705/The Silent Show
Paul and Jamie have plans for lunch and a therapy seesion and they need a baby sitter and Sylvia gets the honors. When they arrive, she soon discovers that Paul and Jamie have new upstairs neighbors - the percussion group called Stomp (a real group). It startles Paul and annoys the next door neighbor (Maggie), but for the most part Jamie likes it. While Sylvia is picking Mabel up, she presents Mabel with a woven rug which has pictures of her and Burt woven into it. Paul, as usual thinks anything his mother gives is great, while Jamie hates it. This points up, to Jamie and later Sheila (the Buchman's therapist), that not only does Paul give in to his mother too much, but that the words Paul and Jamie use to communicate actually seem to get in the way of good communication. So Sheila has Paul and Jamie not talking to each other for the rest of the day. It proves difficult, but not impossible. It does have other folks who drop by trying to figure out what's going on. In the end though, Mabel gets everyone to talking when she crawls.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this when I read the episode was going to be about Sheila getting Paul and Jamie to stop talking. As you may know, I'm not the biggest fan of the character of Sheila. Mo Gaffney, who plays the part, is fine, but Sheila - not so much. I was also afraid we'd get back to what was going on a lot last season where we had Paul and Jamie not always being so nice to each other.
To my great relief, this episode proved to be lighter and funnier than I thought it would be. It was not great, but it was an enjoyable 30 minutes of tv. And to my great surprise I actually, almost, sort of, a little bit, liked Sheila in this one. Don't go to town with that, and I'm not on the Sheila bandwagon, but for once I didn't hate seeing her on the show.
There are a few things to criticise about this episode. I found it to be just a bit shallow, plot-wise, and this came out as a very linear show. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it did make for a show without much in the way of twists and turns. Predictable, is a word that comes to mind here. Also, it was kind thrown at us that Paul and Jamie were going to lunch and then therapy. There was no mention of it prior to them being there. This made it seem as though the director (or writer?) had Paul and Jamie getting out of the house just to have something to do. Giving them something to do is fine, but don't manufacture plot elements out of thin air. A minor complaint: not enough Mabel. Also, Mabel's over a year old by now. No birthday? And shouldn't she be walking by the time she's 1-year-old? I mean, she's a year old, and she's just now crawling? I'm not a parent, but that seems a little behind schedule.
I really did like this episode. It was light and funny and fairly well-paced. It wasn't chocked full of humorous one-liners, but overall it had a nice attitude about it. Not a spectacular job of directing by Gordon Hunt, but all in all he did well with a marginal script. And even though I seem to be a bit more critical than normal, I still liked this episode very much. In my opinion, this was the weakest of the first 5 episodes aired this season, but it was quite enjoyable. I give this one a marginal 7 (out of 10) for a rating. But, hey, it's still Mad About You which equals a fun show.