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Episode Guide

Episode 23:
“Palm Springs or Bust”

Anna Nicole travels to judge a male beauty contest that turns ugly real quick, plagued by cheap hotels, deadly onions, stupid questions, unfunny puppets, and getting used to being used.
(Aired May 11, 2003)

The Anna Nicole Show

Here's yet another road trip episode, and this time around the whole gang agrees that their journey went really badly. It turns out to be a parable on the trials and hardships of being a celebrity, but seeing as Anna Nicole is anything but your average celebrity, the tale is appropriately unlike any another sob story on the high price of fame. We get a taste of this even before the opening titles:

"Bunch of f***in' bodybuilders kissin' my f***in' ass only because they want to win this f***in' stupid f***in' competition, like they give a f*** about me," Anna Nicole gripes, lying on a hotel bed. "If it wasn't for this competition they wouldn't've gave me two f***in' seconds of their f***in' time."

Okay, now we get to back up and figure out how this dire situation came to pass. It seems Anna Nicole received an invitation to serve as a judge at a "fitness contest" in Palm Springs. It's essentially a male beauty contest, sponsored by a web site that we'll call A representative from the web site contacted me and my hosting provider all in a huff about the characterization of his company in this episode summary, so I have graciously offered to drop all references to its actual name. Anyone who's seen this episode knows perfectly well what the name is, but now this page won't show up in search engine results for their site, which the site's representative seemed particularly concerned about.

After being harrassed by these folks, I will make no assumptions as to what kind of site is. I believe I can safely assert that it's not a bodybuilders association and it's not a modeling agency, but it's a site featuring scantily clad male models, with a members area where one can pay to see "extra hot" photos or whatever. Draw your own conclusions. Anyway, the contest sounds like a great idea to Anna Nicole, so she heads off to Palm Springs along with Howard, Kim, Sugar Pie, and makeup artist Troy.

"I have a bad f***in' feeling about this trip for some reason," Howard says on the highway, sensing a disturbance in the Force. Anna Nicole confirms his fears when the limo pulls up to their designated lodgings, the Caliente Tropics Resort Motor Hotel.

"Oh, these are little cheapie rooms," Anna Nicole observes from the parking lot. "How embarrassing." Kimmie assures her that the contest organizers have supposedly set her up in a really posh deluxe suite, which they told her was about $6,000 a night. After checking in, they find that it's just an average dinky motel room. Please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of's hospitality, and not mine.

"If this is $6,000, they can bite me," Anna Nicole balks. Remember how unimpressed she was with the rather nice accommodations at the Harrah's Casino where Mark Norris took her, and you can understand that this is just about like asking her to sleep in a hollow tree. "This is a f***in' motel," she says as the shameful truth dawns on her. "An embarrassing motel." Please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of's hospitality, and not mine.

She laughs at the $100 casino chips left on the pillows, and later gets a shock when Kim shows her that they're made of chocolate. In Anna Nicole's terms, a free $100 chip was a paltry joke, and the revelation that it's only candy is a travesty beyond imagination. She truly lives in a different universe from normal human beings.

In fairness, the Caliente Tropics and/or did provide some other special gifts for their VIP guest. There's a big jar of pickles, some other goodies that could be doughnut holes, and most impressively, a big, plush pillow with Sugar Pie's name embroidered on it. "Sugar Pie's got it better than we do!" Anna Nicole laughs. "We got the Roach Motel and she got the f***in' pillow!" Please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of's hospitality, and not mine.

Next we get to see how dinner went out at the Caliente's poolside patio restaurant that serves Mexican/Southwestern fare. Anna Nicole orders cheese enchiladas with no onions. She has a margarita-chugging contest with Troy, who wusses out because his is the frozen kind. Then the conversation somehow turns to the familiar topic of sexual self-gratification. It's the age-old debate: men masturbate on Mars, women masturbate on Venus, and Anna Nicole still hasn't figured that out.

"First thing," she says, in a speculative monologue on Howard's morning routine, "you get up, you grab your f***in' lotion, you lube your hand, you go down, you f***in' whack off, you throw your whack-off to the back of the bed or whatever y'all do with it... then you get out of the bed, you go piss your hard-on off..."

Howard interrupts to correct her for omitting his reliance on Internet porn. Anna Nicole cannot fathom the logistics required to put online erotica to use.

