The [Met Someone] episode [1.11], set in December 1989, describes the events of just 2 days. However there is a problem with the days of the week involved in their first meeting, as set in 1989.
December 1989 December 1991 S M T W T F S S M T W T F S 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 *17 18 19 20 21 22 23 *22 23 24 25 26 27 28 *24 25 26 27 28 29 30 29 30 31 31Incidentally, Selby's references to "Driving Miss Daisy" and Roseanne Barr in "She Devil" (with Meryl Streep) are right on target, since both movies were released in November/December 1989.
It is interesting to note that in the flashback in [3.22], the separation takes place on a Saturday (Ursula's board of specials, Susannah's band's gig) and the reunion takes place the next day, late in the evening, on a Sunday.
And then for a decidedly fictitious account of how they met, the tale told by Simone to the unsuspecting Louise should not be missed [3.18]. Oh, ze Peace talks!
Fate may have played a part in their reconciliation as well [4.22], since both were living elsewhere in the 3 weeks after the breakup, Paul with Ira and Jamie with Lisa. But after the talk in the park, with Paul walking away, Jamie returns to the apartment and falls asleep in her clothes in their bed. After a night spent walkabout, Paul ventures back to the apartment to pick up some clothes, sees Jamie asleep across the bed and breaks down apologizing. Things may have worked out in any case, but the way it did, it had to be fate!
April 1992 April 1995 S M T W T F S S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 1 5 6 7* 8 9 10 11 2 3 4 5 6 7* 8 12 13 14*15 16 17 18 9 10 11 12 13 14*15 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 26 27 28 29 30 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30On Paul's birthday in 1992 (April 19), Jamie is shown calling from work and the desk-plate shows her name as JAMIE BUCHMAN (not STEMPLE) [3.20]. So if the props were accurate, unless Jamie jumped the gun and ordered the new plate ahead of time, they were married before Paul's birthday that year. Ergo, the wedding was in the first half of April, 1992. But we are still left wondering!
As to where, the civil ceremony officiated by Lenny, the Con Ed worker and Justice of the Peace, took place early in the morning on 15th Street at Bagel Nosh [3.13], with two #6 washers for the rings and two Con Ed workers as witnesses, and the bride and groom in their best PJs (with overcoats). We don't know where the official ceremony are conducted later that day nor where the reception was held [3.13].
Then there is the matter of time. If they were indeed in New York City for Paul's birthday on April 19 that year [3.20], there would have been scant time for a honeymoon after the early-April wedding.
Most of the action in MAY takes place in this apartment. Slanty floors in both the living room and the kitchen are Jamie's frequent complaint [2.12, 2.16, 2.19]. Their bedroom has a piano [2.11] and there are a few interesting (framed) photographs above the head-board [1.15, 2.2, 4.1] that change from time to time. The tiled bathroom is the scene of an entire episode [1.16].
Their neighbors on the 11th floor are the Conways in 11-C [1.10, 3.2], and the Hamiltons (apartment number unknown, possibly 11-A) [2.23]. Another neighbor is the young Mrs. Annabelle Stern in 11-J, near the elevator [3.4]. It is possible John Astin lives in the penthouse [2.23], and a Brenda Vaccaro lives in the building as well [2.24].
Before moving into his own apartment on West 81st, Paul stayed for a while with his cousin Ira at 196 West 93rd Street [3.22], before Ira booted him out [3.16].
Paul Buchman appears to be a non-practicing Jew. He is concerned about "shellfish within fowl," referring to oysters stuffing at Thanksgiving, as well as the mince pie [1.9]. Paul also wonders if Mona's special meatloaf for Murray is kugel [2.20]. On the other hand, Sylvia Buchman lobbies for shrimp to be served at her son's wedding [3.13] and gets to the last scampi when dining out with Paul and Jamie and the Stemples [2.20], so it is likely that both generations of Buchmans are non-practicing. (An upcoming MAY episode will shed more light on this matter).
