Listen, I really have something
I need to get off my chest … something that will most likely
have you either raising your fist in a Norma Rae–style show of
solidarity or storming my castle with torches and pitchforks.
I adore Tori Spelling.
Ahh, all right. I feel
better for having come out of that particular closet. Now that
my admission is out of the way, allow me to get to the whys of
Bev Niner. Though my
heart will always belong to Christine Elise as Emily Valentine
(who, you, know, was SO punk because she wore, like, plaid shirts and
leggings and hats and do you remember that one time when she got
Brandon to take Ecstasy (except they called it U4ia instead of Ecstasy)
and they were rolling around on the hood of his car and Brenda was all
like “Brandon, what is WITH you?” and Brandon was all like “Pfft,
whatevs, Brenda” but then Brandon realized that life should be, you
know, hugs not drugs and he totally gave Emily Valentine the boot?
I love that episode), the most enduring Beverly Hills, 90210
moment comes courtesy of Tori Spelling’s Donna: yes, I’m talking
about hundreds of West Beverly Hills High School chanting “Donna Martin
graduates!” in protest. Sure, Donna got wasted at the prom and
broke all the rules but is that any reason not to let her graduate?
Gawd, adults are SO uptight.
Not only did Donna go on to
graduate despite her illicit imbibing, she was dyslexic, almost raped,
stalked, taken hostage, had her own clothing store, dabbled in prescription
drug abuse, and held onto her virginity until the end of her college
days. Sure, she didn’t end up in a cult or battle amnesia as
Kelly (Jennie Garth) did, but still. It makes me feel a
little silly for getting so melodramatic over sophomore year BadPermGate.
Wait, no it doesn’t.
A perm? What the eff was I thinking?
After graduating once and for
all, Tori moved into omigawd I SO love her territory by joining
fellow actresses like Tracey Gold and becoming a Queen of the
Lifetime Movie. From Death of a Cheerleader to Co-Ed
Call Girl to the movie with what’s undoubtedly the greatest title
ever (yes, you know I’m talking about Mother, May I Sleep With
Danger?), she spent a large part of the ‘90s as either a victim
or a bitch in many a delicious made-for-TV flick.
In fact, she’s
still popping up on Lifetime Movie Network in new productions such as
Mind Over Murder, where she plays a prosecutor who gains psychic
powers after an accident and uses her newfound abilities to catch killers.
Yes, I said she gains psychic powers and yes, it sounds like the best
movie ever but no, I haven’t seen it because one day my DVR decided
to be a real jerk and erase everything I’d recorded but hadn’t yet
watched, which means not only that I lost Mind Over Murder but
also the movie with the second greatest title ever — Baby Monitor,
Sound of Fear, starring Josie Bissett of television’s Melrose
Place — which means that if ever meet up with Dish Network in a dark
alley, let’s just say that it’s ON.
Wow, sorry about that.
Tori balanced out the Lifetime
melodrama and inched her way closer to legitimate actress territory
with minor roles in films such as the gay rom-com Trick (1999)
and The House of Yes (1997), where she appeared alongside indie
fave Parker Posey.
Her inability to shed the Donna
Martin comparisons and completely move out from uber-producer daddy
Aaron’s shadow hasn’t really given Tori Spelling many opportunities
to fully dig into an acting career and prove she’s worthy on her own,
and she fully accepts this. In the way-too-effing-short-lived
2006 series So NoTORIous, Spelling addresses her shortcomings,
both perceived and real, with some wicked humor. Really, I doubt
most actors would want to be called “talentless products of nepotism
and bad television”— especially on their own shows! I have no
idea why So NoTORIous didn’t catch on; it’s incredibly endearing
and best of all, funny. The one and only season is currently available
on DVD, but Veoh’s got three full episodes available online for free
watchin’ — including one of my favorites, “Street,” wherein Tori
loses her BlackBerry, sends an embarrassing audition tape to director
Steven Soderbergh, and reveals why she’s so terrified of 90210
co-star Shannen Doherty.
Since the end of her sitcom,
she’s opened a bed & breakfast, starred in a reality show about
said bed & breakfast (Tori and Dean: Inn Love), had a baby,
and had a falling out with her mother (reportedly over Loni Anderson’s
fictionalized portrayal of her on SOo NoTORIous) that allegedly
led to Tori being “disinherited” after her father Aaron passed away.
Spelling addresses all of this and more in her new autobiography,
sTORI telling revealing
not only an obvious love for working her name into the titles of her
projects, but also what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a
mega-rich television producer. Apparently it wasn’t always
fun, as is evident in this excerpt from the book’s prologue:
“We were having a formal
family portrait taken with our dogs (doesn’t everyone do that?), and
I was getting frustrated with my bangs. I couldn’t get them to do whatever
a twelve-year-old in 1985 wanted bangs to do.
So I went into my parents’
bathroom, all dressed up, with my hair done as best I could manage,
and asked my mother, "Am I pretty?" She looked at me and said,
"You will be when we get your nose done."
I was stunned. My nose, as
noses tend to be, was right in the middle of my face, and I had just
been told that it was ugly. So long, innocence.”
Not cool, mom. But cool
for Tori to show such candor — and good humor — about what goes on behind
the closed doors of a life in the public eye.
And can I just say? As
if all of this wasn’t enough to make me want to put a Tori Spelling
poster on my wall, I made a startling discovery — a startlingly awesome
discovery, I should say- —when I went to Tori’s yard sale in late 2006.
Excuse me, when I went to Tori’s “dazzling estate sale” in late
2006 (c’mon, wouldn’t YOU go?): She’s a horror movie fan.
While everyone was picking through her jewelry and clothes, a friend
and I were all alone in the TV room where I found a treasure trove of
horror flicks on VHS. From popular classics like Halloween
to rare cult stuff like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, I discovered
that the girl’s got great taste in horror. In fact, a few of
Tori’s tapes are now sitting on my shelf — it’s kind of like we’re
totally best friends, don’t you think? Donna Martin might graduate,
but Tori Spelling rules!