Even Seinfeld's co-writer fails to see funny side of his TV comeback

A beautiful friendship began when the comedian Larry David met Jerry Seinfeld two decades ago and the pair dreamed up a winning idea for a television show.

So when a chorus of critics rounded on the latter's latest endeavour, he might have expected his friend and Seinfeld collaborator to rush to his defence after being invited to participate as a guest panellist. Instead, David appeared to echo the sentiment of critics who have branded Seinfeld's new show "pointless" and "painful".

Appearing before a national audience on The Marriage Ref, Seinfeld's reality TV series in which guest stars are invited to comment on the marital problems of ordinary couples, David discussed the problems faced by some couples – including one in which a husband disapproved of his wife keeping a 5ft iguana in the house. He said: "Can we wrap this up? I have to go to the bathroom," and later questioned the show's format: "What is the point to the whole thing?"

Directing his comments at another couple, he added: "This is insane. They're so moronic, I don't want to help them." Later, he said exasperatedly: "This is easily the most uncomfortable hour I've ever spent in my life."

Taking part in the same show, the British comedian Ricky Gervais and singer Madonna were no less equivocal, with the former stating on air: "This is a strange programme. I feel like someone's put crack in my drink. What's going on? This is the weirdest show I've ever been on. It's weird that I'm here with you two." Madonna later chipped in: "Why are we on television?"

An on-air vote of confidence from David may well have transformed the flagging fortunes of Seinfeld's NBC comeback show, the first he has co-created since making Seinfeld. David is now by far the more successful of the pair. His show, Curb Your Enthusiasm has made him one of America's foremost TV writers and comedians.

For Seinfeld, the golden boy of 1990s television, it is a long way to have fallen since he first starred in his eponymous television show in 1989. By the time the series finished in 1998, he could do nothing wrong. But his critics would say he has done little right since. He has been involved in a documentary, written a few books and produced the animated film, Bee Movie.

The Marriage Ref was previewed to a captive audience after the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics last month. Judging by the reaction, NBC might be wishing the launch had been a little more low-key.

Time magazine's called it "the most God-awful mishmash of a comedy-variety show". The Baltimore Sun said the programme didn't deserve the Thursday night prime-time slot that NBC has reserved for it. "Who knew Seinfeld could be this unfunny?

Seinfeld came up with the idea during a row with his wife Jessica in the presence of a friend. They persuaded the friend to act as a referee, at the end of which Jessica proclaimed: "That's a TV show." Based on the reaction to the finished product, he may be regretting following his wife's advice.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam