The Anna Nicole Show Fan Site

Episode Guide

Episode 22:
“For Art’s Sake”

When Anna Nicole reluctantly reveals her artistic abilities in a gallery exhibition, the ensuing brush with greatness paints her into an impressionistic pair of reunions with unpalatable men from her past.
(Aired May 4, 2003)

The Anna Nicole Show

Somehow it felt inevitable that Bobby Trendy would return. Whenever a bad guy is left alive and kicking at the end of a "final" battle, you know you haven't really seen the last of him. And the E! producers obviously love him too much to keep him out of the show for good, regardless of what the stars of the show might prefer. So here he is again. But the big story in this episode isn't the encore of Trendy the asshole -- it's the debut of Anna Nicole the artist.

The Anna Nicole Show Anna Nicole has been involved in painting for a long time, and this interest has come up many times in the course of the series. When she first met Bobby Trendy back in Episode 2, in fact, she showed him a portrait of Larry King she had painted. The opening scene of Anna Nicole painting in bed is actually an outtake from Season One's Vegas trip. (Note Kim still has her purple hair.) Anna Nicole is kidding when she says that black canvas is a finished work called "After Dark." It's just a preliminary background that she then painted a scene on top of.

I think it's fascinating that Anna Nicole has discovered this creative outlet for herself. She doesn't just sit around watching TV and eating pickles all the time -- she has this constructive hobby that's very meaningful to her. It doesn't matter whether she's any good at it or not. Most people are too lazy to stick to any kind of arts and crafts pursuit, and with Anna Nicole's generally slothful personality, it's commendable that she works diligently at a personal endeavor that requires creativity and imagination. Far too few of us can say the same about ourselves.

"I paint when I'm stressed out," Anna Nicole says as the camera pans a room at her house packed with her canvases, "and as you can see, I've got a lot of paintings." I'm definitely not the best qualified critic of her artwork, because I'm so biased towards loving just about anything that she does. But I do like her paintings. I'm not saying they're great art, and they are certainly very primitive, but they have a nice charm. They're not as random and clumsy as the paintings of a kindergartner or a complete amateur, and some of them show a strong sense of color and visual composition. They're much better than one might expect, anyway.

The Anna Nicole Show The premise that gets this episode rolling is that Anna Nicole decides to get some of her paintings framed, presumably just for exhibition in her own home. The gang takes a selected stack of her canvases to Decor Art Galleries in Studio City, and gallery owner Lynne Crandall gets quite excited about the pieces. Lynne compares her various works (somewhat questionably, of course) to Van Gogh and Matisse. She asks about a painting that Anna Nicole mysteriously calls the "Spanish Lady," which previously appeared in the intro to Episode 4.

After showing Anna Nicole some frames, Lynne suggests that she should consider having a gallery exhibition of her work. "Don't even mention a showing," Howard says, cutting her off. "She'll have a heart attack." He and Anna Nicole have apparently had this conversation many times before. Howard claims that he has always thought her paintings were great, and he probably does, but maybe he also saw an untapped opportunity there for Anna Nicole to rake in some extra bucks.

Lynne asks her why she doesn't want to put her paintings on display. "Because they're just for fun, they're not for showing," Anna Nicole demurs with uncharacteristic bashfulness. "They're not good enough." And this is the key: she loves painting and gets tremendous satisfaction from it, but she has no illusions that she is a great artist. Her paintings are a rare facet of her life that she doesn't feel confident in sharing with the world.

But Lynne persists, and finally Anna Nicole tells her she'll think about having a showing. "That's better than we ever got out of her before," Howard says. "To me that's a yes." And in the end she does agree to having an opening at Lynne's gallery. What we don't learn until the end of the episode is that Anna Nicole is donating most of her proceeds from the showing to one of her favorite charities, Aid for AIDS. She probably wouldn't have been convinced to do it otherwise.

The Anna Nicole Show On the day of the show, Howard and Lynne get together to prepare a price list for the pieces in the exhibit while Anna Nicole gets ready. Lynne decides to start the pricing at $1,200, with most of the pieces set at $1,500 or $2,000, and the largest works going for "at least $5,000." Howard seems concerned as to whether people will really pay that much, but Lynne has no doubts. Lynne writes down arbitrary painting names for the price list, like "White Flowers" and "Blue Flowers." She is stumped by an painting of an arboreal animal, guessing that it may be a wolf, a possum, a coyote, a cougar, or a koala bear. Howard screws with her and tells her it's a polar bear, and Lynne actually writes that down. She may know art, but zoology is obviously not her strong suit.

It's a shame they didn't get Anna Nicole to title all the paintings herself (or maybe they did afterwards), because with works of modern art in particular the title is such a crucial element of the piece. I mean, how would anyone have known the Spanish Lady was a Spanish lady unless the artist told us? But maybe Anna Nicole isn't into titles. She seems eager to let Lynne and Howard handle has much of the exhibition arrangements as possible, and would rather not even attend it herself.

