Monday, March 1, 2010

Mid-Season Replacement Roundup - The Marriage Ref

I'm about as big a Seinfeld fan as you're likely to find, spontaneously blurting "The Moops!" when a friend discusses an upcoming production of Othello, so I was hesitantly excited about Jerry Seinfeld's return to TV as The Marriage Ref. But, on that first account, I was wrong. You see, Jerry isn't the marriage ref at all! In a weirdly retro opening cartoon segment (you read that right), we're introduced to how the show came about, with Jerry and his wife having an argument, and a friend of theirs serving as the ref. This mystical referee comes with the name Tom Papa, who is also a comedian, or so I hear. He'll be the official in these marital games, with Alec Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, and Jerry serving as his...deputy referees? Apparently, they'll make arguments for one side or the other, then Tom Papa will make the final call. Thankfully, they preface all this nonsense with the disclaimer that this is not a perfect system. Let's meet our first feuding couple!

Kevin and Danielle have been married for 14 years, and every day is an adventure! It was love at first sight! The only problem? The Fonz, Kevin's beloved Boston terrier. The Fonz is no longer with us, having gone to that country farm in the sky, but still remains. Literally, his remains are the issue. Kevin had The Fonz stuffed, and wants to display him in their house. He's built a shrine (!) for The Fonz, and describes having him in their house forever as "his dream come true".

Okay, so I'm going to go ahead and say this isn't much of a contest. There's no way this panel can side with Kevin on this freak show. If they're all this clear-cut, why do we need a ref?

Our judges clearly see this as well, and waste some time hemming and hawing about the relative merits of different positions the dog could have been stuffed in (attacking, barking, standing valiantly, etc.), just to stall.

As if that wasn't enough wasted time (Danielle! Danielle is the winner, people!), Tom tosses to their "Just the Facts" reporter, who will give us such valuable information as how often people stuff their deceased pets and put them on display. How is this helping? I don't need to know how many people are freaks out there - just because more people do it doesn't mean it's any less weird!

So, Natalie from NBC news tell us that, last year, roughly 1,000 people stuffed their pets.


Unsurprisingly, all the panelists side with the wife, and Tom Papa goes that way as well. He delivers the news to the couples, who then fade off into the satellite feed sunset.

Next up: a husband who wants a stripper pole installed in the house. And you thought it couldn't get any worse.

The husband makes a case that it's not really a stripper bole, but an "exercise poll" and Natalie confirms that there are, in fact, erotic dance classes that people take.

Alec makes some arguments for the pole, but then relents and votes for the wife. Kelly agrees, and Jerry, in a surprise move, votes for the husband and his pole. Why? It's unclear.

Tom Papa brings the couple on, and makes the call for the wife. Not because she's right, but because "who wants to see a resentful, sulking pole dancer?" Well, that is a good point.

So, yeah. That's the show. Needless to say, I'm not sold. I have a terrible feeling it's just going to be ridiculous husband requests on parade, and really, don't we all get enough of that in real life? Ladies? On this one, I'm going to have to side with...not watching this show.

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