Photo: Lifetime

Sob Stori

No, this ISN'T Tori reacting with amusement/nausea to Dean's latest shutdown crying jag. Unfortunately.

I...may have fast-forwarded through much of what my esteemed colleague Tara Ariano called Dean's "blubbering." I just couldn't! Either he's really that stricken by the plight of his own inner child, to the point where he's willing and able to bawl on-camera despite his self-pitying and clueless complaints that all the reality-show stuff has ruined his "career"; or, once again, he's confronted with a difficult situation or a mixed review of how he's handling his shit, and elected to pretend he's too fragile and filled with toxic self-loathing to hear anything negative. Either way...

GIF: gifsoup.com

GIF: gifsoup.com

I agree, to an extent, that it's weird of Mary Jo to bring that letter Dean wrote to her just weeks before he left her for Tori -- but the fact that the messenger is possibly a shit-stirrer doesn't mean the message isn't worth absorbing.

One message is that Dean is perhaps a much better actor than we've given him credit for, or at least a much subtler manipulator than his frequent oafishness suggests. I almost can't fault him for running for the safe figurative ground of blaming his addictions and pretending he's having a depressive fugue or whatever, because that shit works. Pull one nose hair to get the tears going, wrack yourself with sobs like you learned in class, and presto: the wife's mopping off your face and Guru Singh is praising your authenticity, even though your entire existence is predicated on excuses for why you're a C-minus human.

The whole thing's laughable, of course, but I've dated that guy and I feel for Tori. Now that the fog of pheromones has lifted; now that they don't have a pregnancy or a newborn to keep that no-atheists-in-a-foxhole bond tied tight, she's starting to realize that there's one baby who's never going to grow up. He's always going to get the darty eyes, accuse HER of breaking their relationship by not trusting him, and/or start rocking and saying he feels really dark or whatever so she backs down and doesn't insist he deal.

I've tweaked our first category to reflect our man from the north's Hollywood Dean-lusions a bit more accurately. How True was this week's True Tori?

True Tori-book Element Present?
Dean's "career" is treated as though it's really a thing Dean meets with his management "team" and says he's "super-ready" to get back to acting. He seems to believe people considered him a great actor once upon a time, before he generously agreed to participate in Tori's unscripted projects. Raise your hands if you'd heard of the kid before he threw Mary Jo over for Donna Martin? Ehhhh-xactly. In any case, his manager's ultra-diplomatic phrasing of "we kind of stopped putting your name up for stuff because Tori's apron strings cut off oxygen to your brain" is a work of art.
A super-phony moment accidentally reveals a truth I wouldn't be surprised if Mary Jo suggested bringing the letter to the production and not vice versa, but you can almost hear Tori realizing that, while Dean may think he believes the love-of-my-life phrasing and the recovery-speak he spouts, he'll also say just about anything to avoid getting yelled at or having to feel lonely for 20 consecutive minutes. Mary Jo's silence on the subject of whether Dean married Tori for who she was/what she might have inherited speaks volumes as well.
Recovery-speak Some little life-coachy snippets from Mehran ("What are you doing to do the work?"), but nothing egregious -- and I'll tell you what, Dean could do with a LOT more of the Fourth Step. Like, nothing but the Fourth Step. And don't think he doesn't know that and won't literally herniate himself to get out of doing it.
Sure: horse around during sex ed instead of paying attention. That'll work out great The "it's less trouble to let the toddler sleep with us" convo is, while telling, not really pertinent.
Who's the boss Dean claims he didn't feel he could say no to...True Tori specifically, I think, though it doesn't explain why he agreed to the seventeen OTHER reality shows he's done with her and their kids. Anyway, he felt that because he'd cheated, he had to take this punishment. Tori seems to hear this with more annoyance than anger or hurt, in keeping with the episode's primary shite-motif, to wit: Dean is a drama king who acts out to get attention.
Spellings: they're not just like us, at all Tori comes home from the Mary Jo lunch to a spotless kitchen and no kids in sight -- but you can hear one wailing off-camera. Later, one of her friends BSes that they "never see" her without the kids, which is either untrue or an impression designed by Tori.
Call me, Tori! The nervous belch she rips before Guru Singh comes into the Tent Of (Long) Contemplation = best.
Preach, friend/outsider Mary Jo's carefully reluctant assessment of Dean's addiction claims as "for attention, a little bit"; that one friend who's like, "I don't understand why Dean's version [versus Mary Jo's] is the one that holds so much weight"; and Mehran saying that, at first, filming TT seemed helpful, but it's becoming destructive because Tori's hiding from the marriage in front of the cameras: "Your safe place should be alone, with him."
…Henh? Dean takes off his regular glasses to put on fugazi drugstore bifocals to read Mary Jo's note, then puts the regular glasses back...on? And I would class the entire discussion of his "acting" in this category as well.
7 / 9
Final Score
78%
True Tori
22%
Valley Of The Dolts
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