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Watch 'So NoTORIous' -- no, really!

93016__tori_l

93016__tori_lI’d call VH1’s So NoTORIous a guilty pleasure, but I’m really not that guilty about liking it.  I know, it’s a pop trifle next to an epic of celebrity self-absorption like Curb Your Enthusiasm, but La Spelling knows you expect pop trifles from her, and she works furiously not to disappoint.

Granted, it’s not novel for a star to build a show around her selfless willingness to let her writers make any joke at her expense, no matter how merciless. (I laughed at Kirstie Alley’s similarly self-flagellating Fat Actress too – make of that what you will). But what is unique is the execution. Unlike other celeb-reality sitcoms that belong to the Larry David/Ricky Gervais school, where embarrassing moments are followed by squirmy, lingering silences (a technique taken to such extremes in The Comeback that it wasn’t really a comedy at all), So NoTORIous has a pace that doesn’t let up. It’s just one humiliation after another, bing-bang-boom, no let-up, but after each one, our perky, optimistic heroine pops back up, unfazed, like a Weeble. Watch this week’s episode for yourself (it’s streaming at VH1.com; there’s a sequence in a sex-toy shop that’s a little too PG-13 to watch at work), in which Spelling lampoons her own lack of serious thespian skills, the nepotism that launched her career, and her apparently lingering fear of Shannen Doherty.

Originally posted April 13 2006 — 2:08 PM EDT

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