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Sunday, August 04, 2002

 

Dept. of Aftershock



The wait is over, the lactating has ceased as the Bluebird of Anticipation has alighted and the Cockatoo of Actuality takes its place at the teat. [end disturbing metaphor]

The debut of The Anna Nicole Show on E! finished just moments ago. I'm still somewhat in shock, but I feel a responsibility to comment on the proceedings. I must, I must.

The show kicks off with a happy little theme song that tells the story of Anna Nicole in jingle form. It mentions the marrying of an 80-something billionaire (who disappears in a puff of smoke--from what I understand, that's how he actually died, poof! then dust) and has Anna balanced in a scale against stacks of money. It's subtle, an epic incantation in under a minute.

Then it's a half an hour of Anna Nicole trying on bathtubs for size (the have to fit just right, she's a "big girl"[her own words]), playing shamelessly to the camera, and French kissing Sugar Pie the dog. She talks as if she's discovering the words like five dollar bills lost long ago in a jacket pocket. I wouldn't feel comfortable accusing someone I don't know of taking illegal drugs, but Anna Nicole sounded like someone filled a punch bowl with dope and told her there was a Twinkie with an eight-ball center at the bottom. And there's no proof the drugs she's on were of the illegal variety--my research staff informs me the same effect can be produced by ingesting five bottles of Robitussin. But I digress. She did seem somewhat more lucid when giving her postmortem commentary on the action, but let's not split hairs between four bottles of The 'Tussin and five. Her eyes were barely open throughout, and at times it seemed that her lawyer, the improbably-named Howard Stern, was translating the druggy gobblediegook from Anna into English.

Maybe she was just tired. Dehydrated is the new euphemism, isn't it?

The biggest loser in the unfolding teledrama of the next few weeks is Anna Nicole's son Daniel. He's no Jack or Kelly Osborne, who are themselves no one's models of teenage normalcy. Daniel shyly avoided the cameras and it seemed E! tried to avoid having him feature prominently in the show, perhaps fearing the poor, awkward kid will be found swinging from a doorknob in Mom's new house. One scene had Anna Nicole phoning Daniel from her hotel after a Guess reunion party (where we get a hint of the beauty that made her famous--she still has the face, it's just puffier now), making mortifying kissy noises as she baby-talked her motherly devotion. Daniel played it off like any teenager worth his Oxy pads would, "whatevering" Mom as he clicked away at his computer, desperately trying to avoid on-camera fuel for the high school bullies who will no doubt be flushing his head down a toilet tomorrow morning.

But bullies have hearts, too, and maybe they will realize that no swirlie, brown-eye, or tea-bag can touch what Anna Nicole is visiting upon her offspring each Sunday night. They'll visualize the scene where Anna Nicole chases Sugar Pie undernearth a coffe table, her ample posterior jutting out to TV-land like two watermelons draped in velvet, shake their heads, and go pants the guy whose parents can't afford the OJ legal team.

There was some good news. Anna Nicole found her new house after shedding a few hysterical tears after discovering her dream home was out of her price range (she apparently isn't quite liquid enough for the high-rolling pad until this lawsuit thing clears up and she pockets between 40 and 600 million dollars). She did not mistakenly inhale Sugar Pie. She didn't sleep with Lawyer Howard Stern. By episode's end, her bloated carcass was not found floating in her beloved bathtub. The real final chapter of her E! True Hollywood Story is yet to be filmed. The scary thing is that for a half-hour, I half-expected that coda to unfold like a scene from a Faces of Death video.

There are happy endings on TV. After all, this is a comedy.

[Did I mention that this show could be the greatest thing ever captured on film? Hey, nobody died yet. I have to go have a tall, cool glass of milk and sort throught the full range of complex feelings I have toward Anna Nicole and her magnificent show.]



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This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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