Newlyweds: The Complete First Season review by Mike Long

Let's get a few things straight before we get started: I hate reality shows. I hate bubble-gum pop music. While I had heard of Jessica Simpson and 98 Degrees, I couldn't name any of their songs or identify their music (and still can't). But, for some reason, one day I found myself watching Newlyweds on MTV and instantly became hooked. The show is like an insanely brutal car crash that one simply can't stop watching. And now that Newlyweds: Nick & Jessic -- The Complete First Season has come to DVD, I can finally get my fill of this modern-day cinema verite tragedy.

Newlyweds is a true reality show featuring singers Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (formerly of boy band 98 Degrees). As the show opens, we witness Nick and Jessicas wedding. The show then picks up six months later, as they newlywed couple has moved into their dream home somewhere in Los Angeles. Unlike other reality shows, there are no set-ups or stunts here. The cameras simply follow this couple as they go through their daily routines. We see them argue about housekeeping, do things with their families and friends, perform shows, and simply relax at home. The series follows this duo to various locales and we good to see what its like to live the good life.

In essence, Newlyweds is simply a really long episode of MTVs Cribs and if youve ever seen some of the losers on that show, you can imagine just how bad Newlyweds could have been. Yet, Nick and Jessica emerge as truly intriguing characters and this makes the show not only watchable, but mesmerizing. On the first episode, Jessica admits that shes been pampered her entire life and states that shes never had to take care of herself. Thus, the simplest household chores, such as laundry or cooking, are a mystery to her. In contrast, Nick likes things to be very tidy and refuses to hire a full-time housekeeper, as he feels that Jessica and he should be able to run their own home. On nearly every episode, Jessica proves that she is indeed still a child and Nick must step up and be the adult of the relationship by taking care of a situation or making an important (or not all that important) decision. Im not Catholic and I know nothing about the process of achieving sainthood, but Nick should definitely be nominated, as hes constantly called upon to look after Jessica.

While most reality shows deliver ordinary people placed in controlled situations (thus negating the reality factor), Newlyweds offers a fly on the wall glimpse into the everyday lives of celebrities. Granted, they probably act differently since there are cameras following them every moment of the day, but most moments in the show feel very genuine. To elaborate on two ideas mentioned above, there are basically two reasons to watch Newlyweds: 1. To see what incredibly bizarre or dumb thing Jessica is going to say next. Yes, the Chicken of the Sea comment is included here (its in the first episode, so things start with a bang), as are Platamapus and Buffalo Wings and all of the other quotes which made the national media. The things that come out of Jessicas mouth are often amazing and one cant help but wonder if its an act. 2. Nicks reactions to Jessicas antics truly make the show worth watching. At least once per show, I found myself wondering how he can put up with her. While Nick doesnt come across as a genius, we do get the feeling that hes a clever, down-to-Earth person and you keep watching to see if hes finally going to snap. (In the first episode, Nicks brother suggests that Nick get a gun and shoot himself to which Nick replies, Why would I shoot myself?) If you are like me, you probably have no interest whatsoever in the lives of two pop-music stars, but Newlyweds offers more than that. In theory, the show wants to prove that even the rich and famous must deal with the same everyday troubles that everyone else has. But, what it really does is offer a look at a truly odd couple whose lives are both disturbing and fascinating.

Newlyweds: Nick & Jessic -- The Complete First Season moves onto DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. This two-disc set contains all 10 episodes from the shows first season. The episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Given the nature of this program, the shows look pretty good, but there are some problems. Much of the action is captured by hand-held cameras, so the sudden shifts in focus and jerky movements are very obvious here and often result in some video distortion. On the plus side, the picture is quite clear and the colors are good. The DVDs contain a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio track which is most notable for putting out quite a bit of bass during the musical transitions. Otherwise, we get clear dialogue and a smattering of sound effects coming from the rear channels.

The DVD extras for Newlyweds: Nick & Jessic -- The Complete First Season feel more like leftovers. Easter Egg Hunt is not what DVD fans think it is, but actually its a 5-minute deleted scene showing Nick and Jessica dining with their families on Easter. Interviews are longer versions of the confessionals shown during the show in which Nick and Jessica speak directly to the camera. Here, we are treated to 11 segments which encompass some 31 minutes as the duo discuss many facets of their marriage. Jessica Moments and Nick Moments (each 2 minutes) are simply the best quotes from the series from each. There is a music video from both Jessica (Sweetest Sin) and Nick (Shut Up). The extras are rounded out by biographies for the two stars.


7 out of 10 Jackasses

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