Remember back in the day, in 2002, back in the dark ages before every washed-up celebrity got their own reality show? The Anna Nicole Show was one of the first. And I used to watch it. (In fact, I used it for workout inspiration. You can see how well that stuck.) It was a wacky, garish spectacle seemingly populated by cartoons who'd been mainlining caffeine and/or prescription drugs. It was wacky turned up to 11.
And then there was Anna Nicole's son Daniel.
Daniel looked like an average teenager who really liked Nirvana, but he sure didn't act like most of the teenagers I've known. He mainly stood out for being clearly the only sane person involved in any of this. He was very quiet and generally impervious to the insanity that surrounded him, and he was very gentle with his mother. You know, I'm not saying you can get a real sense of a person from reality TV, but he really struck me as a basically decent person in a really difficult situation -- I had a feeling, what with all of Anna Nicole's well-documented eccentricities (at best, addictions at worst), he'd had to be the parent in this relationship pretty much all of his life. He seemed like he'd had to grow up way too soon, but amazingly, he didn't seem to blame his mother for it, just accepted her for who she was. I remember one episode where he was very gingerly trying to tell her he didn't want to be on the show anymore, and I remember thinking about how rough it must have been on him, being in the middle of an out-of-control media circus. It didn't seem like who he was at all.
You've probably heard (because we Americans love our celebrity sleaze -- non-Americans, I don't know what your excuse is) that Daniel died in Anna Nicole's hospital room in the Bahamas over the weekend while he was visiting her and his newborn sister. Apparently of suspicious causes. He was just 20.
I don't know what the hell happened, but odd as it is, it makes me sad. Daniel seemed like a decent kid who tried to do right by his mom and who had far too much weight on his shoulders. Maybe I've been watching too much TV, but he deserved better.