We’ll just say it: We love E!’s new reality show, “Married to Jonas.” Yes, it’s basically “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” meets “Newlyweds.” Yes, it kind of freaks us out that anyone with any modicum of celebrity would ever invite cameras into their home. Yes, we love it anyway.
A few years ago, the Jonas Brothers were on the top of the world. They had a Disney TV show, a laundry list of uber famous girlfriends, nonstop sold-out world tours, and they were churning out radio-friendly records at the speed of light. When they went on hiatus to explore solo projects, they all lost their luster a little bit. Don’t get us wrong; they’re still famous and relevant, and with careful marketing and deft management they could easily be a household name again when their next record comes out.
But instead of relying on their music to keep their fans interested, the Jonas Brothers are doing what their early-2000s counterparts like Backstreet Boys and Hanson never had the opportunity to do. They’re capitalizing on the current obsession with celebrity-centric reality television. Joe is on The CW’s “The Next.” Nick is in talks about joining “American Idol” (and, in a tactical move, is talking about his talks about joining “American Idol”).
If you think about it, it’s genius. Instead of buckling to tabloid scrutiny, the Jonas family has found a way to control the narrative. After all, if America can turn on the television on Sunday nights and watch Joe make awkward, stilted observations about the weather to his new sister-in-law it takes some of the fun out of reimagining him as the evil villain of every new Taylor Swift song.
There’s also the fact that the show, and the people in it, are charmingly self-aware. Danielle doesn’t hold back as she explains to the audience that she is terrified of her in-laws descending on her house for family dinner. Unlike the Kardashians, who are pros at the reality television slight-of-hand game, Danielle is genuine and relatable.
In one scene, Denise Jonas — mother of the Jonas Brothers and all-around intimidating mother-in-law — is guiding Danielle around Danielle’s own kitchen, adding her own finishing touches to the meal Danielle painstakingly prepared for the family. When Danielle tells Denise that the macaroni has pancetta in it, Denise warns her not to tell Joe, who apparently doesn’t really eat pork.
“It is pork?” Danielle says. “I thought it was, like, a different kind of like, bacon.”
“Which is pork,” Denise prompts, shooting Danielle the side-eye.
Immediately, Danielle recognizes the moment for what it is: Classic reality show fodder. “That was like a Jessica Simpson thing,” she sighs. And, oddly enough, the two women, who had seemed prickly a moment earlier (likely due to careful editing) dissolve into laughter like old besties.
Their lives are packed with crazy characters, from Kevin himself, who stinks up the bathroom in the very first scene of the show, to Danielle’s father, whose lack of boundaries and obsession with eating make him seem more like a Disney cartoon than an actual human.
Though the show focuses on Danielle and Kevin, Nick and Joe signed off on the camera invasion as well, and in the end, watching the famed brothers interact with each other is the most enjoyable part of the show — particularly now that the Disney filter has been discarded. There’s just something hilarious about watching Nick and Joe blatantly ignore Kevin’s suggestions (and general existence) in the studio, and watching the former purity ring wearers offend each other by adding unmistakable sex noises to their recording sessions.
Our favorite moment is when Nick, the youngest member of the band, calmly and coolly explains to Danielle — in an extremely businesslike fashion — that she’ll need to take him and Joe and their work schedule into account when she’s ready to have a baby. It’s like they’re discussing stock options across a conference room table, not chatting about his potential niece or nephew over a pile of macaroni with secretly-pork-don’t-tell-Joe-pancetta. If Mr. Deleasa is a cartoon character, Nick Jonas is quite possibly an android robot with a hidden on-off switch that controls human emotion. It’s magnificent.
Even if you could not care less about the exploits of the brothers Jonas, “Married to Jonas” is just pure, mindless, ridiculous, hilarious television — exactly what you need on a Sunday night to forget about the fact that tomorrow is Monday. Sure, the show will probably devolve into a carefully orchestrated Kardashian-esque production without any sincerity or vulnerability. But for now, it’s celebrity voyeurism at it’s best, and we’re not ashamed to love the heck out of it.
Okay. Maybe a little ashamed.