So NoTORIous is a sitcom on VH1, loosely based on the life of Tori Spelling. The series debuted on April 2, 2006 and despite lasting only ten episodes, received substantial acclaim from critics and has developed a cult following.
Along with Tori the show features her close friends Pete (James Carpinello), a roommate who shares Tori's condo and has a habit of bringing women to the place every night by bragging about Tori being his roommate; Janey (Brennan Hesser), a real estate agent with a habit for being nosy and ambitious; and Sasan (Zachary Quinto), an openly gay (but secretly gay to his parents) Iranian-American who tends to be critical at times, hoping it will knock a little sense into Tori. She is also seen carrying her pug Mimi LaRue around, frequently while it is dressed in tacky clothes.
In addition, Tori also has to deal with her self-absorbed mother Candy "KiKi" Spelling (Loni Anderson), whose history of how Tori was raised and why she treats her daughter as if she doesn't exist may explain why Tori acts like she does; Margaret, the nanny who raised Tori and is more motherly to her than KiKi; and Ruthie Rose, her frenetic, doting, and not-so-reliable manager.
While on the set of her latest made-for-TV movie, Tori develops a crush on a gaffer named Scott. But when she starts getting frustrated over why he doesn't ask her out, Janey suggests that Tori throw a party at her condo as a way to get to know Scott off the set. But her perfectly planned party goes up in smoke when Pete invites a pair of potential one-night-stands, next-door neighbor Farrah Fawcett asking for a baked potato, Sasan brings his parents...and Tori learns that Sasan's mother is wearing something that once belonged to her, thanks to KiKi selling her stuff on eBay.
Having finally won over the man of dreams (and thanks to a pink frosted donut), Scott, Tori finally accepts his offer to go out on a date, but the choice of venue turns their first outing into a nightmare at The Improv, where headlining comedienne Lisa Lampanelli pokes fun at Tori after seeing a tabloid picture taken earlier in the week at a restaurant where Tori, Sasan and Janey was eating at. That's when things begin to go downhill when Scott decides to avoid Tori, and when she ask the reason why, Scott revealed that he has joined a scientology-esque denomination called "Wholeness" and encourages Tori and her friends to check it out. But the idea of following the rules of being "Whole" has Tori rethinking her future with Scott, prompting her to dump both the cult-like group...and Scott!
Desperate for a role in an upcoming drama about a prostitute, Tori comes up with a plan to land the role by bringing Janey, Sasan and Ruthie along to the premiere of a new movie where its director will show up in hopes of an audition. But when that fails, Tori decides to put the audition on tape. So she makes a stop at the "Pleasure Chest" to buy sexy clothes and props, but when she hears the name of a former TV co-star, she makes an escape, only to learn her Blackberry is not only missing, but someone has it and is using it to taunt Tori, resulting in an all-night hunt to track down the phone-stalker.
Tori becomes annoyed by Pete's new girlfriend, who has no respect for Tori. But Tori's lack of telling Pete how she feels about the situation leaves her no choice but to find other places to stay, until Nan steps in and tell her that its time that she really confront Pete at her condo.
After meeting a plastic surgeon named Carter, sparks start to fly between Tori and her new beau. But when she invites him to dinner at her parents' mansion KiKi quickly becomes so impressed with Carter that she decides to spend more time with him, leaving Tori confused over why he and her mother are hanging out a lot and Sasan upset over the fact that KiKi would choose Carter as her "Favorite" over him.
After being labeled the worst dressed in a tabloid, being replaced in a TV movie, experiencing migraines and learning that Mimi LaRue has worms, Tori feels she may have bad luck. So thanks to advice from Ruthie, Tori sees a Santeria priestess named Mama Belle (Whoopi Goldberg), whose techniques may be weird but it seems to turn around Tori's fortunes...and KiKi's attempt to find out how her daughter did it.
Thanks in part to an argument with her friends, Tori runs into Howard, a masseur who also does massages for Farrah Fawcett, in an elevator. Howard offers Tori a free massage and suggests that the only way to patch things up with her friends is buying them massages...not knowing that Howard also has a habit of spreading gossip from one person to the next, a move that puts Tori and her friends in more negative lights.
Inspired by Janey, Tori decides to enter a mentoring program and takes in a teenage girl named Tina under her wing. But Tori may want to rethink that idea when Tina takes advantage of her by "convincing" Tori and KiKi into throwing a Quincetina at the Spelling mansion, where the real story about Tina brings out a lot more surprises.
Tori's plans to spend Mother's Day with Nan at her church gets upstaged when KiKi decides she wants go along with them as well after her cruise to Mexico is cut short. But the true meaning about mother-daughter relationships is about to come out at the church, where Tori gets all choked up when KiKi is invited to the pulpit and is encouraged by the pastor to come up and explain to the congregation how she really feels about her mother, even though Tori's afraid to admit it because of how KiKi has really treated her and fears that she'll embarrass her in more ways than one. Tori also learns that the organist that keeps winking at Nan was also married to Nan, who doesn't want to be bothered by him.
Fed up with the fashion sizes that doesn't fit Mimi LaRue, Tori decides to launch a dog clothing line with assistance from Sasan. But when she gets a role in a F-movie in Ottawa, She ends up taking Sasan and Pete along, hoping to balance out on working with Sasan on the new venture while filming the TV movie. However her hopes of multi-tasking starts to take its toll on Tori as she finds herself getting distracted by a bilingual director, a demanding hair stylist, a Canadian actress learning to act too-American for her role (and catching Pete's eye), and of course, the very-nice Canadian culture. And ironically, Sasan is also feeling the effects...which could put his partnership with Tori on opposite borders.
The Hollywood Reporter mentioned that the show is "considerably more ambitious than a lot of other sitcoms. It's easy to dismiss this as another attempt by Spelling to prove that her talent goes beyond her last name, but there's more to it than that. She creates an appealing character despite all the preconceptions." The Los Angeles Times conceded that "while this sort of thing has been done before - it has been done here exceedingly well."
The Chicago Tribune began their review with "there are people in the world who'll never watch anything that stars Tori Spelling. Their loss." The review went on to praise the show; admitting that "Spelling’s surprisingly good VH1 series, is a not-at-all-guilty pleasure. It has more than its share of amusing moments, and it also has a surprising amount of heart."
The Detroit Free Press called the show "a sassy, classy winner."
The show was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 2007 GLAAD Media Awards.
The series was originally intended for NBC, but when the network passed on the show the producers fielded offers from other networks who liked the project, eventually landing a deal with VH1. NBC's parent company NBC Universal Television is the show's production company and distributor, except for the DVD release which was handled by Paramount Home Entertainment.
The series was created by Chris Alberghini, Mike Chessler, and Tori Spelling.
The song Ageless Beauty by Stars was used in a promotional trailer for the show.
The series was released on DVD, November 21, 2006.
Theme Song & Musical Score