A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The general message is that marriage generates conflict that requires a third-party referee. There's no sense of real resolution or compromise.
Positive Role Models
The couples' problems aren't serious, but many seem like they're playing up conflict for the sake of the cameras.
Violence & Scariness
Some spats deal with death (ie. a dead pet or a long-deceased relative).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some light kissing and sexual humor (a couple argues about whether they should have a stripper pole in their bedroom, etc.) Provocative terms like "sexy" and "get freaky-deaky."
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Some spouses bicker on camera and tell each other to "shut up," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Barbasol sponsors a regular wrap-up segment called the "Barbasol Shot of the Day." Contestants win a cruise from Royal Caribbean International.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some fights might involve drinking or smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that some of the disagreements up for debate in this game show aren't kid-friendly, such as an ongoing argument between a husband who wants to install a stripper pole for a little fun in the bedroom and his wife, who adamantly refuses. But the show's late-night time slot should preclude most younger viewers from seeing anything they shouldn't. Just know that topics -- and content -- can change from week to week.
Is It Any Good?
The Marriage Ref is the kind of show married couples might make up while they are sitting around the table with their married friends. You know, the kind of idea that starts out with a simple premise that everybody adds to, one ridiculous idea after another, until you end up with something that's so absurd it would never, ever fly on prime time television -- and then you forget about it.
Except in this case, someone gave it the greenlight, and now it's actually on the air. Maybe that's due to the married couple who dreamed it up: Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica, who aren't exactly chopped liver when it comes to wooing NBC execs. (See: Jerry's wildly successful sitcom.) Whatever the explanation, it now exists to delve into the superficial issues of marriage and weigh in with laugh-tracked judgements. But we're calling a foul.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.