Mar 13, 2010
Back before they invented reality
There was an odd disconnect between Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld on Stewart's show the other night. Stewart kept pressing on the question: but doesn't arbitrating on other couple's marriages get you in trouble with your own wife? Seinfeld was boggle-eyed with incredulity: it's a TV program was his repeated response. It reminded me of Olivier's famous put-down to Dustin Hoffman: try acting, dear boy. But Hoffman was to own the medium more than Olivier ever did. The Marriage Ref is a truly great idea for a TV program that wouldn't have disgraced the Golden Era, pre-reality-TV, when nobody expected much of TV shows other than they be entertaining. Who cares if the couples arguments feel trumped up? Who cares if their problems are so outlandish (wife hangs onto prosthetic leg of old husband) as to need not arbitratation? It's just TV. The question Seinfeld and his producers have to be asking themselves is: is that enough anymore?