Porn Parody of TV Sitcoms Is Adult Entertainment's 'New Gold Rush'

by Joshua Alston


In a 2001 episode of Friends, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) complains to a hotel clerk that she’s not to blame for some of the charges on her bill. “Sir, for the last time, I don’t care what the computer says. We did not take a bag of Mashuga Nuts from the minibar, and we did not watch Doctor Do-Me-a-Little.” This July, Friends got a porn parody of its own (see above), one of the many sitcom-based porn movies that have popped up in the past few years, some obvious (Three’s Company practically writes itself), others less so (Seinfeld? Honestly?). This recent spate of parody porn stems from the success of 2007’s Not the Bradys XXX. Jeff Mullen, who writes and directs under the name Will Ryder, helmed the Brady spoof and has since directed a sequel, as well as parodies of Bewitched, The Cosby Show, and most recently, Married With Children. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Joshua Alston.

What’s been up?
I’m feeling good. Just wrapped eight days of shooting the next episode of The Brady Bunch spoof. Incredible grueling hours. Whipping the cast into shape. Locking the doors, not letting them leave, that kind of thing.

So there’s a third one coming down the pike?
The third one is coming out at the end of October, and it’s the best one so far. We completely revamped and built all the sets from scratch rather than shoot in a house. And so we built the living room, everything. The set looks exactly like The Brady Bunch. It’s pretty impressive. 

Where do you see this recent trend of sitcom porn coming from? Is it out of The Brady Bunch 's success?
Yes, what happened is we created the resurgence of it with The Bradys. Everything that you see in the industry right now is because of Not the Bradys XXX. I don’t think that anyone in the industry would argue with that fact. When my company started making movies in 2005, we did a spoof of Britney Spears called Britney Rears, which became the biggest title in Larry Flynt’s empire that year. But with that said, I have to say as big a hit as it was, it was nothing compared to Not the Bradys. We thought we had a huge hit with Britney Rears and all of the sudden we get The Bradys, and I was like holy f---, this is what a hit is. I couldn’t believe it. Pretty soon the industry started paying attention and we started branching out and doing other TV shows, and before you knew it people realized this was the new gold rush in porn. And some have tried it with some success and others have tried it with poor success. I don’t think people realized that this was more akin to making sitcoms as opposed to making porno. We’re entertainers, not pornographers.

So you see these more as comedies with sex in them.
Exactly. We wanted to make Hollywood sitcoms that had sex. And that’s all we’re doing. And we really achieved it. I think our most glorious movie is our spoof of The Cosby Show, which came out in June. We’ve had 250,000 views of the trailer on YouTube, which is pretty amazing. The Huxtables were like the black Brady Bunch, and so we took two of the most wholesome shows in America and had a lot of fun with them. Then we took one of the most dysfunctional families on television with Married With Children that just came out. And it turned out to be our most complete movie and definitely the funniest of all because that show is just so funny. It’s just line, line, zinger, line, line, zinger. So we had to write it accordingly.

If someone came up to you and said I watched one of your spoofs and I didn’t find it funny or I watched one of your spoofs and I didn’t find it arousing, which would be more hurtful to you?
I’d be more hurt if someone said it wasn’t funny.

Really?
Yeah. The next stop for me is Hollywood. They might not see it that way because in Hollywood’s eyes, we are still dirty, filthy pornographers. But in my eyes, we are moviemakers. And I don’t think you can say that for much of the rest of the porn industry.

Obviously, parody is protected under the First Amendment, but is there really nothing more required in terms of protecting yourself legally other than changing the title?
I don’t necessarily think that’s what protects us. There are tons of legal precedents for this type of speech. But really, the truth of the matter is, the mainstream companies are too damn smart to sue us. Because they know if they sue us, they are going to draw this huge mainstream spotlight on us, which I want. But they’re too damn smart to do it.

How did the original idea for the Brady Bunch spoof come about?
After our success with Britney Rears, we made a yellow-pad list of other stuff that’s cool to mock. The list ran from the president on down to TV shows and we pretty much looked at the Nick at Night line from back in the day and said, 'Which shows do we love and what can we do?'

The first show that we decided to do was Bewitched. We thought that would be a great subject to do a porn spoof on. How fun is this? Magic. You’ve got this crazy mother-in-law. All these characters that came and went. How fabulous. The Brady Bunch was somewhat down our list. Maybe five or six on a list of things to do. I was having dinner one night with a friend of mine in the business. He said to me, 'You should do The Brady Bunch.' I said, 'That's No. 6 on our list.' He said, 'You should make that No. 1.' And I went home that night, and I thought, you know what? He’s right. So we put all our attention into it. Going into research, designing the sets, getting our team together, ready to go. And even though I’d grown up watching the show, I bought the DVD set and studied it and watched the camera angles. Everything I could possibly do as a filmmaker to capture the essence of it. And really, I think this recent shoot that we did that we just wrapped this morning nails it completely. I think people are going to think it’s an episode of the show. It’s that good.

