Madonna, Larry David, Ricky Gervais on 'The Marriage Ref': 'This is the weirdest show I've ever been on'

‘Twas a far, far better edition of The Marriage Ref this week. That’s because the judge-panelists — Madonna, Larry David, and Ricky Gervais — used the ridiculous marital examples set before them (and us) as occasions to yell genially, at each other and the married couples.

Of a woman who kept her dead husband’s prosthetic leg in a place of prominence in the home she shares with her current, understandably annoyed husband, Gervais spoke for all of us at home when he said,”This is insane, what I just watched.” But so did Larry David, who added, “They’re so moronic, I don’t want to help them.” The same could be said of so many of the couples seeking The Marriage Ref advice. It’s what makes the hour a frequently foolish drag, but on this particular evening, it made for some amusing fireworks between the celebrities.

Madonna got it into her noggin that David is a misogynist. (Of a woman who withholds sex until her husband cleans his messy basement room, David had sneered, “This woman is lucky anyone would sleep with her!”) David fired back at Madonna with cheerful rancor, “You hate men!” “No,” said Madonna with a deep purr of sensibleness, “I hate you.”

“This is the weirdest show I’ve ever been on,” said Ricky Gervais.

It’s true: How about that male psychiatrist who talked to his mother about — well, everything, including the sex he has with his wife. Mom, in turn, calls the wife “an uneducated girl” and berates the 44-year-old son as “a yellow-bellied coward.” David summed it up: “This is the Oedipus complex run amuck… He’s in love with his mother; he should start sleeping with her.”

This week’s edition of The Marriage Ref proved to be exactly what co-creator Jerry Seinfeld said he wanted it to be: a throwback to old game shows in which celebrities joked and jeered with some spontenaity.

They all had the right attitude toward the show. When host Tom Papa passed judgment on one couple, David said bluntly, “Like it’s really gonna make a difference.”

Exactly. But the presence of these three personalities really did make a difference on The Marriage Ref. I doubt I’ll be hanging around this series much longer, but for tonight, at least, it was fun.

Agree? Disagree?

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Comments (115 total) Add your comment
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  • Bubbatwo420

    This was the first episode i’ve watched and I agree, these 3 people were a blast riffing off eachother. and i would watch an odd couple type of show with ricky and larry, just saying.

    • Carol Seaver

      This show was absolutely AWFUL, I would rather watch the Small Wonder first season from start to finish than this crap. Let’s face it, Seinfeld and his crew were one hit wonders – all of their movie and tv ventures stink – and don’t tell me about that Christine show -it is fairly lame humor when an older yet still hot woman complains how she can’t get a man, has the token minority friend, blah, blah – it is predictable formulaic crap that CBS loves to dish out, how else do you think King of Queens lasted 9 seasons?

      • Carol Seaver

        Why not develop a family comedy? NBC used to have greats such as Silver Spoons, Family Ties, season 1 of Cosby Show. I think the time has come. I suggest using Tracey Gold and Will Friedle. Matthew Lawrence would also be awesome (BROTHERLY LOVE rules!!!!!!!!!!)

      • nancy

        Small Wonder!!!!!!!! LOL. Yes, they should just air that!!!!! That would be awesome.

      • Ted

        ROCKY Gervais?

      • Dave

        Right, because Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t any good????

      • Stacey

        Apparently Carol has not seen Curb Your Enthusiasm (genius comedy) or King of Queens (which lasted 9 seasons because it was hilarious). I guess Carol should just set it to TVLand and forget it while the rest of us move on.

  • LR

    ricky gervais and larry david are two of my favourite people and i STILL found this show UNBEARABLE – i watched 15 minutes and had to change the channel

    • Cris

      I agree. You’ve got two of the funniest men on the planet sitting there, and I chuckled maybe twice. Just painful to watch.

      • Juan

        Susan, I’m sure plpeoe are speculating all over the place. I’ll speculate that it’s just that each flood event has its own characteristics — this one may have been just bigger and faster than usual due to precipitation, temperature, and timing. Or, there may have also been some particular “hot spots” or drainages that were more impacted in this event than in prior ones. Regardless, this huge impact from one day of flooding just emphasizes the need to get on with the cleanup, sooner rather than later.

    • mark

      i blame madonna for that

    • jmo

      If you DVR it, it’s much funnier. Fast forward to just watch the three celebs bicker.

    • AD

      LR-I totally agree. I was psyched to see the show because of the celebrities on it, but even though I love Ricky Gervais, I turned it off half way through. Larry David was being a jerk and the couples were so moronic, I couldn’t waste my time with it.

