Many of you may know Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth as Donna and Kelly from “Beverly Hills, 90210.” They’re back together in ABC Family’s new comedy “Mystery Girls,” which airs Wednesdays at 8:30 pm ET/PT.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the set of “Mystery Girls” and sit down to interview Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth.
Meet the Mystery Girls: Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth
We talked to Tori and Jennie about what it’s like to work together again, their friendship, being on the set, and about being working moms. They were so personable, laughing at their own jokes.
Unsure of what it would be like to talk to a group of “mom bloggers” (and dad bloggers, too) they quickly slid into conversational mode with us. It was obvious they have an extremely strong friendship both on- and off-camera. They are such a team, they often finished each other’s sentences.
The two have been friends for 20 years, and have worked together for years, as well. Clearly you get to know someone well after that length of time. So when you are thinking about creating a new show, you obviously ask your best friend to do it with you!
How did you come up with the idea for the “Mystery Girls?”
Tori: I had done a Christmas movie for ABC Family and I knew they were looking for comedies, and I used to be a huge fan of mysteries in the 80s and my dad's shows, and I loved “Remington Steele,” and I just wanted to pair that with comedy. And that's where it came from.
So was it automatic for Jennie to play the other part?
Tori: I was hoping? But, yeah, I was praying that she would wanna do it. And when I thought of the idea, I was like no one else could do this. But, I didn't know at the time what she was doing, what her plans were so I was just, um, I emailed her and…
Jennie: You emailed me a very sweet letter. No pressure but, just read it. And I read it.
Tori: You know when friends ask you to do favors like, “Hey, I have this thing for you,” you always feel so guilty asking? So it was one of those. But, I felt like we had a pretty good script to back it up you know.
Jennie: Hm-mm. Yep, made me laugh.
What's it like to work together?
Jennie: We have fun. We have so much fun and it's just really easy. You know we know each other very well so there's, we're past all the awkward getting to know each other, and we kind of know each other's ups and downs, when we need space…we're very familiar with each other already. And we already have that built-in chemistry, too, as actresses so…
Tori: Which we did drama for years. I mean, kind of. We always had our like funny moments together.
Tori: But it was…
Jennie: Towards the end it was more…
Tori: Yeah. [LAUGHS] But it wasn't a no brainer that we could do comedy together, but then when we tried it, it just, we just fit right together, and it was perfect. And of course, you know, anyone can do a female buddy comedy, but I feel like the chemistry, the bond we have, over 20 years of a friendship, you can't replace that. I don't feel like anyone else could really have that back story.
How's it working with the other cast?
Jennie: Oh, great. Miguel…
Tori: He drives me insane. [LAUGHS]
Jennie: Because he's so nice. He's a lot of fun. He's our third mystery girl. He completes us. [LAUGHS] But, he's a great partner in a scene, very dependable as an actor, but a lot of fun, too, just as a person. And we have a lot of fun with him.
Tori: I mean that's got-, it has to be hard to come into this, because we've known each other for so long. We had just met him and-, but it wasn't like that at all. It was as if we'd known him for 20 years. Like we had this friendship that's just instantaneous and…
Jennie: He didn't let it be an issue.
Jennie: He was just like, “I'm coming in.”
Tori: Yeah. It's there, and it's the three of us, and we just go and it's great.
It's very interesting all the work it takes to film one scene.
Jennie: Yeah. That’s what's great about our partnership is that we both come prepared. I'm usually the one to mess up my lines.
Tori: That's true.
Jennie: Because I have a very short attention span. Having a partner, an acting partner, in a scene that you can count on is really important. We always kinda show up for each other so it's good to know that.
How do you relate to your characters in real life?
Tori: Obviously we're different than our characters, but I think there is a part of both of us in our characters. Like the relationship we have in real life. I feel like I'm in real life very trusting of everyone, and I go into everything kind of full force, and I don’t really take into consideration what's going on. In our friendship, Jen always kinda steps in and protects me over the years. And I feel like that's what Charlie and Holly are like, too.
Jennie: Yeah. I'm more of protector, a big sister to her. Since the very beginning. I've always been a little tougher you know, physically [LAUGHS]. You know, I can take care of myself.
On the wardrobe
Jennie: We definitely had a say in our wardrobe. I feel like the whole look of the show, you know, we had a specific vision; the office obviously has very bright colors and the show is a very fun, poppy show, and we wanted the wardrobe to kind of mirror that. So visually it was kind of an eye-candy culture.
How do you manage your schedule with your children?
Tori: It's definitely a change of pace. And it's the first time I'm acting away from them full time. So it's been different. But luckily they can come to set, and Jennie takes them to set, and they play together. We say we have a job and a daycare at the same time.
What's the best parenting advice you have?
Jennie: I mean there's so many, there's two sides to every coin on that. Because I believe in structure…I'm a little bit strict and a little bit structured, and I protect my girls as much as I possibly can. I keep them as young as I can for as long as I can.
But on the other side of that, people would say, “Oh, let them be free and run and do what they want and stay…” you know, I try to blend that and let them be expressive…but I do provide structure and meals together every day and set bedtimes and curfew for my oldest, and I don't let them control me. I'm definitely the person in charge.
Tori: I definitely got so much advice every time I was pregnant that I used to-, I was paranoid before. I was like, [GASP] “I'm supposed to do this, I'm supposed to do that.” And I realize now with four kids just to trust your instincts and what you do; it might not be what everyone else tells you. It's the right thing; it's not right for your child, what's right for their child. So I just try to go with my own instincts. I over-love probably.
We definitely talk a lot about our feelings. Because that's not something I was accustomed to, so I really try to make that a thing in our household, that if something is wrong, we talk about it a lot. They're probably sick of me talking about things. But, [LAUGHS] I believe in that. And they're just, they're really young now. I definitely could be a little more strict.
Do you have any advice for moms?
Jennie: I would say get a good calendar app. Color code everybody. I have everybody color coded. I just gotta keep a schedule and try to keep us going, but for me, that’s what we really do: live by our schedules and staying committed. If you make a commitment, you keep it. And also our kids come to us after school or whatever and they come here. And we have good help too.
Tori: I always say if you want to get something done, give it to a mom because, I feel moms can multitask like no others.
Jennie: We’re always on the set executive producing the show and answering casting questions and arranging play dates.
Tori: You know, you just do it. And moms, it’s scary, the notion. I think if you actually take a moment and stand back and look at your situation, you’d be like, “Oh, my gosh, it’s too overwhelming.” That’s the great thing, is that moms just go. You don’t think about it. You just go and do. I admire moms so much. Everywhere. Because you know it’s a tough job.
Jennie: If you laid down at the end of the day and thought, “Hmmm, what did I accomplish today?” you’d be like, “Oh my God!” A pat on the back.
One thing I took away from the interview
As a parent, it's so refreshing to hear celebrities talk about the fact that they get help. As moms, we often try to do it all. Partly because we want to and partly because of the pressures society puts on us. And we get frustrated and depressed when we aren't able to juggle it all without dropping an occasional ball. It's liberating to hear that sometimes we need help…and that it's okay to have help.