Anna Nicole’s Reality

Lessons from Trash TV

“Anna Nicole Smith is busting out with a wild new reality sitcom. It’s the place where pop culture and cleavage converge, so tune in and stay abreast of Anna Nicole’s big adventures.”
— Program description from e! Channel Web site

Although the program description above says it all, there are really only two points to make about the new “hard-to-believe-this-is-really-someone’s-reality” show “Anna Nicole,” which premiered on the E! Channel recently, and received the network’s highest ratings. Ever.

Main Point Number One: we don’t have to watch it.
Well, actually, I DO have to watch it. How else would I be able to help my loyal BustedHalo readers stay in touch with the latest and greatest pop cultural phenomena? But YOU don’t have to watch it.

Having said that, there’s really no point in saying how mindless, banal, uninteresting, and contrived the show is. See Anna Nicole shopping for a house. See Anna Nicole trying different bathtubs on for size (clothed). See Anna Nicole’s breasts hanging out of her shirt. Look, there they are again. All one can do is sigh and yawn, in response.

But rather than question the popularity of reality TV, or for that matter, infomercials, Jerry Springer, Cops, Survivor, The Bachelor, The Osbournes, Blind Date, etc., it’s far better to realize that taste is a personal thing. Although some people simply have none, they shouldn’t be judged for their lack of it. So I will save all of us the energy and not talk about how the show is worse than one might expect, nor question why anyone would watch it, because we really don’t have to.

Thankfully, Anna Nicole is not trying to offer a “message” to her viewers, or preach to them. Well, not intentionally, anyway. But her show DID speak volumes to me. Which leads to?

“That is SO not right.”
-Anna Nicole on suicide bombers in the Middle East

Main Point Number Two: reality begins when the camera is turned off.
I’d like to address this to Anna Nicole, herself:

Anna Nicole, I’m glad you have your own reality show, and I wish you success with it (even though you lost a million viewers in your second week). I thank you for reminding me again that real life concerns the person on the inside. You also reminded me that character occurs mainly when we are outside the glare of the cameras and not surrounded by our peers. It’s when we are alone with our own thoughts and when we make those decisions and actions that really give away who we are.

It’s how we answer those questions like, “What should I watch when it’s just me, my satellite dish, and the remote?” Or, “Does it really matter if I just take things from work?” Or, “Does anyone care how I treat the most socially inept person in my neighborhood?” Our responses to seemingly little questions like these are what define our character, which is constantly evolving?or, de-volving, depending on the decisions we make. And, it’s important to note that those responses can influence future decisions. Perhaps big decisions.

I’ll probably never see your show again, Anna, so I guess this is goodbye, but I’ll leave you by saying that, much to my surprise, for a billionaire-marrying girl from Texas, you really showed me a thing or two.