Is there such a thing as a relationship warranty (and refund)?

Explore stories of men and women who thought they were happily married until the day they uncovered a shocking secret about their spouse that would leave them asking Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry? From bank robbers to bigamists to spies, these compelling and sometimes startling characters will have viewers shaking their heads in disbelief and wondering how the truths behind these scandalous spouses were kept hidden for so long.

from the Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry television show website

You know when you think that you have heard and seen just about anything, and then out of left field comes another unexpected surprise that leaves you scratching your head and wondering where is our society heading?

After enduring the explosion of reality shows ranging from Jessica Simpson and her now ex-husband Nick Lachey marital exploits, to The Osbournes and the ominously heavy Intervention and Hoarders, one is left to wonder if there is no realm of human existence that isn’t available for public display.

This voyeurism that enables us to peer (or perhaps leer would be a better word) into the private and at times tumultuous lives of our fellow human beings has become the ratings Mecca for the media and in particular television.

Do not get me wrong, this kind of Glady Kravitz interest is pretty much hard wired into our DNA.  I mean have you ever been stuck in a long line of traffic due to gapers blocks?  We can’t help ourselves.  The only difference between the past and today is that there was a certain standard of respect that limited our intrusion into the lives of others to accidental encounters versus deliberate programming.

Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched

Now of course it is open season on everything and everyone.  Think about it for a moment . . . can you imagine how the JFK Presidency would have been scrutinized in today’s inquiring minds want to know public spectacle frenzy?

Even Abraham Lincoln would not be above reproach given his bankruptcy, the on again, off again marriage to Mary Todd (who did eventually become his wife), and her eventual physical assault on the future President – apparently Lincoln was so absorbed in his reading one evening that he did not hear his wife ask him four times to restart the fire.  There wasn’t a fifth request forthcoming, as Mrs. Lincoln grabbed a piece of firewood and rapped him on the head.  I can see it now, an overlap show into Cops, with Mrs. Lincoln sitting in the back of a patrol card having her rights read to her before an audience of millions with the bad boy, or this case bad girl theme music playing in the background.

The life of the Osbourne’s pales by comparison.

But that was all in the past and, there didn’t seem to be anyplace else to go for the genre, except perhaps into the annals of what were we thinking television history.

Then along comes the new hit show from the Investigation Discovery channel.

What can you say about a program where a wife (or husband) unwittingly pledges to love, honor and cherish their significant other for the rest of their life, only to discover that their betrothed is a bank robber or worse yet, a spy for the Cuban Government.

In an interesting twist, regular guy turned spy Juan Pablo Roque’s now ex-wife Ana Margarita, successfully sued the Cuban Government for $27.1 million (so far she has collected only $200K from frozen Cuban accounts in the U.S.) for the debilitating emotional and physical trauma she suffered as a result of her husband’s deceit.

Despite the challenges with collecting the judgement, the Roque situation opens up a number of interesting possibilities from both a legal as well as entertainment standpoint.  I mean how far away can we be from a Judge Judy type of show where one spouse sues the other for marital breach of contract or failure to live up to matrimonial warranty – batteries not included?  Ladies better take out the trash and men better not get too many headaches . . . or vice versa.

With a 50% divorce rate, cries of he or she sold me a bill of goods that is tantamount to someone being sold the Brooklyn Bridge may become even more commonplace in an already overly litigious society . . . especially during tough economic times.

A scenario that is particularly troubling and plausible, given the fact that for the most part people generally spend more time trying to select a major in college than they do determining with whom they will supposedly spend the rest of their life.

My point is simply this, reality television is a self-perpetuating genre that taps deeply into the never-ending pool of human drama and misery.  As long as people walk this earth I have concluded, there will never be a shortage of new and shocking events that ultimately cry out to be media-tized in one fashion or another.

The only other question that remains is can public floggings (or worse yet, executions) in the town square be too far behind?

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