The Olympic Gold medal for the worst TV series of 2010 goes to Jerry Seinfeld’s horror of a new show, “The Marriage Ref.” How did such a cruel and nasty show make it out of production and on broadcast television?
Here’s the hateful idea of “The Marriage Ref” — the first episode aired directly after the Olympics closing ceremony: A couple are in a fake crisis over a meaningless something… and celebrity “referees” like Jerry Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa and Alec Baldwin make fun of the people while voting which spouse will win. You know a comedy show is in big trouble when Alec Baldwin is funnier than Jerry Seinfeld.
On the first show there were two marriage “crises” — the first dealt with taxidermically preserving a dog and the second “conflict” was about adding a stripper pole to a bedroom. All the celebrities made heinous jokes about the married couples and the audience laughed inappropriately while the host pranced and preened for the cameras between lame jokes.
Untidy meanness is stomach-turning. If you’re going to be cruel, you need a sharp tongue and a rapier wit and you have to be quick about cutting to the quick. “The Marriage Ref” stabs at people with a dull, serrated, plastic picnic knife.
The special appearance of an NBC newswoman on the show to “validate” the authenticity of the marriage arguments with facts and percentages was purely ridiculous and shows just how low the mainstream news media will flow for a fluttering of ratings.
“The Marriage Ref” is everything that is wrong with television today: Brittleness pretending to be hardiness of spirit; cruel, privileged, rich celebrities mocking ordinary people with real problems; and know-nothings pretending to know something about what it means to lead a human life in a real marriage.
I realize Jerry Seinfeld is desperate to prove to the world that he isn’t a one-note wonder — but with every try and failure, the Seinfeld mystique fades while we all come to realize that, all along, the authentic genius in Jerry Seinfeld was really Larry David.