Reviews

This Week in TV: Louis Theroux – Twilight of the Porn Stars, Glamour Model Mum Baby and Me, Dead Boss and A Brief History of Everything Else

A mixed bag of laughter and boobs on this week’s TV offering so let’s get started.

Louis Theroux Porn 008 This Week in TV: Louis Theroux   Twilight of the Porn Stars, Glamour Model Mum Baby and Me, Dead Boss and A Brief History of Everything Else
As I’ve been writing about TV for about six years now I’m wary of certain personalities and whether I’ll like their new show or not with one of those people controversially being Louis Theroux. I know some people adore him, but conversely some people can stand him, but for me he’s fairly hit and miss so while I enjoyed some of his programmes such as the one about San Quentin prison others have just leave me cold. That’s why I approached his new programme, Twilight of the Porn Stars, with some trepidation but as it’s a follow up to a documentary he made about the adult entertainment industry in 1997 at least there was some context to it. Before delving into the past Louis wanted to see what the porn industry of the present looked like he went to a shoot for an upcoming film and met director Ben English as well as leading lady Alexa who was currently studying at college while her male co-star Xander seemed to be floundering. The narrative strand running throughout Twilight of the Porn Stars was the fact that the industry was dying out due to Internet piracy and the porn tube sites where folks could watch a lot of adult videos completely free something that the people at LA Direct, a porn casting company, weren’t happy about especially number two Fran Amadore who didn’t seem to like the business in the first place. Fran was a brilliant character wary that the actresses weren’t giving her all of their profits she also said she wouldn’t let her daughter go into the industry saying ‘why would I want to be the mother of a whore?’ In his quest to seek out the changing face of the industry he also met Cagney Lynn Carter who performs a solo webcam show while her boyfriend Montane helps pick out her outfits before going to clean the kitchen while she’s busy helping lonely men do their business however Montane does put his foot down occasionally not wanting his girlfriend to do a scene in which five guys ejaculate on her face though she does it anyway. Cagney Lynn seems like an intelligent young woman who knows when she wants to get out of the industry and that she’s saving the money that she makes rather than throwing it away like some adult actresses do. Similarly Louis also met Tasha who was currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies claiming that working in porn was interesting as it was the only industry in which women are paid more than men. Tasha was working alongside renowned porn actor Tommy Gunn who was a really interesting likeable guy and was also fairly philosophical about his chosen profession and the fact that one day he’d like to have a meaningful relationship. Louis then went to meet some of the actors he saw in 1997 starting with JJ Michaels who was a newcomer to the industry then but now is working in IT as well as recording a thrash metal album. JJ seemed like a pleasant enough chap who said that he got into the industry after his baby son passed away, something he didn’t mention in 1997, and left in 2000 after reviewing his life when his younger brother died. Porn director Rob Black was another of Louis’ subjects in the original documentary and since they’d last met had briefly become a wrestling promoter before he and his wife served ten months in prison for obscenity. Black is still in the industry and is now making porn parodies of popular films, including an Iron Man spoof which was also available in 3D, as his original extreme pornography had long since lost its appeal. Black was certainly lively anticipating Louis’ sarcastic questions and constantly referring to him as Mr Thorax but you could see in his eyes that he wasn’t as jubilant as he once was. Tragically John Doe, Louis’ third subject from the 1997 film, took his own life five years since though his wife who was also a porn actress let Louis into her home to discuss her husband’s death. As we’d been told constantly throughout Twilight of the Porn Stars it was a dying industry and this was something that got to John, real name Chet, as he felt he couldn’t be a proper husband to her or a father to their daughter Briana. In the final scenes Louis met the lovely Briana who told him she wanted to be a police officer as she always wanted to stop people doing the wrong thing however, in what was possibly the most distasteful part of the whole show, her speech was aired over footage of her father from Louis’ original documentary. Theroux seemed to have a real genuine involvement in Twilight of the Porn Stars as he seemed eager to find out why people were still getting into what was a dying industry and the answer seemed to be money with the actresses in particular already plotting what they would do next with their lives. It seemed that this generation of porn stars already knew that the industry was on its last legs and that it was a short-term thing however other characters such as Tommy and Rob were still ploughing on in their careers. Twilight of the Porn Stars did definitely present these characters in a compassionate light and they were all interesting in their own way while Theroux was also a genial and interesting host. My only issue were the final scenes in John Doe’s home that just a felt a little morbid and distasteful however I feel it was the only conceivable way to wrap up what was otherwise a well-made and enthralling documentary.

