Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth reunite in ‘Mystery Girls’

Posted Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Mystery Girls

• 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

• ABC Family

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You don’t have to have been a Beverly Hills 90210 fan in the 1990s to enjoy Mystery Girls, a goofy new sitcom with a decidedly retro vibe.

But it helps.

After all, the main attraction of the show, which premieres at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on ABC Family, is the reunion of longtime 90210 co-stars Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth.

“It’s Donna and Kelly all over again,” says Spelling, who’s also the co-creator and an executive producer. “It’s about two former costars who were on a hit show in the ’90s — wink, wink!”

Seriously, she literally says “wink, wink” to emphasize the tongue-in-cheek, self-referential nature of the casting.

“They played private detectives on TV,” Spelling continues, “and now, years later, they’re reunited through a real crime and they decide to get back together and open up a real detective agency.”

It’s a premise that could never happen in real life. Can you imagine James Garner trying to solve real-life crimes just because he pretended to be a detective years earlier on The Rockford Files?

But somehow it works in this broad, almost cartoonish sitcom universe, the same way that viewers accepted all sorts of far-fetched plot setups on I Love Lucy and Laverne & Shirley.

As a matter of fact, Mystery Girls probably is better suited for a network like TV Land. It has that kind of old-school sitcom feel.

Spelling plays Holly Hamilton, a self-involved has-been who longs for the glory days when she was a People magazine cover girl. Garth plays Charlie Contour, a more sensible woman who happily gave up showbiz for a life of suburban marriage and motherhood.

“Charlie and Holly couldn’t be more different,” Spelling says, “which is why they make a really great team and great friends.”

The two actresses, who were among the very few to appear in all 10 seasons of 90210, have great chemistry together as well.

“The relationship that Jennie and I have, you couldn’t create that,” Spelling says. “We’ve known each other for more than 20 years. This is one of the longest friendships I’ve ever had, and it really comes out when we’re working together. We have a great time.”

Adds Garth: “Tori and I are so excited to be together again. We love working together. Just having that camaraderie and that solid friendship at the base of our work is so comforting. And I think people feel that. They feel comfortable watching us.”

Spelling has been better known in recent years as a celebrity author, a reality TV personality and tabloid magazine fodder. It’s almost as if she sees Mystery Girls as a career course correction.

“It’s true entertainment,” she says. “I really wanted to get back to that.”

Spelling, daughter of the late Aaron Spelling, one of most successful producers in TV history, says she had been toying around with the idea of Mystery Girls for years.

“I was a huge fan growing up of Remington Steele, of Moonlighting and obviously of my dad’s Charlie’s Angels and Hart to Hart, so I always knew I wanted to do something with mysteries,” she says. “And I love comedy, especially physical comedy.

“So I really wanted to do a buddy comedy, two girls, kind of a Laverne & Shirley/ AbFab-meets- Scooby-Doo/ Moonlighting type thing. When I came up with the idea, it was a no-brainer that Jennie and I should do it together.”

Garth is an old hand at sitcoms. After 90210, she starred for four seasons opposite Amanda Bynes (who’s something of a real-life Holly Hamilton) in What I Like About You (2002-2006).

“I love putting a comedy on its feet every week and the challenges of taking something that’s on paper and making it funny,” Garth says.

Both actresses say that 90210 fans have been coming out of the woodwork to express their enthusiasm.

“The fans have been so excited about Jennie and I reuniting and it feels great,” Spelling says. “It’s so fun because we did a drama for so many years while, off camera, we were so goofy. We were like, ‘I wish people could see this side of us.’ Now we get to do it on camera in a comedy, so that’s great.”

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