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Tori and Dean
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this reality show seems to be all about family and love, much of it is also about the pursuit of fame at some cost. The paparazzi are everywhere (in addition to the show's own cameramen), and you have to wonder why Tori and Dean are allowing them to film some extremely domestic moments. It's also worth noting, given that this is billed as an ultra-romantic reality show, that Tori and Dean's relationship had a slightly bumpy/iffy beginning: They very publicly dumped their respective spouses for a chance to live happily ever after with each other.
What's the story?
Though many think of Tori Spelling (aka Beverly Hills 90210's Donna Martin) as a stealth star -- famous only because her father was Aaron Spelling -- in TORI AND DEAN (which follows Tori's life with husband Dean McDermott and their growing family, it's clear why she nabbed this gig. As herself, Tori is surprisingly down to earth and compelling to watch, whether she's preparing for an upcoming garage sale or sorting through closets while tossing out sage advice to her husband, Dean McDermott ("If it's not Gucci or Prada, throw it out").
Is it any good?
Real-life Tori -- not the strange fact-fiction hybrid she played on So NoTORIous -- seems warm, adventurous, and game for anything. Dean is refreshing, too. Instead of coming across as a K-Fed prototype, he actually seems like a genuinely nice guy -- an apt, stable foil for Tori's flighty, earth mother-like persona. The result is a nuptial reality show that displays some of the charm (witless or not) of its most famous precursor -- MTV's Newlyweds.
But as with Newlyweds, Tori and Dean has its questionable moments. For example, when they walk into the obstetrician's office for an ultrasound, Tori and Dean are besieged by the omnipresent paparazzi. Later, Dean talks earnestly about the frustrating experience, bemoaning having their privacy invaded. And yet, seconds later, viewers get their own up-close view of the actual ultrasound, a sweet-but-all-too-planned instant that should probably have been left private ... and makes Dean's earlier comments ring hollow. It feels like a constructed, actorly moment. Which is perhaps the whole point of the series: Being in front of the camera is clearly what Tori considers her true calling.