Thursday, July 10, 2008

Snapping Snap Judgements: "Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood"

How often do you pre-judge something or someone? If you’re anything like me, you do it all the time and swear on a stack of Entertainment Weeklys that you don’t. This is especially true for all things entertainment—the business that’s built on snap decisions and those elusive fifteen minutes. We can judge within the first few seconds of a teaser whether we will like the highlighted movie, television show or even an album enough to invest more of our time, money and passion into it (Embarrassing Confession #316: I am a trailer/preview whore. I absolutely love them, and 99.9% of the time, the trailers are better than the movie that succeeds it).

So naturally I wrote off Tori Spelling’s “Tori and Dean: Inn Love” and “Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood” as the mindless goings-on of the quintessential spoiled heiress who finally had to work for a living, and factor in Tori’s insta-book deal, I pretty much hated her (her as in her public, celebrity persona and not the actual person). As I was making my top secret Memphis-style rib rub this past holiday weekend, I flipped to Oxygen and left it there even though the Tori’s alarmingly muppet-esque face was all up in my 32-inch screen. I was surprised when I saw that not only is Tori Spelling remarkably down-to-earth for someone who grew up with a father who literally made it snow in California for Christmas, but she is also very hardworking and pretty entertaining. Her husband is cute and her son, Liam, is an adorable carbon-copy of Tori’s younger brother, Randy (Where is he, by the way? He was awesome on the short-lived soap“ Sunset Beach”).

Granted, “Home Sweet Hollywood” is probably more scripted than “The Hills,” but its absurdity and over-the-top solutions to surprisingly common problems (i.e., when a pregnant Tori, desperate to outbid other couples on their already overpriced dream house, runs/waddles to try to catch Dean he descends into the Pacific Ocean in full SCUBA gear) make the show addictive, playfully absurd and oddly touching. This week’s episode catalogued the grueling launch of her [insert my jealous groans] book tour and the planning for Liam’s first birthday party. Like most celebrities, promotional days are scheduled back-to-back-to-back with appearances, parties and photo calls, which I’d imagine can be mentally and physically draining on anyone, let alone a very pregnant wife and mother. It was also endearing to see Tori genuinely emotional when Liam’s former baby nurse came for his money-themed birthday bash.

The fab factor came, of course, at Liam’s party. Tori Spelling heralded the event with a soiree that boasted a monkey cake bigger than the actual child (and it scared his diaper full), a very-late moon-bounce castle, tables, ice cream stations, gift bags, members of the press, friends including Carmen Electra, Denise Richards, Loni Anderson, Zachary Quinto and the late Aaron Spelling’s brother.

Ultimately, Tori and Dean successfully demystified common misgivings about her life while keeping me entertained and emotionally involved. This is a secret she needs to bottle and sell to all of the other reality shows that failed to do anything but reinforce my snap judgments…yeah, I’m looking at you Dina Lohan, The Osbournes, Gene Simmons, Hulk Hogan, and Pam Anderson…has her show even started yet…don’t care, still hate her!

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