43 minutes of unspeakable horror, "The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour" is proof that Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson have protection by some sort of pop culture unseen force. I'll happily admit that I greatly enjoy the couple's MTV reality series "Newlyweds", but it wasn't long into this recently broadcast ABC special that I'd predicted the couple had finally "Jumped the Shark". Full of bits that became cheesier as the program wore on, the piece offered a duet between Jewel and Jessica Simpson and then... a duet of "Just the Two of Us" between an embarassed-looking Lachey and Kitt, the car from "Knight Rider".
The skits don't fare much better. The opening bit has Lachey and Simpson trying to parody an old crime drama. Midway through the bit, for no apparent reason, Simpson turns into Mr. T. She turns into Mr. T. I shall repeat this, because it needs repeating. Jessica Simpson, in the middle of a drama/noir parody, becomes Mr. T. Another bit has an adult Simpson aruging with little kids that represent the now-grown stars (Britney, Christina, Justin) of the Mickey Mouse club Simpson didn't get into as a kid.
Of course, there's a few other musical numbers scattered throughout the broadcast. Kenny Rodgers is trotted out (although it looks as if he's unsure why he's there) for a duet of "Islands in the Sun" with Simpson. Simpson, a fan of Jewel, keeps trying to overdo it while a subtle Jewel merely gets through the number before being trotted off. Simpson's co-stars of the Pizza Hut ads, the Muppets, also come on for a number. Of course, there's also a chance for Simpson to promote her rendition of "Take My Breath Away".
The musical numbers aren't as much of a concern as the comedy. Simpson and Lachey try to be overly cutesy in their attempts at humor and the results are nothing short of painful at times. A creepy shaving ad parody ("Nick Lashave") has Lachey going to people's houses to shave them. Johnny Bench appears to hit baseballs into the audience, hitting people playing audience members. Just hilarious. A Western parody where Simpson plays a "psychic" bartender is best left undiscussed.
And what was the result of this program, which seemed like a massive miscalculation? High ratings and at least one more Variety special from the two in the works.
VIDEO: "Nick and Jessica Variety Hour" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality appears to be the same as the broadcast edition. Sharpness and detail are perfectly fine, with no softness or other issues. The only real concern was the occasional appearance of some minor shimmering. Colors remained bright and vivid.
SOUND: The program is presented in Dolby 2.0. Audio remains crisp, clean and fairly dynamic, if overall nothing to write home about.
EXTRAS: No supplements.
Final Thoughts: Despite being a fan of "Newlyweds", I found this Variety Special from the duo a train wreck at times. Image Entertainment's DVD provides fine audio/video quality, but no supplements. Recommended for fans, but others should consider staying away.