One of the gifted comedians we’ve missed seeing regularly on the tube is Jerry Seinfeld. After making a fortune with his “sleeper” hit sitcom, “Seinfeld,” for a decade, he retired prematurely to focus on his young family, and “smell the flowers.”
Producers offered him a bonus in the mega-millions to do his weekly sitcom again, but Seinfeld felt that he was all “written out” and opted to pass on the tempting offer. How rich did he need to be, anyway?
We admired him for his self-control, but we hoped that he would eventually practice his craft again, because his take on the comedy of real life was unique.
Well, we’re getting our wish this year. Seinfeld is back on the tube with two new rib-ticklers. The first, “The Marriage Ref,” is a reality competition in which three married couples present their marital problems to a panel of celebrity advisers, Seinfeld included.
Quirky marital disputes
Hosted by Tom Papa, the show is partial to funny and quirky marital disputes, like a man who embarrasses his wife by accepting any and all dares, like jogging around the neighborhood wearing tight pants—and a bra.
The advisers then proceed to make funny comments to add to the ongoing hilarity, then vote with the studio audience on which couple’s problem is the most unique or outrageous.
Despite the presence of Seinfeld and celebrities like Natalie Morales and Maria Menounos, the panel show has had an underwhelming run. In fact, its viewership has sequentially plunged from an initial high of 14 million to just 2.1 million.
The good news is that it’s been renewed for a second season, so it can still make major changes and redeem its popular producer’s comedic reputation.
“The Marriage Ref” is telecast locally Saturdays on Be TV.
More original format
Seinfeld’s second new show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” is getting much better buzz due to its more original format. It’s a series viewed on the Internet that has Seinfeld introducing a classic car, driving to pick up a guest comedian, going to a restaurant and having coffee.
The idea for the show is potentially beguiling: It features the antic, ad-lib interaction between two famous wits, with the viewer coming along for the ride and “eavesdropping” into their yummy conversation—a movable feast like no other. What’s not to like?
Spontaneity and serendipity are the names of Seinfeld’s game in this delightfully unpredictable production and viewers have to be ready to keep up with the show as it occasionally tweaks its format. For instance, after coffee with Carl Reiner, Seinfeld recently returned unexpectedly to join him for dinner with—Mel Brooks.
All those iconic comedians in one show are a great come-on for comedy buffs, so “Comedians in Cars” should continue to do well. Its second season promises to guest David Letterman, Don Rickles, Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman.
Now, if only “The Marriage Ref” could get its act together and rise above its occasionally scathing reviews, Seinfeld’s twin TV comebacks would be double the fun!