Is all publicity good publicity? Jessica Simpson, the beautiful but dim co-star of MTV's Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, apparently thinks so.

On October 20, Jessica decided to play up her infamous confusion about whether "Chicken of the Sea" tuna was really chicken by visiting the company in San Diego, where she signed photos -- and tuna cans -- for employees. She also appears in her new music video eating from a can of the mild-flavored (according to the company) light tuna.

Meanwhile, Jessica continues to attract attention for her utter cluelessness. In the Chicago Sun-Times, critic Richard Roeper (of Ebert & Roeper fame) notes that "whiny, low-rent diva" Jessica has become the "surprise breakout TV star of the season," largely because "saying this woman is as dumb as a box of rocks might be viewed as an insult -- to the box of rocks." One Sun-Times reader said that either "Jessica Simpson is the stupidest woman on the planet" or "she's the best actress ever."

Roeper believes that the show appeals to both regular men and women: men because "it illustrates that life with a fantasy babe isn't necessarily a dream come true" and women because "it confirms that at least some blond bombshells are complete idiots." However, women don't necessarily agree.

In the Boston Herald (subscription required), Margery Eagan opines that the show is "disheartening for accomplished and smart young women everywhere," since "all that holds this marriage together is the sight of Jessica floating around in that bikini" -- showing that "looks are in fact everything" for women. Or perhaps, "everything if there's money and minor celebrity, too." We think both genders have reason to find that prospect depressing.

In a further indication of the show's success in the U.S., Daily Variety (subscription required) reports that Canadian broadcast station CTV has picked up Newlyweds for broadcast north of the 49th parallel. No wonder, since, according to Roeper, Newlyweds attracts three times the audience of a show such as CNN's Larry King Live.

In this week's season finale on Tuesday, October 21, viewers saw Simpson's latest dim-witted moment as Jessica searched for her passport ... to go to San Diego. Yet another classic moment to go along with taking a $1700 Louis Vuitton bag on a camping trip, or paying $750 for two bras and two pair of underpants, or "Chicken of the Sea," or "Buffalo wings," or the declaration that 25 "is almost mid-20s" ... the list goes on.

Meanwhile, planning continues for the second season of Newlyweds. According to MTV, Jessica and her husband Nick Lachey will head for Harvard (and, perhaps, other Ivy League schools). Jessica and Nick will perform and hold a Q&A session in Cambridge, which will be filmed for the show.

Jessica's domineering father/manager, Joe Simpson, says the idea for the Harvard trip was inspired by the Reese Witherspoon movie Legally Blonde, in which a ditzy, spoiled young woman like Jessica becomes a surprisingly successful Harvard Law student. Uh, if Joe Simpson doesn't even know the difference between movie fantasy and real life, maybe it's no wonder that Jessica is so totally vacant.