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Richard Roeper Blog

Let’s pretend Jessica Simpson didn’t gain weight

In Jessica Simpson’s music videos and photo shoots, and in the atrocious “Dukes of Hazzard” movie, Ms. Simpson often appeared in bikinis, short-shorts, or cleavage-baring tops. She had an amazing body and she flaunted virtually every inch of it, stopping just short of nudity.

Why not. She’s a bad actress, an OK singer—and that’s about it. One can’t really fault her for exploiting her pretty face and her awesome figure. She’s the All-American girl flaunting her All-American hotness. Nothing new there. What’s she going to do, write a novel?┬áSimpson’s greatest fame was achieved via the “Newlyweds” reality show, in which she and now ex-husband Nick Lachey amused the public as the quintessential C-list celebrities floundering through a starter marriage. If not for her romance with Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo, Simpson would be rapidly falling off the pop culture radar.

Until we saw the “new” Jessica Simpson, that is. Wearing those high-waisted jeans and looking more like, well, a regular person than a Size 2 pop princess. Simpson had obviously put on a few pounds, though she was miles away from anyone’s definition of overweight.

A New York tabloid published a cruel cartoon that showed Simpson leaving Romo for Ronald McDonald. Some snarky TV shows had a lot of fun with the photos. More than a few bloggers made jokes at her expense. And of course the photos were hugely popular with the celeb magazines and on the Internet. Even the president of the United States was aware of the situation, joking with a reporter that he was hurt when his family was bumped off the cover of Us magazine by Simpson.

Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Carmen Electra and Jessica’s sister Ashlee, among others, started rushing to her defense. Lots of comments about how shameful it is that the media and the public were focusing on Jessica’s weight gain, and how it sends the wrong message to young girls, and how we shouldn’t be judging Jessica simply because she put on a few pounds.

Of course, Ashlee’s had a nose job, Electra’s had her breasts done, Kardashian has posed nude for Playboy and Klum’s entire career has been a celebration of her incredible beauty. (In a commercial for Guitar Hero, Klum re-creates the Tom Cruise dance number from “Risky Business,” dancing atop a table in bra and panties.) Like most starlets, models, reality personalities, whatever, these women use their looks to get work—and work really hard to look great. (True, Kardashian has a big, sexy ass. And she never stops showing it off or talking about.)

Of course we’re going to notice Simpson’s body now, just as we were encouraged to notice it when she was oiling herself up and dancing around in a bikini. I don’t think we should be mocking her or resorting to cheap jokes, but when your body of work is so dependent on your body, it’s ridiculous to think the media and the public WOULDN’T make a big deal out of a rapid weight gain.

Now watch. Jessica will lose the weight—and she’ll give an exclusive cover interview to one of the celebrity magazines, touting her fitness routine and her diet, and talking candidly about how she felt through the whole weight-gain, weight-loss thing.

And the article will be accompanied by new photos Simpson in a swimsuit or form-fitting clothes, showing off her fabulous bod.

 
 
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