• Wed, Apr 30 - 4:13 pm ET

If Tori And Dean Want To Pretend True Tori Is Real, They Have To Get Better At Acting

Dean McDermott on True Tori season oneI’ll admit it — I’ve watched the first two episodes of True Tori. I’m a little ashamed, but not that ashamed. At first it was to get some background on why Dean McDermott cheated on his wife of eight years, Tori Spelling. But now that I’ve seen the staged nonsense that was the first episode, I’m gonna be watching every single one after that to try to figure out how much of it is real.

Some people are saying that the whole thing is fake, that Tori and Dean created the whole cheating story for publicity and to get a reality show, but I’m now feeling like that might be an exaggeration. I’ve seen how narcissistic these people are, and how poorly they communicate, so my new theory is that when the cheating happened (I think probably it did, given how many friends and therapists have weighed in on the situation at this point), Tori saw it as an opportunity to get on television, and may not have processed it on any other level.

At least that’s what was suggested to me during last night’s episode. She has such a clear idea of how she wants to be portrayed on the show, from how strict she is with her son Liam about how he’s allowed to speak to her in front of the camera, to the whole bravery in the face of adversity act, to how insistent she is that she’s doing the whole single mom thing, even though she’s known to have three nannies and a personal assistant. Even when it comes time to talk to a therapist with Dean, Tori completely unravels when he mentions on-camera that he’d considered taking his own life.

That was the first moment of the series that actually felt real to me — the panic that I saw on Tori’s face when Dean shared that detail. I’m no therapist myself, but watching her reaction to him spilling that detail was really telling. Up until that point, she’d really shored herself up from every angle to make sure she came off well from this series, that there was no chance anyone but her would end up with the sympathy. That’s why he keeps offering excuses for the infidelity, from not getting enough sex at home to struggling with an overwhelming cocaine addiction. Those are all cleared topics, because they make it clear that Tori is blameless and that Dean was the one making the choices.

But when Dean brought up his suicidal thoughts, you could see the gears in her brain start turning, going, “How does this reflect on me? What does it say about the wife if the husband considers killing himself? Why did you say that why did you say that why did you say that, this isn’t what we talked about.”

And when he goes on to say that he’s been suicidal and unhappy for a while, you can see Tori on the couch in the background, sitting perfectly still except for her hands, which she’s worrying against each other. I’ve never really had occasion to use that verb before, but it’s the only one to describe the energy behind the way she was moving.

Most of the show is so fake that it becomes almost mind-numbing to watch, but I think I’ll probably stick with it, if only for those little moments when Tori loses control of this production she’s directing, writing, and starring in. At one point, she apologizes to him for his revelation appearing on ‘her show’, and I couldn’t help but notice that phrasing.

Was Dean appearing on the show and baring his guilt to the world so that Tori could appear blameless part of the deal? Is that something she demanded he do if he was serious about getting back into her life and her house and her s-TORI-line? I don’t know, but against my better judgement, I’m totally hooked.

(Image: Lifetime)

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  • Erin

    You’re not alone-I’m watching it too, and plan to watch the entire series. I think certain elements of this whole saga may be true, but I remain convinced that Emily Goodhand is made up. I noticed her hands too, during Dean’s big reveal.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Thank you for being with me!

  • markmywords

    Okay… So how did she react when he talked about being suicidal? Did she appear shocked? Annoyed? Worried? Or was she only worried about herself? What did she say to him? You might remember, I take the position of an outsider here since I don’t get american television shows (Greetings from Europe :-)) and those two are not interesting enough to go look for it. But a reaction to someone talking about suicidal tendencies speaks volumes.
    I love the fact that you watch closely and have an analytical strike; You’re often told you are a good judge of character, right?
    I recently watched the Wendy Williams Hot Topics on youtube and she said, rumor has it, he doesn’t want to do the show but she made it a condition if he wants to get back together with her. Also I read somewhere about the theory (was it even here?) that he really might have cheated, but it was a long time ago, so the emotions are real but just with a time difference of several years.
    I do think they have some agreement about the plot of the show but not a whole worked out script, so everybody is coming up with what they got from the top of their heads (regarding him talking about suicide in the second episode makes me wonder if there is any bigger potential shocker possible). If I had the chance, I would totally be watching every episode for the same reason as you are. Everybody’s entitled to a little guilty pleasure ;-)

    Please keep us posted.

    • Cranky Rogalsky

      It was my understanding that she knew about it but did not want it talked about on camera. There even seemed to be some agreement she had with him about it. That’s why she was unraveling. Like if he was just cheating, she could be all victim all the time. But his depression and suicidal thoughts might make him seem more sympathetic.