Jamie Stemple is a non-Catholic [1.9], possibly a Protestant. There is a side reference to having family in Israel in the Tag to [2.22], but that would appear to be a Helen Hunt reference, not necessarily a Jamie Stemple reference.
Mark and Fran were a Jewish couple; they observed Seder [1.9] and Fran made kugel for her sister-in-law.
The only holidays featured in MAY have been secular: Halloween [2.6], Thanksgiving [1.9, 3.8, 5.7], New Year's Eve [4.8] and for obvious reasons, Valentine's Day [1.16, 2.16]. An office Christmas party is featured in [1.11]. Even the actual wedding ceremony was not shown, leaving all the proceedings to the viewer's imagination; Paul and Jamie exchanged their own vows in a civil ceremony presided over by a key-board playing Justice of the Peace in the dead of night on 15th Street at Bagel Nosh [3.13].
Jamie Stemple Buchman had been Regional VP at her firm for about two and a half years when she quit. In that span, she had landed some very important accounts, like Computron [1.6], the "I Still Love NY" campaign [1.13], and the Central American Tourism account [2.4].
With the last account, she had to overcome her boss's faux-pas in suggesting an insulting line to the client: "Central America! Come take your chances!" But Jack Farrer, her boss, refused to recognize her contribution, took the credit himself and sent a box of cigars to a male co-worker (Jack Erdman), whom he considered the point-man in the presentation to the client. At Riff's that evening Jamie let off steam, and Paul helped out by describing Mrs. Farrer in rather disparaging terms ("built like Don Shula"). Too late did Paul and Jamie realize they'd been overheard by the Farrers seated nearby.
The next day, Jack Farrer came over to Jamie's office with a bottle of Kristall, as per his habit of rewarding his employees with little gifts instead of giving credit where it's due. Surprised that she was not being fired, Jamie tried to put things right between them. But he offered an explanation of why they could not have landed the Central American account without her, and it had nothing to do with what actually happened. Jamie let him know her mind in no uncertain terms and quit.
Seeing how Paul has something to call his own (his documentaries), Jamie considers a number of choices and opts to go back to school [2.10], with Paul's full support. In the days leading up to registration [2.21], she tries her hand at writing [2.19]. While still at school, she undertakes some PR work for her father-in-law and decides to launch her own business [3.5]. And who is Jamie's first client? It's just Ira [3.6]. Since then there have been many more [3.11, 3.17, 3.21], as Fran joins forces with her and they soon have a client in Lance Brockwell at City Hall [4.4].
When Brockwell decides to run for Mayor [4.8], he hires Jamie and Fran to run his campaign [4.16] and Jamie plunges headlong into City Hall politics, talking Paul into making a campaign spot against his principles [4.16]. Although now pregnant, Jamie is still with the Brockwell campaign [5.2].
Columbia University may be the medical school of Sylvia Buchman's choice. Paul thinks his mother would consider him a medical student if his donated organs were used for teaching at Columbia, rather than for transplants [1.8].
Jamie graduated from Yale [1.11]. It is likely that she is now attending Continuing Education classes, not Graduate School, since she started school in April 1994 and is registered for courses in Ethics, French, Logic, and Psychology [2.21]. This selection is not really indicative of graduate studies, even though Fran introduces Nick to Mark as "[the guy] with Jamie in Graduate School" [2.22].
Jamie talks of the taste of the first cigarette in the morning [1.3] and the desire to light up a cigarette after sex [1.19]. And under stress she sneaks a few puffs, sometimes even openly [2.4, 3.8, 3.11, 3.13], and Paul is well aware of the habit [3.12]. Now that she is pregnant, presumably the habit is on hold.
Paul rarely smokes cigarettes, although he is shown enjoying a smoke in the role of a Secret Service agent at the Caribbean resort [3.18]. He smokes cigars more readily, especially the Cuban ones proffered by Kramer [1.8]. But while Mark and Ira are puffing away [4.22], Paul is too busy rationalizing his actions to light his stogie; he similarly chews on his cigar after getting a parking spot in a local garage [4.2].
Ira has been seen with a cigarette once, at The Russian Tea Room with Paul and Jamie and Diane "Spy Girl" Caldwell [1.20], though he doesn't light up.