      • Dinjab

        I’d prefer to just watch three celebrities bicker about current events than some completely pointless couple. Sort of like Bill Maher’s panels, but without any of the experts. I get what Seinfeld is going for. Just seems like the show would be much better without the actual marriage reffing.

  • Ryan

    I totally agree. I turned it off 20 minutes in last week, but this week was hilarious. All three panelists were great, but I loved watching Larry and Madonna argue.

    • Rhonda

      I agree. These three have great chemistry. I guess that’s why I tuned in.

  • Jimmy Magahern

    Totally agree, Ken. If these three were on every week, I’d be there.

  • Gus van Rant

    Madonna is a stupid, shrill harpie.

    • Lee

      Actually, she is very smart and quite funny.

      • kel

        I caught a few minutes and I have to say Madonna was more genuine in those few minutes than she has been in the last several years combined.

      • Bonnie

        I agree and was surprised at how genuine Madonna was–and Ricky Gervais. Madonna repeatedly said “We’re supposed to be helping these people” and while her experiences with marriage could have made her as jaded as Larry, she was thoughtful in her responses. I was also impressed with how concerned Ricky was about that one guy losing his job because he was on tv. Not a huge fan of the show in general, but really liked last night.

      • Anthony

        Agreed. It was very cool to see Madonna in such a casual, natural setting. She seemed so much more normal – it was kinda freaky. She and Gervais can come back to that show any time. David was too angry in general – not sure if it was for show or if he’s just naturally mean, but that was a turn-off for me. Except that it did create a villain on the show, so it was fun to see Madonna and Gervais rail on him.

    • Dylan

      LOL, you forgot the word ‘boner shrinker’ from your token misogynistic words arsenal.

    • queue55


  • Joey Tavares

    That lady is FUNNY… Madonna cleans up nice, too.
    Great show…

  • Meier

    “Leno got canceled at 10 PM! QUICK! We need filler!”

  • Sarah

    Amok. Jesus.

    • pitt

      Right?! The many seemingly small errors are so disturbing on a professional magazine site with professional writers, not just random wannabe bloggers…

    • Big Walt

      It’s because they’re cheap and don’t have as many editors as they should.

      • Ruby

        Oh boy, armchair editors. You can actually spell it either “amok” or “amuck.” Check a dictionary. These people are overworked and underpaid. Leave ‘em alone.

  • analiesejoy

    I hate everyone on this show. Not the celebrities–the couples. None of them should be married to anybody. They are all so ridiculously selfish–at least that is my judgement from the snippets we get to see. I feel like they missed the lesson in kindergarten about compromise. grahh. Off with their heads.

    I’m never getting married.

    • Nikki

      You really think all married couples are like this? Wow, that’s sad. i thought it was funny b/c made me realize how I was happy to have married my spouse and not the morons on the show. Funny as hell though.

  • Mike

    Ken, what do you think of a Larry David and Ricky Gervais comedy. HBO should be all over that.

  • Ted

    Disagree. This was the first time I watched the show, and I like all the celebrities involved, but this was awful. While I like the fact NBC is trying a form of comedy at 10 (Jay Leno doesn’t count), this show is terrible. If it lasts, how soon will it devolve into Speidi territory?

  • GGG

    It’s too long! A half hour would be perfect

    • Danno

      I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word “perfect” but I agree an hour is way too long. The celebs just seemed worn out and completely over it by the time they got to the fourth couple. A half hour would be better, but perfect? No.

  • bri


  • Shane

    I liked Madonna, though she was funny. But I don’t understand why she appeared on this, as it is so beneath someone at her level.

    • Shane

      – thought –

    • jen

      and how is that? shes no better than anyone.

      • jen

        she didn’t make sense. that show only works for comedians

    • Shauna

      Actually, there is no level beneath Madonna.

      • Mark

        correction: there is.. .it’s where others much like yourself, dwell.

    • Tim

      Madonna is good friends with Jerry Seinfeld and his wife. I’m assuming most of the celebs are simply doing Jerry (the producer) a favor.

      • LisaP

        that is exactly what i thought. it was so obvious ld was there so grudgingly.

      • Big Walt

        LD is everywhere grudgingly.

    • Diggity

      Yes, she seemed really out of place.

  • David

    First time I’ve watched this show. If this weeks was considered the “best yet” then that is scary because I thought the show was really lame. I just don’t really care what these idiot celebrities have to say about paid actors with made-up problems.

    • JD

      It did seem pretty unbelievable that a psychiatrist would actually go on national TV. I mean, he honestly cannot find better advice than on “The Marriage Ref”? He has no psychiatrist pals?

      • Danno

        While I agree the show is pretty lame. The fact is that some people regardless of their profession will bear the ridicule just so they can say they were on TV. Also, all the couples got a free cruise out of it too.

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