Mad About You

Season 1 Episode 5

Paul in the Family

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 21, 1992 on NBC

Episode Recap

Jamie and Paul prepare for the arrival of her parents' visit from Connecticut. Thee plan is that the visit last an hour, and then Gus and Theresa Stemple go off to a matinee. The tone is set as the Stemples knock on the door: Jamie criticizes Paul for not wearing the yellow shirt they got him; Paul reminds Jamie that she had returned a gravy boat that they got her. The tensions of the visit begin before the Hellos, as Gus notes a loose doorknob, and asks for a screwdriver to fix it. Paul doesn't have one, but rather relies on a butter knife and the handyman. Later, Paul confides in Gus that he really wants a lathe. But Gus doesn't feel Paul is ready for a lathe, a remark Paul interprets as questioning his manhood. But it seems that the Stemples are up to criticising anything. They criticize where the sofa is placed, and eventually move it when Paul and Jamie are out of the room. They trivialize Jamie's food preparation of pate for Theresa, and cheese for Gus - too much cholesterol. Finally, when Jamie learns that the "matinee" starts at 8:00, Jamie calls on Lisa for relief, and bribes her with $300, plus cab fare. Lisa's primary objection is her eating disorder, which flares up in the presence of her parents. And the disorder is hyper-depicted, as in almost every scene for the rest of the episode, Lisa is eating carelessly. Toward the end of the visit, Gus - using psychological blackmail - persuades Jamie and Lisa to re-enact a singing number they had performed as children: "Sisters" from White Christmas. In the final scene, Jamie ponders that perhaps Lisa's singing voice had grown flat over time. She further ponders why she still allows her parents to push her buttons, to which Paul snaps, "They installed them."