Newlyweds (MTV)

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous taught us that with fame and fortune come boundless luxury and happiness. Newlyweds, like The Osbournes before it, pulls back the curtain to reveal that with fame and fortune simply comes fame and fortune.

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, the C-list Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, show us the mundane realities of celebrity, which turn out to not be much different from the mundane realities of obscurity. The show was formulated around the two getting married, and showing their first year of marital bliss.

Their married life isn't far off from those of any of my married friends. They go to Home Depot a lot, kick back a few beers at night, and work on the house on weekends. Nick and Jessica, though, can drop $50,000 on gifts for each other; that's where it differs.

Even that doesn't change much. The two squabble about money like anyone else, except in their case, it's whether to buy a Hummer instead of whether to buy the Indiana Jones box set.

The pair is appealing to watch; they're sweet to each other and refreshingly non-party-oriented. Their chemistry is real, though I find myself questioning whether their relationship has any depth. Simpson, who is plainly stupid and lazy, doesn't seem to think much of Nick at all, and Lachey seems more in love with the idea of their relationship than with his wife.

They come off like kids trying to play at being grown-up, because that's what they are. But they make it work, and there are always enough amusing foibles to keep the show interesting.

Newlyweds neither advances nor stunts the development of reality TV … it just adds to the pile, as Family Matters did for sitcoms and Ron Howard does for humanity. It's hard not to think that it would be just as valid and interesting if MTV did a show about my lifestyle, though admittedly, I wouldn't want to watch that show either. I barely want to even be present for the raw footage.

Review by L'il Big Boi © 2004