Many of the things that people revile about Anna Nicole Smith are the very qualities that I cherish in her. One of them is her childish behavior. I find it refreshing that someone can attain her level of international fame and still retain an unjaded, childlike outlook on life. It's not just a matter of being a spoiled baby, as Anna Nicole explains: "People always ask me about my childhood. Well, I didn't have a childhood, so I'm livin' my childhood now."
If you know anything about her early years, you'll understand the truth of this statement. Young Vickie Lynn Hogan had a rough life growing up in Texas, and had to grow up way too fast. When a person with a crappy childhood is successful enough in later life to have the opportunity to catch up on being a kid, by gosh, they deserve it. No one should begrudge them a certain degree of indulgence in immaturity.
This marvelously edited episode explores the nature of Anna Nicole's second childhood, its good parts and its bad parts. We start with the bad: a trip to the dentist. Anna Nicole's dental problems are the result of never going to the dentist as a child. Now that she has to deal with the consequences, she pouts and whimpers like a little kid. She even wears her pajamas to the dentist's office! Who knows, maybe that's de rigeur for big-time Hollywood stars when they go see their doctors and therapists.
"I hate the dentists because they hurt me!" Anna Nicole says. We might laugh at her from the comfort of our living rooms, but I know I feel the same damn way about dentistry. She's only honestly expressing the fear I harbor, and only marginally less composed that I could be in her situation. I feel her pain.
On the ride to the dreaded appointment, Howard tries to distract Anna Nicole from her anxiety by sharing the Henry Miller novel he's reading, Under the Roofs of Paris. Like dental care, reading is another pursuit that she neglected in her childhood and has developed a distaste for. On her Playmate Data Sheet, she listed her favorite authors as "The people who write my favorite soaps." Howard engages Anna Nicole's interest by discussing the erotic content of Miller's writing, and she haltingly reads a passage out loud. She only needed Howard's help with one big word -- "concierge" -- which, to be fair, is quite a doozy. Anna Nicole says the raunchy prose is "sick," but declares she might actually try to read a book like that.
The topic of sexuality moves Anna Nicole to tell a charming anecdote from her youth. I would transcribe the entire story of her special fondness for her stepfather's pickup truck, but it contains too much indispensable engine-noise onomatopoeia and giggling to render with the written word. In short, she greatly enjoyed lying on her stomach in the bed of the intensely vibrating vehicle. "I'd be gettin' off on my dad's pickup truck!" she confesses with a howl. Now that's what I call a redneck girl. Speaking as a proud Southern boy myself, there ain't nothin' wrong with that!
But then Anna Nicole has to return to the grim reality at hand, as Howard practically has to drag her from the car to the office of Nick C. Luizzi, D.D.S. The ashen-faced Anna Nicole takes two of her now-trademark stumbles, one in the parking garage and one exiting the elevator. (She trips two more times later in the show, making this her clumsiest episode yet.) Dr. Luizzi tells his patient that she's going to have multiple root canals and needs to have about 20 crowns done. Holy crap!
Poor Anna Nicole's teeth get drilled on and labored over from 9 a.m. to 12:30. She emerges from the ordeal looking as if she has crawled out of the pits of hell, and for the first time on her TV show, there can be no question that she is massively zonked out on drugs. And still she has the presence of mind to flip off the prying video camera. Good for her.
A few days later, Anna Nicole has fully recovered, and she's bursting with pent-up energy. After the general ennui regarding the botched eating contest and the harrowing dentophobia, it's a huge relief. This is the Anna Nicole I most love to see, when she's bubbly and energetic. Plus, she's wearing a super-sexy casual outfit: a little white tank top that says "Hustler" and red sweatpants with her bare round belly sticking out over the top. Yum, yum, gimme some.
We get to meet a new guest star, a blonde introduced as Anna Nicole's friend Kelly, who has come over to play. Kelly looks like she might be a porn star. Along with Kim, the girls play Twister (a breathtaking sight) and take turns jumping on top of about 500 stuffed animals. Barely distinguishable from the toys, Sugar Pie narrowly escapes a grisly death by emerging from the pile just before Anna Nicole dives in.
Next it's Bobby Trendy time. Today Bobby's delivering Anna Nicole's custom furniture. I've just realized that Bobby has his own signature theme music that plays every time he appears, a dramatic horn section-driven tune that sounds like a cross between a mariachi band and an old gladiator movie score. Very nice. Disappointingly, Bobby doesn't even say "luxurious" once this time out, but he still delivers some choice declarations along with his sofas.
