Hey TV.com, Should I Watch ABC Family's Mystery Girls?

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jun 25, 2014

Today, most people associate the name Tori Spelling with reality shows and plastic surgery, but there was a time when she was just a popular actress with a famous dad on a teen show in the '90s. Now she's back starring alongside her former '90s co-star Jennie Garth in ABC Family's new comedy Mystery Girls. Is the show's nostalgia factor enough to grab viewers, or is it just another sad, desperate grab for attention that will end up being a footnote in her next reality series? That's what we're here to find out in this new edition of Yo TV.com, What's the Deal With This Show?

Mystery Girls? Lemme guess, this is a show about girls who ... solve mysteries?

Congrats, you solved the case! The show follows two former actresses who co-starred on a long-running '90s detective series also titled Mystery Girls. When a young man and diehard Mystery Girls fan witnesses a murder, he tells the police he'll only speak to the Mystery Girls, who are no longer speaking to one another. One lives in the suburbs with her husband and daughter, and the other is still clinging to the remaining shreds of her celebrity. After solving the case, they decide to open up a real detective business known as Mystery Girls, because that won't get confusing at all. 

All right, so who are the usual suspects?

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 co-stars Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling have reunited to play the women at the center of the series. As hard as it might be to believe, Spelling plays Holly Hamilton, the woman clinging to her modicum of fame by any means possible, while Garth is Charlie Contour, the more accessible, sensible and reliable of the two. Miguel Pinzon plays Nick Diaz, the enthusiastic, new to LA, diehard Mystery Girls fan who witnesses the murder. He eventually becomes the Mystery Girls office assistant. Didn't I say this was going to get confusing? The series was co-created by Spelling and Shepard Boucher (Men at Work). Garth, Spelling, Boucher, Maggie Malina (Single Ladies), Andy Gordon (Last Man Standing), and John Ziffren (Melissa & Joey) serve as executive producers. 

When do the Mystery Girls begin solving cases?

Mystery Girls debuts on ABC Family Wednesday, June 25 at 8:30pm, but beware, because ABC Family is doing that stupid thing where they air episodes out of order with no explanation. Instead of airing the pilot—the episode I've seen—they're airing the series' third episode, "Death Becomes Her." ABC Family must not be a Firefly fan!

Who might enjoy Mystery Girls?

The show feels like most ABC Family sitcoms, which means if you're a fan of Melissa & Joey (another series laced with '90s nostalgia) or Baby Daddy, chances are you'll also enjoy Mystery Girls. If you're longing for the days of Donna Martin and Kelly Taylor, you might also enjoy the show and the pointed Shannen Doherty reference in the original pilot (which will air July 16).

What good things will I find in Mystery Girls?

The series has plenty of problems, but Garth and Spelling both completely sell their roles as former co-stars who've fallen out of touch and live in different worlds. I can't imagine why! Garth fits easily into the role of Charlie, a level-headed suburban housewife exasperated by Spelling's Holly, who's still trying to convince the world she's relevant long after her hit show was canceled. The two have an easy chemistry which obviously comes from their real-life friendship and the years spent working together as co-stars in the '90s. And even if Spelling's performance feels over-the-top 100 percent of the time, it's a natural fit for the character.

What clues point to Mystery Girls being terrible?

Like many ABC Family sitcoms before it, Mystery Girls goes for the obvious, tired, cheap laughs that young audiences eat up. Those of us old enough to have watched the original Beverly Hills, 90210 (or anyone who desires intelligence in their humor) will probably find them cringeworthy in their simplicity. The stereotypes also loom large and loud; From Nick's effeminate mannerisms and loud response to everything, to Holly's shallowness, it's hard to take anything seriously. 

But the show's most egregious error is that it attempts to make pointed jokes and remarks alluding to real life—i.e. the aforementioned Shannen Doherty joke—but the series doesn't ever come off as being self-aware. I could be wrong and Mystery Girls is actually a cleverly designed satire about Spelling's entire career post-90210, and if that's the case, this is a brilliant masterpiece, but I think it's just Spelling's natural fame-hungry tendencies bubbling to the surface that sells her role. At one point Spelling actually says, "I am a famous person!" to a police officer who thinks she's a hooker (she's dressed like a hooker). And Garth's character later has the line, "I look at this whole thing and it just looks like a desperate bid for attention," and she wasn't saying it with a wink and a nod! Considering Spelling co-created the show, you'd think these were purposeful, but I'd bet they're not.

So, should I hire the Mystery Girls?

It's fun to see Garth and Spelling together again, so if that's your thing, then I'd say watch it, but if you're not a 90210 fan, feel free to skip it if you have something better to do.

Can I maybe see a trailer before I decide?

Sure! Here ya go!



Mystery Girls premieres Wednesday, June 25 at 8:30pm on ABC Family.

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  • sletvoldline Jul 19, 2014

    Made my never-watch-again list after just 5 minutes, so much plastic surgery, it's very distracting. Also it's really crap

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 28, 2014

    Could not get past 10 minutes of it. Had to switch it off to save whatever fantasy I still have about Jennie Garth !

  • encycloPOEdia Jun 27, 2014

    "Mystery Girls goes for the obvious, tired, cheap laughs that young audiences eat up."

    Eh, what? Young audiences like things like this? Why wasn't I informed?

  • FoxZerro Jun 26, 2014

    I will admit though I did like them taking the piss out of those fake celebrity death rumours that sweep the internet by storm... "The guy from Napoleon Dynamite dies in a motorcycle accident!" yeah right

  • FoxZerro Jun 26, 2014

    What a terrible episode to lead with out of the gate. If I hadn't read this should I watch feature then I would have had no idea about the relationship between these two woman and their past as teen television stars. Seriously way to alienate a potential audience right off the bat... Makes me miss that show "Roomates"... does anyone else remember "Roomates?"

  • thepathologist Jun 26, 2014

    the plot sounds horrible, and its on ABC family. Where good shows die young. Bring bunheads back and stop this series.

  • No1Slayerette Jun 26, 2014

    I've said this before, but I think this premise would have worked a lot better if were a primetime soap opera instead of a comedy. ABC Family have had massive success with Pretty Little Liars and this plot had the potential to be in a very similar vain to that series regarding murder mysteries, secrets, lies etc. A wasted opportunity in my opinion, yet for some reason I'm still strangely compelled to watch.

  • enctv Jun 26, 2014

    It's nice to knw Firefly has not and will never be forgotten.

  • brandydan Jun 25, 2014

    I'll give it a try just cause of Jennie & Tori nostalgia and I have no comdies on this summer but want to laugh/a funny show to watch,I'm more looking foward to Young & Hungry though,

  • TrevPlatt Jun 25, 2014

    I'm not even going to bother to give this a 4 Episode Test, it looks shit. It could even be a new contender to knock Whitney from the top of the 'Worst Comedy Ever" podium.

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