Wednesday, November 20, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mad About You' - Paul Visits Mabel's Film Class While Jamie Suffers Through Menopause in 'Body Heat'

Spectrum's Mad About You - Episode 8.03 "Body Heat"

Jamie makes the decision to get back into the work force, but time and menopause conspire against her. Meanwhile, Paul is invited to speak to Mabel's class only after promising her that no one will know they're related.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Spectrum's Mad About You.

"Body Heat" was written by Randi Mayem Singer and directed by Betsy Thomas

Paul is fine being labeled as a misogynist just so long as it prevents his daughter from being embarrassed. He will make that sacrifice for her. And yes, he absolutely should be called out for his bad behavior during this class. Sure, it highlights how he really doesn't know anything about the film industry. He hasn't kept up with the culture and how the medium has evolved over the years. He may have a good suggestion for a hotshot filmmaker's next movie. That may just make him a great editor though. In fact, his skills may be better suited to the post-production offices. That's where he seems to be spending most of his professional time at the moment. He's not accustomed to speaking in front of film students. He believes he can just show one of his old films and be celebrated with inspiring questions. He doesn't know how to react when the students are critical of the piece. He doesn't have good answers. His bumbling around is the point. It's a broad sitcom joke. And yet, it no longer reflects what is funny about this environment. That's what makes it so powerful when the show chooses that moment to reveal that it can swear on Spectrum. That has to be seen as one of more obvious changes between these episodes and the original ones from NBC. It's just to break up the natural rhythms of this typical comedic story. Paul is accustomed to having the broad sitcom reactions from the '90s. That's the space he has always occupied. He has enjoyed a great deal of success in his life. It's meta because he is the lead of the show. He is learning how to adapt to a changing world. And yet, the show never really delves into the love of movies that apparently exists between Paul and Mabel. She is attending film school just like he did. He should be proud of that. She should also be proud of her father's accomplishments knowing that this may be a legacy for the family. However, she is embarrassed by her father because she only sees him as her dad. She doesn't have a relationship with him as a professional. Instead, he is the guy who'll continually embarrass her no matter what. Of course, her understanding of embarrassment is simply him acknowledging her as his daughter. He doesn't do that. After how horrible the class goes, she may be grateful for that because the association won't be made any time soon. She will be allowed to be her own person in college. Sure, that would require more character development on her part. Plus, the show chooses to end with a joke instead of offering some sense of understanding between father and daughter. It's broad hijinks that tries to take serious the issues of the moment without really doing anything with that valuable and important insight. The same energy is extended to Jamie's story where she is suffering through the symptoms of menopause. Now, it's important for the physical changes to be used in stories so that more women feel reflected on the screen. However, this story wants the audience laughing at Jamie's expense. Hot flashes can absolutely be debilitating. But the show pushes that concept to the extreme for the physical humor during her job interview. Meanwhile, the Canadian product given to her by Mark just produces some lame jokes about pancakes and just how extreme her mood swings can be. One moment she's hungry. Then, she's horny followed quickly by being tired. It's insane and elaborate without truly offering some empathy for all that she is going through. Again, it feels like the audience is suppose to laugh at these characters and judge the choices they are making. That could be a cohesive way to view these stories. But it also seems like the show wants the audience to relate and support them as well. Trying to tell things both ways ultimately leaves things too muddled to ever be all that effective at either one. In the end, the show is left with broad humor that feels out of place with the current ways in which sitcoms are reinventing the format without any kind of endearing or redeeming quality.