So after blowing two hours of my life the other night watching "Nick and Jessica's Tour of Duty" on ABC, I came to this question: Aren't America's military sons and daughters in enough peril without forcing them to withstand a frontal assault of schmaltz?
The show was so monumentally bad-yet-irresistable it nearly brought me to tears. Somewhere in the cosmic universe, Bob Hope is rising from the dead just so he can strangle himself with his 9 iron.
* A clearly baked Willie Nelson singing backup as Jessica Simpson writhed in a fringed miniskirt while overvocalizing on "These Boots Are Made For Walking." Willie, full of the lasting effects of hippie lettuce, looked at her like she was the most delicious snack he'd ever seen.
* A reunion of husband and wife soldiers separated by deployments in Germany and South Korea. Upon being reunited onstage, they hugged and kissed while Jessica exclaimed for the crowd, "She's gonna get some tonight."
* A sequence in which Nick and Jessica were helicoptered into Tikrit, only to be trapped on base by mortar fire and a sandstorm. The lasting image is one of them jumping out of the Huey, dressed head-to-toe in body armor, surrounded by guards toting M16s and one sergeant toting Simpson's Louis Vuitton bag into the barracks.
* "R&B favorite" Brian McKnight essentially making a song up while tinkling on a Korg synthesizer to the stunned silence of the audience.
* Nick and Jessica making "a special visit" to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, visiting injured men and women to thank them for their sacrifice and service. All the while Lachey was dressed in a Von Dutch trucker hat and an undershirt.
* Jessica needing a verbal spotter to get through the pronounciation of Fallujah.
* An homage to homage to Bob Hope's years of service to the troops with "a special rendition" of "Thanks for the Memories."
* A stream of celebrity shoutouts to the troops, including Paris Hilton, who needed the assistance of her former abductee/teacup chihuahua Tinkerbell to urge them to come home soon. The punctuated this with a wink and an air-kiss.
The ratings apparently matched the quality of the show:
The season finale of CBS' "Two and a Half Men" scored a 9.0/14 -- well off its season average -- at 9 p.m., and a repeat at 9:30 actually did better, averaging 9.6/14. The conclusion of "24" averaged 7.6/11 for FOX, while NBC stayed in third with "Las Vegas.". Not many people joined "Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty," 4.5/7, on ABC.
And, apparently, ratings for their marriage are flushing down the toilet like so many Qurans.
Jessica Simpson Goes Solo
By Sarah Hall
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have gone from newlyweds to newly over.
E! has confirmed that Simpson filed for divorce Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the end of her two-and-a-half-year marriage to Lachey.
The allegedly rocky state of the camera-friendly twosome's union has consumed tabloids for months, with both parties rumored to have been stepping out with others.
However, up until now, the couple had steadfastly denied the existence of any marital troubles.
The duo even appeared together Monday night in their latest ABC variety special, Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty, in which they performed for troops stationed in Germany. But it seems the viewing public is as through with Nick and Jessica as the pair is with each other--only 6.2 million tuned in to watch the couple's TV swan song, per Nielsen overnight estimates.
Then again, maybe not:
E! deeply regrets that a draft report from E! Online, which contained some false information regarding the Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson marriage, was accidentally disseminated. The couple has not filed for divorce. E! apologizes to Nick, Jessica, their families and their fans for any distress this may have caused.
E!'s groveling notwithstanding, what evidence is there for the breakup? AZCentral's Suzanne Condie Lambert supplies the roundup:
From MSN's the Scoop: Lachey was seen recently squiring Swedish singer Sofia KŠllgren in her homeland.
From Life & Style Weekly: The couple are visiting a marriage counselor. But it doesn't sound like things are going well. "Nick accused Jess of making a big deal out of everything," a source tells the magazine. "Jess said he's more concerned about hitting the town than keeping the home fires burning."
From the New York Daily News: Simpson showed up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute gala this week sans spouse. Spies noted that she was followed closely out the door by her Dukes of Hazzard co-star, Johnny Knoxville. Days earlier, she was "suspiciously cozy" with Limp Bizkit frontman/accidental porn star Fred Durst at the Hard Rock Hotel's 10th-anniversary party.
Simpson's rep, however, denies the ticking of the doomsday clock, saying Lachey is recording an album in Sweden. The rep also denies the Durst/Knoxville rumors, thereby giving us an excuse not to ram a sharpened stick into the part of our brain that produces imaginary images.
And now it can be proven: you can cross the media streams of the Daily News, the Scoop and Life & Style Weekly (whatever the hell that is) and still retain the ability to form a complete sentence. Or at least the control necessary to keep from ramming a sharpened stick into the brain.