'Eric & Jessie' The New 'Newlyweds' Thanks To Mildly Famous Stars Eric Decker & Jessie James

With a beefy NFL jock and a sexy pop star on a reality show, E! probably aims for Eric Decker and Jessie James of Eric & Jessie to be the Posh and Becks of the United States. But they’ve really ended up with more of a Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey in Newlyweds thing going on (may that show rest in peace). And that’s a good thing. Of course, nothing is exactly like it used to be; when Nick and Jessica first hit the MTV airwaves 11 years ago, reality TV ­— at least the variation that followed people in their “normal lives” — was still a fairly fresh concept. Can you even remember a time when you didn’t know what every housewife in every major city in America’s first and second nose looked like? Never look back.

Now we know everything about our reality stars, and in that way, Eric & Jessie still has a fresh angle: nobody really knows who they are. They've been picked to have their lives followed seemingly because they have *gasp* quirky personalities and *double gasp* interesting career tracks. They're not total pop culture nobodies though: Jessie is a pop singer with a few songs that you know, but forgot existed; and Eric is a top NFL wide receiver, formerly of the Denver Broncos and little notoriety outside Monday Night Football, currently drafted to the New York Jets and starring in a reality show about his life. And yet, I had never heard of these people in the same sentence until the second season of their show. That Eric & Jessie was picked up for another round on the Kardashian network without anyone every really watching the first is probably reason enough to check it out on Sunday nights. But we can think of a few additional reasons to the tune of "Sweetest Sin"...

Jessie knows how to work both sides

Jessie has clearly studied up on her Newlyweds handbook. Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson just might be the last lovable reality TV couple, and girlfriend knows it. She also probably noticed that things didn't work out so hot for them — as a couple that is, they both seem to be doing great now — so she's made the slight adjustment of just playing both parts of the relationship. She plays the silly, no filter card like Jessica ("Would you want to sleep next to a toilet?"). But like Nick, her actual career hasn't taken off quite like her all-star spouse, so she cares more about making this show work and keeping a healthy relationship. She's wearing pregnancy well in Season 2, in that she's not afraid to still sport a tribal print, and she keeps she and her husband on track with a very straightforward form of sass.

OK, but Eric too…

I'm going to shoot you straight, Eric is mostly playing the eye candy here. Just as Nick Lachey skimmed a pool with great aplomb, Eric plays his designated role well too. And now that he's a dad, well, the cute factor is unstoppable. With Jessie hogging all the personality-driven screen time, it opens the doors for Eric to occasionally talk about the stresses of being a hot shot football player on the show and dance around with his main squeeze, baby Vivianne, offscreen.

They're ones to watch

Probably the most interesting thing about Eric and Jessie is that they both have careers audiences can be interested in, both for their strives and successes. Personally, I have a kind of perverse interest in the former one-hit-wonder Pop singer, trying to transition into a successful Country career while eight months pregnant. But just like Khloe and Lamar before them, watching the couple deal with the inconsistency of being a professional athlete, even a really good one, is an interesting peek behind the curtain on the other half.

Jessie James Decker on YouTube

Images: E!; Instagram/jessiejamesdecker