Friday, November 22, 2019

REVIEW: 'Mad About You' - Jamie Returns to Work and Goes Too Far with a Patient in 'Boundaries and Nakedness'

Spectrum's Mad About You - Episode 8.05 "Boundaries and Nakedness"

Tonya oversees Jamie's sessions as she transitions back into the workplace as a therapist. At the gym, Paul is going through a battle of his own as Mark is upset that Paul refuses to be naked around him.

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.

"Boundaries and Nakedness" was written by Abby Gewanter and directed by Kelly Park

The previous episode made the argument that Jamie is always right. For practical purposes, that was true because it was necessary for the overall plot. However, she is a flawed human being just like everyone else. This episode focuses on her transitioning back into the workplace. She is eager to prove herself as a therapist and has a trusted friend in Tonya who is guiding her through the process. It brings meaning to her work. That is significant because things remain vague and pointless with Paul's profession. This episode does tease that work has been slow for him. He isn't needed at the post production office as much anymore. He can simply have fun with his friends because he has nothing else to do. That could be sad while stating that the family may not be able to afford their lifestyle anymore. That may be a concern for the future. Right now though, it's just a convenient excuse in order to create a silly plot featuring Paul and Mark. That story is so incredibly weird and lame. It mostly just feels like it is filling the time and giving those two actors something to do even though it isn't all that productive. It highlights how men are uncomfortable when it comes to expressing themselves and being vulnerable with their friends. Jamie is able to find importance in Paul needing to be naked with Mark. However, it's a silly plot made to be even sillier because of the ways in which certain phrases have to come out of the characters' mouths despite how odd it all seems. That's the whole point. It also leaves Paul sore and unable to keep up with his wife. That too can highlight the growing pains of their ever-changing marriage. They may be moving at different speeds. He has hit a slow patch at work while things are really perking up for her. Jamie is full of confidence as she becomes a therapist. It's not long before she is leading the sessions all by herself. Sure, there are a couple of moments in the early going in which she is too empathetic and personal. She may not be able to do this job in the same way that Tonya does. That doesn't make her impulses wrong or inappropriate though. It just highlights how she brings a different perspective to the profession. That can be refreshing and necessary. Sure, everyone may go back and forth on whether they want the chess clock that Paul has gotten. However, it all pivots around one patient that Jamie has. It's always a delight to see Cloris Leachman pop up somewhere. She is given a significant story here as well. Of course, it also highlights just how untrained Jamie is at this job. It's immediately crossing a professional line that she is willing to go to this woman's home. That's not something that Jamie can do. But she immediately feels attached to her patient and has to do something to help in a more active way. She can do more than simply listen for an hour. She is eventually caught and forced to reckon with the fact that this woman is conning therapists into doing things for her. It may be nothing more than a case of loneliness. Jamie can relate because of all that she has gone through with Mabel. The resolution presents itself in a nice and neat way too. It may be too simple. The solution that seemed to work for Jamie may also work for her patient. Getting a dog to fill the emotional void may do the trick. Sometimes it can be as simple as that despite all of the past actions taken that may highlight deeper issues. It's better to embrace the good of the world instead of lingering on the bad and potentially problematic. That appears to be the driving force of the narrative in these episodes. It does go deep on occasion. At the end of the day though, it wants to be a broad sitcom where the cast is having fun and the audience should just enjoy what they are doing. It frequently doesn't work. And yet, the potential always remains because the cast truly is game for anything. Sometimes that's all it takes to keep an audience watching for awhile especially when knowing more episodes are readily available.