Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Wish You Every Success (sic)

I received an email the other day, forwarded from a friend whose daughter is a production assistant in LA. It was originally from an assistant casting director who is looking for married couples that might like to appear on a new TV show called "Marriage Ref" created by Jerry Seinfeld.
Now, I love my reality TV. I fantasize about having a three-way with Vern Yip and David Bromstad (after they’ve painted an accent wall and redesigned my master bedroom in Tuscan-villa-meets-mid-century-modern style.) I don’t care if they don’t swing my way, it’s my fantasy.
I’m a TLC and HGTV junkie who loves nothing more than avoiding my own cluttered garage by watching other people find storage solutions with the help of the "Mission Organization" team. (Toss broken items, paint furniture to give it new life, install shelving to get the mess off the floor – the original ideas are dizzying!)
Shows about little people doing everything I do except being tall? Well, I can’t get enough of them. And I’ve been known to unwind with “The Girls Next Door” or “The Bachelor” after the kids have gone to bed. It is possible I caught an episode or two of "Rock of Love" and “I Love New York” (can you believe her mother? Well, it’s no wonder…)
So, receiving an email from a friend in the entertainment business soliciting “real” people for a TV show piqued my interest. Here’s what it said:
We are looking for all ages, races etc. They don't need to be "TV Friendly" or look a certain way. All shapes and sizes are welcome.
OK, so far, so good. I don’t have to be attractive, just married. The email went on:
…the idea is to celebrate marriage and the small quibbles that make it so wonderfully "frustrating" at times.
Now, I don’t know about you, but broadcasting petty squabbles between me and my husband does not sound like an affair you’d bring a hostess gift to. I’m beginning to think NBC defines “celebrate” a little differently than I do. I kept reading…
We are looking for couples who have a particular "issue" with one and issues, no marriage wrecking problems. Again, this is to CELEBRATE marriage and have fun, not unearth deep dark secrets and bring up serious situations. Examples would be, a husband who wears the same pants everyday, or a wife who can’t put her blackberry down. They should be genuine annoyances though.
Alright, well that’s better.
Wait, no it’s not. If the issue itself isn’t relationship destroying, broadcasting our little marital wrinkles certainly won’t smooth them out. Still, it could be fun. You know what would make it even more pleasurable, though, is if my flawed spouse and my righteous self were to somehow compete against each other while being judged. I find those are two essential elements to serene coexistence.
Hey, I’m in luck!
The couple will then have their case "plead" in front of a panel of MAJOR celebrities...and the refs will rule in favor of one spouse or the other. It involves no major travel on the part of the couple, just local filming, will pay $1500 and the spouse who wins will receive a major prize.
Whoa, Nelly! That’s a lot of “major.” Celebrities judging us, money awarded, prizes for the one left standing – and all in the comfort of our own home? This is too good to be true. All this for simply selling out my spouse and checking my dignity at the door? Sign me up!
(If you are more thick-skinned than I am or have been puzzling over the quickest way to get out of a bad marriage, go to and sign yourself up – I dare you! You know I'll be watching!)
I forwarded the email to my husband (because although we both live and work in the same modest house, this is generally how we communicate – but I’m not publicly quibbling, really I’m not). My email said “Interested?” His said “Uh, no.” Neither of us was surprised or disappointed.
Within the first months of dating him, my beloved man of the house (MOH) and I had established one ground rule:
No jokes at the other’s expense.
I don’t remember what event led to the establishment of this rule, but it has stood us in good stead for 15 years. This rule also can be loosely translated as: no criticizing the other for financial gain, no airing dirty laundry in front of anyone who has ever worked with Kevin Bacon, and no exchanging the covenant of marriage for a stainless steel convection oven.
At this point I would like to offer a new word to the Mirriam-Webster people for consideration:
cess \suk-‘ses\ 1 : unfavorable outcome inversely proportional to the one desired. 2 : the gaining of wealth and fame at the expense of your marriage by appearing on a *reality* television program. abbr Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

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