Looking spectacular in her strapless silvery gown for the event, Anna Nicole piles into her limo. Sitting there alone, she suddenly breaks into a spirited rendition of the Oscar Meyer Wiener song. The cameraman, caught off-guard, reacts quickly to capture this impromptu gem:

Oh well yeah...
I wish I was an Oscar Meyer wiener,
'Cause that's just what I'd always like to be.
'Cause if I was an Oscar Meyer wiener,
I wouldn't have to go to the gallery.
Hands down, that's my favorite part of the episode! Here's a beautiful woman in a fancy evening gown on a very important night, who just randomly starts singing an old commercial jingle. At first it seems like it may be evidence that she really is as brainless as people accuse her of being. But then she turns it into a surprise commentary on her nervousness about the art opening, and it rhymes and everything. Anna Nicole's not stupid, folks. When she's left alone to do her own thing, she's clever and funny as hell. Oh, how I adore her. (Swoon... sigh...)

But she's not an Oscar Meyer wiener, and she does have to go to the gallery. On the way there, the gang ponders what they'll do if no one shows up for the opening. They needn't have worried. When the limo pulls up to Lynne's gallery, the place is packed with friends and art lovers who have turned out for the show, entitled "One Night Stand: The Paintings of Ms. Anna Nicole Smith."

"I was so happy when I walked in there," the artist says. "I saw so many friendly faces. It put me at ease and I knew nothing would ruin that night." The crowd is chock full of familiar folks from past episodes: Valerie the waitress with her baby Ruth, Anna Nicole's neighbor Kris, Dr. Amazing, Pol' Atteu, and even camera-shy Daniel is there to support his Mama. But the most noteworthy figure at this guest star reunion is definitely Claude Dauman, whose return is even more unexpected than Bobby Trendy's, and much more entertaining. Whereas Trendy gets all the hype and the flashbacks at the start of the show, the producers just slip in Claude's appearance and trust the viewers to remember the blind date episode for ourselves. Anna Nicole greets him with genuine affection.

"Your work is just impeccable," Claude enthuses, the same old millionaire dork we know and love.

The Anna Nicole Show "Oh no, it's screwy!" Anna Nicole protests, putting a hand to her head. "They made me do this. They totally made me do this. I didn't want to do it. I paint like a child!"

Claude assures her that she's much more talented than that. Belatedly he remembers to introduce her to his new girlfriend, Cindy. "We're definitely making an offer on the baby," Claude says. Anna Nicole's wacky portrait of a cheerful, Popeye-limbed infant proves to be one of the most celebrated pieces in the exhibit.

"Part of having an art opening is schmoozing the crowd," Anna Nicole tells us, "and sometimes the crowd schmoozes the artist." Here we get a series of various L.A. hipsters valiantly kissing her ass. Howard introduces her to art dealer and Andy Warhol specialist David Galgano, who seemingly name-drops Andy Warhol every other time he speaks. Galgano is effusive in his praise for Anna Nicole's work. "What I love about your work, even like with Andy, you paint what you love," he observes. Galgano tells her he plans to buy one of her flower paintings for his own home. "I'm going to hang it right next to like a Rauschenberg, so you're like, you're totally in."

Warren Cuccurullo, a noted guitarist who has worked with Frank Zappa, Missing Persons and Duran Duran, announces that he too intends to purchase the baby painting. A young woman who works for some talent agency (requisite name-drop: Halle Berry) bends Anna Nicole's ear with her personal "passion project" to cast Anna Nicole in a sitcom with Sally Struthers. No, seriously. Anna Nicole nods politely at this ridiculous pitch. It's amazing how gracious she is in handling showbiz pinheads like that.

Claude comes back around for another chat, this time without Cindy beside him, so he's free to gush about how he misses Anna Nicole and how they should get together for coffee sometime. He's still got that desperate puppy love in his eyes, but honest to God, who can blame him? Anna Nicole again demonstrates remarkable poise with his hopeful advances, never letting on that she gone so far as to hold a dating competition on live TV to keep from going out with him again.

And then, as the opening brass fanfare of Delinquent Habits' "Return of the Tres" unmistakably tells us, it's time for the return of the Trendy. "I guess my fairy tale night wouldn't have been complete without a wicked witch," Anna Nicole intones. "So I sent my knight in shining armor to vanquish the beast."

Howard has gotten word that the Luxurious One is hanging around outside in front of the gallery. It's not clear if Bobby is trying to get in, but Howard is launching a preemptive strike. "Sorry Bobby, it's a private party," he announces to Trendy and his small group of friends loitering on the curb.

"I wasn't coming in here," Bobby quietly says, trying a little too hard to sound innocent. He swears that he and his entourage were just passing by.

Howard doesn't buy it and accuses Bobby of seeking publicity for himself by showing up at Anna Nicole's art opening. Howard rapidly gets overheated and starts flinging insults: "Bobby, this isn't a Clearasil ad."

"Howard, this isn't a nose job ad," Bobby retorts, predictably, "and how was it being fired from the law firm?" Howard charges Bobby with making all sorts of false statements about him, such as telling the press that Bobby has a restraining order against him.