Burt Buchman has perhaps given up smoking, although in the 1960s his choice was Chesterfields [5.5].
A more interesting lie concerns Jamie's middle name [3.11] -- just how she signed her marriage certificate is anyone's guess!
Paul, on the other hand, is extremely uncomfortable telling lies, even when trying to retrieve his own tape from the premises of CineGroup Films [2.10]. Significant exceptions are [2.14], where everyone lies to everyone else with abandon, while at the Caribbean resort [3.18], Paul doesn't quite match Jamie lie for lie, but comes awfully close.
Paul is quite willing to backtrack in his arguments (about the fired urchin [1.13], the steamed fish [1.15], the first kiss [2.22] -- "When you're right, you're right!"), and apologizes for his sulking in [1.6]. But Paul fails to admit a mistake when it matters most to Jamie [2.15], who expends most of her 10 minutes of a virtual reality experience to hear Paul endlessly repeat "I was wrong!"
As for the upheaval at the end of season #4 [4.21], Jamie apologizes first, Paul takes a long time to come around [4.22]. There the matter rests, sort of. They are seeing a therapist however [5.3, 5.11].
Two weeks before they moved in together (Valentine's Day, 1991) into the apartment at 12th Street and Fifth Avenue, as she was packing up her things (including her toaster), Jamie felt "a door closing on a whole part of her life" and panicked at the thought of sharing her life with someone else. She had an afternoon affair at work with a co-worker (Stan Franklin) she used to have a crush on, and who was about to relocate to London. Jamie quickly realized her mistake, which made her appreciate Paul all the more, and she kept the affair a secret from everyone, including Fran, until Paul forced her hand.
Jamie has also kept a few other little secrets, like her real middle name [3.11] and that she had failed to pay back her student loans to Yale [4.2]. Minor stuff by comparison.
Things the producers got right:
While getting separated in a crush of people boarding a subway carriage is not improbable, even for experienced riders like Paul and Jamie, there are a few problems with what followed.
The Buchmans live at 12th Street and Fifth Avenue. The nearest subway stations would be W 4th St and 14th St. The latter, on the Broadway Local and Lexington lines, is also the Union Square station.
The St. James Theatre is at 44th Street and 8th Avenue. The nearest subway station is 42nd St on the 8th Avenue line, with the 42nd St station on the Broadway Local or the Broadway-7th Avenue line a bit further away.
For the Buchmans, the most direct way to St. James Theatre would have been on the A,C line (8th Avenue) from the W 4th St station (Washington Square). This is also the station most often mentioned when they talk about their commutes to work (Jamie working at Farrer, Gantz and Paul at his studios on 655 Avenue of the Americas, aka Sixth Avenue, between 20th and 21st Streets), and the site of the encounter with Paul's 'token' friend Howie Balinger [1.7].
However their odyssey begins at the 14th St station. In the confusion following their separation, Jamie believes Paul asked her to go to Union Square station, and she asks a fellow passenger at the platform: "How do I get to Union Square?"
There are 2 problems with the question:
So while Paul rode a station up and back down to 14th St, Jamie had to go cross-town to Union Square and back. This makes the scene back at 14th St, with Paul getting on the train just as Jamie is getting off via another door of the same carriage, each oblivious of the other, quite improbable.
All in all, a conundrum.
In the other subway episode [1.7], set in W 4th St station, Jamie intentionally mis-directs a woman asking for directions to Hunter's Point (in Queens), sending her off instead to Hunt's Point.
Jamie bet on a longshot (About To Be Glue) at 50-1, which won the race in Episode [3.3] by three lengths, after stumbling at the gate.
The big uncertainty in determining the payoffs is due to lack of information about the horse that came in second (placed), and at what odds. Then the track percentage has to be accounted for, while cancelled bets on #6 by its owner also affected the money pool for the winner and exacta. We also don't know the number of horses in the field, affecting the dollar amount of Jamie's bets.
