Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blonde Ambition

The triumph of Jessica Simpson, the deconstruction of Nick Lachey, and the marketing of the self.

By Matthew Continetti
Edited by Reuben

I DIDN'T SEE "The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour" on ABC last Sunday night, but according to Nielsen, about 11.4 million other viewers did. An hour of musical numbers and comedy sketches performed by husband-and-wife team Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, the show won its time slot. It drew most of its support from that most coveted of demographics, 18-49-year olds. Nick and Jessica's warbling and wailing proved so popular, in fact, that ABC has already greenlit a sequel - a Christmas-time-is-here spectacular that will air sometime during the holiday shopping season.

The ascendancy of Jessica Simpson, in other words, is now complete. Simpson, 23, once lurked towards the back of the teen popstar pack, behind Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and even Mandy Moore. Britney and Christina's album sales were higher than Jessica's; Moore cornered the I'm-so-innocent market early on. But times change. Today it's Simpson, not Christina, who has one of the most popular shows on the MTV network. It's Simpson, not Britney, who's latest album is certified double platinum. It's Simpson, not Moore, who stars in primetime ABC specials.

Simpson is more than ascendant. She's ubiquitous. In early March "With You," a single from her album "In This Skin", hit Number 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart. Last week Simpson filmed a sitcom pilot for ABC. This week she graces the cover of People magazine's 30th anniversary issue. Last night's finale of The Apprentice, Donald Trump's reality show, featured Simpson (contestants are tasked with managing one of her concerts). On April 17, Simpson appeared on VH1's 7th annual Divas special, along with fellow divas Patti LaBelle, Gladys Night (sans Pips), Mary J. Blige, and Cyndi Lauper. Movies are her next target. Her ambition, she's told reporters, is to star in a remake of "I Dream of Jeannie", as, you guessed it, Jeannie.

WHY IS SIMPSON so rich, so popular, and yet so spectacularly talentless? She herself doesn't seem to know. "We're amazed [at the show's success], actually," she once said. "We're amazed that we're entertaining, I think." That makes two of us.

Her looks may have something to do with it. Petite, blonde, and possessed of, well, impressive measurements, she resembles nothing so much as a life-sized Barbie doll. On the other hand, she's no more attractive than, say, Britney Spears. And Simpson is less inclined to capitalize on her good looks than other young celebrities: A little research (ahem) shows that she appears more often in women's magazines than FHM or Maxim spreads.

Maybe it's her lifestyle. Remember that Simpson's career took off with the premiere and ensuing popularity of Newlyweds, the MTV reality show that follows her day-to-day life with Nick Lachey, the well-pectoraled singer who once headlined a boyband called 98 Degrees (as in hot!). The coupled married in the fall of 2002, when Simpson was 22 and Lachey 29. (CNN's Anderson Cooper has since pronounced Simpson and Lachey "America's favorite young couple.") Before her nuptials, Simpson was the postergirl for teenage abstinence. Which is partly responsible for her appeal. Attending a Simpson concert, 12-year-old Savannah David told a Wilmington, North Carolina, paper that Simpson was "a good role model. She waited until she was married to do it."

A relentless role model, oozing sex appeal. Is Jessica Simpson the dumb blonde ditz she's portrayed herself? Or is it just another calculated marketing move on her behalf to hook us into watching something quite mundane and fuelling sales of her album? Which ever the case is, Jessica Simpson is compelling by the minute.

I guess that is her appeal.


Anonymous lead marketing mlm network prospect sale said...

Hello Reuben, I've just been playing Serious Sam 2 before getting down to do some research into network marketing prospecting; on the whole I'd rather continue playing. First place I came to was Blonde Ambition so I've been having a good time reading your blog. There are some ideas that I could maybe incorporate into network marketing prospecting to make it more useful. Thank you!

11:31 pm  
Anonymous acn network marketing said...

Hi Reuben, this is my last visit on the 'net for now - I'm tired. I found Blonde Ambition by accident as I'm searching on downline mlm network marketing but I got fed up with that and I've been roaming about just reading what takes my fancy. Good blog you have here, I enjoyed my visit. Have a great day and it's back to downline mlm network marketing searches for me tomorrow.

11:38 pm  
Anonymous network marketing prospecting said...

Hi Reuben, oh dear, I'm getting square eyed here - must have been spending too much time reading blogs and robert kiyosaki network marketing information. I'm supposed to be looking for robert kiyosaki network marketing items but I find it all too easy just to click 'Next' and just see anything which is how I came to Blonde Ambition. Some blogs I just skip through but I spent a while here. Ciao.

2:09 am  
Anonymous donald trump network marketing said...

Greetings Reuben, I'm looking for information and chat about lead marketing mlm network prospect sale and came across your site. There are some views in Blonde Ambition that I can take on board. I used lead marketing mlm network prospect sale as one of my search terms which is how I came to visit your site. Enjoyed the read, I'll make note to come back again.

3:10 pm  
Anonymous affiliate lead marketing mlm network said...

Hi Reuben, oh dear, I'm getting square eyed here - must have been spending too much time reading blogs and lead marketing mlm network prospect sale information. I'm supposed to be looking for lead marketing mlm network prospect sale items but I find it all too easy just to click 'Next' and just see anything which is how I came to Blonde Ambition. Some blogs I just skip through but I spent a while here. Ciao.

11:07 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home