so notorious ("movie" review)

10 05 2009

Haven’t done one of these in a while.

I picked up exactly one episode of so notorious when it was on televious, which, as I understand, is one more than almost everyone in the country. The show lasted nine episodes on VH1 and is loosely based on the life of Tori Spelling. She is surrounded by three of her closest friends — Zachary Quinto (as the gay, Persian layabout, Sasan), James Carpinelli (as the studly man-ho roommate, Pete), and Brennan Hesser (as the sharp-tongued real estate agent, Janey). Though somewhat weakly written at times, it is far more often clever and laugh-out-loud funny. 
The one episode I saw on television, Whole, was so unbelievably funny and left me with one-liners for weeks that when I saw the entire series at Blockbuster for $9.99 a few months ago, I cuoldn’t help but buy it straight out. I watched the complete series that night, and I have watched it in toto several times since. 
The other nine episodes proved equally amusing, though Whole remains  high on the list for the funniest. Imagine Tori in a fit of rage screaming to a man who is trying to make her “whole.” 
The interactions between Tori and her “mother” (the indomitable Loni Anderson) are the most amazing part of the whole series. Even though we all know the relationship, in real life, is dark and awful, Tori and cast play it up to a fault. You cannot help but laugh at the sheer awfulness of Kiki’s disregard for her daughter, over and above the obvious love of Aaron Spelling. Quinto is probably the weakest of the main characters though he could have been the best (his part was definitely written to be the strongest of the sidekicks), and you’ll die for any chance to see Carpinelli shirtless (happens rarely). Meanwhile, Hesser is brilliant. 
It’s all about Tori trying to make it on her own, despite the trappings of her name and her family, and trying to be taken seriously. Her quirks shine through the sardonic satire; in mocking herself, Tori proves that she can, in fact, weather the storm of her life, most of which is created by her own hand and sheer ineptitude. 
It’s fabulous, and 100% worth the money you’ll put into purchasing the whole series. I think you’ll find yourself wishing there was more.
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