The Patch

February 11, 2007

Sunday 11th February 2007

Filed under: Celebrity/TV — denesha @ 1:55 pm

On Thursday, Anna Nicole Smith, former Playmate and Guess model was found unconscious in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida. She was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital but she later died. She was only 39 and she is survived by her 5 month old daughter, Dannielynn and her boyfriend/lawyer, Howard K Stern.

I can’t even begin to understand the events surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith. So much has happened that I’m overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of scandal involved. Her life, and indeed, her sad death were like a bad foreign soap opera that doesn’t make any sense to me.

The Death

Footage of her death was bought for $500 000 and the video shows an unconscious Anna Nicole Smith being wheeled out of the hospital and transported into an ambulance. Even till the very end, her life was played out for the cameras. An autopsy was carried out on Friday morning and a press conference was held by police investigating the circumstances of her death. Apparently, there is no evidence pointing towards her death being the result of a crime, while a medical examiner said there were no drugs found in her stomach. The medical examiner also went on to say that there was no evidence of long term drug abuse. Despite the autopsy, there is still no conclusive reason for her death and this can only be determined after further tests and ‘medical questions’ are answered. Her body will be preserved until the results of the paternity test of her daughter are received.
The inconclusive nature of the autopsy has only fuelled speculation over the cause of her death. Some claim Howard K Stern was behind the death of both Anna Nicole and her son, Daniel. Others suggest it may have been a suicide caused by depression over her son’s death in September and the impending legal battle with ex boyfriend, Larry Birkhead. The more disgusting conspiracy theories say that her dead son was also the father of her newborn baby.

The Legal Battle and Her Daughter

The paternity battle over her daughter remains unsolved. Both Larry Birkhead and Howard K Stern claim to be the father of the 5 month old baby and whoever is found to be the father, will gain custody over the child and her rumoured fortune. Howard K Stern is named as the father on the birth certificate but Birkhead has launched a legal fight to force Stern to submit the child to DNA testing. On Friday, the whole thing became even more bizarre with Prince Frederic von Anhalt, (also known as Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband), said that he could be the father of the baby. Even if Dannielynn is handed over to either Stern or Birkhead, von Anhalt will launch a further legal battle for custody. I’d click on the link for this story…it gets a little bit more gross when you read the part about von Anhalt attempting to adopt Anna Nicole to make her, his princess and his daughter.

Moving on from the Anna Nicole Smith related drama, which will no doubt dominate all entertainment news outlets in the coming months….Here is my review of Party Animals on BBC 2, 9pm on Wednesdays.

Party Animals
Last week’s pilot was a blur to me. I even Sky Plus-ed it and watched it over two days. It was a just a blur of generic looking people flashing on screen until one of them got run over. Suddenly, the show became a bit clearer to me. I still had no idea where they were going with the characters, why the Indian girl has an awful fringe and how the researched knew the MP before he started working for her…but the cocaine addicted political lobbyist just got run over, so I’m intrigued. I’m officially the lowest common denominator!

I am a sucker for political dramas. Well, that’s a lie. There will only ever be room in my heart for one, and that is The West Wing. I love it. I love Aaron Sorkin. I loved every single one of the characters. Now that The West Wing is over, a hole has been left in my heart that no amount of vintage Sam Seaborn can fill. So, I decided to give Party Animals a chance to impress their image upon my heart, if only for a while. A rebound relationship, if you will. It was this hope that it may just have the goods to keep me entertained, which compelled me to give it a second chance. That and the fact that I believe any show that kill off a main character in the first episode has huge balls.

It’s a mediocre show. It was a mediocre show when I first watched it. It’s still a mediocre show. Yet, why is mediocrity such a bad thing? The show had moments of goodness, some moments of badness but nevertheless, it was a reasonably entertaining way to spend 50 minutes. The opening scene and moments involving the two brothers, Scott and Danny Foster are comforting in a friendly, family scene kind of way. Almost all of the characters seemed to just speak their lines, with minimal acting except perhaps, from Raquel Cassidy who plays Jo Porter, the Labour MP/ super bitch. Merely speaking lines is not necessarily a bad thing if you’re working with a good script, but at times the dialogue was strained, contrived and generally ghastly. For example, Ashika and Scott Foster who bonded over watching the aforementioned coke addict/lobbyist get run over, meet again at Foster’s flat. The dialogue had potential; the actors were competently conveying the uncertainty that follows being more than strangers but less than friends and the banter was developing quite well. But then, it got a little forced. The conversation went from Girls Aloud and trainers to “you’re not coping well, are you?” Josh and Donna would never say that to each other. It just didn’t sit right as conversation does not usually switch from mild flirting to a discussion of grief straightaway; there is at least a five second rule of silence! It didn’t flow, but maybe, I’m being too harsh. Life doesn’t always flow; conversation doesn’t usually follow the Sorkin-esque banter constraints and sometimes, the mere mention of Girls Aloud is enough for one to contemplate death.

As far as good moments go, the episode had a fair few of them. The gay, Conservative staffer, Matt Baker (played by Pip Carter- his name excites me with Dickens-like fun so it deserves a mention) has good timing when paired with Ashika (played by Shelly Conn). The pair provided me with the most laughs during the episode, especially when Matt tells Ashika that their boss’ wife keeps bees. Her eyes shift towards the bottle of honey given to her by her boss/lover instantly and any girl watching could identify with the sheer kick in the stomach, she had just been dealt. Later in the episode, an old school Conservative MP, called George Morgan, publicly called James Northcote, the David Cameron style character whom Matt and Ashika work for, a ‘silver spooned softie’ prompting ill feeling between the two MPs and their staff. There is an altercation between George Morgan’s staff and the pair in a smoky pub,and the show almost makes a nice comment on whether the nature of the Conservative party is really changing, and if politics will ever fully accept an Asian woman and gay man. This socio-political moment is skipped over quite quickly (but is brought up later) and instead we get a nice little insight into their friendship which could be developed quite well. The altercation in the pub had genuinely compelling consequences when Ashika is talking to George Morgan, following her role in leaking information that damages his character’s reputation. He tells her that she will soon be receiving an apology from his Chief of Staff, regarding the racist and homophobic comments made in the pub. He says in all seriousness, “he had a girlfriend from Tahiti once” as if it absolves his staff of any racism. It was an extremely funny moment and for that alone, I shall be watching Party Animals again on Wednesday. Its still mostly mediocre, but mediocrity with potential for more.

This reads like a school report, doesn’t it?


1 Comment »

  1. another nice one 🙂

    Comment by Amie — February 12, 2007 @ 3:58 am | Reply

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