Friday, March 12, 2010

The Marriage Ref

Ed here: The Seinfeld show is the only TV series I've watched obsessively. There are episodes I imagine I've seen twenty times. Many scenes I can recite verbatim and break them down for camera. I've been known to ruin perfectly good meals by quoting Seinfeldian wisdom to the point that people flee the table. I was one of those who didn't like the finale episode because everything was out of character. There was no way the guilt-ridden George and Elaine would've made fun of a morbidly obese man. The trial was done much better in the parody of the OJ trial when the beautiful woman couldn't fit her breasts into the bra the way Oj couldn't fit his hand into the glove. There was a lot of pressure on Larry David to come up with a great finale. It didn't work.

I've seen Jerry a number of times since the series ended. He's always been smooth and more often than not funny. He's had a hit movie, he's raising a family and presumably he could sell just about anything he wanted to to any network or cable channel he chose.

Later on in Lee's piece below he reminds us that back in the sixties Jackie Gleason hosted a game show so lame he walked out on stage at the top of episode two, sat down in a chair and talked about what terrible show this was. He apologized to his audience for inflicting it on them. Then he quit then and there. This was live television.

We watched the first episode of The Marriage Ref. From the truly annoying host to the dumb-ass set-ups to the inane celebrity chatter (really Kelly Rippa? If you think Sarah Palin is stupid listen to Kelly Rippa for a few minutes sometime).

Lee Pfeiffer is one of the founders (and writers for) the terrific film magazine Cinema Retro. Here's Lee's take on the subject:

I rarely watch episodic TV simply because I'm generally working on a project and don't have the time to actually sit in front of the boob tube. Besides, there hasn't been anything worth watching since the Clinton administration - and even when there is an exception, the mind-numbing amount of commercials make me feel like I've just undergone a lobotomy. Thus, I've grown addicted to political debate shows because I can pump up the volume and not have to actually watch the TV. However, tonight I made an exception and periodically got up to see a show that came on NBC called The Marriage Ref. The only reason I had any interest at all is because it was produced by the great Jerry Seinfeld and the opening episode featured that show's co-creator Larry David along with Ricky Gervais and Madonna. As I watched slack-jawed, Larry David said "This has to be the most uncomfortable hour I've ever spent." This was at the half hour mark, but he could be forgiven for thinking it seemed like an hour. It must rank as some kind of grand achievement to take three ultra talented people and put them into a situation that was less amusing than those old high school health films about preventing venereal disease.

for the rest go here:


Dave Zeltserman said...

Ed, I haven't watch the Marriage Ref (and won't), but I thought Seinfeld and the rest of the crew were very good on Curb Your Enthusiasm (especially Newman's brief appearance). And I agree with you about the Seinfeld finale. It was so out of rhythm with the rest of the show.

Todd Mason said...

I believe, in part, that the SEINFELD finale was an expression of contempt by David, with the complicity of the others, for what SEINFELD had become...a much less fresh and more mechanical series than it had been. The CURB reunion program was indeed much more fun to watch...or than most of the episodes in the last three-four seasons, after Susan's death.

I'll take Ripa over Ciccone. Or Palin. Not by much, but I will. I've caught the rest of NBC's Thursday lineup on Hulu this afternoon, listened to it while working, and probably won't bother with THE MARRIAGE REF (hell, the Gervais podcast/animation series on HBO is dire enough).

Todd Mason said...

Gleason, after apologizing in the second and final episode of YOU'RE IN THE PICTURE, proceeded to offer a chat show instead for the rest of his commitment. About the only thing comparable that comes to mind is Drew Carey's final season or so of THE DREW CAREY SHOW, only in that case it went from reasonably good sitcom to self-indulgent hodge-podge (not that not a few of his peers simply went over to self-indulgent sitcoms in those years).

RJR said...

I don't watch anything with Seinfeld in it, especially SEINFELD!!!


Deb said...

During the Olympics, we were bombarded with ads for "The Marriage Ref," and--as much as I loved "Seinfeld"--I couldn't bring myself to watch even five minutes of it, it looked so lame. I can't imagine how they persuaded Madonna to be a guest. If she wants to be known as no longer cutting edge, she's found the right way to do it.

Anonymous said...

I tried watching its premier, and couldn't make it past the first commercial break. Horrifically, embarassingly bad television, and it's a shame to see Seinfeid's (of whom I am a fan) connection to this train-wreck of an idea. ~ Ron C.

Anonymous said...

However, for worthwhile reality TV (though I suppose that's a bit of an oxymoron), I can't get enough of "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars." ~ Ron C.