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Tori Without A Cause

I have seen the Apocalypse. And it is Tori Spelling paddling a canoe.

Against the advice of my attorney and several concerned relatives, I happened to tune in to NBC Monday night when the most-watched network in America was airing Tori Spelling's new magnum opus, "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger" -- alternatively titled, "Daddy, Can I Star in Another Lame-Ass TV Movie?"

In this taut, urban thriller, Tori -- the nasally-voiced, surgically enhanced, bug-eyed, bleach-blonde waif with the formidable jawbone from "Beverly Hills 90210" -- plays a young college student who... um... sleeps with danger -- danger, of course, being a deranged young man with nice hair who takes a shine to young Tori and decides to do her the immense favor of stalking her, thus setting up the scene where Tori must paddle to safety in the aforementioned canoe in what looks to be the Rivers of America ride at Disneyland. I half-expected Tori to seek sanctuary from her well-meaning-but-psychotic beau at the Bear Country Jamboree.

As the title indicates, Tori's mother figures prominently into the plot, though I'm not really sure how, as the medication was beginning to kick in. Suffice it to say that Tori at no point in the TV movie asks her mother if she may sleep with danger or paddle a canoe to safety at Disneyland or get some plastic surgeon to do something about that jawbone. Which is the problem with kids nowadays.

There are many reasons to mock and deride "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger," not the least of which is a scene where Tori hangs up the phone after talking to her brooding lunkhead of a boyfriend and says dreamily to no one in particular, "I love you, Kevin Shane." The laughter reverberated around the Michaels homestead at that point, let me tell you.

Nor do I want to make a big deal out the scene where the Boyfriend From Hell kills someone in a shower and then disposes of the body and a car by pushing it into a nearby swamp. I'll let the Hitchcock Estate and their attorneys point out the similarities between this scene and, oh, about the first hour of "Psycho." Of course, they'll have to get in line behind Stanley Kubrick's legal team, who may have a few choice words about the scene where the deranged boyfriend, having cornered Tori in a remote cabin in the woods, chops down the door with an axe, practically screaming "Heeeeeere's Johnny." But he doesn't. Because it would be wrong.

And of course, there's Tori's very impressive canoe ride to freedom -- a mental image that will linger with me long after the doctors have gotten court approval to go ahead with that frontal lobotomy. Not since Melanie Griffith made a run for the Swiss-German border in "Shining Through" has a scene of feminine flight earned such a warm spot in the cockles of my heart. No Olympic kayaker, that Tori Spelling.

No, no, a thousand times, no. My problem, my complaint, my vexata quaestio with "Mother, May I Sleep with Danger" lies with its faulty premise -- that men from all walks of life find Tori Spelling well-nigh irresistible.

To that premise I say, we are talking about the same woman, right?

I'm sure Tori Spelling is a lovely, warm person. She no doubt does all of her chores and is a loving daughter and probably cooks a mean turkey pot pie. Her manners, her conversational skills and her personal hygiene are in all likelihood above reproach.

But when I conjure up an image in my head of the kind of a woman that would drive a young man with nice hair to become a deranged psychopath who rips off both Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, when I think up a woman so beautiful that the streets would be strewn with the bodies of men slaying one another for just a glimpse off her, when I contemplate a modern day siren luring men to madness, death and premature baldness... the first gal that pops into my head isn't Tori Spelling.

And that jawbone of hers could apply for its own zip code.

So I say to the cruel, cruel fates who control Tori's career (And this means you, Aaron...): I will accept many plot implausibilities. I will turn a blind eye to bald-face rip-offs of key scenes from "The Shining." I will hum a happy tune even during the long, glorious canoe ride to the land of milk and honey.

But I will not accept a world where Tori Spelling is the embodiment of all that men desire. Because such a world does not exist.


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