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Film

Exploring the oddity of James Gunn’s PG pornos

The scene opens with the unmistakable bass riff of erotica and the hammy acting forecasts that nudity may well be in-store. “You can imagine where it goes from here,” Maude Lebowski says to The Dude in one iconic scene during The Big Lebowski, and our hero replies, “He fixes the cable?” It’s an irreverent line that may well have piqued the creative muse of James Gunn, because long before Guardians of the Galaxy, the director was behind the camera filming PG pornos as he shouldered out his playful niche in the movie industry. 

Along with his brothers, Brian and Sean, Gunn crafted a web series called James Gunn’s PG Porn. The tagline explains the premise very neatly: “For people who love everything about Porn… except the sex.” Thus, the hijinks, innuendos and funky soundtracks remained, but the action unfurls fully clothed. Nope, you’ll never see a nipple in a James Gunn porno. 

For the 11-part miniseries hosted on Spike.com, the director cast famous porn stars like Sasha Grey as Tricia Scrotey in outstanding PG masterpieces such as Roadside Ass-istance. His brother, Sean, then appeared in Genital Hospital as Bill Scrotey (no relation) where he met the famed adult performer Belladonna who was fully clothed this time in the role of Dr Poonwater—she cured his ailments, and he went away happy. Sometimes it’s just nice to see a job well done. 

The whole thing might sound irreverent and laughable, but it’s the sort of content that you could summon a thesis out of. With acerbic wit, Gunn captured the absurdity of the internet age and subverted the notion that erotica is an everyday eventuality. Nailing Your Wife might sound silly on the surface but beneath it all is a bare-naked social satire that reflects a lot about how commonplace sex and violence are on TV

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What’s more, the performers themselves commented on how liberating it was to subvert their usual objectified status and turn the tables. By keeping the hammy elements this was pronounced further as innuendos were met with expectancy only to be juxtaposed with the revelation that adult performers don’t always have to be sexualised, sometimes they just need some roadside assistance. 

Take, for instance, the following exchange from Nailing your Wife: Aria Giovanni as Amber Grimes descends down into a basement construction site and begins to tell the lone builder present about her problems with her husband’s premature ejaculation, before uttering, “Oh, don’t listen to me, I’m sure you don’t want to hear about the problems of some lonely housewife.” But Nathan Fillion as Chris really does want to listen on this occasion, so he lays his nail gun aside and listens patiently. 

Then, once his wholesomeness has been established, they do ‘get it on’. Mrs Grimes begins to kiss him, before dropping to her knees and loosening his toolbelt. However, at the moment that intimacy seems imminent, his nail gun misfires and kills poor Mrs Grimes completing the premature nailing pun. It’s not the greatest gag of all time, but in 2009 it was original enough to highlight that Gunn was a creative force worth the attention of producers and his blockbusters soon followed. 

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