Porn parodies have been around almost as long as porn has. I remember one of my friend’s sketchy Vietnam-vet uncles (is it OK yet to say that a lot of those dudes were sketchy?) called us into the den he had commandeered in his brokenhearted mother’s home to show us fourth-graders something called “Dirty Harriet” (Gamelink doesn’t have this movie, unfortunately) and I remember thinking at the time that it had nothing to do with “Dirty Harry” other than the joke title and maybe the woman was a police officer. Some people say there is no such thing as bad porn, but the world is littered with it.
Will Ryder I credit with being the father of the modern porn parody. In the early years of this century he debuted the “Britney Rears” series as well as “Not The Brady Bunch XXX,” both of which featured relevant storylines, commendable production design and costumes by Ryder’s partner, Scott David, and — more than anything — Ryder’s talent for promotion. For the first time since porn’s so-called Golden Age, mainstream media was taking an interest in porn, and not as a sweeps-week “What Has Become Of Us?” titillation, but a more business-friendly “Oh Jesus — Look What They’re Doing Now.”
But if Ryder got the ball rolling (soon, most studios felt the need to churn out parodies, and churn they did), Lee Roy Myers kicked it down the field. First with New Sensations, then with other studios (including his own, Wood Rocket), Myers made the most of a limited budget by putting together comedies whose only chance to be taken seriously would be to reference the fact that they were low budget porn parodies, and have fun with that. He knew that much of the porn talent pool hadn’t seen the source material and weren’t in the business to act, per se (although he gets some great performances out of his ensembles), but his M.O. continues to be to let the audience in on the joke and give it credit for being a bunch of literate horndogs.
In March, 2009 I went to a building in Glendale, just northeast of Los Angeles, to watch the filming of “The Office XXX Webisodes,” a companion piece to the DVD “Office XXX.” The cast included Ashlynn Brooke, Sadie West, James Deen, Dane Cross, Randy Spears, and Nika Noire, and was later released as “The Office XXX 2.”
The webisodes were being shot in the same high-rise Glendale film/office facility as used in the movie, and the script for each was about four pages long with one sex scene.
In one room sat Randy Spears with Nika Noire. Spears was a sign of the times just being there. Formerly exclusive to Wicked, Spears, like anyone in the business, needed to take work where it was available. He fucked Noire on a desk, which is not the optimal place to do it, but times were tough.
In another room frolic Ashlynn Brooke and Sadie West. As the “Office” webisodes weren’t the only thing being shot in the multifloor facility, Brooke got caught by a security guard running down the hall naked the day before.
“Then we had security guys peeking in here all day,” she said.
The Glendale facility became East Porn Valley for a while, with Jim Malibu and Ernest Greene shooting projects there. It is a very corporate setting with security guards (according to Brooke, more every time) and receptionists downstairs, but on several days during the production it looked half-occupied, which may account for the sudden rise in adult productions there.
Down the hall, tiny Sadie West repairs to a corner and smokes, and is immediately reprimanded. She is banished to a balcony overlooking Glendale. She and Brooke look so curvy on screen but in person they are almost microscopic. Could it be the smoking?
I asked Myers if he or the company worried about getting sued. Like Will Ryder, he felt the law was on his side.
“If Saturday Night Live can do it, so can we,” he said. “And I think we’ve captured the essence of (the Ricky Gervais/Steve Carell) original without traipsing into the legal gray area.”
If Ryder’s parodies are all about set dressing and costuming, “The Office XXX,” in its blander corporate setting, relies on familiar camera moves and blocking to create the appearance of the original; there are forced zooms on actors who now and then check in with the camera.
As I look back on it, Myers’ style relies more on the camera being another character, which makes his parodies interesting.