Since the Newlyweds first aired in August of 2003, it has been a highly acclaimed reality TV show- even after the subsequent divorce of the two stars, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. The show, which aired on MTV networks over the course of four seasons, chronicled the new marriage of then-struggling pop star Jessica Simpson, and former 98 Degrees Boy Band member, Nick Lachey. Newlyweds has since been compared to a modern day realistic version of the I Love Lucy Show.
The show became a mega hit almost immediately. During the first episode the aired on MTV, Jessica Simpson famously confused her Chicken of the Sea Tuna with chicken asking Nick, "Is this Chicken, what I have or is this tuna?" Soon, her many blonde moments turned her into a household name and even won the pair a Peoples Choice Award with Jessica exclaiming in her acceptance speech, "I was a cheesy pop star. Nick was in a boy band. We weren't supposed to get married because it would ruin our careers. And now here we are."
And there they were- mediocre pop stars turned A-list, best selling musicians. The show, an MTV original, was initially designed for Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley to document their new marriage. After the couple pulled out of the show during early filming, Joe Simpson, Jessica's father, contacted MTV and proposed the show to star Nick and Jessica as they weathered their first years of marriage. Jessica claims that they decided to do the show in an attempt to promote her upcoming album, In This Skin as well as Nick Lachey's first solo album since his boy band days, SoulO. This tactic eventually proved successful for Simpson as she re-released the album and it reached number two on the Billboard charts and gave her a name in the music industry. Unfortunately for Nick, SoulO earned poor reviews and a significantly lower number of records sold.
With over forty one episodes aired over the course of four seasons, each drawing an average of over two million viewers, audiences were given an in depth look into the lives of the now infamous pop star duo. The show gave a candid and intimate glimpse inside the rarely publicized lives of two famous pop stars. Newlywed's followed the lovable twosome on every adventure they faced in the first year of their marriage including their first camping trip and even their disagreements involving how their multimillion dollar home should be decorated. The two were documented vacationing everywhere from Atlantic City for OktoberFest to Scottsdale, Arizona for some upscale downtime with longtime friends.
Despite some of the negative publicity surrounding the show, as some critics claimed Jessica to be putting on a facade for the camera, most people found Jessica endearing and loveable. Unfortunately for Nick Lachey, the show initially did little for his career and he fell short as his success was clouded by the fame of Jessica. While Jessica unwittingly twirled her hair and spent money, Nick was portrayed as a down to earth husband. While many people instantly fell in love with the couple, the twosome also had their skeptics since they were shown bickering over futile issues quite often.
Throughout the course of the first season, Jessica's frequent "blonde moment" continued with Nick Lachey rolling his eyes and either correcting or simply tolerating the confused blonde. Some of her blunders included mistaking Buffalo wings for real buffalo and struggling to pronounce the word platypus, instead calling it a 'platamapus.' Since the shows finale, Jessica has admitted to sometimes exaggerating her apparent stupidity because it had gained her so much fame at the start of the show. Moreover, Jessica's mother, Tina Simpson, has even claimed that Jessica maintains an IQ of nearly 160, registering her at almost-genius status! Even with the many callow remarks made by Jessica, the sweetheart was repeatedly shown trying to make the best of her role as wife. Often times the blonde beauty was filmed attempting to cook breakfast or dinner or compromising with Nick on which movie to watch when they stayed in.
Contrary to Jessica's frequent naivety, husband Nick Lachey was depicted as the kind, caring, and not to mention smart, husband. Although the couple had a multi million dollar fortune as a result of their high profile careers, Lachey was ever conscious about their family spending habits- so much so that he even chose to move himself using a U-Haul and the help of his brothers and friends. He was often times seen taking the 'hard way' as a celebrity and doing his own work, such as exterminating bee's and doing household chores. Lachey even opted against hiring a maid for the couple's mansion, claiming they should try to lead as normal a life as possible. Nick wasn't always the calm one though, throwing skis around and pouting after his initial attempt to learn to ski failed miserably.
Beside the obvious stars of the show, Nick and Jessica, there were frequent guests that graced the screen as well. Cacee, one of Jessica's best friends moved in with the Newlywed's at one point, causing additional quarrels and even more laugh out loud moments at the mansion. Nick's brother, Drew was also featured in many episodes as well as other members of both the Lachey and Simpson families, including Ashlee Simpson. One frequent guest star may have stood out to many viewers- producer, creator and father, Joe Simpson. Joe was seen constantly mediating his daughters schedule and hanging around the house. In one episode, Nick tries to unsuccessfully bond with the hardnosed former Baptist minister, and throughout the series, never fully bonds with his father in law.
Despite the glitz and glamour that constantly surrounded the couple, the show also stood to speak volumes about the reality of fame- the good, the bad and the normal. In many episodes, the pair partook in everyday tasks such as make an impromptu trip to Home Depot and ordering takeout for a lazy night at home. Nick and Jessica even set a $25 budget for Valentine's Day one year (which Jessica failed miserably at sticking to). Ms. Simpson spent much of the series lounging around the house in sweats and T-shirts sans makeup and a fancy hairdo. Jessica came home once, much to Nick Lachey's dismay, to wash the new sheets she had just bought- for a shockingly outlandish price totaling over $1,400. There were also times when fame got in the way of the happy couples bliss. In numerous episodes, the pair are forced to leave the restaurant or establishment they are at because there are simply too many people vying for a glimpse of the two.
Unfortunately for the couple, the all too familiar ending to celebrity marriages was bestowed upon Nick and Jessica- some claim in part to the Newlywed's show and the stress of having cameras following the pair constantly. The couple have since claimed that filming was oftentimes stressful as they could not readily have intimate moments or private conversations due to contractual obligations with the show. In a sit down interview with Rolling Stones months after Jessica filed for divorce, Nick claimed that the show had altered their perception of reality and all but blamed the divorce on the show: "Jessica and I began playing these parts even when we were by ourselves. It became a really blurred line. There was a question about what truly was our reality." Despite neither of the two officially claimed Jessica's father, Joe Simpson was partly to blame for the demise of their marriage, many diehard Newlywed's fans have concluded that he was a major factor. It has been said that he was so unhappy with the two tying the knot that he would not even smile during their nuptials.
Newlyweds, which is still widely available for sale on DVD and is still considered a household name, has proven to be one of the most watched reality television shows of its time. It's laugh out loud funny and intriguing for the Average Joe. With such an endearing couple and the rare look inside a celebrities world, the show has breached boundaries formerly set by private celebs. And while the divorce for the budding stars is final, the two are sure to reap the benefits of the show for years to come, as they have both proven to be successful singers, selling over ten million albums combined.