There's a concept in the study of literature that says "the text is the thing." What matters is what is in the book, not what we know about the author. So the fact that Emily Dickinson was a weirdo shut-in — who reportedly only communicated with people via notes in a basket that she lowered up and down to her chambers — should have no bearing on how we read meaning into the bleak beauty of her work.
I know you've been thinking about textual criticism, gentle reader, when you watch the contest of chefs known as Chopped Canada and see how uncomfortable the host, Dean McDermott, appears. He's the Great White North's version of Chopped's Ted Allen, steering the judges towards a decision and reminding the contestants when they have five minutes left. Grizzled yet handsome, he's stilted and shy; it's as if he's asking permission to interject every time he speaks. The text — or in this case, the digital recording — is the thing, right? We shouldn't read into his mannerisms that he is carrying great shame for cheating on his wife, Tori Spelling, while he was up in Toronto filming? That a villainess named Emily Goodhand (what a Dickensian name for a trollop!) found his room card slipped into her hand and the two proceeded to have two days of hedonistic romping? Is that why he can't relax and be himself?
I can't stop wondering this. Thank God that both he and Tori have decided to take their private pain and spin it into yet another reality show, True Tori, on Lifetime, where we see every sordid detail of his admitted alcohol addiction and her alleged frigidity. (She says they have sex every two weeks and have a great sex life; he says it leaves much to be desired. These are very important details that should go into our assessment of the situation; to wit: Did she deserve to be cheated on?)
It's no secret that Tori has molded her current career entirely around her actual life, with shows like So Notorious, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, and Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings. If these two decide to split, Lifetime should have no problem with even more spin-offs. The 40-year-old Spelling heir can become a cougar and have a show called Predatori. As an old woman she can be Semi-Ambulatori. And when she's finally dead we can work out Memento Tori.
True Tori begins with our heroine sitting on a couch and answering the blaringly obvious question, Why are you doing this? She responds that she's been misunderstood her whole life, and she wants everyone to get the real story about her husband's affair and its effect on her family.
One thing is clear: Life is not easy for her. She's stuck raising four kids alone, for starters. Then she has to deal with other headaches. In one scene, she's with her friends at a Mood Fabrics, choosing bolts, but she can't bend over in her skinny jeans because the paparazzi might see the crack of her ass.
"I'm scared to bend down because they're gonna take a picture of my butt," she confides to her BFFs, Jess and Kate.
"Well, I don't want to bend down either!" says Kate.
"I don't know what to — honestly, I'm panicked," says Tori. "I want to get that fabric on the ground but I can't bend over, the paparazzi..."
"Just leave it, just leave it," says Jess, ever the voice of reason. "Just leave it there."
"No, we want to take it with us," says Tori. "We can't bend over!"
Cut to voiceover of Jess, "It breaks my heart to see her go through this, it truly does, because she truly is one of the nicest people in the world."
Cut to her in her SUV, the forlorn tinkle of a piano in the background as she chokes back tears on her way to visit Dean in rehab. Again we ask ourselves, Why are you doing this? Is she really this masterbatori? The show itself is way less interesting than the question about what the hell is motivating both of them to create their own version of Metallica's therapy-documentary, Some Kind of Monster. Are Dean's Chopped Canada producers crazy about the idea? Will Vikram Vij refuse to be on the set with him? Can he ever go back to Canada?
In this case, the text is not the thing. No, the "thing" is everything that's not on camera. The show, then, is just getting in the way of the real story.
And that story shall remain a mystori until someone publishes her memoirs upon her death, from notes carefully collected in her Restoration Hardware wicker basket, lowered and raised over the Hollywood hills.