Thursday, January 29, 2009

Get OUTTA Here Ron Jeremy!

Here begins my delving into the (relatively new) world of pornified sit-coms from yesteryear. They're usually pretty good (Not The Bradys is great), and after Not Bewitched won a shit ton of awards at AVN 2009, I figured this had to be next on my list. And besides, it's got Nina Hartley in it!

Hartley does not disappoint - she's by far the best thing in it, and her lisp is as charming as ever. She really embodies her role as Samantha's mother, Endora. Then, on the other end of the scale, is Ron Jeremy as Dr. Bombay who stops by to help celebrate Tabitha's birthday (more on her later...), and then leaves to apparently watch a harem orgy, and participate at a distance. What could have been a great scene, was instead spoiled by Ron Jeremy's hideous self appearing at the periphery over and over, and I was reduced to yelling at the TV screen, "Get outta here!!" He even whipped out his "manhood" which was a particularly unpleasant spectacle. He kept his clothes on aside from that though.

Enough about nasty Ron. What really interested me about this film, was the way they handled the fact that the original show had a young girl (Tabitha). I have been intrigued by how pornography deals with the presence (or lack of presence) of children when they're trying to depict family life, especially when it's an adaptation or a spoof. I remember writing an essay about The Passions of Carol, which was an adult adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and in one scene the "Hatchets" mention their crippled daughter, "Tiny Kim" - she never appears but they say she's in her room, and show her crutches. Then the parents have sex under the Christmas tree...apparently with Tiny Kim still sitting in her room...without her crutches. In effect, the film gets around the problem of such an iconic character as Tiny Tim by using the equally iconic crutches synecdochically.

Not Bewitched deals with this "problem" by making Tabitha (Teagan) a very young baby at the beginning, followed by a magic spell cast on her by her Aunt (Eva Angelina) which makes her an 18-year-old. How convenient! The film seems to embrace Tabitha's new sexual awareness, while at the same time maintaining a slightly self-conscious awareness that Tabitha is really an innocent baby (for example, she tries to go with Dr. Bombay to join in the orgy, but he brings her back, deeming her presence inappropriate). For some time, after Tabitha's solo scene, I really thought they weren't going to put Teagan in a full-on sex scene because of the unusual scenario. Well, obviously, I was wrong about that...

I mused over whether or not, once Tabitha got changed back to a baby (which throughout the narrative they make clear will happen), they would make any allusion to the fact that their baby is not a virgin... Well, they outright said it! I was really surprised, and somewhat impressed. It was all played in the comedic style of the original sitcom, so it didn't come across as shocking, though it sure made me think. The filmmakers clearly made a decision to make Tabitha a baby, rather than a five-year-old -- there is clearly something "not ok" about having a child (as opposed to a baby) in an adult film, even in a non-sexual role. I see this discomfort regarding children and sexuality throughout our culture - most obviously in the way we allow children to watch horrific scenes of violence, yet not nudity, let alone sex. I'm not saying we should put children in porn (before someone hysterically accuses me of whatever the Daily Mail is screaming about this week...), I just think it's interesting how porn evades and avoids the problem. Furthermore, I think the tools these films employ to acknowledge the existence of children in the narrative, but simultaneously evade their image, is informative of our societal attitude toward children and sexuality. 


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