The weirdest thing about The Marriage Ref is that I knew a lot of people who were unironically excited for it. People who are very invested in television, who usually have great taste in not only TV but comedy as well, looked at those promos and were like "that looks funny." So weird. That must be the Jerry Seinfeld nostalgia that NBC is counting on at work there, because if you take the fact that Seinfeld was a good show out of the equation The Marriage Ref is pretty undeniably terrible.
There's definitely something appealing about the idea of hanging out with a bunch of really funny people. Not only are you probably going to have a laugh, but you'll probably get to feel a little bit funnier by proximity. However, when you let Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K. - who could each justifiably be labeled as brilliant -- get together for some light chit-chat about what makes them so funny, you end up with something that's more egotistical, self-congratulatory and smug than, you know, humorous. In case you didn't tune in to the premiere airing of this awkwardly edited conversational circle jerk, here are some of the more outstanding insights of the night:
It's Thursday, also known as American Idol results show day (wait, isn't that usually Wednesday?... hush, fool, just be glad it's only on two days a week), also known as the first day in the reign of our new Top Chef (which luckily does not involve any actual responsibilities other than shilling Diet Dr. Pepper during commercial breaks with previous competitors while your eyes scream a quiet "help"), also known as Friday Eve. Hold off on your desire to race headlong into the nearest bar and quell your Thursday thirst just a little longer with these refreshing drops of news.
The all-powerful Oprah Winfrey is in talks to lend a stuntcasting hand to our beloved 30 Rock, the greatest show on television that hardly anybody is watching. She's thisclose to playing herself in an episode this fall, though it's not clear what her storyline will be. I for one hope she just shows up at TGS as a representative of The Black Crusaders, the group of highly powerful African-Americans who terrorized Tracey Jordon at the end of Season 1. Not so sure how down Oprah would be with that idea, but the mere fact that she's agreed to be on the show in the first place probably means she's aware of The Black Crusaders storyline and isn't too terribly offended by it. Or The Black Crusaders are real, and she's just come to disperse disinformation about them. I'm leaning towards the latter, because conspiracies are fun!
More 30 Rock stuntcasting news: Salma Hayek will appear in two episodes next season, but that's OK, because Page Six's "sources" assure us that she'll actually be playing a character and not just pulling a Jerry Seinfeld. As if that's any consolation. There are going to be so many guest-stars next season I couldn't even name them all off the top of my head. I had to look them all up, and I'm probably even missing a few: Jennifer Aniston, Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, fricking Oprah, now Salma Hayek and God knows who else to come because you know we're not done with this yet. Tina Fey, we want to make it very clear that we love you and do not in any way doubt your genius, but no matter what NBC tells you, 30 Rock is not a variety show, and you are not Dean Martin. So stop it.
If you were expecting Jay Leno to shake up the talk-show format and really change the television landscape with his 10 PM chatfest, you were likely sorely disappointed last evening. That said, if you are a Leno fan and wanted more of what he was doing on The Tonight Show, except earlier, then your wish has been granted. His new primetime talk show debuted yesterday, and for all the chatter about him having fewer guests and really switching things up, it was almost identical to his previous format. The only big changes were the lack of a desk (instead he's got two small and uncomfortable looking chairs on a carpet in the middle of the studio) and that he saved "Headlines" for the end. Way to mix it up, Jay.