      I could absolutely be reading this wrong because I shouldn’t know or care about any of it.

      And of course I’ll keep watching. (For the record, I think he’s been cheating the whole time. Anyone who’s watched the old shows could see it coming a mile away. She kept having babies in an effort to keep him locked down. But his for attention and money meant he wasn’t going anywhere. It’s like that parable/fable/parable <– new word – about the guy who sold his something or other to but his wife something or other. But she sold her whatever to get him his whatever. )

    • JenH1986

      I think that’s probably a fair guess. It also appears (from what I’ve seen) that Dean is taking the therapy a little more seriously (since he is saying those silly things that we all say but try to hide). He has been in Hollywood long enough to know better so I think he’s trying to use this to get help. I don’t feel bad for him for getting busted cheating but if he is having those thoughts I’m glad this got him into counseling.

  • Tailisin

    Having been housebound recovering from an injury.. I settled in with popcorn, my favorite horrible candies and miscellaneous “snacks” expecting to watch a sanitized clean up of fallen Celebrity images.. A redemption by Reality TV.? If, so for whom? Then, after watching both episodes, three times each, I came to the realization.. Tori isn’t interested in ” working through the infidelity” she is interested in cleaning up her image. That, yes they were both married, but he was married longer and he had children! Tori explains that she felt she was bamboozled into thinking this was acceptable behaviour because Dean or his alter ego ” Delano” made her to believe that it was love are first sight & they were “soul mates”.. Really? Sounds like ” Magical Thinking” of a 12 year old girl from a dysfunctional family in a very controversial ” Lifetime Movie of the Week”… Dean is the worst type of opportunist. He is using whatever real or imagined childhood issues to validate his serial cheating and controlling behavior. He apparently has every addiction known to humankind. Infidility and Pathological lying, manipulation, alcoholism, drug addiction and sexual addiction. What a laundry list! Quite Simply, Dean is a predator. He uses Women and thought he hit the Mother load with Poor Little Rich Girl, Tori. It is simple really. Make him live in sober living, find a job and prove that he can provide for his children and be trusted to take care of his children as a Single Father.
    Tori can afford help and need to find out who she is. Obviously she can not even describe her feelings, voice how she feels and seems detached from reality ( pun intended )..
    If it is in fact, real or as real as Real as a Semi Scripted Reality docu- series can be.
    This marriage will end. It will end badly.

  • Chris

    This is probably the best deconstruction of this show that I’ve read yet. Hats off.

    I do think the cheating scandal is real, but as you imply, the show itself is staged and “produced” to turn their real-life drama into watchable television with a clear-cut storyline. Tori plays the overworked, spurned single mom chasing four kids around the house while Dean plays the sad-sack, oafish cheating husband, complete with unshaven jowls and greasy hair. The show has been deliberately crafted as a Family In Crisis docudrama with Tori as the victimized focal point for us to: a) Rally around; b) Project the pain of our own failed marriages/relationships onto.

    But the reality of this “reality show” is that the “True Tori” has been adapted from an actual true story: An out-of-control, self-destructive, and narcissistic liar cheats ON the wife he originally cheated WITH, taking a stick of dynamite to a SECOND consecutive family. And like the spoiled little baby that he is, whenever grown-up concepts such as “accountability” and “consequences” are brought into the fold, he either throws a temper tantrum (“I wanna sleep in my own bed!”), fakes a migraine, or casually hints at suicidal ideation (“I could’ve kicked that window out and jumped through it.”)

    It absolutely mystifies me that THIS is the kind of psychodrama Tori wanted to bring to America’s living rooms, and that THIS is the side of her failing marriage that she wants people to see. What purpose does this serve? The father of her four children has already disgraced them all enough with tales of cheating whilst on a Canadian coke-bender. Now she wants people to see that he’s an emotionally disconnected and immature trainwreck who wants to kill himself whenever anything gets too damn real in his life? Worse yet, THIS is the man-child she pledged to spend the rest of her life with, whose marriage vows she had tattooed on her ribs??

    You’re absolutely right that this is a show about control. Tori paraded her fake, dysfunctional relationship–one born out of cheating, lies and deception–as a fairytale romance for the whole world to see. She thought that by giving him all the sex he wants and giving birth to four kids one after another, that Dean would “change” and grow up into the responsible, faithful husband and father….everything he WASN’T with his first wife and child. And with all of the “We’re So Happy!” books, blog posts and past reality shows, Tori sought to keep a white-knuckle grip of the narrative she created for herself. Also, like 99.9% of Affair Partners, she thought she was special and was everything that Dean’s ex-wife wasn’t.

