Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Politics Ref

I have high hopes for "The Marriage Ref," the new show NBC cooked up to try to become relevant again. 

They hauled in Jerry Seinfeld and a bunch of other peacock stars to try to joke about people's marital conflicts.

The show offers funny moments, for sure, but Alec Baldwin, Eva Longoria, and Tina Fey are not improv comics, so the conversation is pretty obviously scripted and edited, stripping it of most of its chemistry.

Sort of like marriage itself, actually.

On the other hand, the panelists and host somehow manage to cut to the real issue behind seemingly inane conflict. While their views sometimes seem warped, at least they seem aware that an argument about installing a stripper pole in the bedroom is as much about communication and mutual respect as it is about sex.

So the show manages to give some laughs, with a few Dr. Phil moments sprinkled in. It has promise.

And, most importantly, all the female stars wear outfits tight enough to restrict blood flow and small enough to qualify as lingerie in some states. This will attract some male viewers who might otherwise watch "March Madness" on ESPN.

Wouldn't it be great if we could resolve political conflict this way?

Put Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell together in a suburban split-level ranch, roll camera, and edit the footage down to a short vignette so that celebrity experts can finally decide how many people get to have health insurance.

Actually, we'd probably have to begin with a smaller issue first, so we could resolve it in time for a commercial break.

Let's float serenely by the cherry blossoms and into the halls of congress, where we find 14 House Republicans struggling to honor the legacy of their hero, Ronald Reagan, by sponsoring legislation to put his warm, grandfatherly visage on the $50 bill.

Reagan's legacy is certainly strong enough to replace Ulysses S. Grant, who didn't really do much, except win the Civil War, lead a battered nation through reconstruction, and stabilize the office of the Presidency after Lincoln's assassination and Andrew Johnson's impeachment.

Compare those measly accomplishments with approving the largest tax increase in American history, wasting billions on a pointless missile defense system, and illegally selling weapons to rogue countries full of terrorists, and it's easy to see why maybe the $50 bill isn't even a big enough honor for Reagan.

The Politics Ref has arrived at a decision: Leave Grant on the $50, if only to annoy people from Alabama who have Confederate flag bumper stickers.  Put Reagan's face on the $1 trillion bill, in honor of the fact that he was the first president, leading the party of fiscal responsibility and small government, to propose a $1 trillion budget.

Next, we meander up the Interstate to Augusta, Maine, where Rep. Andrew O'Brien (D-Lincolnville) has proposed a bill that would make it easier for people to learn when and how farmers in their area spray toxic chemicals. 

Because, you know, if you live next to a farm, you might be curious about that sort of thing.

But other members of the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry have proposed blunting several of the notification requirements, exempting many sprayers from participating in a Pesticide Notification Registry.

The Politics Ref says: spray some of these chemicals near these politicians' personal residences, and see if any of them come around before one of their kids starts growing a third eyeball.

Of course, if you wanted to watch college basketball and sexy women in skimpy skirts at the same time, a third eyeball could come in handy.

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