Why is character creation not simple? Because you keep in mind all the options and all the rules for them. The solution is not to burden new players with the mechanical parts.
What I do is the following. I do not give my players the PHB until character generation is over. I ask them what kind of character they want and build it for them. I let them describe the character and I translate it into a character sheet. Since I know the options, I can ask questions to decide between them.
Do not be afraid to go back and forth on decisions. Figure out what is important to a player. I had one player describe his character as an elven assassin from the start, but then he couldn't get proficiency in Nature or Animal handling and he didn't like that. He wanted to emphasize the woodsman aspect more, so I switched rogue to ranger for him. What is a major decision for a seasoned player does not hold the same weight for a novice.
This keeps it simple for the players, as I do any necessary optimization to make the character viable and able to do what they want them to be able to. It is also interactive, as I describe every new thing I write on the sheet and they can react to it. I think it also preserves the fun as they do not have to bother with minor rules and exceptions.
The only downside is that this is pretty much one-on-one. If you have multiple new players, make sure they pay attention to the description of skills and ability scores, so you don't need to repeat yourself. Switch between them often. First write down a race and class for each, then ability scores, etc. to hold their attention.