"The Marriage Ref" Makes Us Want to Stay Single


Though we'd totally date Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld, and pro-"exercise pole" Kelly Ripa.

Sunday after the Vancouver Olympics closing ceremonies, we got a sneak peek at Jerry Seinfeld's new show, The Marriage Ref. The idea behind the Seinfeld-produced show centers around the fact that, apparently, all married couples fight about absolutely inane topics, and the only way to resolve their issues is to take it to a celebrity expert panel—in this case, Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa, and, ahem, Alec Baldwin.

Regarding Alec Baldwin, as the host and "marriage ref" Tom Papa pointed out, "If you are, been, just got, or are getting out of marriage—we consider you an expert!"

The couples present their case via taped segments from their homes and sofas. Then the celeb panel weighs in and cracks wise. Then ref Tom Papa gives the couples a final decision, via satellite.

Sunday's preview show featured two couples and two memorable arguments. New Yorkers Danielle and Kevin were arguing over their dog, Fonzi. Did we mention Fonzi is dead?

As Alex Baldwin said, "Women come and go, but a stuffed dog is forever." Kelly Ripa weighed in: "And she's gotta be thinking, what will happen to me when I go?" The verdict? The panel and ref sided with Danielle, and poor Fonz was banished to the attic.

The second couple, Georgians Greg and Dianah, has been married for nine years. In order to spice things up in the bedroom, Greg has suggested installing a stripper pole—sorry, "exercise pole—in their bedroom. (Can we just say that we love Dianah?)

We have to agree with Greg in that stripper poles definitely can be good exercise. (We know this not because we're former dancers, but because we took a stripper-pole exercise class and it kicked our butts. And our abs. And our biceps.) Kelly surprised us by saying maybe Dianah would enjoy the pole. She did not surprise us when her word choice included that Dianah might learn to get "freaky-deeky" with it. (We now fully expect nightmares of Kelly Ripa getting freaky-deeky, the next time we eat spicy pizza too close to bedtime…)

In the end, Alex, Kelly, and the ref voted no pole, since Dianah was adamantly against it. But you could tell they were all going to go home and order one for themselves…And we're betting Jerry already has one.

Overall, the simplistic depictions of each couple's "problems" made us cringe. Being newly married, we'd like to think we won't age into a stereotypical fighting couple, wherin the husband wants to install either a stuffed dead dog (or a stripper pole) in the home, and the wife angrily but humorously rants against him. But then again—it's just TV, and humorous TV at that. The Marriage Ref may not solve any deep relationship issues, but it will make you smile, laugh, and cringe while laughing. Plus, with new celebrity panelists each week, we can look forward to Tina Fey, Larry David, Ricky Gervais…and Madonna giving marriage advice. We can't wait to hear The Material Girl's relationship insights and see her new face in action.

Married couples, what issues do you and your spouse face? Single ladies (and men), does The Marriage Ref make you look forward to marriage…or want to stay single as long as possible?