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I have had a long, tumultuous relationship with Tori Spelling. When Beverly Hills 90210 first debuted, I spent my days dressed in black, wearing black eyeliner, white powder and red lipstick, reading ee cummings, and only attending films that could be seen at the local art house. In short, I was not going to be caught dead watching trendy-looking mainstream teen-agers cavorting around on Fox. Not even if I had loved Shannen Doherty in Heathers. Not as much as I loved Christian Slater in Heather, mind you.
My 90210 moriTORIum (Ha! I slay me!) lasted until about 1996 when I was working for a children’s theatre as a touring performing. Often, I would find myself in a motel in some podunk town on whatever night 90210 came on and my motel-roommate and I would watch it and spend many enjoyable hours dissecting everything we hated about Tori: her face, her hair, her acting abilities, her clothes, her embodiment of Hollywood nepotism that would probably prevent us from having mainstream acting careers. It was the kind of bliss that only a snotty young fledgling actress and a snotty young gay fledgling actor could enjoy. Things only got better when we stumbled across the made-for-tv masterpiece Co-ed Call Girl one night. Tori shoots a pimp! That is the kind of entertainment that you can’t get anywhere else. Fab-u-lous. I wish they aired it every week even now just so I could see her go from nerdy college student to murderous hooker in 90 minutes flat. LOVE!
I lost sight of Tori for quite a few years because I think she stopped working. Or she was only making movies like Mother May I Sleep With Danger, which was no Co-ed Call Girl, lemme tell ya. She resurfaced, at least in my consciousness, with Tori and Dean: Inn Love the summer I was pregnant with C. I’m not sure why I watched it. Probably because the Great Guy I Married was out playing softball the night it premiered. Anyway, since Tori and I were both pregnant, it suddenly seemed like we were BFF! Finally, after all our years of animosity and disdain, we had reconciled and were now besties! I mean, she never knew about any of it, but I did and that’s what really matters, right?
I watched the first couple of seasons of Tori and Dean’s antics then lost track of them again. Sometimes even besties diverge paths for a while. I knew she wrote a book or two but I was too busy working, being a mom, and generally living my life to devote much energy to feeding Tori’s need for attention. (Sorry, Tori but it’s true. You are an attention whore.) But now that I’ve read her first book, I am back on the Tori bandwagon. So without further ado, I present my big take-aways from STori-telling.
- Tori’s childhood: She was filthy fucking rich. Like FILTHY! She claims that she longed to be less rich and more normal and inconspicuous but that ship had sailed. And the inconspicuous thing was done for when she asked to be put on tv. Which her father did. Over and over again. She was on every Spelling drama there was, I think. Later she was on Saved By The Bell and had her first kiss ever with Screech. This was years before Dustin Diamond was going to attempt porn but I bet she has nightmares. Her mother sounds like a control freak. Every year she gave Tori a fancy doll that Tori was never allowed to touch. They went right into a display case. I think maybe Candy should have stuck with dolls because if Tori’s account is correct, that’s what she wanted more than a living, breathing child.
- 90210: OK, while it was fun to read about how Shannen Doherty was a total train-wreck and everyone asked the producers to can her, Tori glossed over some very important information. She claims in this book that everyone in the cast slept with everyone else over the 10 years the show ran. HELLO! Tori! Deets, plz! Can David Silver kiss? Is Steve Sanders a generous lover? Does Dylan McKay skip the foreplay and just wrestle a girl to the bed, clothes flying everywhere? This is what we want to know, not that the cast had to stage an intervention to get Tori away from the boyfriend who was knocking her around and spending all her money. Which is really sad by the way.
- Movie Career: Yeah, poor Tori kept thinking she was going to get to do big movies but she kind of flunked out on that. But at one point, she was the highest paid female tv-movie-of-the-week performer. And that’s saying something. She should have stuck with small-screen gold like Awake to Danger.
- Love life (pre-Dean): Lets see, there was the boyfriend who knocked her around, some other boyfriends who left no impression on me, and the poor sap she married. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy, but the way she describes him makes him sound like one of those poor deluded fools who believe that women don’t fart. And Tori? Probably farts out loud and laughs about it. She explains at length that she was trying to go for a nice guy and made herself believe that he was not only nice but also right for her but, frankly, I’m not sure how she managed that mental contortion. I would not get naked for Mr, Tori Spelling the First.
- Dean: OK, this was bizarre. Tori went to a voodoo priestess in NYC (the same one who was on Tori and Dean this season) who bathed her in chicken blood and milk then sent her to Ottowa to film a tv movie (I don’t think she killed any pimps in that movie. Bummers.). There she met Dean, got buck naked with Dean the very first night, fell madly in love with Dean, even as Husband Number 1 was present, and formulated a plan with Dean to leave their respective spouses and live happily ever after. And she credits the voodoo priestess with helping all of this occur. OK. Sure. Who’s to say chicken blood isn’t what attracts soulmates to each other? I’m going to suggest that Match.com add a feature where they shoot chicken blood at subscribers as they search for potential mates.
- Happily ever after (or at least through the end of the first season of Tori and Dean): They ran a bed and breakfast! The had a baby! Mama Spelling came around! Hollywood ending! Now, roll cameras for the next season of the reality show (because that’s healthy for their new baby), start penning the next book, and rake in what cash you can!
Tori really does have some of the same ups and downs in life that we all have had. Some of her downs, though, do not evoke sympathy. $200K in credit card debt from online shopping as a means of avoiding husband number 1? Sorry, T, I can’t help ya. That was plain dumb. You never learned to manage money from you money-is-no-object parents? Well, maybe you should have asked the business manager or accountant you refer to for some tips. They knows lots about managing money. You can’t ever wear the same thing twice after the paparazzi have photographed you in it? Yeah, actually, you can because you’re the only one who reads that carefully about yourself!
The upshot of this book is that I feel like Tori and I could totally hang. I bet our boys would like playing together and I’d sure enjoy having a margarita with her. Maybe not everyday. But once in a while, for sure. Not her mom though. Candy scares me. ::shudder::
Now I need to finish her second book where shes whines about the pressure tabloids place on new moms to lose weight (this is not a problem for me but maybe it is for Tori) and set Tori and Dean up as a series recording on my DVR because they are having troubles and I need to see how they resolve them. And maybe I’ll see if I can get Co-ed Call Girl on DVD.