Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
They told me to stay away. That I wouldn't like what I saw. Savant doesn't watch much broadcast
television, and wasn't ready for The Anna Nicole Show, which was heaped with scorn and
ridicule as soon as it began airing. I don't know how well it did on the E Channel; all I know is
that it got its fair share of press, and it starred the celebrity ex-model (or still-model?) Smith.
She's cleverly listed as they show's creative consultant.
The Anna Nicole Show is a half hour of emptiness plastered around a celebrity who happens to
be a celebrity because she's a celebrity, and for little other reason. In faux-verité form,
we follow Anna through her vapid pea-brained life as she does things like look for a home (reminding
all the realtors that although her inherited kazillions haven't arrived yet, they're expected). Most
of the show is padded with trips to tattoo parlors, theme parks, etc., for the simple reason that
Ms. Smith doesn't really have a life.
Once the zaftig blonde in the Guess ads in Sunday supplements - I remember the foldouts
being pretty racy - the Texan model has ballooned to Baby Huey proportions. "I'm just big-boned"
she says. Her willingness to display her girth on television doesn't seem to be a symptom of
honesty or a desire to promote the legitimacy of overweight people. She's a blob-slob marketing
an image that's supposed to be shocking and, "outrageous!" but is simply devoid of any content
Anna's unattractive because of her personality and demeanor, not because she's overweight. But
she doesn't do overweight people any favors in the image department. We constantly see her
handlers, a personal assistant and a lawyer, trying to provoke
some kind of event to make for a sound bite; she'll come out with nasty little obscene comments, or
when nothing seems to be happening, squeeze her amble bosom on cue. What a talent!
I'm amenable to the problems of losers, freaks, and people who are different. Anna Nicole Smith is
little better than a hustler making the most of a notoriety based on the dictionary definition of
Golddigging. She includes moments of supposed sadness before the ashes of her late husband, as if
the show were intended for use in court proceedings to paint her as devoted wife and not a
gravewatching ghoul. The rest of the time she behaves like the late Divine from the John Waters
films - looking for petty gross things to do, in order to appear, "outrageous!"
Anna's not only unlikeable, she's chock full of self-loathing. All those pictures of her
thin but upholstered back in the late 80s, winking and looking hot in the magazine ads, now lose
their appeal. What can you say about a woman who whimpers for herself like a spoiled,
fat Zsa Zsa, and then encourages her pet dog to strip a stuffed toy ('pull the pants off, precious!")
and hump it? I imagine even the extreme crowd mentioned the show the next day over the water
cooler, and then had better things to do. It's not real shock, just a poor facsimile.
Promising uncensored and unbelievable action, The Anna Nicole Show only delivers some
prepackaged bits of tame nudity (presumably blurred on TV). Strippers show up, and it
looks like Anna's lawyer arranged for parties with porn actresses or something, that just amount to
bitty photo ops for teasers of upcoming shockeroo content that never seems to arrive. What we get
is a brainless broad going around saying things like, "I want to orgy! I haven't made love in two
The only possible demographic for The Anna Nicole Show are men and women who want to jeer
at women as lower forms of life. It's a very hateful experience, and is to be watched the way
scientists monitor dangerous viruses under a microscope.
Lion's Gate and E's DVD set of The Anna Nicole Show is extremely well packaged, pretty in pink
as they say. The three discs have between 4 and 5 half-hour shows each, all perfectly encoded. The
production values are of course identical to the cable show; if this is your idea of Nirvana, the set
will fulfill your wildest Nicole fantasies - not. The cover is an expensive-looking print on
The Extras touted on the package are mostly outtakes - little arguments, or unused footage like
Smith standing up in the sunroof of a car to yell at the car behind.
The tagline calls the show 'America's Guiltiest Pleasure!' Half-right, maybe. The most creative part
of the show is the clever, attractive animated title sequence that tries to spin Anna as a right-on
woman making her way through a tough world. I'd say give me a big fat break, but that's what
the show does.