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Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey

In 'Newlyweds'

Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey give one of the year's Great Performances

We confess, it wasn't love at first sight with Nick and Jessica. It was more like ''Who are these total B-listers and why do we care that they got married?'' at first sight. But then it happened: MTV's Newlyweds became our sweetest sin. Each week, Jessica wooed us with her charming malaprops (one word: platymapus), money troubles ($750 underwear?), and food issues (say it with us now: Chicken of the Sea). ''I know I'm a ditz,'' says the 23-year-old Simpson. ''So I'm the first to laugh when somebody calls me dumb.''

But if stupid is as stupid does, Newlyweds was genius. Starring Nick and Jessica as MTV's version of Desi and Lucy, the show about married-life mundaneness somehow delivered sitcom shtick (Jessica brings her Louis Vuitton bag camping! A hung-over Nick sings at Grandma's wedding!) with genuine laughs. ''We were just living our lives not realizing how it was turning out,'' recalls Lachey, 30, who deserves an Emmy for his role of Staggeringly Patient Husband, ''and we've been entertained.'' Ditto the 2.7 million viewers who watched Nick discover, among other things, that while the li'l missus can't manage to do laundry or pick up a bath towel, she can sure funk up a bathroom.

Since the show's debut, their love story has become big business, with merchandising in the works and a new ABC sitcom deal for Jessica -- not to mention another season of Newlyweds in January. Whether their wedded bliss lasts 50 years or just 15 more minutes, one thing's for sure: Jessica, we'll always love your stinky ass.

Originally posted Dec 26, 2003 Published in issue #743-744 Dec 26, 2003 Order article reprints
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