A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jessica Simpson comes off as a dim-witted housewife, which has helped catapult her to fame. Nick Lachey is seven years her senior and a more grounded celebrity. The couple rarely fight on screen, but their interaction is limited. (Note: In 2006, Nick and Jess filed for divorce -- citing this series as part of the reason their marriage failed.)
What's the story?
Made famous by the episode in which Jessica was unsure whether tuna in a can was chicken or fish, MTV's NEWLYWEDS: NICK AND JESSICA found a following based on the voyeuristic, I-can't-believe-people-actually-live-this-way reality of the show. The series, produced by Jessica's father, Joe Simpson, a former Baptist minister, tracks the celebrity lives of pop-star newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. Each episode takes place in a new locale, such as a posh hotel or a glitzy party for famous guests. The two give concerts, do photo shoots, give celebrity appearances, and fend off fans, but life in between has its lulls, and one gets the sense that they're ultimately bored.
Is it any good?
A big part of the show's appeal is the couple's natural allure -- Jessica is a lovely creature, as is Nick, which makes for interesting television voyeurism. Watching Jessica try on outfits at an exclusive boutique is reward aplenty for the average viewer, and seeing Nick lounge poolside, beer in hand, is a convincing advertisement for the "good life." But the couple's interactions are shallow and trite -- though one has to wonder if Jessica plays the ditz for the audience because she enjoys the reaction that she inevitably receives. Nick is the brighter bulb, but his patience seems to wear thin as the series continues.
There's not much substance to Newlyweds, but it's an interesting slice of contrived contemporary Americana. These two make the American Dream seem easy -- maybe a little too easy, considering that they divorced in 2006.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of commitment. How can Nick be expected to commit to the whole package of the Simpson family -- Jessica, Mom, Dad, and the television crew? Is this going to make things easier or more difficult for them? How is Jessica pampered? Does her starlet nature help or hinder her personal development? Does she have any say in her life's course? Can life be too easy? After this show ended, the couple divorced. How do you think the show impacted their marriage?
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