Mad About You: Ranking all Thanksgiving episodes

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BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Peter Tolan, Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser of “Mad About You” appear on stage at The Paley Center for Media’s 2019 PaleyFest Fall TV Previews – Spectrum at The Paley Center for Media on September 07, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Mad About You is coming to Spectrum Originals for what the network is calling a “limited series event” just in time for Thanksgiving! Let’s rank all four Thanksgiving episodes from the series’ original run on NBC.

Plenty of shows have aired multiple Christmas episodes, but it seems like Thanksgiving gets less and less attention. For whatever reason, comedy series from the ‘90s and early 2000s, like Friends and Roseanne, consistently found a way to work the holiday in. Mad About You, with its four Thanksgiving episodes aired over seven seasons, was no different.

With the first six episodes of Spectrum Originals’ Mad About You revival expected to air beginning Nov. 20 (followed by an additional six on Dec. 18), one can only wonder whether the sitcom’s return will include a messy Thanksgiving holiday like only Paul and Jamie Buchman (Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt) can provide.

That is not, however, to say that just any story would be acceptable: Of the four previous times Reiser and Hunt tackled every American’s favorite day to over-eat, one was a clear miss, two were pretty good, and one was unforgettable.

Without further ado, our Mad About You Thanksgiving episodes ranking is as follows.

4. Mad About You Season 1, Episode 9: “Riding Backwards”

I have to be honest: Of all the times I’ve watched and re-watched this series over the years, “Riding Backwards” is one of my most-skipped episodes…which is likely why I nearly forgot that it existed. It’s not even necessarily bad—there are some good moments, here and there—but there’s just something grating about watching Paul and Jamie stuck on a train with a bunch of extras. At least Lisa (Anne Ramsay), Mark (Richard Kind), and Fran (Leila Kenzle) showed up…But that also meant the Devanows’ son, Ryan, who mysteriously disappeared (good riddance) later in Mad About You’s run had to appear to be a nuisance, too. So, eh.

Basically, the whole premise of “Riding Backwards” is a focus on the Mad About You gang as they’re traveling to and from their Thanksgiving festivities. For the first half, viewers hear a lot of talk about holiday plans; for the second half, it’s all about what happened. So, it’s an episode with lots of telling and virtually no showing.


  • Jamie’s smug admission that she scared off a pushy seat-stealer by mentioning that they were on their way to Paul’s mom’s funeral.
  • The ridiculously in-tune acting of Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser (even at this early stage) as their characters just exchanged looks during Ryan’s imitation of Native language.
  • Paul and Jamie’s very different takes on how they fell in love.
  • Top moment: When Paul and Jamie made up, all sweet-like, only to immediately start fighting again.

Not-so-much highlights:

  • Ryan, especially with that headdress (please let’s leave this sort of cultural appropriation and mockery behind).
  • Jamie’s weird previously-engaged/convent backstory that never gets revisited.
  • Fran and Mark’s constant bickering.
  • The whole train setting. We get it: Holiday traveling is awful—no reminders necessary.

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