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Jewish Journal

Seinfeld Does Reality TV

by Naomi Pfefferman

July 9, 2009 | 6:37 pm

Not long ago on “Charlie Rose,” the talk show host kept asking Jerry Seinfeld if he wanted to do more TV.  Jerry was adamant:  After his wildly-successful NBC series “Seinfeld,” he had been there, done that.  Sorry.  Now it seems the king of 1990s observational comedy—who is perhaps the most influencial Jewish comic of his generation—has changed his mind.

NBC has announced he’s returning as the producer of a prime-time series called “The Marriage Ref,” perhaps as early as next season. “It is not a sitcom but a reality series about funny marital spats — with the emphasis on spats because Mr. Seinfeld and his producing partner, Ellen Rakieten, have no intention of doing relationship therapy on television,” The New York Times said.

The inspiration for the show, like all of Seinfeld’s comedy, stems from his own observations.  When he was single in the 1990s, “Seinfeld” often explored the comic minutia of the dating trenches.  George once had sex while eating deli; Seinfeld remarked,  “What is a date, really, but a job interview that lasts all night.”

Now that he’s married with three kids, his standup act has often dissected, well, being married with kids.  Seinfeld had the idea for the reality show, initially, as a Web site, but his wife convinced him TV would work better; the deal was clinched the day a friend witnessed one of Seinfeld’s own marital spats—and Seinfeld invited the cringing friend to serve as referee, The Times said.

Each episode of “The Marriage Ref” will feature a different, fluffy theme upon which couples may bicker, and will include instant replays of the action.  But don’t worry—the series is intended to be family friendly:  No soup Nazis may apply.  Married couples interested in auditioning for the show should visit http://www.nbc.com/the-marriage-ref/.

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