"God, that waste-es the whole orgasm when you have to get up, go turn the f***in' computer on, try to get on and go to a f***in' station, find a whack-off person, look at it, then get back into bed and try to dream about it..." she says in disbelief, overlooking the male capacity for taking care of business while seated in front of a keyboard and monitor. "My God, just lay there and fantasize, dude."

How appropriate that the gang should pursue this discourse at the site of a contest sponsored by a beefcake photography web site. Anna Nicole's views here are not atypical among women, and that's why I'd bet that a preponderance of's paid membership is male. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dinner is served, and Anna Nicole remarks that Howard's exotic Mexican dish looks like "dried-up doo-doo," although he seems to like it. Anna Nicole seems contented with her own entree, until she suddenly freaks out and puts her hands to her mouth. Kim freezes with the concern of a toddler's protective mother. Anna Nicole bitterly reveals that her cheese enchiladas contain onions, contrary to her special request.

"Good Lord! I don't know how many times I have to tell people, I can't eat onions!" she bellows. "I can't, I'll die!" Good information to know, on the off-chance I ever get my dream of taking her out for the night of her life.

She sends the enchiladas back, and inevitably, the second plate comes back full of onions once again. Ay carumba. Please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of the restaurant's service, and not mine.

The next day Anna Nicole gets to meet the contestants at the gym where they're pumping iron. One of the gentlemen asks her if she's going to work out with them, and she says, "Nooo! Not today. My pants are a little too tight." The guy shoots a glance at her lower body, and you can tell he must be smugly noting that her pants wouldn't be so tight if she worked out once in a while. Assuming they aren't gay, most of these steroid-addled bodybuilder types are probably disgusted by her plump physique, but that's their problem.

The gang assembles at the Caliente Tropics' pool for what is evidently the swimsuit portion of the competition. "This contest didn't make any sense," Anna Nicole says. It doesn't seem at all clear what's going on, to anyone involved. The contestants approach her one by one, and she has to ask them "all these dumb questions" from a list she was given. It looks like an informal meet and greet, but this is part of the contest. There's no sign of an M.C. or any contest officials directing the proceedings, and Anna Nicole isn't writing down anything or marking a scorecard, so there's no way she's going to remember which guy said what for judging purposes. It appears to be a complete disorganized mess.

And as super lame as the questions are, the contestants' answers are even lamer. Anna Nicole asks one guy how big his "member" is. His response: "On top, 6 and 3/4. On the bottom, 7 and a half." Anna Nicole ponders that for a moment, then says she's confused. Hey, so am I. I've been equipped with that same anatomical feature for 33 years, and I never realized the top and the bottom could have different lengths. Not at the same time, anyway.

Of course, Howard is ready to claw his own intestines out rather than sit through this ordeal. Sugar Pie barks her head off at one Speedo-clad contender, and Howard fiendishly encourages her, "Aim low, Sugar Pie."

Anna Nicole doesn't really have a good time either. "I'd been in Palm Springs a whole day, and I hadn't had any fun yet," she complains. So naturally, that night she gets stinking drunk. She does some major partying with a few of the contestants and some various hangers-on at the Caliente. While Anna Nicole dances in a ramshackle conga line, Howard hangs out with the bodybuilders and dares to compare biceps. It turns out our scrawny lawyer actually has some muscles, and his flexing leaves the professionals duly impressed.

The Anna Nicole Show Trashed out of her skull, Anna Nicole decides she wants to go jump in the pool. Howard pleads with her to let the sound crew take her microphone off first, but she ignores him and leaves it on. She's still wired even after stripping down to her pink bra and panties (oh my), which is the closest she's ever come to wearing an actual swimsuit on the show.

Anna Nicole befriends a wild and crazy pair of sisters at the party, and in the pool she starts making out with one of her voluptuous new gal pals. On many occasions, Anna Nicole has denied that she is in any way bisexual, but obviously that's a load of crap. I believe her sexuality is too powerful and insatiable for her to restrict herself to any single gender. She wants to do everybody. Indeed, she also does some fraternizing with the bodybuilders that clearly represents a breach of proper judge-contestant etiquette.

