First thing's first - how many Tori Spelling fans were really out there in the 90's? Just some teenagers who were addicted to Beverly Hills 90210 and probably sent her enough fan mail to suffocate a horse with. But I'd have to say she was one of the least popular members of that cast. She made a safe transition after this show to Lifetime television movies and independent films, but failed to have the bigtime Hollywood career she always wanted. How many fans can you possibly gain with movies like Scary Movie 2, A Friend to Die For, Co-Ed Call Girl, and Mother May I Sleep with Danger?
So, probably the most interesting thing about her was her famous parents and what we could only imagine her life was like - on a megahit TV show about teens that wasn't very good while still experiencing all the same pratfalls as someone slightly more talented on a better show. Then moving onto a truly miserable career in TV obscurity, still being that name everyone knows without a great career to argue her name's worth being on the tip of our tongues. Her career may have just lived in infamy as Scream 2 being the best and brightest spot on her resume.
That is, until 2006, when VH1 debuted her new reality-show-esque sitcom about chaotic distortions upon what must be her actual life. If there's one part Tori could win an award for playing - it's herself. Who could argue with that? Just one thing left to ponder: is the show any good?
I happen to think it's very good.
First of all, the show arrives in a sea of scripted reality-shot shows about pre-teen girls trying to make it in the music industry, snooty twenty-something's (that act like pre-teen girls- even the boys) working at high-fashion magazines, and teenagers just chillin' on the beach. God, when you consider the competition - this show is a genuine breath of fresh air. It has a lot of the same elements of those shows, only it's still a scripted sitcom and feels like it. Best of all, the 'characters' are smarter than those dumb kids on the beach, in the hills, and anywhere you can imagine (including MTV's once stellar The Real World) - even when they are playing dumb.
So the key to this show is intelligence. And it has truly superior writing. What it does excellently, I think, is it sort of sees that niche that international Britcom success Absolutely Fabulous has in the American market, and picks up where Cybill and the last season of Roseanne left off trying to emulate AbFab, and succeeds in actually drowning the viewer in fads, trends, quirky characters, and controlled comedic performances. One of the great things about AbFab's cast were their ability to restrain themselves from going over the top, because the writing itself was as over the top as any given episode needed to feel. So, So NoTorious follows in that vein. Closely.
It even manages to go from simply entertaining, to hilariously funny in some episodes. Most notably, "Whole" and "Street." This show is complexly written and it really deserves a pat on the back for being more than entertaining for some... It sort of fills the void of a really great TV show. It's also nice to see this sort of cool show come in participation from someone who could always use the good publicitiy. Like Tori Spelling.