Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Jess! I'm home! Oh Nicky!

'Newlyweds' share traits of 'I Love Lucy'

By C.E. Hanifin
Enquirer staff writer

One couple married in 1940. The other, in 2002.

But the similarities between modern duo Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey and their classic counterparts Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz can't be ignored.

Both pairs, of course, allowed TV cameras to capture glimpses of their married lives. Lachey, a Cincinnati native, and Simpson star in the popular MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, now in the second half of its second season. The couple, who live in Los Angeles, are in Cincinnati for Simpson's performance tonight at Riverbend Music Center and a private party on Thursday at Club Clau.

For their top-rated '50s sitcom, I Love Lucy, Arnaz and Ball drew on real-life emotions and situations. The CBS show, which ran for six seasons and won five Emmys, still reaches viewers through reruns.

In one show, Ball and Arnaz (who went by Ricky Ricardo for the show) went camping together and squabbled about keeping the house clean. So have Simpson and Lachey.

Cuban-born Arnaz garnered laughs with his bungling of the English language. So does the grammatically challenged Simpson, who was reared in Dallas.

Both husbands golf too much (according to their spouses). Both wives spend too much (according to their spouses).

Here's a look at a few more congruities:

Simpson and Lachey

The more successful half: Earlier this year, Simpson scored a No. 1 hit, "With You," from her third album, In this SkinHer current single, a remake of the '80s tune "Take My Breath Away," has entered the Top 10. Lachey, who said goodbye to the boy band 98 two years ago, didn't crack the Top 50 with his 2003 solo debut, SoulO.

Sleeping arrangements: Who knows? MTV's cameras are not allowed in the couple's bedroom.

Classic food mishap: Simpson launched a million chuckles when she asked, while eating a can of Chicken of the Sea tuna, "Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish"?

Ball and Arnaz

The more successful half: Network executives originally did not want Arnaz to play Ball's husband, but she convinced them, and she gets top billing. After the couple divorced in 1960, Ball bought out Arnaz's interest in the successful company they created, Desilu Productions.

Sleeping arrangements: In real life, who knows? Onscreen, the couple slept chastely in twin beds.

Classic food mishap: In the infamous "Job Switching" episode, Lucy takes a job on the production line at a candy factory. When she can't box the confections enough, she crams them down her shirt and into her mouth.


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