    But even Aaron Spelling’s daughter should’ve realized that you can’t script real life. And the poor girl still hasn’t gotten the memo, as she’s desperately trying to regain control of the narrative and re-write the “true Tori” of her catastrophic marriage into some sort of bizarre Forgiveness Morality Tale.

    Unfortunately for Tori, nobody cares. This whole cheating nightmare can be summed up in one sentence: He cheated with you and he cheated on you. This isn’t a Marriage Crisis that Tori can write, produce or direct her way out of. It’s Karma. Plain and simple. Thousands of Internet commenters were quick to remind Ms. Tori that TWO marriages and families were destroyed just so these two lovebird “soulmates” could be together. But poor Tori STILL thinks she’s special, that her marriage that was born out of cheating was Meant To Be, and dammit, she’s going to fix this on national TV!

    My only sympathy lies with the children. Tori’s attempt to turn her husband’s drug use, cheating, and suicidal thoughts into a TV storyline is unacceptable and the height of selfishness.

    Your overall question was apt: Was Tori panicking out of genuine concern for her husband’s mental state? Or is she only worried that she once again lost control of the narrative and that people would start to sympathize with her sad-sack husband? If it’s the latter, then she’s just as narcissistic as her cheating husband, and these two lunatics deserve each other.

  • Sarah

    You brought up some interesting points. Yes, I notice some parts of the show look more “real” than others.

    When any person starts getting filmed, it takes time for them to be themselves. Whenever they are conscious of the camera, their behavior changes. It prompts their mind to remember other people will watch this, and takes some of this attention out of the moment. So, it’s normal for things to appear “staged” or “faked” but, we must remember all of us would face the same problem with being 100% ourselves in the presence of cameras and a crew. They will get more used to it as time goes on.

    I actually work in the psychology field–specializing in addictions. Everything Dean says makes perfect sense to me and is as real as it gets. When it comes people who are battling addiction… even if they’ve been sober for years–an extremely common issue is Instant Gratification. They tend to make choices that will feel good or “fill the void”, despite knowing the severe consequences. It’s impossible to really understand how an addict or ex-addict can make these poor choices unless you’ve been there. And that’s why it seems like there is bad communication. But, I actually think Tori is doing a good job of handling his extreme emotions.

    On the other hand, I really don’t like their therapist’s techniques. I think she is unconsciously causing MORE damage, rather than helping. As a therapist myself, I see this lady’s approach can potentially create deeper wounds and I can’t believe she kept pushing Tori to dwell on her anger. I just feel bad that they trust this therapist and don’t realize she’s pushing them into more negativity, rather than healing.

  • lao3610

    Her reaction to the suicide was a little disturbing to me. She was very worried about how it reflected on them and even mentioned him ruining his career because of it. You could tell she really did not want him talking about it. I feel like she really added to the stigma of suicide. I can’t believe that she would mention suicide and a ruined career in the same sentence. What year is this? I thought it was an extremely ignorant comment

  • amy

    Dean is lame. He totally goes into suicide mode if she says she’s pissed or hurt. He’s using that to get her to feel bad for him bc he might kill himself, like anyone believes that, if she pushes him at all to take any responsibility for being a freaking coke head weak narcissistic prick who just wants to F around and get away with it. Honestly, what kind of a man is that fragile especially after 3 months of rehab therapy that he seriously really can’t discuss his affair without wanting to literally take his own life. Man up already. I don’t see how she could respect someone so weak. He is acting like he’s the victim. His only problem is he’s an addict, with all of the classic traits of an addict. He hasn’t been real yet. His depression probably is greatly attributed to his addictions. Alcohol and drugs definitely go hand in hand with depression and suicidal thoughts and suicide. It’s not shame or guilt. He just got caught and that messed everything up. He said himself he did it bc he did not think he would get caught. That actually is all he needed to say to answer any question or resolve any doubt about who he is and what he is. More importantly, he pretty much just let her know what she can expect from him if she is stupid enough to stay with him. She’s way better without him. Omg he is just creepy and whiny.

  • kim

    No doubt she’s been insecure their entire relationship, he was cheating on his first wife when she hooked up with him. Why is she even surprised he would cheat? They both need to grow up and think about their 4 sweet babies, instead of his coke habit and insatiable sex drive and hoe she can blame his cheating on those 2 things, while making it her responsibility to keep him from killing himself, just so she can let the loser come back home, and it somehow ne a good decision. Wow. Would anyone want a completely narcissistic unstable, alcoholic coke addict, with sexual impulse control issues living in the same home with 4 children under the age of 6? Seriously, she thinks that’s a good decision. She’s not thinking about her kids that’s fo sho