TV

You should watch True Tori Season 1… Really

I was flipping through Lifetime’s app the other day with nothing to watch, and out of sheer boredom I turned on Tori Spelling’s confessional reality saga, True Tori. I had no idea what I was getting into, but it was fabulous

If you don’t know, the first season of True Tori is about Tori Spelling confronting and trying to cope with her husband Dean McDermott’s infidelity. It’s raw and really uncomfortable, and better than any other train wreck I’ve seen on TV.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH SEASON ONE OF TRUE TORI

      1. Tori spelling is actually cute:
        Maybe she was in the midst of an anorexic breakdown in response to her beady-eyed husband’s infidelity, but Spelling looks fantastic the whole series. If nothing else, I learned that being really insecure can help you look your best. Her hair is way too blond, but it has a little bang that makes it work. Her normally huge face is svelte and tanned, and her clothes are adorable. I found myself mentally jotting down outfit ideas each time she went to her counselor’s office or succumbed to crying in bed.
      2. Tori Spelling has adorable nails:
        I wouldn’t even know what to ask for to get Tori’s nails. “Green, blue, lines and sparkles, but in a non-trashy way?” Every time she lifts her hands to wipe away the searing tears of fat-man betrayal, which happens a lot, I idolized her color choices. Some cute examples below.
      3. Tori Spelling’s cry face:
        Someone was definitely channeling her inner Kim Kardashian ugly cry throughout each episode. I don’t blame her though – she has four kids, no money, and an insane amount of insecurity… and her sweaty meatball of a husband screwed a stranger during Christmas. Cry on, girl.
      4. Tori Spelling doesn’t understand karma:
        Tori and Dean were married to other people when they met on the set of a Lifetime movie – she for a year or so, Dean for twelve years. They slept together the first day they met. They divorced their spouses… Dean even had a son with his previous wife, and married each other immediately. Now, 7 years and 4 kids later… Tori wants you to know she feels really betrayed and doesn’t understand how this could happen to her! The irony is so sweet my cheeks hurt.
      5. Tori’s friends can’t hide their judgement.
        Tori’s best friend Mehran can’t believe she’s staying with him. “It might not work out…” he warns. Their friend Wolf.. yes Wolf… tries to coach Dean on proving his love to Tori and spending more time with their oldest son, but Dean interrupts Wolf the whole time. And when Tori admits during a luncheon that she slept with Dean the first day they met, her friend’s response is “…That’s fascinating.” Her friends trying to support her is admirable, because their job is not easy.

        tori-spelling-judgemental-friend-cheating
        “I hate you”
      6. Tori Spelling is incredibly insecure:
        It’s sad, and shocking, and makes her relatable, but damn is this girl struggling with her own identity. That’s really what I was most surprised by in this entire series.
        – She doesn’t tell Dean she’s mad or hurt or anything… she doesn’t know how to voice her own thoughts to him. It’s a real problem.
        – She says that everyone always told her she was ugly, and she has spent her whole life trying to overcome that.
        – She has a bump on her stomach from a hernia she got during her fourth pregnancy, and is truly worried that bump drove her husband to cheat.
        – Even though he’s in rehab for drugs and alcohol, and just got caught lying about an affair, Tori still calls her husband “babe” and gets really quiet and subservient around him. She just wants him to like her. In fact, Tori talks quietly and subserviently around almost everyone.

        dean-mcdermott-tori-spelling-cheating-affair
        “Dreamy McDermott”

In all honesty, anyone who has been cheated or supported someone through infidelity will like this show. It’s honest and captivating at times, sad at other times, and overall just interesting. I mean, it’s Tori Spelling… she lives in a different world than the rest of us, but is going through something very relatable.

Season two isn’t any good. She has some bad plastic surgery done between the two seasons and she can’t keep milking the cheating husband story any longer. The second season is pumped with filler conflicts and other key staples of bad TV. Ignore season two. But definitely do yourself a favor, and binge the entire first season during the next snow storm. It’s worth it for the Jennie Garth cameo alone.

