The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 5A
A bad call for NBC
Poetry crosses space
and time on way to 'U'
series is 'The
gone horribly wrong
By LINDSAY HURD
When a show features both Tina
* Fey and Jerry Seinfeld as guest
judges, one would think it would be
a comedic gold
thing about The Marriage
"The Marriage Ref
Ref" is cringe-
worthy at best. Thursdays
You watch in at10 p.m.
horror as Sein- NBC
feld loses much
of his comedy-
god status. How can a show that
both stars and is produced by Sein-
feld be such an epic failure? Two
words: Tom Papa.
Host Tom Papa is like that kid
in high school who really tried
to be funny but just wasn't, and
clearly it's carrying over to his TV
career. Every time one of the judges
makes a genuinely funny comment,
Papa chimes in with nonsense that
makes you want to change the
channel. When Tina Fey made fun
of a wife who would only let her,
husband eat at the dining room
table on Thanksgiving - "Maybe
we should substitute words in
her argument to make her realize
how crazy she sounds. Like say-
ing the bathroom is only for Eas-
Because if anyone can save your marrage, its Tom Papa.
ter!" - Tom Papa chimed in with a
brilliant joke: "Do you know what
I would hate? Dust! Dust every-
where. Happy Thanksgiving!"
How does that even make any
sense? Tom Papa is in need of a
serious wake-up call.. And the
worst part is, Seinfeld doesn't see it.
Tom Papa gets in the way, ulti-
mately because of the setup of the
show. He's the actual marriage ref
who uses celebrity panel judges
to help him decide if the husband
or the wife is right. Different sets
of couples come on the show and
present their arguments to Papa
and the panel, and in the end, Papa
tells either the husband or wife
who is right. Therefore, in order
to have a successful show about a
"Marriage Ref," you need someone
who can actually succeed at that
task without being a tool.
The show is so bad that it makes
point: "Why do we care? We don't!"
Whenever the husband and wife
are talkingabouttheirproblem, the
panel degrades them and makes
them feel like complete nimrods.
It's "The Newlywed Game" gone
wrong, where the couples look like
fools and the problems they're hav-
ing aren't actually "real" problems.
Instead, the show focuses on issues
like a husband grooming himself
too much, a wife who won't let her
husband eat at the dining room
table and a wife who flosses in bed.
Not exactly marriage-threatening
issues, to say the least.
Overall, "The Marriage Ref"
needs to get rid of Tom Papa, the
cheesy music and the random
woman they call the "fact lady"
who adds useless tidbits that no
one cares about, and should prob-
ably let Seinfeld be the actual mar-
riage ref. Or just cancel the show
By MOLLY MCGUIRE
"See how / I have gone from
home to mythology / to the Alps
& nobody has
gan's poem "The Dennigan
Virgins" from and Tung-
her book "Corin-
the Apocalypse" Tomorrow at
hurtles from New 5:15 p.m.
England duplex- HelmutStern
es to Greek myths Auditorium
to Mont Blanc
on the French-
Italian border. Her last few lines
describe moving "through eons
/ & hemispheres in a white clap-
board house." Leaping through
time and space and different
allusions, Dennigan's poems still
An alumna of the University's
MFA program, Dennigan is return-
ing to join with Assistant Professor
of English Tung-Hui Hu for a poet-
ry readingthis Thursday. The MFA
Program in Creative Writing is pre-
senting the event as part of the Zell
Visiting Writers Lecture Series.
At the University, Hu teaches
courses on time-based poetry and
art, which comes into play in film,
installation art and performance.
Time-based art is a term most often
used to describe moving image and
sound workby visual artists.
"Time-based art is a way of
lumping together art that unfolds
in time," Hu said. "I use it to refer,
generally speaking, to moving
image artworks after the 1960s.
I've been interested in the way
(time-based art) is not a static
This Thursday he willbe reading
from his new collection of poems,
"Greenhouses, Lighthouses." With
a Ph.D. in film studies, Hu explores
many cinematic themes and
images. The winner of the 2007
James D. Phelan Literary Award,
"Greenhouses, Lighthouses" was
described by the San Francisco
Foundation as "a provocative ges-
ture toward cinematography."
The collection is written as a
series of palinodes - odes or songs
in which the writer retracts some-
thing written in a previous poem.
"This is a form that lots of other
writers have used," Hu said.
Hu cited "Chaucer's Retrac-
tion" at the end of "The Canterbury
Tales," in which Chaucer asks for
forgiveness for his coarse language
throughout his works, as one exam-
ple. One of Hu's poems in "Green-
houses, Lighthouses" is modeled on
the Corrections section of a news-
Whether he is teaching or writ-
ing, Hu said that he stresses "the
process of description over analy-
sis." It makes sense, then, that the
reading on Thursday will likely
stand for itself instead of focusing
on discussion or analysis.
"What does the poem do, how
does it try to say what it says, what
does it sound like, etc.," Hu said.
"My sense is that it's really tough to
come up with language to describe
In an e-mail interview, Denni-
gan reflected on the role that poets
like herself play in the world.
"No matter how people become
poets ... isn't the world better off
having all these super awkward,
trail-mix consuming pencil chew-
we digest life as
though it were a
ers around to try and digest little
pockets of life - even if it is their
own narrow life - the way that
some of us digest Entenmann's
cupcakes?" Dennigan said.
While there is a small audience
for the consumption of serious
poetry, poetry readings at book-
stores and campuses are becoming
increasingly popular. Dennigan
and Hu, with their wit and cre-
ativity, should present an engaging
poetry reading - but bring your
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