Sunday, August 11, 2002

I confess...I watch it. I have tuned in to both episodes of the Anna Nicole Smith Show on E! It seems the shows producers are making an attempt to cash in on the popularity of a similar reality show on a competing network: The Osbournes.

But while Ozzy and Co. demonstrate genuine affection, love and support for one another, the Anna Nicole Show seems to have just the opposite. There seems to be very little genuine affection in Anna's remarkably bizarre world. She coos to her son...and her assistant...and her lawyer...and her dog. She humped a strangers bed. She gave the ashes of her dead husband a personal tour of her new home. But I get the distinct feeling that all the people she has direct, repeated contact with are reluctant to get too close. Even her son gave her a half hearted hug and then retreated to his room in this last episode.

Sure Anna made a feeble attempts at parenting (by reminding her boy that he must attend to his studies before he attends to his game console) and even gave him a high five as he made his retreat. But the way she interacts with the people she is closest to seems like the way she may have acted with patrons in the "gentleman's bar" she used to work at. It seems like acting.

The way the show portrays things, it seems that poor (and I use that to describe her lamentable social life only) Anna spends most of her time with her dog, her lawyer, her assistant and her decorator (the freakish Johnny Trendy). Her son is a peripheral character. She has not had sex in two years.

Compare this to the Osbournes where the whole family goes on tour together. Jack and Kelly hang out together. Support and torture each other. Ozzy and Sharon seem very affectionate in ways that make it clear they have a decades long association. To the dismay of jack and kelly, it seems that Mom and Dad probably do it on a regular basis.

The common threads are endless. Reality based TV about the daily lives of celebrities. Both shows prominently feature a plethora of pets. There are some weight problems on each side. However, The Osbournes answers a fascinating and legitimate question: what is life like when your dad is a rock star who once bit the head off a bat? The Anna Nicole Show is just a vehicle to watch the trainwreck tribulations of a plump former Playmate.

It isn't pretty but it's hard to look away.


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