Photo: Lifetime

Reunited, And It Feels Faux Good

The True Tori: Sodium Pentothal episode we were promised fails, unsurprisingly, to materialize.

I respect the production's decision to act like the True Tori reunion/revelation hour is hard news, because...why not. If you're going to take yourself ridiculously seriously, you might as well commit one hundred and hire a host who's acting like she's backed by the full weight of the 60 Minutes stopwatch.

But is there any actual news here? Let's run through the big moments and see if anything arrived in the same area code as "genuine." I've ranked them from least to most fake.

Tori's picture-in-picture mask of loathing during the low-moments montage

She's watching her makeup-less self screech at Dean to "DO SOMETHING RIGHT" and she looks utterly over it -- possibly from an aesthetic standpoint, because I don't think she cares that much that they both aired it out like that on camera. I suspect she's more irritated that there wasn't a narrative button, and that the lighting is so bad. Whatever the root, her "fucking whatever" face is legit.

The friends weigh in

Wolf's bond with Liam is real. I would actually love a show about Wolf trying to be a dad for Liam because Dean is a well-meaning but profoundly self-absorbed boner.

Also real: Jess's ongoing struggle to disguise her loathing of Dean and of the entire situation. My fan-fic about her is that she is repelled by the show but agreed to be on it so she could keep a hand in and see what was going on, and I think she does support Tori in whatever Tori wants to do -- but also sees through Dean like a window.

Dean's "surprise" ribcage tattoo

Either Tori had seen it before and couldn't get it up re: acting surprised; or she hadn't, but could not have cared less if she were dead and in the ground. Whichever: you could tell he expected to be verbally fellated for the grand gesture, got bubkes, and was deflated.

"You know...she exists"

Most of the "please answer charges that you concocted this affair" segment felt canned, but Dean's helpless "she is a real person, and I...can prove it with a map of her moles" shrug was the only genuine thing he did all episode. EXCEPT FOR THAT HORRENDOUS SONG.

THAT HORRENDOUS SONG

My esteemed colleague Tara Ariano described Tori's face during that Velveeta serenade thusly: "Well, this is horrible, but I guess I have to act like I like it." YUP. As a person who hates being sung to so much that she used to put it in her online dating profiles, i.e. "do not be that guy, it's not cute and it makes me really uncomfy," I FEEL YOU, GUUUURRRL.

Also, get a goddamn rhyming dictionary, slacker. "Life/wife"? What is this, the third grade?

Tori's explanation of why she chose to live this on camera

The idea that the press is going to package your humiliation in their own way and for their own gain anyway, so you might as well control the story since you can't ignore/quash it, is a good one -- but I highly doubt it was her motivation. I think she saw a brand-extension slash moneymaking opportunity here, and retro-engineered the explanation once she'd signed the paperwork.

The continuing saga of whether Tori's going to ask if Dean has had other women

The initial prompt about whether she's asked him, or is ready to ask him, is a pretty deep-brown shade of bullshit to start with. One, Tori's answer sounded rehearsed; two, she has totally asked, or does know already, because come on; three, there's Tori and Dean and then there's Tori And Dean: The Brand, and if he has had other women, then she does kind of have to leave and admit defeat, and that's not happening.

This is very obviously the reason she "changes her mind" and tells Brooke she doesn't want to ask him on camera after all, when 1) she had never intended to do it and 2) even if she had wanted to roll those dice, her rationale -- sparing Dean from an "ambush" -- is also bullshit because a) it's not live and b) see above.

And why wouldn't Dean just lie like he always does? He's the fakest fuckin' thing on the whole show.

Dean

Dean has come to believe every pellet of pucky that falls from his mouth, I suspect, but he's playing the role of the penitent, because that's the script The Boss handed him, and it's that or get a real job -- which he should absolutely do, for everyone's sake, but it isn't happening, so he regurgitates recovery-speaky, life-coachy rationalizations like "I have a brain that wants me dead" and "me being stuck in my ego."

The most egregious example is his denial that he's a serial cheater. I mean...of course he's going to deny that. People never see themselves as serial cheaters; the only way they'll admit to anything close is if they sucker some shrink into letting them think they're sex addicts and not responsible for their own actions because they were "in their disease." Shut up, Dean!

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