Aside from wondering where fellow Judge Patrick Bromley is, since he said HE'D review the final season, Judge Ryan Keefer thinks the final season of Newlyweds is remarkably like Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage. Of course he doesn't, but can't you appreciate some sophisticated pop culture humor?
"It feels kinda weird being done with Newlyweds."—Jessica Simpson.
"It's a shame that such a pretty face was put on such a dumb girl."—The Honorable Mrs. Keefer.
Jessica Simpson (The Dukes of Hazzard) and Nick Lachey do the world a favor in this fourth season of Newlyweds: they pull the plug on it. It's euthanasia of pop music proportions. The final season of Newlyweds was recently released on DVD, shortly after the announcement that Simpson was filing for divorce (I'm not saying anything, except what a timely coincidence). So the better question to ask when viewing the final season is, were the signs already on the wall?
Facts of the Case
Well, let's dig right in. Some of the episode titles alone kind of hint at the signs to follow. Or they're just borderline stupid. I can't decide which.
• "Newlyweds Two Year Anniversary"
• "Jess Gets a Root Canal"
• "Training Daisy"
• "The Dukes of Hazzard"
• "New Year's Eve"
• "The Orange Bowl"
• "Boys Weekend in Cabo"
• "Newlyweds Together Again"
• "The Valentine's Day Budget"
• "Newlyweds Series Finale"
There isn't too much new material or wisdom that is mined from the Newlyweds show. At first (and this may still happen), I was hoping that Nick and Jessica would go through a painful ordeal, that would ultimately leave things at the Dorothy Stratten conclusion that was bound to happen, and was richly deserved. But as I watched Newlyweds, I got a deeper meaning from both people. Nick is a guy who is desperate for some marriage consummation, and occasionally presents his wife with lavish gifts in order to bring the romantic mojo back into the room. If that's not a cry for help by a protective, neglected, stalker, I don't know what is. As for Jessica, she prattles along through everyday life in a haze of shopping sprees and public appearances. All the promotion, all the "edible cosmetic" lines, all the parental exploitation in the world, has left Nick lonely and, well, neglected. So yeah, the marriage appears to be a circle of unconscious abuse by both people.
Now don't get me wrong, the couple appear to be nice enough folk. They appear at the obligatory charity appearances with smiles on their faces, and are nice to those that serve or wait on them. But I don't know how being nice despite being famous is something that a lot of people should have been watching on TV. And they seem to employ a tactic where they occasionally do day to day chores, because they're regular people, but this just isn't believable. Not having watched the entire series in a long time, I think I could count on one hand the number of times Jessica actually did SOMETHING around the house. Sure, Nick is the handyman, but that's all we see. We see Jessica go from appearance to appearance to appearance, and never spend time in the house. Perhaps that's what led to the divorce, but if I had the answer to that, I would have sold my story to People magazine long ago for a nice sum of cash.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Quick: what does my review have in common with previous reviews by Judge Patrick Bromley? Our wives both enjoy the show. If I've said anything nice about the show, it's all due to her. And besides, if these two people don't find each other attractive, then the rest of the world sucks, and we rule. She reads (and helps edit) my reviews before I submit them to my editor, and she liked this version. You should have seen the first draft of this review. Talk about dark.
Like rubbernecking at a car wreck, everyone has a perverse thrill to watching the disintegration of a marriage. Newlyweds does provide that on some level, but by and large, it's a show about people younger than most of the readers of this review, who watch as these two young people engage in commerce, sing, dance, look pretty, or whatever it is that they do, when they're not on stage.
Newlyweds is found guilty, but is sentenced to time served, as they've thrown themselves on the mercy of the court. Farewell Nick and Jessica, you're gone, but not forgiven. Or forgotten. What's the word?
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