True Tori TV Review – Spelling Creates New Reality TV Question

With the introduction of every new reality show, there’s always the question of just how “unscripted” it really is. Before True Tori began airing, the internet was buzzing with every kind of “fake reality” theory you might imagine, up to and including the idea that Dean McDermott never even really had an affair in the first place.

Beyond that extreme view (which frankly, I lean toward myself), theories abound when it comes to just how real the new show is. Tori Spelling is no stranger to reality television, which means that people are quick to bring up the fact that, according to Wikipedia and other sources, Tori & Dean: Inn Love was actually a show about how the couple pretended to buy a B & B, and likely pretended to do everything else. This and other reality shows involving Tori and Dean have even had people questioning whether or not the paparazzi that make appearances every so often, apparently this is by way of figuring out what photos never seem to show up anywhere.

We all know that every reality show is staged to some degree or other, with even the “most real” of them showing things like the stars showing up to places “spontaneously” with cameras rolling inside the place, but True Tori has spawned a lot of debate (among those who bother to notice the thing is on).

Just how scripted is everything that happens? Are the kids coached before we start rolling on “the reality?” Are the places we visit kicking back to the show in a form of “product placement” advertising? Whatever you can think of, someone is asking the question.

True Tori TV
courtesy Lifetime

As I said, it goes so far as to have people wondering things from every conceivable angle about the couple’s relationship. Is the whole thing a massive gag, with no affair really having ever taken place, and our couple laughing all the way to the bank? Are they effectively divorced at this point, but willing to play along with an uber-staged bit of reality to make a few bucks?

Whatever the case may be, the show isn’t helping anything by seeming to be wildly staged, especially when it comes to the fact that… well, it seems like whoever is writing the script isn’t that great at their job. One thing is certain, it’s hard to find anyone who can say True Tori with a straight face.

This is where the show manages to create a new question for the genre. Every show has people wondering, “What if it’s fake?” which ultimately leads to exactly this same sort of theorizing, even among shows that are admittedly fake (as in the case of anything with a tow truck), but a few episodes in, True Tori¬†could only get me to¬†wonder, “My God, what if it’s real?!” And, that’s before we started talking about really weird sex with the therapist. The clip below should be about all you need to know. Just take a minute to run through all the implications of filming this show, and letting it air, if this scene is something that, in almost any sense, “really happened.” On second thought, you may not want to go down that rabbit hole.

All of this hits just as Tori is hoping to kick things off big with a new show on ABC Family, of all places, and Dean apparently has work to do on Chopped Canada.

Rating reality shows of this nature is pure folly, but this one serves up just the right mix of ridiculousness to warrant making the effort. It is bewilderingly exactly as stupid whether it is real or fake (or wherever it lands between the two), and equally insulting and sad on so many levels… that it’s probably perfect reality television actually.



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Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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