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"The Marriage Ref": Pathetic Depiction of Gender Stereotypes

NBC TV's new comedy, The Marriage Ref, premiered last week.  I don't watch much television, but I was drawn to check it out by the subject: the dissection of arguments between couples.  This is Jerry Seinfeld's new venture, and so I thought, "How bad could it be?"

So bad that it had the unfortunate side effect of depression and anger.

Yes, I know, it's a comedy.  Lighten up, Amy!  But I don't dislike The Marriage Ref for the usual reason othercriticshavementioned - namely, that it is a deeply uncomfortable and not-too-funny mix of A-list celebrities with mixed-up lives ridiculing middle-class nobodies based on superficial taped material.  I agree, but what made me most sad/mad was that the whole show is based on gender expectations - and no one seems to care or notice.

We get to laugh along with a wife who orders her husband around in the home - not allowing him to use "her" formal dining room and expecting him to handle all the at handyman chores because that's what men are good for.  We're supposed to chuckle when host Tom Papa tells the couple that women rule the inside of the house and men rule the outside.  We're supposed to adore the celebrities that agree with marriages based on roles rather than relationships.

I thought the show was pathetic.  Anyone else have a different take?

Suppose I'd better check out Parenthood too, huh?


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