The Marriage Ref: Good, not Great

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The Marriage Ref finally debuted on Sunday. After endless promotion during the Olympics that gave me no sense of what the show was going to be like. The only thing I got out of those ads was that Seinfeld was involved. The ads made it sound like it was all him, all the time. I knew he was just a producer and would appear on a few of the episodes. But that doesn’t sell tickets.

I didn’t actually DVR it on purpose. I was just in my habit of recording everything after the Olympics, just in case something ran over. Last night I finished the Closing Ceremonies and decided I’d rather watch How I Met Your Mother (it was an outstanding episode and is a topic in itself, if I wasn’t scared to analyze myself). I had seen that Megan posted how horrible The Marriage Ref had been, so I didn’t think it was pressing to watch. Shortly after starting HIMYM, my sister txt’d asking if I had watched it. She then said that it was good and was something that Evan and I could handle hosting. Well, I had to watch it then.

I watched it, it was good, I really cracked up a few times. Still, I felt like it had some issues that could be easily addressed.

Tom Papa – The Host. I saw him open for Seinfeld at PSU and I’ve seen him on many a late night show. At least with the late night shows, I can skip over him. I was actually surprised that he was decent. However, I’m not entirely convinced that a host is needed apart from the panel.

The Panel – In this format, with little time, and lots of cuts back and forth, three is too many. This could easily be accomplished with two people. Or have the host be part of and leader of the panel, rather than him lurking off to the side.

The Topics – If you watched, the topics were just outlandish. They weren’t things that might happen to any couple. These were issues where there was no question who was correct. I was hoping for some serious discussion to go along with the funny. Instead it was joke after joke. I was struggling to come up with an alternate viewpoint to at least make it interesting. Seinfeld hit on my point for the first one but he did it quickly and at the end. Sure, these topics are funny, but you have a panel of very funny people that could make a toothpaste cap issue hilarious. These topics didn’t need help being funny.

Now I’m upset. They settled for a good show but it could have been great. They did show clips of future shows and I’ll be in with guests like Larry David and Ricky Gervais. I also think it will usually be an hour long, which hopefully will allow for more depth. However, with a different panel every time, they won’t get a chance to settle in.

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