the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

Lions Gate presents

The Anna Nicole Show: The Complete First Season (2003)

I don't care what is certain about me, just as long as it ain't true.- Anna Nicole Smith

Stars: Anna Nicole Smith
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for inuendo, sexual references, language
Run Time: 04h:52m:13s
Release Date: 2003-11-04
Genre: television

Buy from Amazon

Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ B+BB B-

 

DVD Review

While reality television still continues to produce a bumper crop of programs each and every year there are some that become ingrained in the minds of nearly everyone in America. Take American Idol, Survivor and Fear Factor as examples of reality television that have adapted a following that rivals many religions. And then you have The Anna Nicole Show, a look at the day to day dealings of America's favorite overweight, over medicated, and generally over-the-top reality star that provides laughs, sometimes unintentionally, as well as many other moments that will have your head shaking for hours.

That is about the sole purpose of this series, which originally debuted in 2002 on the E!Network, and for the most part the idea was successful. Anna Nicole Smith is now as popular as ever and she may be the first celebrity (I use the term loosely here, people) to take Warhol's famous prediction and turn it upside down. For those who are unfamiliar with Ms. Smith, here is a quick refresher: Born poor in Texas, Anna Nicole was a high school dropout who waitressed before finding success in the adult entertainment industry. Strip clubs led to bigger things including a high profile shoot for Playboy, and an eventual contract with Guess Inc. that put her in nearly every magazine in America. Then it all came tumbling down after a bout with prescription medication and a marriage to an 88-year-old billionaire who would die shortly after the nuptials.

This brings us to the Anna Nicole that is seen in the series, a frighteningly loopy individual who makes things as innocent as house-hunting seem painfully awkward. Witness Anna humping a wall in a house she's viewing and then making herself at home in the bed of the home's owners. And these moments provide a relatively tame comparison to others throughout the season: a wild birthday party for her assistant Kim (who sports a tattoo of Anna on her bicep); a day at Magic Mountain that would likely send me running from the park; and the battles with her personal designer, Bobby Trendy, are the "high points" of the first season.

While it would be easy to criticize the producers for its blatant attempt to cash in on the success of such shows as The Osbournes, there are a few moments where the series shows some heart. Scenes involving Anna's son, while cringe-worthy in her way of displaying verbal affection, are still sort of sweet in the "viewing a car wreck" sort of way. Plus, it becomes obvious over the course of the debut season that Anna Nicole truly does care about those around her, and at the end of the day what more can you say about a woman who has gone through what she has and still kept the same friends she's had since the start.

The show does become repetitive and, truth be told, by the time I got to the third disc I was ready to put the show away for good. A little bit goes a long way, to be sure, but it can be very fun in small doses and each 30-minute episode goes by in a blink.

The DVD release of the first season boasts uncensored airings, but for the most part there is little that is added here.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: As is to be expected, the transfers are fairly average throughout. Colors are done well enough except for a few moments where the excessive amount of pink looks smeared across the screen. Sharpness and detail provide nice clarity and crispness and look just as good as the show did on television. There is mild edge enhancement and I noticed a a lot of grain in several of the scenes.

Image Transfer Grade: B
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track is very, very basic—there is dialogue present in the center channel and that's about it. The dialogue does sound crisp and clear throughout, so that is at least a plus.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
9 TV Spots/Teasers
14 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Anna Nicole Smith
Packaging: Cardboard Tri-Fold
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: The largest (no Anna pun intended here) extra feature is a commentary by Ms. Smith herself. The track is as trashy as one could expect and had we not been slightly inebriated while watching, I am not sure my friends and I would have gotten such a kick out of it; it is evident that Anna is just all over the place and perhaps she has had some beverages of her own. The track covers no real ground, it is like an audible train wreck.

Each episode includes deleted scenes that are funny and uncensored, but they are very repetitive after awhile as they serve no real point. Finally, a collection of nine television spots have been included.

Extras Grade: B-
 

Final Comments

It's trashy, it's fun, and it does help if you are inebriated while viewing, but overall The Anna Nicole Show is worth a purchase if only because everyone needs something this deliciously kitsch in their collection. Recommended.

Kevin Clemons 2004-01-07