uktv alicia douvall This Week in TV: Louis Theroux   Twilight of the Porn Stars, Glamour Model Mum Baby and Me, Dead Boss and A Brief History of Everything Else
More adult content now as we revisit glamour model/kiss and tell supremo Alicia Duvall and her brainy put-upon daughter Georgia in the follow-up to their 2010 documentary Glamour Models, Mum and Me. Georgia, now 16, is at college still a bright girl while it seems that her mother is now not forcing her into get a boob job instead focusing on having her second daughter which she names Papaya Coco Kiri Douvall – lovely. Alicia still isn’t taking Georgia’s studies seriously making her older daughter rush her photography A-Level coursework into to accompany her mother and baby sister to Boston where Douvall has to have facial reconstruction surgery. Alicia seems to at least be growing as a person as she admits that this will be her final surgery, which is something Georgia has heard before, but she seems completely genuine having gone under the knife more than 100 times in the last fifteen years. Though not the best mum Alicia is incredibly protective of Georgia not letting her stay overnight at friends’ house an enforcing a strict curfew however it is unclear how much of this is a selfish desire to have her teenage daughter be her ‘best friend’. Alicia eventually lets Georgia have her friends over for an incredibly classy ‘pimps and whores’ party which like any good celeb party includes a game of pass the parcel and magician’s act. Realising Georgia’s friends are all incredibly nerdy Alicia discovers her fears are unwarranted and lets her daughter finally have the independence she has been craving for years. She also gives her blessing for Georgia to go on her first date with a spotty youth named Toby before giving her a car for her seventeenth birthday. I really enjoyed this follow-up documentary as I always wondered what had happened to Georgia and Alicia and it seemed that the latter, in become a mother again, had finally grown up and in turn had let her daughter mature into a beautiful young lady. Initially I was slightly wary of this documentary as it mainly focused on interviews between the pair however the interview portions later faded out allowing both to tell their own story. My only uncomfortable moment was following Georgia’s first date as I thought the story would have been best told had we see Alicia waiting for her daughter to come home to recount the events of the date. Overall I’m glad that BBC3 continued to tell Alicia and Georgia’s stories as I feel this is what the channel does best and I hope we see another documentary in a year or so where Alicia has to cope when Georgia inevitably heads off to university.

Dead Boss1 460x344 This Week in TV: Louis Theroux   Twilight of the Porn Stars, Glamour Model Mum Baby and Me, Dead Boss and A Brief History of Everything Else
And two end with a double bill of comedy beginning with the great news that the wonderful Sharon Horgan is back on BBC3 the channel that both aired and cruelly cancelled the wonderful Pulling. This time she presents the much different Dead Boss in which her character Helen is convicted of killing her boss Eric Bridges who had several enemies, including a gold-digging wife, of which she was not one however due to a lack of alibi and an awful lawyer she is sent down. Arriving at Broadmarsh Prison she immediately wants to start an appeal however lawyer Tony is threatened away from the case while Jennifer Saunders’ wonderfully sinister Governor doesn’t want her to leave as it would spoil the morale. As you would expect from a sitcom that spoofs prison shows there is also a Top Dog in Broadmarsh unluckily for Helen it is one of her former supply teachers who has a vendetta against her. Helen’s only friend in the inside is her cell-mate Christine however even she is slightly psychotic not wanting her to leave after she believes they have made a connection. Helen’s ordeal in prison is just one element of Dead Boss the other is the investigation into who actually killed Bridges something that both Tony and Helen’s work-stalker Henry are trying to find out though as we discover it may have something to do with the work’s lottery syndicate. My main problem with Dead Boss was the odd balance between prison spoof and macabre whodunnit the latter of which is slightly reminiscent of Psychoville. For me the Bridges murder investigation is the most intriguing part of the plot however it has less time devoted to it than the Broadmarsh scenes which ironically are fairly broad in their delivery with obvious gags about prison coming every couple of minutes. The one shining light in these scenes is Saunders who is absolutely great as the charming yet completely evil Governor Margaret and indeed the big laughs come in her scenes. As an actress Horgan is likeable as ever but as a co-screenwriter, alongside stand-up comic Holly Walsh, I feel she has spread the multiple plots too thin so we don’t really connect with any of the plot. It’s a shame because I really like Horgan and I’m hoping after Dead Boss is cancelled the bosses at BBC3 might give Pulling.

griff rhys jones 2246572b This Week in TV: Louis Theroux   Twilight of the Porn Stars, Glamour Model Mum Baby and Me, Dead Boss and A Brief History of Everything Else
Finally who wants a new panel show? Well you’re getting one anyway with the always reliable Griff Rhys Jones hosting Channel 4′s latest effort A Short History of Everything Else. I’m not sure who actually requested a brand new panel show but there was obviously a six week gap in the schedules that needed filling and I’m guessing that this idea had been hanging around in the archives now. Essentially what happens is that Griff shows the two teams a series of clips before they have to work out what year these clips are from and then answer questions about them in very witty ways. The teams are captained by panel show veteran Marcus Brigstoke and fellow comic Charlie Baker possibly best known for winning Let’s Dance last year alongside Emmerdale actor James Thornton they are joined respectively by the bafflingly ubiquitous Micky Flanagan and the lovely Kirsty Wark. In the press notes about a Short History of Everything else Griff describes the programme as a ‘nostalgia-fest’ while commissioner Ralph Lee hopes the series will be ‘engaging and satirical’ but neither of these are right. Yes the series is mildly amusing and I’ve seen much worst examples of the genre but there doesn’t seem to be enough effort put into making each round identifiable in its own right so the quiz becomes a much of a muchness. My biggest issue though was that it resembled the fake panel show in Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive as that was to do with the guessing of different years and the events that occurred in those years in question while I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one question was shared between the two. Rhys-Jones is an amiable enough host while Baker and Brigstoke work well together however I feel A Short History of Everything Else may be the example of the comedy panel show finally eating itself and to me at least it seemed like a spoof of the genre rather than anything else.

What did you think to Louis Theroux’s look back down a very adult memory lane? Were you glad to have Alicia and Georgia return? And what of Sharon Horgan’s new effort? Leave Your Comments Below

Next Week: True Love and the final episode of Silk.

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