Tori and Dean and Youtube: Redundancy, Reality TV and Celebrity Transmedia

Curator's Note

In sourcing her life for reality programming, Tori Spelling has created her own celebrity transmedia text. Her reality-comedy, So NoTorious didn’t produce a new, successful hybrid genre, but did lead Spelling to a new show—and life. Reality shows usually don’t lead to the disinheritance animated in her new show’s opening credits, yet Spelling’s transformation into married woman running a B&B appears staged for cameras. Tori and Dean: Inn Love features Spelling welcoming press coverage, inviting Perez Hilton to her B&B opening and showing paparazzi following her through LA. Spelling admits to reading gossip magazines for knowledge about her life, playing with these as the unreliable source of our information about her. Tabloids thus become part of the show’s transmedia narrative as Tori and Dean links reality shows, memories of TV past, paparazzi photos and internet rumors while Spelling’s increased maturity is evoked through a change in platform, from youthful, self-aware VH1 to Oprah’s more maternal, self-help oriented Oxygen. Why, then, do we need youtube footage of the couple going to the doctors (replete with more paparazzi) when we see these consultations in intimate detail on TV? Is this redundancy, a grasp of the elusive off-camera moment or part of the transmedia textuality that this show opens into—and/or contains?

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