The reason for writing the article was because it had just been announced that a new, 12-episode limited series of Mad About You would be brought to television in November. This coming Wednesday, if fact, on Spectrum.
In that article I wrote about not having the slightest idea how they will deal with the finale in relation to the new series.
Will they ignore the earlier finale, like Will and Grace did and just say, "Forget it, folks, It didn't really happen, it was just a misguided TV episode that didn't work right. Here's the real way it all went on." Or will that still be part of the show's story? Because it can be. The divorce in the finale took place 22 years later. This new series picks up 20 years after the first series ended. So, are they going to show us the final two years of a marriage as it breaks down?? That sounds fun! Or will they show these two years of an "empty nester" marriage (which is how the press releases describe it) as happy, fun and charming -- and ignore that right after this limited series ends the couple that's Mad About You will be getting divorced. Which would be artistically dishonest.
I wrote that I hoped it would be the former, that they'd just say, "Hey, we screwed up, forget it, that didn't happen, we were just riffing and filmed the first draft by mistake." Though I doubted they'd do that.
It turns out -- they're doing that!
In an interview with variety, showrunner and executive producer Peter Tolan says, "The things that you saw in that [the original finale] might happen in the future, but some of it won't, so we're not strictly being held to that finale. I'm pretending it didn't happen." He also quipped that he hoped "that not many people remember the finale,"
The way Tolan explains it is that, somewhat like Will & Grace which totally ignored its own finale that was deeply unsatisfying to fans and wouldn't have even allowed for its "reboot, he thought that most of the shows fan wouldn't care if he changes the world of the finale -- let alone simply ignores all of those events that took place in the finale's future. The way he put it is that all those events could simply be explained away as Paul and Jamie imagining what could lay ahead for their daughter. And that perhaps some of the details -- like Mabel making a movie at film school -- could still happen, just on a different timeline.
As for that daughter, by the way, the new series begins with Mabel going off to college. But that doesn't fit the timeline with when she was born -- in 1997. And Tolan explains that inconsistency away, too. As he puts it, "We're futzing with time a little bit."
So, instead of that original "imagined" version of what the couple were thinking maybe could possibly happen, the revival is what really, truly, honestly happened. Tolan says they actually did think of keeping the finale intact, but that idea didn't last long. Instead, he said -- wisely -- that "most of the viewers are just waiting to see those people again and there's some comfort level that has to be there."
And thus they are being really smart and simply ignoring the idiotic, dismal finale as It Didn't Happen. For years, when a rare rerun of the show would pop up on TV, I'd either watch for a few minutes and then turn off or just not watch at all, since the finale had taken the heart and soul out of believing anything that had gone on. Knowing now that the show is ignoring the finale in full, I've watched a bunch of episodes of the series which Spectrum has On Demand in its entirety -- and they're joyously wonderful.
So, I now look forward to the upcoming revival. And big points to the show's producers for being so wise in doing what should have been done. But it just points up to how incredibly nuts that they did that original finale in the first place. What on earth were they thinking??? Other than trying to be artsy without reason. But today, 22 years later, even they don't want to try to defend it.
So, I'm not Mad About Them at this point. Annoyed at what they initially did and the lost time? Sure. It's deserved. But I always admire people who can step back and acknowledge a mistake. Good for them.
And here's the trailer.