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The Anna Nicole Show’s Bobby Trendy: The Style of Ineptitude

by Dale Sherman -- 11/12/2002
The first season of Anna Nicole Smith’s reality series has ended with low ratings, lawsuits, and bitterness. If there is one person on the show that combines all the horrible elements of the series in a repetitive, mind-numbing way, it is that of decorator and irritant Bobby Trendy. For this, Bobby gets to be the first inductee from the show into the Hall of Shame. Find out why here.

It is funny how things somehow just come together like this. Just as I was about to begin writing this article, which would induct the interior decorator from The Anna Nicole Show into the Hall of Shame, I ran across two auctions on eBay: One auction was for a leopard-skin couch that was seen in the second episode of the series, the other for what was listed as Anna Nicole’s bed. Both were listed as “Bobby Trendy’s original one of a kind custom made furniture.” Even better was the comment that the bed was “NOT a replica, re-creation or one of many manufactured. This is the real thing as you have seen on TV.”

Which is funny because the bed created for Anna Nicole by Bobby Trendy was destroyed by ANS, Kim, and Howard in Episode Eleven of the series, with the frame broken up and the fabric ripped to pieces. Yet there was the bed, completely intact, being sold on eBay. Or, rather, attempted to be sold on eBay. A single bidder attempted to purchase the bed for $12,000, only to be reminded that they had not reached the minimum bid, although they could “buy it now” for $75,000 if they had wished. They never bothered when the auction was finally closed down on November 10.

Like I said, just funny how things come together like that. It just seems to nail the whole story of Bobby Trendy in one go.

When reviewing the show over the past several weeks, most readers wrote to say what they found irritating about the program. Some said it was ANS, some stated the boring storylines, some even E!’s insistence on showing all ANS’s faults. However, if there was one person from the program that faced the tidal wave of acidic comments more than anyone else did, it had to be that of interior decorator, Bobby Trendy. Although one or two people wrote to say that they liked Trendy merely because he had the ability to upset both ANS and Howard so much, most commented that Trendy had the amazing ability to build sympathy for ANS and Howard where none normally would exist. All without his knowledge, oddly enough. What is surprising is that Trendy did not start that way when he first appeared.

Trendy was first seen in Episode Two of the series, presenting decorating ideas to ANS for her new home. He also took ANS to his shop to show off some of his ready-made furniture, including a monstrosity that would have fit perfectly in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse – a tall, leopard-skin couch. He tried to convince ANS to buy it, but we never saw the couch make it to the house during the series. In all, the second episode ended with Trendy being set to supply the house with furnishings during the next few weeks.

That never happened. Instead, in the weeks to come, Trendy appeared nearly every episode having screwed up another item in ANS’s order. Now, it is one thing to design bad furniture (actually, most of the furniture Trendy shows off in the series appears to have been bought at a Value City remnant furniture store in Nashville, Tennessee), it is another thing completely to be incompetent.

Here’s a small list of things Bobby Trendy failed to do throughout the series, as clearly seen in the episodes themselves:

  • Failed to do each room in the house within five days per room, as promised in Episode Two.
  • Failed to completely furnish the first floor of the house within a week, as also promised in Episode Two (he returned two weeks later instead).
  • When he finally did return to furnish the first floor, he brought two couches, a table, and a vase with flowers. Nothing more was seen.
  • Although supplying a specially designed bed for ANS, and having even brought a mattress for it, Bobby failed to furnish a boxspring for the bed. Furthermore, he tried to blame ANS and Howard for failing to supply such an item themselves, stating – bizarrely – that he “doesn’t supply cups and plates.”
  • Made the headboard the wrong size for the bed.
  • Feathers on promised pillows appeared to be of cheap variety found on prizes in carnivals.
  • When the pillows were returned for correction, Trendy kept bringing back odd variations that were even worse than the originals.
  • Never completed invoices as promised.
  • Failed to furnish material at agreed upon prices.

