By Ken Tucker
Updated March 11, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST

‘Twas a far, far better edition of The Marriage Ref this week. That’s because the judge-panelists — Madonna, Larry David, and Ricky Gervais — used the ridiculous marital examples set before them (and us) as occasions to yell genially, at each other and the married couples.

Of a woman who kept her dead husband’s prosthetic leg in a place of prominence in the home she shares with her current, understandably annoyed husband, Gervais spoke for all of us at home when he said,”This is insane, what I just watched.” But so did Larry David, who added, “They’re so moronic, I don’t want to help them.” The same could be said of so many of the couples seeking The Marriage Ref advice. It’s what makes the hour a frequently foolish drag, but on this particular evening, it made for some amusing fireworks between the celebrities.

Madonna got it into her noggin that David is a misogynist. (Of a woman who withholds sex until her husband cleans his messy basement room, David had sneered, “This woman is lucky anyone would sleep with her!”) David fired back at Madonna with cheerful rancor, “You hate men!” “No,” said Madonna with a deep purr of sensibleness, “I hate you.”

“This is the weirdest show I’ve ever been on,” said Ricky Gervais.

It’s true: How about that male psychiatrist who talked to his mother about — well, everything, including the sex he has with his wife. Mom, in turn, calls the wife “an uneducated girl” and berates the 44-year-old son as “a yellow-bellied coward.” David summed it up: “This is the Oedipus complex run amuck… He’s in love with his mother; he should start sleeping with her.”

This week’s edition of The Marriage Ref proved to be exactly what co-creator Jerry Seinfeld said he wanted it to be: a throwback to old game shows in which celebrities joked and jeered with some spontenaity.

They all had the right attitude toward the show. When host Tom Papa passed judgment on one couple, David said bluntly, “Like it’s really gonna make a difference.”

Exactly. But the presence of these three personalities really did make a difference on The Marriage Ref. I doubt I’ll be hanging around this series much longer, but for tonight, at least, it was fun.

Agree? Disagree?

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