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Porn Parodies: Old-School vs. New-School

Yes, you are about to read a serious, in-depth discussion of porn parodies.  I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but pornography is a film genre, it has its own conventions and cliches and, dare I say it, some artistic merit. Porn parodies are probably the most fascinating porn to study because they are judged not solely on the sex, but also other aspects that more traditional porn movies aren’t judged on, like their plot. This is because porn parodies live or die based on how well they handle the source material.

If somebody just wants to see two people fucking, they can just pick up any old porn and get that. But if somebody watches a porn parody, it’s because they want to see two specific characters fucking. But there’s a problem. It’s called copyright law. One can’t just use somebody else’s characters without permission for profit. However, there’s a loophole in copyright law where parodies are considered fair use. This gives porn producers the green light to use other people’s characters as long as they’re using them in parodies.

Dick Smothers played Maxwell Smart better than Steve Carell!

For the longest time, porn parodies were actual parodies. In other words, these were porn movies where they attempted to send up the source material on some level.  I call these “old-school” porn parodies. These parodies can be distinguished by their funny titles: Edward Penishands, Rear and Pleasant Danger, Missionary Position Impossible and so on. They generally were low-budget and filled to the brim with bad acting and innuendo.

Fun for the whole family… minus the ass to mouth during the four way at the end.

Then around 2008 to 2009,  porn companies got wind that porn parodies were a licence to print money. These companies then started pumping out parodies and a paradigm shift occurred. Instead of trying to poke fun at the material, these “new-school” porn parodies became big-budget pornographic mockbusters. When a movie is being “parodied,” the movie is actually just copied scene for scene with sex scenes inserted here and there, while if a TV show is being “parodied,” the result is an episode of the show with sex scenes inserted.  In the worst cases these parodies are just extended sex scenes based on other people’s characters that are strung together with no real plot. Worst of all, the funny titles disappeared, being replaced by names like ___ XXX : A Porn Parody or This Ain’t ____: A XXX Parody.

To illustrate the difference between old-school and new-school, I’ll post two clips for two different Star Trek porn parodies, Sex Trek: Where No Man has Come B4 and This Ain’t Star Trek XXX.

First up is the old-school Sex Trek:

This installment of the long-running Sex Trek series (incidentally, there are at least 8 of these) is directed by one of  masters of the old school porn parody, Cash Marksman, who also directed Get Lucky. As a master of the art, Marksman understands that people watch porn for the sex and generally just want to get the story over with as quickly as possible. But if you’re going to sit through the story parts, you might as well laugh a little in the process. The production is second rate but it really doesn’t matter because the film doesn’t take itself seriously and lampoons Star Trek quite nicely.

Now here’s This Ain’t Star Trek:

Instead of trying to lampoon Star Trek this movie tries to be Star Trek just with hardcore sex.  While the production is first class, instead of being interesting the clip comes across as just boring. The actors just don’t have the charisma of the original cast. I haven’t watched the entire movie, nor do I want to. This film was directed by Axel Braun, and having seen several other Axel Braun parodies, I know what to expect with this one: an emphasis on style over substance with terrible writing all around. Here’s the Porn Critic reviewing Dark Knight XXX where he effectively states Braun’s issues.

But even the soullessness extends to the better porn parodies. Watch the trailer for Star Trek Next Generation: An XXX Parody:

This parody is notable for two reasons. First, they brought in a Patrick Stewart impersonator to play Captain Picard.  Therefore, Picard just gets a blowjob at the end from Crusher. This way they could use a stunt cock and never have to show Picard’s head. Second, the script is fanfiction written by the director, who’s a confessed Trek fan. While this is a very good porn parody, there’s just something missing. The cast tries hard, the sex is hot and the production values are top notch. Go ahead, watch some of sex-free story parts to see just how good it is. But in the end, it’s just a copy. A Stewart impersonator is just that: an impersonator.

People still watch this movie 20 years later.

Porn, by nature, isn’t meant to entertain but rather to arouse. Once its function has been fulfilled, it’s thrown away. But by embracing their transient nature, old-school porn parodies collectively enshrined themselves as part of popular culture even if many of the films themselves have been lost to time. When asked to come up with a porn movie idea, most people will invariably think of low budget porn parodies with funny titles that are packed with sex-puns; movies where the cast, who weren’t selected for their acting talent, deliver their innuendo-filled dialogue barely able to contain their laughter. Even if they are no longer being made except in a few cases, like the excellent BATFXXX (short for BatFucker XXX), the idea of old school parodies will live on.

This isn’t parody, this is plagiarism! Now if Elaine was naked…..

New-school parodies will never achieve immortality beyond how similar the people on the box covers look to the original characters. First, they aren’t parodies, they are only called parodies in the titles so the producers aren’t (justifiably) sued for copyright infringement. The Next Generation doesn’t parody the show but instead celebrates it. Second, new-school parodies forget the very reason people watch porn. Nobody really cares what happens between the sex scenes; the story only exists to put those scenes in context. With some non-porn scenes in a few “new-school” parodies I’ve seen stretching over ten minutes, I know people will just hit the fast forward button to get to the fucking.

Still, new-school parodies pretend they are in the beloved old-school tradition by releasing multiple disc collector’s editions and allowing behind the scenes press access. The truth is, most of these parodies pale before their lower-budget predecessors. They actually possess no more longevity than run-of-the-mill porn movies with titles such as Blow Me 7 and I Got Banged 3…meaning none at all.

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3 Comments

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    New School Porn Parodies: A Slippery Slope - The Murphyverse
    October 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    […] too long ago I wrote an essay about old school and new school porn parodies. Old school parodies attempted to send up the source material while new school parodies were […]

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