Marriage Ref a 'Heinous' Mess
Jerry returns to NBC, but critics aren't wowed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2010 7:54 AM CST

(Newser) – Jerry Seinfeld returned to NBC last night with the highly anticipated debut of his reality/game show The Marriage Ref, but critics were largely unimpressed. A sampling of reviews:

  • The Marriage Ref is a mess,” concludes Adrian Chen on Gawker. It “falls into the reality show trap of making real relationships seem more contrived than anything the hackiest comedy writer could come up with. You have to pity the panel of legitimately funny people forced to dredge jokes out of relationships that are so poorly caricatured.”

  • Alan Sepinwall deems the show “heinous.” The couples’ arguments (one involving a husband who wanted to stuff his dead dog; another involving a husband who wanted to install a stripper pole) are “so obviously ridiculous and one-sided,” he writes in the Star-Ledger, that he’d “almost rather have The Jay Leno Show back.” This is just plain “unfunny.”
  • One of the few reviewers tepidly endorsing the series, Ken Tucker admits he came into the show “kind of dreading it,” but ended up finding it “silly fun.” Host and "ref" Tom Papa is a great stand-up, and the celebrity panelists weighing in on the couples' dilemmas are, so far, amusing. “I can’t say as I laughed out loud," but the show "moved along briskly,” he writes for Entertainment Weekly.