Tori Spelling tells stories


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

the matter.

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

, 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

— 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.

Umm …

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

’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!

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