The next sequence of events gets confusing. During their argument, Bobby pauses to address someone standing behind Howard: "Maybe you should get a ladder." A female voice replies, "Oh, really?" A moment later the same unseen woman tells Howard to move out of the way, and she throws a drink right in Bobby's face. "A ladder?" she says. "A ladder?" The drink-thrower may have been Howard's sister Bonnie, who was trailing behind her brother when he walked out to confront Bobby. But that's just a theory.

Stunned and dripping wet, Bobby says he's leaving and walks off to his car. You'd think that would be the end of the fight, and really it should have been. But it wasn't over yet.

The Anna Nicole Show "After I was in my car leaving, on my own accord," Bobby says, "Howard was pounding on the window." And this is where Howard shows that he's a bit psychotic. He had succeeded, with the aid of his mystery female accomplice, in his objective of getting Bobby away from Anna Nicole's art opening, and yet he stands on the side of the road at the open window of Bobby's Jaguar and continues haranguing him.

The two adversaries go around and around about alleged restraining orders and letters of forgiveness and statements made to the media. Blah, blah, blah. Howard is blind with anger and hatred, but he does make at least one sound argument: it's no coincidence that Bobby showed up at Anna Nicole's gallery opening. And the fact that he was miked suggests that the show's producers helped arrange his appearance without notifying Anna Nicole and Howard.

Howard finally acts like he's done ranting and he's going to let Bobby leave, but then he comes back and starts into it again. Bobby gets out of his car to face him, and that makes Howard uncomfortable. In his blathering, Howard reveals that one reason for his grudge is Bobby's efforts to hijack The Anna Nicole Show for his own ends. "Oh, let's make this show about me!" Howard mocks. "You're a f***in' clown."

"I am not a clown," Bobby says. "You're unemployed, Howard. Howard's unemployed!" I don't know if there's any truth to Bobby's claim that his law firm fired him, although it would help explain why he grew the goatee and got all slovenly for a while. Howard never directly denies it. But he walks up to Bobby and quietly makes this surprising statement in response:

"Actually, one of us is on the TV."

So on some level, Howard actually thinks of appearing on the show as his job and considers himself a television personality, and he's willing to throw that in someone's face during an argument. True, Howard could just be saying that to get Trendy's goat, but it is a change from his stance that Anna Nicole is the only star of the show.

At this point, Bobby has the golden opportunity to get in his car and drive away, and come out looking like the lesser of two assholes in this confrontation. But as he's done with some many other things in his day, he blows it. Bobby can't gracefully walk away when there's a camera trained on him. He just can't help himself. In rapid-fire succession, he plugs his in-development TV show, his web site, his store, and other various projects. Then he imitates Anna Nicole's famed preening on the hood of the Jaguar she received as Playmate of the Year. "This was Anna, a few years ago," he says haughtily. "Now it's Bobby Trendy."

He yells at the woman who threw the drink at him, calling her a "bohemian bitch." Next he says Anna Nicole "can kiss my white ass," and in the same breath thanks her for making him so rich. Bobby boasts incoherently about selling more pink beds and buying a new Palm Springs home and an Aston Martin before peeling out into traffic. In his wake Howard whoops and applauds like a jackass, winner of the war of the dickheads.

Whew. This marathon melee marks the first time The Anna Nicole Show has ever gone from one commercial break to another without a single frame of its star. All I've got to say is that the program suffers in her absence.

Back at the gallery, Warren Cuccurullo has bought the baby for a cool $4,000. I guess Moneybags Dauman couldn't hang with the obscure rock star. As the evening draws to a close, the representatives from Aid for AIDS are very pleased with the generous funds Anna Nicole has raised for their cause. Howard surveys the group to affirm that he was right to talk her into having the show and she's not going to kick his ass.

"Was this a success for Anna Nicole?" he asks. Everyone agrees that it was. One onlooker says, "Yes! And for art! And for women!"

I don't know if I'd go so far as that, but she definitely came out of this little adventure smelling like a rose. All along, she maintained the proper perspective on her work as an artist: it's just something to do for fun, and she's not good enough for anyone to make a fuss over. If she's right, she managed to fool a whole bunch of status-crazed Hollywood phonies. If she's wrong, she's an undiscovered genius. Either way, she wins.

It's highly illuminating to compare her and Bobby Trendy in this episode. Each of them possesses artistic "talents" of arguable merits, but Anna Nicole is the only one who admits it. She only agrees to exploit the situation for the sake of having a good time and raising money for charity, but Trendy habitually lies, cheats and screws people over in his self-obsessed drive for personal glory and wealth. In case there were any lingering doubts left over from Season One, this episode seals the verdict: Bobby Trendy is an evil and pathetic little whore.

Anna Nicole Says...
"I love to paint. I love taking a blank canvas and filling it up with whatever images pop into my mind."
"Like any great artist, I go through a lot of phases. I had my nudist phase, my animal phase, and my cartoon phase."
"She went through frame after frame after frame, and I gotta tell you, my paintings made every one of those frames look good."

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