Sunday, August 22, 2004

Not-So-Newlyweds

Newlyweds used to be a marginally enjoyable guilty pleasure, as we saw for the first time that Jessica Simpson was even dumber than we suspected (if we'd ever even given it a thought), and how funny it was when Nick would have to deal with his wife's staggering idiocy.

As heavily edited as it always was, at least there used to be gems the editors could pick out to show us. Now the show seems constructed out of editing and absolutely nothing else. Every episode sees Nick and Jessica split up and dealing with their own storylines. Nick goes to a surfing invitational in Fiji (even though he's never surfed before) and Jessica goes to a video shoot in New Orleans. Exciting, huh?

Nick listens to the heavily-accented ramblings of his Fijian guide, and the soundtrack clues us in that the guy is creepy on account of his dark skin and jungle tools. Nick falls down a lot surfing but eventually stays on his surfboard. Jessica struggles to stay calm as her crew releases doves around her. She gets pooped on. This is worth half an hour of airtime by what standard? Watching marital quibbles was amusing, but now MTV splits the pair up and sends them on solo jaunts that play like home movies with fast cuts and music. Come to think of it, these days, home movies do have those things. Why is this a TV show?

As boring as it is, the fakeness still shows through. We cut back and forth from an angle inside Nick's white-water raft to an angle outside, where the cameraman who must have been in the raft has disappeared. Slick! It's like watching a movie! This makes the show feel more constructed, not less.

To make up for splitting up the "newlyweds" (How long have they been married now, anyway?) of the title, Nick is constantly paired up with his brother and Jessica has been given a friend who lives in her house for no perceptible reason besides the fact that having a fellow dumb blonde along worked awfully well on Paris Hilton's reality show (which in turn, cribbed its dumb rich blonde act from Newlyweds in the first place). Boring boring boring, and fake. Why do reality shows have to be so obvious about their fakeness? Seinfeld plays like a documentary compared to this.

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