The Hollywood Reporter reports that MTV has ordered a second season of its surprise-hit summer series Newlyweds, focusing on the celebrity marriage of former 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey, 29, and "pop tart" Jessica Simpson, 23, who had the smash hit "Irresistible." The second-season order consists of an additional six episodes, which will air in 2004.

The first season run of Newlyweds, which ends on October 21, has drawn some of the strongest positive reaction so far for a celebrity reality-documentary. Many of the reviewers focus on Jessica's complete cluelessness about even the simplest items and Nick's resultant frustration directed at her. A review from Christopher Kelly of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram compares Newlyweds to the classic Ingmar Bergman miniseries Scenes from a Marriage, as the couple drifts farther apart each day.

Jessica doesn't know that "Chicken of the Sea" tuna isn't really chicken, and she passes up "Buffalo wings" because "I don't eat buffalo." In one exchange captured memorably on tape, she doesn't hae any idea what "rigor mortis" is. Kelly describes Nick's reaction thusly:

The camera moves in. The emotions are easily read on our hero's face. First, puzzlement, then amusement. And, finally, the sinking horror that comes with this realization: I have married the stupidest woman on Earth.

The Boston Herald portrays Nick's dilemma in equally stark terms:

How many guys have married a helpless Barbie doll because he got off on the idea of taking care of her and later just sent up a silent prayer that she would get a grip? Welcome to the dark side of "to have and to hold."

Because of the ever-present cameras, the foibles of both are visible, in all their gory detail. Thus, when Nick complains to Jessica about the mess in the house, we see her decide to clean up -- only to spill the yucky water in the used flower vases and then have no idea what to do next. We see Nick's fleeting looks of hurt and anger when people recognize Jessica but not him. We hear Jessica complain incessantly about how her "boob" messes up her golf swing. And, ultimately, we learn that, in the unreal world of Jessica and Nick, the fact that she's become the "American poster child for imbecilic hot chicks" didn't keep her away from a second season ... and that Nick apparently has no desire to protect her from further humiliation.

Whether a second season can live up to the first in questionable. As discussed in The Oregonian, Jessica's father denies that she's "a dumb blonde," and so we expect that she'll try to look less clueless in a second go-round. However, based on the first season, Jessica may be setting herself up for a task that she can't accomplish.