Who Was the “Rightest of the Right?” Find Out on our June 26 “Marriage Ref” Appearance!

It is official: My husband Jamie and I will be appearing on the premiere of NBC’s The Marriage Ref on Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 9 p.m. MST.

If you’re not familiar with this Jerry Seinfeld-produced comedy, real couples with funny disputes appear in-studio in front of a panel of celebrity judges where they chose a winner. At the end of each episode, the studio audience votes to make one of the winners “The Rightest of The Right.” That person will receive $25,000 and their very own billboard, in their hometown, declaring they are right.

Of course, I cannot disclose the outcome (something to do with NBC’s 800-page legal contract) but I am thrilled to give you a behind-the-scenes look at appearing on this hilarious network show to debate (what else?): My husband’s obsession with growing The Great Pumpkin (background information is here if you’re just tuning in).

The Auditions
I first heard that the Marriage Ref was holding auditions in Denver for funny couples with quirky disputes on the radio. I wrote about our experience at Battling It Out at Denver’s Marriage Ref Auditions but suffice it to say, we nailed the audition. A 1,000-pound gourd is nothing, if not quirky.

The Whirlwind
Denver was the final city in the Marriage Ref’s nationwide audition tour so things happened quickly after that. Our main obstacle was we needed The Great Pumpkin as a backdrop for when an NBC film crew came to Denver to film us. Pumpkin season was over and our rotting gourd was oozing its guts on our driveway. A casting director told us it would be fine to film some video with our Flip camera and so we did just that before destroying the pumpkin.

Then, a producer told us otherwise. “If there is no giant pumpkin, there is no show,” he told us. So my panicked husband solicited his buddies in The Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Group (nope, not kidding about the name) and he was able to unearth a giant pumpkin that had not yet been destroyed. The only problem is it was significantly smaller than his own.

While I was dreading that the camera adds 20 pounds, Jamie was praying the camera added an extra 200 pounds to his pumpkin.

The Denver Filming
After piles of paperwork, interviews with NBC’s legal department, background checks and even a live session with NBC’s psychiatrist (who somehow deemed us mentally competent), we were given the green light. Producers Zoran, Casey and cameraman J.D. flew to Denver and spent an entire day filming us. We went through every imaginable scenario: We started lovey-dovey talking about our courtship. As the day went on, the discussion grew more humorous and passionate about the big, orange wedge between us.

At day’s end, even The Pumpkin Man tired of talking pumpkins and we braced ourselves for the two-minute package that would be pulled together from 12 hours of filming.

Appearing on The Marriage Ref
In early-December, we learned we would be flying to New York City to appear on the final episode with (in my opinion) the very best celebrities of the season: Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Julianne Moore. On filming day, a wardrobe crew met us at the hotel to review our clothing choices. At noon, we met the two other couples appearing on the Marriage Ref with us and took a shuttle to NBC’s studios. We were encouraged to talk freely with them but not to disclose “our issues.”

Kinda tough when you’re drowning in them.

We were greeted with fanfare. Because ours was the final taping, the entire crew had assembled for a wrap party that evening. I knew I was in trouble when staffers singled out The Pumpkin Man, saying they expected great things from him. One even treated him like a celebrity, asking him for seeds.

That afternoon, we hung out in the Green Room, ate a lot of food, did a walk-through in the studio, posed for pictures, got outfitted in Wardrobe and had an extreme makeover in the make-up/hair room. We felt like royalty as a producer followed us around, tending to our every need.

And then came showtime. We were the second couple to appear (though the Marriage Ref may switch around the actual order). Anxieties were high with Jamie but I was surprisingly calm, likely due to the fact I had already stressed out when I appeared on Fox Network’s morning show, Fox and Friends a few months earlier.

As we waited backstage for our queue, we could hear the host Tom Papa riling up the crowd, “Alright everyone. WHO WANTS TO MEET THE PUMPKIN MAN?!”

The crowd went wild as we stepped onto the stage with blinding lights and electric air. We somehow made it to our seats without tripping and after we got settled, we looked up and there they were: Legends Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Julianne Moore sitting across from us as if we were having a casual chat in our living room.

Only this was no casual chat. We were surrounded by a studio audience and on Sunday, June 26, millions of North Americans will be tuning in to learn our fate. As aforementioned, I cannot disclose who won the $25,000 but each couple was given a Second Honeymoon to the Dominican Republic for participating.

After what unfolds on Sunday night, we’re gonna need it.


Also, don’t miss The Marriage Ref: In Pictures and my exciting mishaps during my wardrobe fitting in The Ambulance, The Woman and The Wardrobe.

This was was originally published at MileHighMamas.com.

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