Movieline Calls The Marriage Ref's 4 Biggest Penalties

Jerry Seinfeld's The Marriage Ref, a "reality" series where celebrities judge commoners' marital disputes and declare a winner, debuted last night on NBC. Movieline's own Louis Virtel and Julie Miller witnessed this and survived. Here's the transcript from their commiseration.

Louis: Oh my God, there's an emergency.

Julie: What?!

Louis: I am going to kill everyone associated with The Marriage Ref. WHAT IS THIS THING?!

Julie: Can we talk about this?

Louis: Let's pick like, 150 problems with it. Or ten or something. Fine, four. Then let's quit.

Julie: OK. Go!


Note: The two couples featured in the first episode offered the following issues: A husband's decision to stuff the dead family dog and display it in the home, and a husband's decision to buy a stripper pole for the living room.

Thoughts on the celebrity judges, including Alec Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, and creator Jerry Seinfeld

Julie: I would rather watch Dr. Drew counsel these couples than Alec Baldwin and Jerry Seinfeld -- who failed to make a single solid joke. I knew the show was tanking when Kelly Ripa was getting the most laughs.

Louis: What's weird to me is how they edit the couples' argument for simple Seinfeldian commentary, and then Jerry has nothing to say! Plus. Jerry, couldn't you have let the couples into the studio in the first 15 minutes? Watching them on tape is so cheap. So America's Funniest Home Videos.

Julie: I am embarrassed that Jerry Seinfeld's name was attached to this project. Kelly Ripa should never do primetime. Alec Baldwin should never do reality.

Louis: What a weird vanity project. Such a backfire.

A word on celebrity referees in general

Louis: Also, the fact that Alec Baldwin is here cannot be overlooked. Why are these volatile people giving advice? It's too much of a joke.

Julie: I don't care if that guy was choking his dogs and burying them in his front yard. I don't want to hear Alec Baldwin's opinion on it.

Louis: Right, can't they judge The Singing Bee, or whatever? Also, in the near future, Madonna will be a guest-judge. Madonna. I don't know if you know this about Madonna, but her famous moments in marriage include fielding Sean Penn's seething rage and entering a joyless existence with a moody director who will wear a red bracelet upon request. It's too much of a joke! I don't care that The Marriage Ref pretends to acknowledge at the start of the show that these people aren't actually qualified. They're not actually worth the trouble of booking at all.

Julie: And Marv Albert? How about if you have a show where recognizable personalities judge other peoples' marriages, you don't hire the guy who went on trial for assaulting the woman he was having a ten-year affair with.

Louis: Marv really did chew up the scenery though. HEHE. So scary.

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  • Gallant Patsy says:

    I could have watched the first couple argue over the stuffed dog in the in-house mausoleum forever.
    The rest? Not so much.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    The couples were so good, it's almost like they belonged IN THE STUDIO. God, bad decisions everywhere here. I will now talk directly to Jerry Seinfeld by quoting the album in your avatar: "This is an alarm call, so wake up, wake up now."

  • sweetbiscuit says:

    It was all immensely awkward. And you'd think they'd air the funniest one first, right? Oy. Alex Baldwin didn't know where to face (the host? the video screen? the audience? Kelly?), and I couldn't for the life of me understand why Tom Pablum (orange as an Oompa Loompa) kept asking the booth to replay some of the video, like we'd all forgotten what was said 18 seconds earlier?
    When it went to Marv "Bite Me" Albert, I just figured I'd accidentally put the wrong mushrooms in my stir-fry. Again.
    The whole thing should have been in Japanese.

  • jeff says:

    "can't they judge 'The Singing Bee'?"
    Jerry Seinfeld already tried the Bee thing. It didn't work.

  • Patrick says:

    You missed one of the most annoying aspects of the entire groan fest:
    The laugh track. Didn't matter there was a live audience. They spliced in laughs. It was an act of desperation I suppose. I imagine producers thought that, after all the hype, television viewers were going to hear uproarious laughter. Yet sadly, at one point where a celebrity made an uninteresting predictable comment, I could hear uproarious canned audience laughter (almost sounded as if it were on a loop), but I also could see the faces of some in the audience ... and they were stone faced. Ouch!

  • el smrtmnky says:

    alec baldwin being on this show is like david duke hosting the image awards

  • graham says:

    This show was on more than once? Ouch. I saw the first episode, and thought they should just refer the lame marital issues over to Dr. Phil. This show was painful to watch, like an adult piano recital.
    so sad...Jerry should have walked away after Seinfeld. If he had, he would be revered like Johnny Carson today. Instead, after Bee Movie and The Marriage Ref, he is much closer to George Lopez insignificance.
    Cosby - Enhanced his rep with an EVEN BETTER sitcom the second time around.
    Ted Danzen - Played a completely different character the second time around, and worked it just as well.
    Ray Romano - Gracefully didn't try to top Everybody Loves Raymond.
    Seinfeld - Oh yah, maybe he should have been viewed as the SUPPORTING ACTOR on Seinfeld.

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