thanks.

Judy D'Angiolillo March 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Hello, Love you website. Do you have any info about the apartment where Catherine Zeta-Jones lived in the movie “No Reservations?”

hookedonhouses March 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Sorry, I don’t. You can see all of the movies I’ve covered here: http://hookedonhouses.net/houses-onscreen/.

ljb March 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm

How do you come up with all these. I had forgotten about this show. I did watch it and thought it was so cute. My daughter loved the bed and she and her husband bought one like it. Gone now!

Jenny March 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I used to love that show. I always wondered what happened to Paul Reiser after that.

Susan S March 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Ahh, a trip down memory lane. I loved their apartment and their quick-witted banter.

Nita March 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I saw the previews for his new show and didn’t recognize him. He’s really older looking. Loved that English style couch by the window, always did. Loved the show, but didn’t watch every episode. Saw more on reruns. Helen hasn’t done much since having a baby, has she?

Love New York apartment settings starting with The Honeymooners. I am looking forward to maybe one day seeing That Girl Marlo Thomas’ apartment here.

Amanda @ Serenity Now March 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Loved “Mad About You.” I used to watch it with my dad along with “Frasier.” NBC had a great sitcom line-up in the 90s, didn’t they? I always liked that the apartment looked lived-in and pretty realistic–he had his video equipment on the shelves and all those books. Great post!

Melissa Lewis - Midwest Magnolia March 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Such a good show. I remember watching it when it originally aired. I was in high school! I loved it then. Then, watching the re-runs as a married woman and I loved it even more. I SO wanted their bed. I loved the wood and iron scroll. Funny!

Kathy :) March 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

LOVED that show, haven’t thought about it in years !!! What did Helen win her Oscar for ??? the movie with Jacccccck ??? ‘As good as it gets ‘I think??? Yeah Paul has been MIA will be fun to see if he can strike lightning twice…

I hated their apartment LOl but loved them…..

Did not know that about the baby….

Fun Julia thanks….(I too loved Newhart BOTH of em)

xo Kathy :)

Bre March 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I used to love that show! Their apartment is what I always pictured New York apartments to look like. I can’t get over how small their bed is! I remember the new turkey Thanksgiving episode, and I couldn’t believe it when they named their daughter Mabel either. Yuck. Thank for you the great look back Julia!

P.S. The show’s theme song was in my head the entire time I read this post!

Donna Johnson March 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I love that shabby chic sofa! :)

Daisy March 29, 2011 at 12:28 am

The exterior shot of the apartment looks a lot like the one used in Will & Grace (minus the statue). But I guess New York apartment buildings all look the same.

Gina September 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Daisy, YES! It is the same exterior shot used for Will and Grace :-)

Rachel March 29, 2011 at 8:48 am

Wow, I loved this show, and I was only 10 when it first aired! It brings back some wonderful childhood memories for me. My mom used to watch it as she cooked dinner and we would dance around the kitchen singing the theme song. Also, to this day every time I hear the name Mabel I think of the show, I thought that name was very pretty. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jessica March 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

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Decor Girl March 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

This was such a fun show… obviously from the amount of comments we all liked it!

Oh those cushions on the wicker chairs in the living room, yick. Those are the days when we watched for content not visual impact.

Lesley @ TheDesignFile March 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Loved this and I loved that show. I’ll never forget the episode where they were letting the baby cry herself (I can’t remember if it was a boy or girl) to sleep. So real life! And so is picking out a couch and deciding where to eat. The reason a show like this works is because it’s the same stuff you argue with your own spouse about!

marta March 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I loved this show! I lived in NYC at the time it was on and was so jealous of their HUGE living room! :)

I love your blast from the past posts!
Best,
Marta

Sarah March 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Loved this show! and the apartment with all the bookshelves! You should do a post on Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie’s house. It is a super fun, bungalow style that is SO colorful and kid friendly, and also has fun bug art hidden everywhere because the dad is an exterminator. I would love to see a post on that!

hookedonhouses March 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I actually already wrote a post about Good Luck Charlie and will be publishing it in May on my daughter’s birthday. It’s her favorite show, and she requested a post about it! :-)

Lauren March 31, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I was the only one of the 39 million that didn’t roll my eyes when they named their daughter Mabel. It was my grandmother’s name and I loved her dearly. However, as a child-free by choice couple, we tuned out after the baby came because it shifted the focus of the show away from the couple’s relationship. Loved Mel Brooks as Uncle Marty – “Firm embrace!”

Elizabeth April 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Thank you so much for posting this apartment. I have always loved the show and Paul and Jamie’s place.

Lana July 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I just finished watching the last season of “Mad About You,” which I never had a chance to watch during it’s run. I was wondering the other day about Paul and Jamie’s apartment location and found this fantastic post. Thank you so much not only for satisfying my curiosity about that apartment, but also for great info about the show!

Melanie August 7, 2013 at 11:25 pm

where did you watch the final season? it’s not been released on DVD yet and I’ve been dying to get ahold of the last 2 seasons! Melanie

meg July 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Funny comment about the sofa…because that is exactly the sofa i am looking for. small, comfy with English rolled arms.

Gina September 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I haven’t ventured back to your web site in a long time, But I see you added the one I mentioned……… :-) Mad About You, my (just about) all time favorite show. Thanks for show casing the Buchman’s Mahnattan apartment. Another fun factoid (if you didn’t already know) The exterior is the same shot used to represent Will’s (and Grace while she lived with him) apartment on Will & Grace. And BTW, do you have any clue where I can find a lamp like the one on Paul’s nightstand in the bedroom? ;-) I’ve seen where they actually sell reproductions of the bed, but no lamp : ( Thanks again for a fun site!

Cheryl-ann January 31, 2012 at 12:52 am

Hi There. I hated the show and especially this cluttered apartment. Yuck!!!

Lisa Voycey September 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

My husband and I loved ‘Mad About You’! The sofa you mention that sits in the corner was so loved by this designer-in-training at the time that I slip covered a goodwill find in in a patchwork of beige fabrics and we christened it the ‘M.A.Y.’ chair!
Thanks for the memories…

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