About To Be Glue was horse #6 in the race. Five horses (with their ponies) are shown in the post parade leading to the starting gate, possibly ten horses at the gate, eight in the race to the first turn, eight again on the backstretch, six at the far turn and then eight again on the final stretch and the finish. A field of eight is assumed in the following calculations.
1. $5 Wheel on #6, front and back, means Exacta #6/All-others . . . . . . . . . . . $35 Exacta All-others/#6 . . . . . . . . . . . $35 2. 6-3-1 Box ($5 implied here), means 6 possible Exacta combinations with #6, #3 and #1 . . $30 3. $30 Baseball 1-3-6 means (in New York) a Box bet on the 3 horses, i.e. the same bet as above (2), but heftier . . . . $180 4. $10 Across the Board means to bet the horse (#6) to win, place or show . . . . . $30 5. $20 to win, place or show on #6 . . . . . . . . $60 ---- Total $370 ----
Apart from the longshot #6, Jamie bet on #3 and #1 horses, possibly the favorite and runner-up horses in the field. Two other names mentioned by the track announcer are Gentle and Kenny Lane, but the identity (and odds) of the horse that placed is not known. Statistics on post positions indicate that #3 and #1 horses have the best chance of winning a race.
If we assume the favorite was #3 horse, bet to win the race at (say) 3-1, and actually placed, the odds can be calculated with a few more guesses at the betting pool. The cancellation of the $500-to-win and $500-to-place bets on #6 by Maurice would have affected the payoff, but that effect is not being considered.
win place show #6 at 50-1 102.00 ~31.00 ~8.00* #3 at 3-1 ~3.40 ??? ?? (we won't go there!) ??? Exacta ?? (say 234.00*)In the following calculations, the payoff of bet 1 is somewhat certain, that for bets 2 and 3 depends on the assumption made above, while the payoffs for bets 4 and 5 are more precise:
(*) a rough estimate; place odds are a bit more realistic.
probable | possible payoff 1. $5 Exacta #6/All-others depended on the odds of the place horse (#3 in our case) . . ~$585 Unlike bets 2 and 3, this bet definitely paid out. $5 All-others/#6 bet paid nothing. If the favorite horse did not place, the odds may actually be longer for this Exacta. 2. $5 Exacta #6/#3 or #6/#1 is sole possibility to collect, with #6 having won. Let's assume an Exacta mutuel price . . ~$585 3. $30 Baseball with #6, #3 and #1 will collect only on the #6/#3 or #6/#1 Exacta . . . ~$3510 4. $10 on #6 to win, place or show collected on the win at 50-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . $510 the place at ~14-1 . . . . . . . . . . ~$155 the show at ~3-1 . . . . . . . . . . . ~$40 5. $20 on #6 to win, place or show collected on the win at 50-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . $1020 the place at ~14-1 . . . . . . . . . . ~$310 the show at ~3-1 . . . . . . . . . . . ~$80 ------------- ~$2700|~$4095 -------------Most likely Paul and Jamie left the track with more than $2500 in winnings, and perhaps as much as $10,000. Not bad for a $370 investment.
However, a writing error that uses a time differential of 8 hours, as is the case between California and London, can make the post-midnight-call-from-London explanation work. Midnight in London would be 4PM in California, with plenty of daylight (and sun!) about.
There is precedence for such an error.
In an episode of "St. Elsewhere," (E-4.22 in season #4, telecast in 1985-86), Nurse Rosenthal (Christina Pickles) is talking about her daughter Marcy, who had moved to Switzerland. She mentions that "local time in Switzerland is 9 hours ahead." "St. Elsewhere" was set in Boston, but produced in Los Angeles. Switzerland would only be 6 hours ahead of the local time in Boston, but 9 hours ahead of Los Angeles.
Along similar lines:
The problem was with the ropes used by two workmen (Bill and Ernest) getting entangled as they tried to accomodate Paul's directions as he started filming the sequence. Reality on the night of December 31, 1995 was less extreme but not that different. Time did stop for the revellers in Times Square.
