Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling have no problem poking a little fun at “Beverly Hills, 90210,” nor at their other co-stars from those days.
Witness the joke about one of them (hint: she played Brenda) in an early episode of the former “Kelly” and “Donna’s” reunion series. The ABC Family comedy “Mystery Girls” premieres Wednesday (June 25), with Spelling as ongoing fame-craver Holly and Garth as wife and mom Charlie … past detective-show stars who decide to become sleuths for real, using their old on-screen catchphrase for successful cases, “Mystery solved!”
Also executive producers of “Mystery Girls,” the two actresses maintain their renewed teamwork “keeps getting more fun,” as Garth tells Zap2it. “I love the format of multiple-camera comedy. It’s so easy to shoot because wherever the actors go, the camera just kind of follows you. You don’t have to do as many takes, and the audiences have been great. That helps bring another whole energy to the work.”
While Garth did four seasons in front of a studio audience on the now-defunct WB Network’s “What I Like About You,” Spelling isn’t as practiced at it. Her 2004 sitcom “The Help,” also for The WB, lasted seven episodes — “No one watched it,” she admits — so “Mystery Girls” is “a learning curve” for her. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to get into. It’s still scary for me, but I’m getting into the rhythm, and it really helps that Jen’s done it so much.”
The history the two stars share is “the great part about working with Tori,” from Garth’s standpoint. “We have that sort of connection that you probably couldn’t have gotten with any other two actors. Even though there’s been a big gap in our time together, there’s a bridge back into it that’s like not missing a beat. We know each other really well, and there’s just an energy there that makes being creative really easy.”
Spelling largely is responsible for “Mystery Girls,” partially an homage to her producer father Aaron’s hit “Charlie’s Angels.” She explains, “I did a Christmas movie for ABC Family (‘The Mistle-Tones’), and we had a great experience and I wanted to work with them again. I wanted to do a female buddy comedy, so I came up with this idea and took it to them, and they bought it. And I hoped that Jennie would agree to be Charlie, because no one else could play that role.”
Another “Mystery Girls” regular is Miguel Pinzon (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) as Nick, a super-fan of the two women who prompts them to reunite after he witnesses a crime and only will talk to them. He becomes their assistant, more to Holly’s pleasure than Charlie’s, when they go into business together.
“Seriously, we must have seen about 100 actors for that role,” Spelling recalls. “It was so unique and so important in tying Holly and Charlie together. He came in, and we were like, ‘OMG! There’s Nick.’ ” Pinzon is an asset in another way, Garth adds: “We did a foreign press event, and he’s multilingual … which really is beneficial to us. He’s very useful.”
Garth recently turned up on Spelling’s Lifetime reality show “True Tori,” which surely had its share of drama. On the “Mystery Girls” set, the two laugh “way too much, actually,” Garth allows. “We’re both busy moms, so it’s so nice to come to work and just giggle and be girls again. It’s better than coming to work and being stalked or shot.”