"How to describe Anna's style..." Bobby ponders while we watch her amble over the back side of a new couch with her butt facing the camera. "I would say it's traditional classy... with a little bit of a Frrrrrench touch!" I'm sure Jean Paul Gaultier would concur. And here's my favorite Trendyism of the episode: "Oh my God, look at that shapely table! It's so curvy! It makes me want to go to the gym." It can really make your brain hurt if you try too hard to figure out what that means.
Bobby and Anna Nicole also discuss further decorating plans for her bedroom, such as how much of the walls they should cover in pink fur, whether there should be stripes of pink and white fur, and where they should put a little bit of leopard. During these talks, a pixelated distortion covers up something on top of the TV, right in the spot where Anna Nicole had placed the urn of her husband's ashes. It turns out that Howard the lawyer, fearing legal action from the Marshall family, has asked E! to blur out any further appearances by J. Howard Marshall II's remains. That seems kind of silly, though, since he's still an animated character in the opening titles and sung about in the theme song.
The final segment of the episode focuses on the relationship between Anna Nicole and Kim. The promo clips showed the two kissing, teasing us with a big lesbian moment, but it turned out to be a much more innocent incident. Kim says, "Your lips smell yummy," and Anna Nicole replies, "You want some?" They rub lips so Kimmie can taste Anna Nicole's lipstick, like girls at a slumber party. Anna Nicole describes how they're as close as sisters, but they still have their big fights.
Case in point: their trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, along with Howard and Daniel. Anna Nicole is all wound up for the amusement park experience, but Kim hates scary rides. Anna Nicole is determined to have fun, though, and that means dragging Kim along no matter what. The scene echoes the opening tribulations with the dentist, only now Kim is the one ridden with fear and Anna Nicole is the bad guy. It's a textbook case of psychological transference, and the irony is what makes this sequence extra funny. Consciously or not, Anna Nicole relishes inflicting terror on her hapless assistant after enduring her earlier torture. As they say, shit rolls downhill.
Anna Nicole manages to get Kim on a couple of tame rides, including a log flume ride where everyone gets soaked. Emerging from the logs dripping wet with her panties showing through her white pants, Anna Nicole has to compose herself to smile and wave curtly at a fan's greeting. There's another ride called Superman, where Anna Nicole poses for snapshots in front of wall paintings of the Man of Steel. Of course, she puts her tongue on Kal-El's butt and grabs his crotch. It raises the notion that Superman would indeed be a suitable mate for a superwoman such as she.
Kim refuses to ride the relatively mild Superman roller coaster, but later wishes she had. Her boss somehow convinces her instead to tackle the biggest and baddest ride at Magic Mountain: Goliath. Anna Nicole obviously possesses some sort of hypnotic mind control powers over Kimmie. The purple-haired assistant suffers a total freak-out on the bad-ass roller coaster and breaks down in tears. But Anna Nicole shows no mercy.
Just when Kim thinks she's fulfilled her obligations of bravery and they can go home now, Howard and Anna Nicole decide they have to go on the Dive Devil. It's one of those insane deals where you get winched up a few hundred feet in a big harness, then they let you drop and swing around until you stop or have a heart attack. Once again, Anna Nicole uses her Jedi mind tricks to get Kim up in this thing, completely against every instinct she possesses. After the Dive Devil, Anna Nicole is still gleefully skipping and bouncing around, while Kimmie is reduced to a frazzled mess of raw nerves. She tries to put the best face on it and talks about how it was good to face her fears, but that's not the end of the story.
In the closer, Anna Nicole's toothaches unexpectedly return, and she's got to go back to the dentist. Howard assures her it won't hurt a bit this time, but as Anna Nicole says over the rising sound of the drill, "Howard lied."
That's what they call instant karma, honey. The cosmic scales of justice had to be balanced. This may be the only time I'm ever happy to see Anna Nicole suffer the unhappy ending, but she really deserved it. She forgot all about her own bouts with fear when she forced Kim to confront her own, and what comes around goes around. Who knows, it might have even been that last plunge on the Dive Devil that messed up her root canal.
The moral of this story is just as plain as a Grimm's fairy tale: it's great to act like a kid and never grow up, but if your irresponsibility hurts other people, you're going to get hurt yourself. Even if you're Superwoman.