Podcasts

Top 5 True Crime Podcasts

I never thought I’d live without DiscoveryID and their surplus of true crime dramatizations. But in June we cut the cord, went cable-less, and with it went my surplus of murder stories. I had to find a new way to appease my craving and, to my absolute joy, I stumbled upon something even better – the true crime podcast.

These podcasts remove the commercials and cheesy dramatizations that plague most true crime TV shows, and add in a ton more research, dark humor and grizzly details the FCC would never allow aired. In other words – outside of in depth documentaries and novels, podcasts are the way to go for die-hard true crime fans.

While there are a ton of podcasts to choose from, below are my top 5 true crime podcasts, along with why and great episodes to get you started.

#1: The Generation Why Podcast

Hosts Aaron & Justin  of The Generation Why podcast “discuss theories and share their opinions on unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries, conspiracies, & true crime.”

They cover recent stories, like the Steven Avery and Scott Peterson cases, as well as older and more unheard of stories, such as the Hinterkaifeck murders.

Aaron and Justin walk you through each detail of a case in a very organized way, fully explaining the murder/crime, police investigation, mysteries or unresolved clues, the official outcome, and their own thoughts. This is a great podcast if you like thorough stories, lots of details, and educated assertions. There is no hyperbole and very few jokes. It’s to the point – but somehow it’s far from dry.

To get started, I suggest listening to: The Matthew Hoffman tree surgeon murder.

#2: The Last Podcast on the Left

Hosts Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel and Marcus Parks use humor to run through all the details behind murders, conspiracies, and mysteries “both imagined and real.” (They cover true, real life crime, but also how “imagined” threats, like the ghost cats of the south, result in very real consequences for very real people.)

Each episode is riddled with “bro-humor” jokes, imitations, and jabs at the murderers and criminals, but never at the victims. They describe the motives, methods and reasoning driving each criminal and case, but they also make fun of the wrong-doers constantly – because they don’t deserve respect.

This is a light-hearted, but still incredibly thorough, true crime podcast. I think it’s a great listen for the commute home.

To get started, I suggest listening to: Leonard Lake and Charles Ng Part I: Operation Brownie Pockets (This is the beginning of a 3-part series that I loved).

#3: Criminal

Host Phoebe Judge covers “stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle”. Criminal podcast episodes are short, generally less than 30-minutes, and are narrated by the people affected by the crime themselves. This can range from the perpetrator, to the victim, or most recently to the career of a Chicago courtroom sketch artist. The stories are not focused on every detail, motive, or moment of investigation like the first two podcasts on this list. Instead, the episodes focus on the more poignant aspects of the story, which create often fascinating vignette-like episodes.

To get started, I suggest listening to: Angie

#4: Sword and Scale

This one is good if you don’t mind a host peppering his opinion throughout the story. On Sword and Scale, host Mike Boudet includes 911 calls, court transcripts and his own (often judgmental) opinion to give as “naked” a retelling of the crime and aftermath as possible. He tries very hard to fully expose the perpetrators – whether criminal or members of the justice system – and does not shy away from explaining gory, scary and disturbing details. Mike also includes lots of sources and materials to accompany each podcast on his website, and also plays pretty great music throughout each episode.

To get started, I suggest listening to: Episode 55 – Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell

#5: Serial

I didn’t want to include this podcast, because I think everyone has listened to it by now, but it’s too good a series to leave off completely.

Host Sarah Koenig dedicates each season of Serial to a single crime. So far, there are 1.5 seasons, and each covers a controversial case that leaves the viewer trying to desperately decide if the defendant is guilty or not. Sarah tries very hard to create an unbiased story and isn’t afraid to admit when her biases are coming through. She is not a police officer, a lawyer, or a criminal – she’s simply a reporter telling a story, and working tirelessly to determine what actually happened. As a normal person too, you find yourself rooting for Sarah the amateur sleuth and trying to wrap your head around the dizzying details that make up a criminal case alongside her.

Since Season 2 is still underway, I suggest listening to: Season 1 – the case of Adnan Syed