‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Mad About You’ Have a Surprising Connection

The Big Picture

  • Seinfeld
    and
    Mad About You
    differed in their portrayal of relationships and reality.
  • The
    Seinfeld
    and
    Mad About You
    crossover episode “The Apartment” is often overlooked.
  • Seinfeld
    ,
    Mad About You
    , and
    Friends
    crossed paths in various episodes, blurring their shared world.



Seinfeld and Mad About You may have been two big NBC series from the ’90s set in New York, but their characters and plots are vastly different. Mad About You, starring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, was about the trials and tribulations of a newly married couple, Paul and Jamie Buchnan. It’s your typical sitcom centered on a couple, though a well written and acted one that won many Emmys. On Seinfeld, couples didn’t last long. Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), George (Jason Alexander), Kramer (Michael Richards), or Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) never got married. Sure, George was engaged once, only for his fiancée Susan (Heidi Swedberg) to die. That was treated as a joke, as was everything on Seinfeld. The series, co-created by Larry David, was a place where no lessons were learned, whereas Mad About You was more grounded in reality.


Despite those differences, Seinfeld and Mad About You once had a crossover. Now, it’s not surprising for TV shows to have crossovers with others. ’90s kids will remember TGIF, when Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) of Family Matters showed up on Step By Step and Full House. The Jetsons shared episodes with The Flintstones, The Simpsons and Family Guy collided, as did Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Still, for some reason, the Seinfeld and Mad About You crossover has mostly been forgotten, and later it would seemingly even be forgotten by those involved in it.

Seinfeld TV Show Poster

Seinfeld

The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.

Release Date
July 5, 1989

Creator
Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld

Main Genre
Comedy

Seasons
9

Studio
NBC



‘Seinfeld’s Kramer Appeared on an Episode of ‘Mad About You’

The Mad About You and Seinfeld crossover happened during Season 1, Episode 8 of Mad About You, simply titled “The Apartment.” Paul and Jamie, despite their young age, have been talking about dying a lot and of creating a will. Jamie then discovers a shocker that Paul has been keeping from her: he still has his old apartment from his single days. Though Paul hasn’t lived there for years, he’s been subletting it to someone. Jamie tells Paul that he needs to get rid of it, but for Paul, letting the apartment go means he has to let go of his past forever.

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Paul shows up at his old bachelor apartment and it looks very familiar. It’s the same place where the Cosmo Kramer of the Seinfeld world now resides. Paul is there to collect a box of papers for his will, and to talk to Kramer about the apartment situation. When Kramer opens the door, it’s the crazy guy we know so well, but maybe even odder, as when he goes inside to get Paul’s box (he won’t let Paul go inside), we hear stuff moving around everywhere and even the screech of a cat. This Kramer comes off as an extreme hoarder who can barely even walk across the floor.


Paul then tells Kramer he needs to speak to him about the lease. Our quirky Seinfeld friend is worried, but Paul tells him, “I’m not throwing you out of the place, I’m giving it to you.” Kramer gives him a cigar as a “thank you” for the good deed. Paul speaks about how hard it is to give up the apartment, but Kramer consoles him, reminding him of his happy life now, saying, “I’ll mind the past, and you, giddy-up, to the future.” As they walk off down the hall, Paul asks whatever happened to that Jerry guy who lived across the hall. “He’s writing a sitcom for NBC,” Kramer says. The two men laugh at the absurdity of it all.

‘Mad About You’ Also Shared a World With ‘Friends’


Mad About You‘s crossover with Seinfeld wasn’t the only one crossover they did. While Kramer’s cameo might be forgotten by many, Mad About You made a big deal about sharing a world with another huge NBC show: Friends. It was more than a one-episode quick cameo, too. Lisa Kudrow showed up on a few episodes of Mad About You as Ursula Buffay, the twin sister to Friends‘ Phoebe Buffay. Ursula works as a waitress at Riff’s, the restaurant Paul and Jamie frequent. She’s a very inept woman, completely oblivious to the world around her, and her forgetfulness was always good for a laugh from the studio audience.

When Lisa Kudrow was cast on Friends as Phoebe, it was the perfect opportunity for the worlds of Friends and Mad About You to collide. One episode of Friends had Jamie and her friend Leila (Fran Drevanow) show up at the Central Perk. There they meet Phoebe but mistake her for Ursula, which leads to a funny exchange, as Phoebe has no clue who they are. Ursula is so aloof, though, that they assume Phoebe is just Ursula being her usual weird self. Ursula would appear on several episodes of Friends, keeping the Mad About You connection alive.


‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Mad About You’ Forgot That Their Series’ Crossed Over

Cosmo Kramer never again appeared on Mad About You, but it wasn’t the last time a Seinfeld character appeared on the series… sort of. Several seasons later, Paul and his cousin Ira (John Pankow) are walking down a New York City sidewalk when they notice Jerry Seinfeld walking toward them. Flabbergasted, Paul tries to speak to Seinfeld, saying, “I’m your biggest–,” before an annoyed Jerry guesses that he’s going to say “I’m your biggest fan.” He rushes off, but with Paul running after him saying he wants to get his autograph for his wife. It’s a small, innocent scene, but also a head scratcher. In the episode with Kramer, Paul knows Jerry because he lived across from him. Here, though, he doesn’t. Jerry is a celebrity encounter on the street. This isn’t the guy inside the show but the guy with a show.


There’s also a Seinfeld episode that rips apart their combined world with Paul and Jamie Buchnan. George is engaged to Susan and absolutely hates it. One night, Susan is excited to watch Mad About You. The episode ends with George and Susan lying in bed watching the show, with George having the most hopeless and disgusted look on his face. He absolutely despises what his life has become. But how could they even be watching Mad About You when the guy in the show is supposed to be a real person in Seinfeld who lived across the hall from Jerry? That would for sure blow Kramer’s mind. If you want to go even deeper into the distorted shared worlds of Seinfeld, Mad About You, and Friends, Courteney Cox once played Jerry’s girlfriend on Seinfeld before her Friends days.


The Kramer episode, while canon to Mad About You, was obviously just a fun NBC crossover, and isn’t meant to be observed so closely. Still, it might explain a lot. For nine years on Seinfeld, Kramer rarely had a job, yet he had money for anything he wanted, including all of his crazy schemes. Maybe now we know why. Was Paul letting him live in the apartment for next to nothing, or completely rent-free? Perhaps Cosmo Kramer owes everything to the characters of Mad About You.

Seinfeld is available to watch on Netflix in the U.S.

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