The world has taken a turn for the worse for today’s pop diva wannabe. The shy schoolgirl days are out, and the reign of the rebel has begun. Britney Spears has given the old knee-highs the shaft in favor of a more sleazy dress and has finally confessed the truth about her virginity. Christina Aguilera prefers to get down and dirty now in her risque new videos. And of course, they both enjoy a good romp on the floor of an MTV show complete with a little tongue from Madonna. With these sly, rabblerousing vixens on the scene, there’s nowhere for Southern belles like Jessica Simpson to turn for her share of the publicity except reality TV.

Luckily for her, MTV was looking to make yet another shoddy entry into the overdone genre, and “Newlyweds,” an ‘inside’ look at the marriage of Simpson and hubby Nick Lachey (of 98 Degrees), must have seemed perfect for the next ratings boost. Sad to say, however, trite reality series like “Joe Millionaire” and “Meet My Folks” have more appeal than this sorry attempt. Viewers tune in to such drivel for the sense of daily drama entwined with romance that this reality show craze conveys. “Newlyweds” fails to provide even that basic level of superficial entertainment.

Instead, the audience is subjected to a half an hour of whiny, inane banter from the couple without even a twinge of feeling between the two. In the most recent episode, where Lachey and Simpson embark on the camping trip from hell, the most romantic thing Lachey could muster throughout the duration of the vacation was, “Of course I don’t want to switch lives with anyone else. I get to (explitive deleted) Jessica Simpson.”

But Simpson doesn’t exactly make the show any easier to stomach either. Between her incessant complaining and her habit of belching in mid-conversation, she proves herself to be a real gem on the screen. Her speech skills rank in the range of pure embarrassment with such witty retorts as “Nuh uh” and “He’s checking his weenie for ticks.”

The plotline for the show is unbelievably overused and stereotypical at best. The diva bride wants a maid at her beck and call, and her man has to stress the importance of good old fashioned housework. Lachey feels a manly need to bond with nature, and Simpson predictably whines about the bears and the dirt in the woods. While the situations may vary, the concepts remain painfully stagnant.

As difficult as it may seem, “Newlyweds” actually brings more shame to the reality TV genre. It struggles to find a shred of humor and originality amid boring dialogue and cliched situations. With Nick and Jess along for the ride, MTV confirms it has plummeted to a new low.

Review: no stars

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