So when you’re casting these movies, is it more important that the cast looks like the original actors or that they are experienced performers?
It’s not so much a look thing; it’s a feel thing to me. We made a number of casting changes in the Marcia character. Each movie so far has a different girl playing Marcia. Which might sound like suicide for the series, but really it turned out to be a godsend. I look for an innocence. The girl that just played Marcia is played by Lexi Belle, one of the biggest sluts in the business. She’s done 100 scenes. She came to my office and she looked like a sweet, innocent girl. We wanted her to be a sweet, innocent girl, but she’s got a wild streak. This girl had the look in her eyes. She had the feel. She read for us. She got it. But what was most important was the sweet, sincere, young innocence that I look for and she had it. Regardless of her past and regardless of how many guys she banged in her life, it didn’t matter.

Where did you find the Bill Cosby look-alike? Is he a Bill Cosby impersonator?
Well, Thomas Ward is a comedian from Detroit who lives in L.A. He had a number of successes in his career, but he never really broke out big time. When we decided to do The Cosby Show, we were like there was no way we could do that without nailing the Cliff Huxtable character completely. We didn’t know if we could do it. I don’t remember which casting agent he came from, but we could not have gotten a better person to play that part. He just absolutely nailed it.

He doesn’t have sex though. How much does a person get paid for a non-sex performance in an adult film?
He got the same amount of money as the top-paid girl in the movie. Because he was that important. Normally we would pay a guy a couple hundred bucks for an acting role. But he’s worth a lot more than that because he carried the whole movie. And so, although I’m not sure he knew he was in a position of power during the negotiations, we definitely rewarded him for his time. It’s not Brad Pitt money, but it’s certainly not cleaning-the-sidewalk money, either.

So how do you prevent overlap with other companies now that everyone is trying to capitalize on the success?
There is not a lot of talking between companies. People keep their cards close to their vests. I’m very good friends with Scott Taylor, owner of New Sensations. We have discussed in the past what we’re going to do so we don’t step on each other’s feet. Hustler has their own lineup of parodies. They’re one of our two major distributors. They pretty much know what we’re doing. They don’t always tell us what they’re doing. But they certainly know what we’re doing, so they don’t repeat it.

Do you ever get feedback from the stars or the writers of the original shows?
Oh, yeah. BB was the first one we heard from directly what the cast members though. On our Web site, there are a couple of video interviews. There are sections where Christopher Knight, “Peter Brady,” comments. He thought it was a great idea. “Mrs. Brady” thought it was a less-than-stellar idea. I do know that we did a movie for Hustler called This Ain’t the Partridge Family. Shirley Jones loved it. She thought it was funny, from what I heard from a mutual friend.  It’s not like we are on a first-name basis with these people. We have heard from some of the production companies that own all of them. They said you better watch yourself or you’re gonna get sued, but we haven’t yet.

I saw the first Brady Bunch movie and the Cosby movie. If I’m not mistaken, there is no interaction between the actual family characters. Is that the line where it becomes poor taste?
In the first Brady Bunch there is. Marcia gets hit in the face with a football and she goes into a dream sequence where she bangs her brother Greg. She wakes up and her whole family is surrounding her. It was all a dream. However, what we quickly learned was just that mere mention—even though they are not really brother and sister, they are stepsiblings not related by blood—it kept us out of a lot of areas of the country and a lot of catalogs that did not want any incest or any reference to incest. Here we are making porn movies, but yet we still have to be politically correct in how we make them because it will eliminate a quarter of your sales. We learned our lessons by getting locked out of some important places. But I get fan letters from people that say, “How come you’re not having the dad bang Cindy?” When we know that Not the Bradys XXX has run its course, we plan to come out with Not the Bradys XXX: Incest Is Best. Then all hell will break loose.

I want to do a little exercise with you. I will throw out a few sitcom titles and you rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of commercial viability as porn.
Go for it.

The Facts of Life.
Great opportunity, but it’s been done. There was a movie called The Dirty Facts of Life, but it was just terrible. Not good at all. If it was done well though, I’d give it a 6.

Welcome Back, Kotter.
I loved the show, and I’d love to do it. I’ve got the perfect guy to play the John Travolta character. But not a lot of chicks in that show. I’d give it a 6.

Diff’rent Strokes.
Uh…5.

Why a 5 for that one?
The sad fact is that no matter what we say about race in the country and progress we’ve made, porn titles with black performers just don’t sell as well.  

Newhart.
I love the show. One of my favorite shows of all-time. It’s a 2, though.

Any others you really want to do?

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I wanna do it badly. That’s an 8.

What makes that an 8?
She was one of the iconic figures on television, and one of the most beautiful women that has ever been on TV. The single woman of the '70s, the coming out of the suppressed nature of the man-woman relationship. She’s on her own, she’s doing her own thing, she’s making her way. And with the dirty neighbor Rhoda next door? What a fantastic opportunity that is. Plus, the characters are compelling, like Lou Grant. He was always drinking, horny, and always on the prowl. He’d be great to mix up with some hot chicks. Just absolutely wonderful characters. There is a sexy sizzling nature of Mary Tyler Moore. Even now, as an older woman she still has a sexy vibe about her. I think it would be a great show to do. One of my favorite shows of all time. They don’t write them like that anymore.

I’m sure there would be a couple of installments before we see Mary and Lou get it on.
Yeah, that wouldn’t happen right off the bat. But hey, maybe that’s how she got her job.

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