A new high-tech ball was introduced that day along with a computerized mechanism controlling its descent, replacing the (six, not two) men who had manned the ropes practically since time began. And as is wont to happen with every new technology put to work when subject to Murphy's Law, there was a glitch lasting a few seconds. Not 120 seconds, but just under 10 seconds. An additional delay for a leap-second also had to be factored in.
Of course Dick Clark did *not* take the night off as he stated in the MAY episode; he was at work putting Nat to sleep, quite unfazed by the tardiness of the glistening ball. Mark need not have yelled at Joachim to delay his arrival into this world, nor worried about when the New Year began; Dick Clark's production company maintains its own clock and rang in the New Year right on time.
A reverse trick was demonstrated by Rowan Atkinson (of "Mr. Bean" and "Blackadder" fame) on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on February 26, 1996. Whereas Jamie removed an undergarment (her bra) from beneath an outergarment (her blouse), Atkinson demontrated a method of removing an outergarment (his pants) from beneath a pseudo-undergarment (his swimming trunks) that he had had to wear over his pants. In less than 3 minutes he managed remove his pants while keeping the trunks on, a stunt which has its origins on English beaches with inadequate or unavailable changing rooms, in an age when decorum had to be observed regardless.
The mechanics are hard to describe, and seeing would be believing in any case.
Ira similarly calls Fran Frannie [1.22, 2.14], but Mark never does. Lisa is often called Lise by Paul, and Debbie is called Debelah by her father Burt [4.21]. This habit even extends to the couple Paul and Jamie befriended and later found to be having an affair [4.7] -- Doug calls Didi "Deeds."
Confusion arose after seeing the scene in which a snowbound Jamie calls Paul from her office [3.20]; the name-plate on her desk reads JAMIE BUCHMAN in a narrow font that almost merged the 'M' and the 'I' into one letter: 'M'
But the spelling for her name is indeed J-a-m-i-e. You can even hear her spell it out to a registrar in [2.21] in one of the last scenes, along with the spelling of the name Buchman.
MAY opened with Jamie claiming to be pregnant [1.1], but only to coax Paul into getting out of bed and making the coffee. Jamie was known to be on the Pill [3.1], but somewhere along the line changed to the use of a diaphragm [4.1]. After confessing the unilateral failure to use contraception one night, Jamie talks Paul into trying for a baby [4.1].
Fran, in one of her moods, once give explicit advice: "Never have children" [3.14]. But Sylvia has tried her best to assist the process by suggesting names [3.1]. Paul once suggested having three kids, then wondered about the state of mind of the middle kid [4.1].
Over the years, Paul and Jamie have talked about having kids, in particular when Paul's nephew Jed spent Halloween with them [2.6]. On their second anniversary, Jamie started wondering anew after her encounter with the neighborhood grocer Kim's new-born daughter Rose [2.24].
Only 2 babies have been born on-screen on MAY so far; Kim's daughter Rose [2.24] and the possibly-so-named Joachim at Mark's clinic just after midnight on January 1, 1996 [4.8].
Sylvia in her persistent way has already suggested a name for either sex; "Barbara... if it is a girl." [3.1] and Leon [5.8].
While the determined avoidance of a sip of wine [5.1] and a little caffeine [5.2] seems unnecessary and excessive, inserted into the script for comedic value and nothing more, the state of complete exhaustion resembling sleep-deprivation Jamie is shown in is right on the mark, as when she failed to dress for work and collapsed on the couch instead [5.2].
Even the act of falling asleep in mid-sentence as Paul is detailing plans for his movie project in the last scene of [5.2] is accurate; the snore from Jamie at the end of the episode is not a cheap laugh, the reality of early pregnancy *can* force such a situation.
The same goes for having erotic dreams [5.8] and being nauseous at the very sight of foods one has no great liking for [5.6].
As season #5 has progressed, there have been some inconsistencies in the way Jamie was "showing," but this had a lot to do with the strange order in which produced episodes were being telecast by NBC. In particular, the episode "The Gym" was produced in week #5, but aired as the ninth episode, 2 weeks after the telecast of "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge" which was produced in week #10.