The Marriage Ref, "Pilot": The Fonz returns

Quick Take: The Marriage Ref, "Pilot"
"Is this a perfect system? Not even close." – Host Tom Papa. It doesn't matter as this new show works.

the marriage ref

Review: The Marriage Ref, "Pilot"
(S0101) Jerry Seinfeld is a total pro. How do you know? Because everything he is involved in is well written, expertly paced, and meticulously honed. That's why at about the :10 second mark kicking off a brand new program called The Marriage Ref I felt pretty sure that I would enjoy the show (I turned out to be right): there's the Seinfeld stamp up and down this thing.

I like host Tom Papa as he has a good personality and the right mentality to keep a show like this jumping and moving. However, I can live without the opening monologue. Why not just get to the show part of the show in an episode that is just 30 minutes (perhaps this hearkens to Seinfeld's insistence that his own monologues be a staple of the now classic Seinfeld sitcom?).

The opening panel that "assists" the marriage ref for this episode is about as A List as they get for TV: Alec Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, and Jerry Seinfeld himself.

So I was set up to enjoy this show from the outset, and the cause was helped as the opening setup was extremely well cast: a couple in which the husband has taken it upon himself to send his beloved and decased dog, The Fonz, to a taxidermist. "This is my dream come true," the Long Island husband says, "and this is your nightmare." His hand gestures are expertly shown split screen with Ripa and Baldwin mimicking.

This show works as well as it does – at least for one episode – is because the concept is fresh but simple, the production tight as a drum, the host lively, and the panel engaging and entertaining.

Not bad, Jerry. You just may have struck "gold, Jerry, gold!" again.

More thoughts on The Marriage Ref pilot:

  • "The pedestal is a little bit basic." – Seinfeld on the dead dog's final resting… position? Instant classic.
  • Interesting and bold that they bring Marv Albert in to announce the line of the night! I miss Albert doing national television basketball and football broadcasts, for the record.
  • Pretty cool that the couples that participate get a cruise.
  • Video: The Marriage Ref, "Pilot"
    The pilot available in full for now from Hulu:

    Recap: The Marriage Ref, "Pilot"
    Tom Papa and a celebrity panel are out to save America's marriages. This week: a man who wants to put a stripper pole in the bedroom and a husband who wants to stuff his beloved dead dog Fonzie in a shrine near the living room. 

    From Around the Web: The Marriage Ref, "Pilot"

  • Commenter Bryan Hargrave on IMDB: Unlike typical reality schlock, this show is quick, entertaining and to the point. One half of the show is devoted to each of two couples resolving issues, like, one partner wanting a recently deceased dog stuffed and placed in the home and the other partner disagreeing. Awesome!
  •  Pop Eater: "Alec Baldwin and Madonna are better critics on the 'Marriage Ref' because of their failed marriages. Anyone who has fought the good fight -- failing nobly to get Kim Basinger to make the bed, Sean Penn to take out the garbage and Guy Ritchie to wash the dishes -- is extraordinarily well-positioned to advise couples on Long Island how to... avoid the paparazzi," explains veteran television writer Caroline Waxler.
  • By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at] 

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