As mentioned, all these mistakes were made by Trendy on-camera through the series. Now in saying this, it should be pointed out that some of these problems were bound to happen no matter who was doing the designing. Decorating a house is not something just slap-dashed together, but one that requires a lot of give and take between the customer and the decorator. In Trendy’s case, he could have easily pushed his business in a positive sense by simply working with his customer to get the job done. Moreover, if there was a problem where something would not work, he should have been forthright enough to say, “Look, I can’t do it as promised, here’s what I can do instead. Let’s work this out so we’re all happy with it.”

Instead, Trendy blames others for his mistakes. Typically blaming Howard for things that Trendy had specifically said he would be able to do and failed to achieve. This is hardly the way to keep customers and gain new ones, as Howard pointed out himself several times in the series. Moreso, he became shriller as each mistake was brought to his attention. Don’t believe me? Look at Episode Two, when Bobby first appears – he’s a bit laid back, willing to listen to ANS’s ideas, and although he tries to shove the sale of that couch down ANS’s throat, he does not come off as over-the-top.

Now, look at the episode mid-way through the series, where Howard and ANS have come to their wits’ end and have their friend Frank come over to help sort out Bobby’s mess. Sure, Trendy is being defensive for good reason – he is being exposed for not being good at his job – but tried much too hard to hide the fact that he was upset (“I’m in a good mood! I can do this, because I’m in a good mood! See, I’m IN A GOOD MOOD!!!”). Instead of appearing to “rise above it all,” he came off as simply ignorant. Even odder, seemingly unable to stop in his overreacting to everything once he was brought back down to earth, from this point on in the series Trendy rambled instead of thinking things through whenever he opened his mouth, leaving everyone around him uncomfortable with his nonsensical rantings. There is a good reason in a latter episode that Frank eventually breaks down in laughter when Trendy tries to explain why Labor Day was for “celebrating his freedom,” and that Howard moved further and further away from Bobby as he spoke – he was not making any sense. He became desperate, and no one could take him seriously after that.

Bobby’s attitude is obviously an attempt to prove that he is better than the people who are the stars of the show. Unfortunately, for Bobby, while people may not care for ANS or Howard, Bobby came off as being on a lower-rung of the ladder than even those two. He eventually got so upset over the problems facing him that he:

  • Refused to deliver paid-for work.
  • Threatened a lawsuit against ANS and Howard due to their repeated requests for the furniture.
  • Then, destroyed the chances of proving the supposed harassment of Howard by trying to provoke Howard at a club soon after the letter threatening a lawsuit was sent to Howard and ANS.
  • When delivering further pillows to ANS’s house and was denied entrance, he purposely stated to the camera that he wanted to thank ANS for “making me rich.”

It was like watching an eight-year-old trying to prove to the other kids on the playground that he was better than a couple of kids from the “slow class.” Bobby went out of his way to try to provoke both Howard and ANS with his comments after they had stung him about his work. In attempting to dig at them on-camera, Bobby ended up making the pair more sympathetic to viewers than at any other time in the series.

Perhaps that was E!’s goal in keeping Bobby around that long anyway. Even if it was, Trendy appeared so clueless on the series that he never would understand he was being ridiculed throughout the season.

Trendy must also be called out for his inability to be nothing more than a caricature of every flaming interior decorator ever seen on television or film. Now, we can tell from Episode Two that Trendy is not like this “flaming queen” (as Frank called him) that he portrayed on the show, but it is also obvious that after his sedate performance in Episode Two he started “swishing” it up a bit as well. It was an insult, plain and simple, not only to himself but to others; and it was obviously a case where Trendy was told to play it up and because he saw that he would get more attention in doing so, he did.

Thus, for his inability to be nothing more than a cardboard stereotype and his ability to “lose the battle” by making audiences believe ANS and Howard were normal, levelheaded people, Bobby Trendy is awarded his place in the “luxurious” wing of the Hall of Shame.

You can e-mail Dale about this column or his other projects at justabob@iglou.com. Be sure to look for his upcoming book, The Urban Legends of Rock and Roll: You Never Can Tell, which will be released by the end of October. You can click here to pre-order that one and any of Dale’s other books.


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