The party gets pooped when the father of the two girls shows up at poolside. This guy has a business connection with the Caliente Tropics, and when he told his daughters that Anna Nicole was staying there, they ran over to meet her. And they definitely got to know her, too. The dad just laughs, unfazed by his "goofy girls." Anna Nicole's kissing partner, Karla, towels off and says she's going home to her 4-year-old daughter and her Marine Corps husband. How very proud they must be.

At some point after that, the police show up and shut down the pool party. Anna Nicole retires for the evening, and we get a tantalizing glimpse of her falling off the side of her motel bed wearing nothing but her panties. Nighty-night!

On the following morning, our protagonists suffer crippling hangovers. Anna Nicole is ready to get the hell out of Dodge, but sadly they "had to finish this stupid contest." Please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of the contest, and not mine. The finals of the thing are held at the Atlas Restaurant and Nightclub, hosted by Mark Peters and Madame. This guy is a trip: from what I read about him, Peters bought one of the original Madame puppets that once belonged to the late Wayland Flowers, of '70s game show fame, and he spent a year teaching himself how to do the Madame voice. He has been performing his Madame act on the comedy club circuit for the past decade. And yet, he still sucks. He makes no effort at ventriloquism, he sounds nothing like Madame, and incredibly, he doesn't even sound all that gay. That's just wrong. In a weird way I have to respect someone who can remain so single-mindedly devoted to something that they suck at.

Anna Nicole, Sugar Pie, Kimmie and Troy get seated front and center on a leopard-skin sofa of honor for the final judgment. Mark Peters/Madame (it's so hard to tell them apart) introduce the star guests, identifying the three ladies, but Troy is not so recognizable. "Is that Howard?" says the clueless Mark/Madame. "Oh, I love Howard!"

The real Howard is actually sequestered safely at a table above the stage, where he doesn't have to take the full brunt of the competition. The finalists parade out and do their dancing routines to the extended club remixes of Anna Nicole's theme song. The competition veers steeply into lap dance territory, and Troy starts to get a little grabby.

Clearly not giving a shit which guy wins, Anna Nicole gets the audience to choose to victor by their applause. Howard hands Mark Peters a verdict of his own: "Man, you were horrible. I wouldn't normally say it, but you were terrible."

Even though she's tired and ready to get out of there, Anna Nicole takes some time to meet her fans and sign autographs. "Even Howard got into the act, getting a little attention from the ladies." In the limo afterwards, he admits that these women wouldn't give him the time of day if it weren't for his association with Anna Nicole and her show.

The Anna Nicole Show In a moment of candor, Anna Nicole remarks on being exploited as a celebrity, and the lessons Kim needs to learn. "I've already been through it, and I'm trying to teach her the way through it, and she's so f***in' naive," she says. "I'm gonna have to slap the s**t out of her before she realizes that people are f***in' users."

There's definitely a lot more that went down on this Palm Springs misadventure than we got to see on TV. We can only guess, but the evidence presented in this program indicates that the gang got railroaded into this trip based on misunderstandings, if not false promises, and we get the impression that this two-bit contest wanted the cachet of a celebrity judge without giving her any real celebrity treatment. Please note that this is the program's characterization of, and not mine. Based on her misconception about the $6,000 "hotel" room and the lecture at the end, it's possible Kim helped set up this deal and innocently fell for some degree of deception. Please note that this is Anna Nicole and Kim's characterization of, and not mine. Anna Nicole's opening tirade suggests that she also encountered duplicity on the part of the contestants as well as the organizers. Please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of, and not mine.

But what comes around goes around. Even if we don't get the full story, it's very satisfying that ended up with a half-hour national cable broadcast of Anna Nicole Smith telling the world how crappy they are.

But please note that this is Anna Nicole's characterization of, and not mine.

Anna Nicole Says...
"Being famous can be pretty strange sometimes."
On Internet porn: "Why not use your own f***in' imagination?"
To Sugar Pie: "Howard has to whack off with pictures! Poor thing!"
"Why does never my food turn out?"
"Who's your mommy? Who's your mommy?"
"I've got to get away from y'all's bodies temperatures. You're making me sweat."
"If you had to be Britney Spears' mother..."
"I'm not done yet. Don't tell me when I'm done yet."
"Who poured that down my pants?"
"All right, enough with the puppet! I wanted to see some men!"
"No one loves you, no one knows you until you get somewhere and you're something, and then oh my God, they're your f***in' best friend."

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