“Ab Fab meets Scooby-Doo“—that’s how Tori Spelling pitched ABC Family on Mystery Girls, which premieres June 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET and finds her and fellow Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Jennie Garth playing former costars of a popular ’90s detective series (also called Mystery Girls) who decide to solve crimes in real life. “That part comes from my love of old mystery shows,” Spelling says. “I loved Remington Steele, and Moonlighting, Hart to Hart, Charlie’s Angels—women solving crimes. I had never really seen it done in a sitcom. I thought that would be really fun.”
Fun and risqué, it turns out. Here the actresses talk about the jokes they can get away with, the literal pains of doing physical comedy, why they used to sweat on the 90210 set, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your characters, ditzy Holly [Spelling] and no-nonsense Charlie [Garth], reunite after a murder witness will only talk to them because he believes they’re their TV characters. Do you have fans who still think you’re Donna and Kelly?
Tori Spelling: I’ve literally had someone ask me—and this is within the last six years—”Do you still live with Kelly at the beach apartment?” I felt bad, so I was like, “Oh, no, not anymore. I’m married now with kids.” I didn’t know what to say.
Jennie Garth: They’re so attached to those characters that it’s kinda heartbreaking. You don’t want to burst their bubble.
Spelling: There’s one episode that is a direct tribute to a very famous episode of 90210 that we’re doing later in the season. So yeah, we always try to get our little 90210 references in because fans love it.
You’re exec producers on the show, involved with everything from sets to wardrobe. What are you like in the writers’ room?
Spelling: We tend to go kind of broad. We think of these scenarios—like we love the idea of going undercover. We’ll be like, “And then we go undercover as lounge singers.” And everyone’s like, “Mmm, maybe not.” We do go undercover at a biker bar. I go undercover at my own funeral.
Garth: We love to do flashbacks. When we were famous from the original show, Holly did an exercise video.
Spelling: We’re in wigs and spandex. Anytime we can wear spandex, we’re happy.
The show sounds like it has a lot of physical comedy.
Spelling: That’s what we both like to do. We’re sore each week. I don’t know if we anticipated that.
Garth: We’re realizing that it’s not as much fun to run in heels as it used to be.
Spelling: [Laughs] We’re jumping on bad guys and taking them down, and doing a lot of crawling under things. Two weeks in a row, I’ve done an Army belly crawl across the floor. I haven’t done that in years! So I’m definitely paying for that.
Jennie, you’re used to filming in front of a live audience from your time on What I Like About You. What advice did you give Tori?
Garth: I was like, “Mess up. They like it when you mess up.”
Spelling: Tape day, I still get a little nervous. But then it is so nice when you mess up and you see that they’re laughing and they don’t care how many times you do it. You’re like, “Oh, it’s gonna be okay. They’re supportive.”
Do the two of you have trouble keeping a straight face?
Garth: Sometimes we do start laughing, and there’s no stopping us. But I don’t know if anybody loves it when that happens.
Spelling: That’s dangerous. We used to do that on 90210. We would just be laughing and laughing through every take, and then eventually, the crew would be like, “Okay, we want to go home.” And then you would get nervous. You’d be like, “Oh gosh, I can’t stop laughing.” It would never happen with anyone but [Jen].
Garth: Yeah, and you start sweating.
Spelling: I always worry about that happening.
Are you surprised at the risqué jokes you can do on ABC Family?
Garth: If it’s a little older humor, it goes over the kids’ heads, but the adults love it…. Boob jokes.
Spelling: Nipple reconstruction.
Garth: The semen joke in the pilot: “Lay it on me. Not on me, next to me.” I love that joke.
Spelling: We had it in the script and we said, “Oh, we’ll see if it gets through,” and [the network] loved it.
Garth: We have a lot of weed jokes.
Spelling: [Quickly] In reference to the ’90s.
What’s one secret you know about each other that you’re willing to share with us now?
Spelling: I know where all her tattoos are.
Garth: [Laughs] I don’t know, truly, if you know how many I have.
Spelling: Maybe I haven’t seen them.