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Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

LEE CATALUNA


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TV show seeks couples who can argue with style

By Lee Cataluna

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When some couples bicker, they make you want to move house, call an exorcist or shoot them with the water hose.

Others make spousal disagreements a wonderful piece of performance art. You know the type. They're going back and forth at the family party about who is supposed to take out the garbage, and everyone has stopped eating to watch the show.

"You know your days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Just take 'em out already!"

"But today is Saturday!"

"No ways! Not past midnight yet! You get 40 more seconds. Take 'em out! All hauna!"

"Garbage man don't even come on Saturdays."

"Yes, he does. But you wouldn't know because you ain't ever out there putting out the garbage!"

That's just the warm-up.

Lande Yoosuf is looking for those types of bickerers. The funny ones.

Yoosuf is a casting producer for Jerry Seinfeld's "The Marriage Ref," a TV show on NBC. She sent out a call nationwide looking for couples to appear on the show, which features real couples beefing over a specific, usually hilarious issue, and celebrity adjudicators like Seinfeld, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin deciding who should win the argument. In past episodes, the arguments have been over a husband who spends more time getting pedicures than playing with the kids and a woman who objected to her husband's efforts to install a stripper pole (which he called "exercise equipment") in their basement.

"We are looking for couples of all ages, races, sexual orientations, ethnicities, etc. We just want couples with big personalities and a refer-able argument. We want people who know how to have fun and laugh at themselves," Yoosuf said.

The show, in its second season, is specifically looking for couples from diverse backgrounds.

"Because we have such a big initiative for diversity, we are currently on an aggressive search for Latino, Pacific, Asian, Caribbean, African, African-American and same-sex couples," Yoosuf said.

Couples selected for the show get a $1,500 wardrobe stipend, a second honeymoon and the chance to win $25,000 if one of them is judged the "most right" spouse of an episode. The "most right" spouse also gets a billboard saying "I am right" with the "Marriage Ref" logo -- which for some people might be even better than the money.

This is not a Dr. Phil kind of setup. The show is meant to be lighthearted and fun rather than an exploration into dark, painful relationship issues. But if it's Aunty and Uncle hilariously beefing over who has to roll the garbage cans to the end of the driveway, that might make good TV.

To see clips of past episodes, go to www.nbc.com/the-marriage-ref. To inquire about applying, e-mail casting@themarriagref.tv.

Lee Cataluna can be reached at lcataluna@staradvertiser.com.

 






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