In 10 Words or Less
The first family of porn delivers another load...of reality
The Story So Far...
The reality series "Family Business" follows Adam Glasser, a.k.a. porn king Seymore Butts, his mom, Lila, and Cousin Stevie, who together run a porn company. There's also the more normal moments with Adam's young son, Brady, but most fans enjoy the nudity and sex. Showtime released the first season on DVD back in January of 2004.
Much of Adam's business was covered in the first season, so the second season turns the camera more on his friends and family. The TV show's success has put a spotlight on his support staff, and made them famous in their own way, which makes it hard to maintain the reality they had before. Mirna, his assistant, is now devoting more of her time to the biz, working as porn star Mari Possa and feature dancing, which keeps her out of the office. Cousin Stevie has his own side gigs going, as does his right-hand man Bishop. Even Adam's mom Lila has some irons in the fire.
While trying to maintain his now overly busy empire, Adam continues to build his relationship with his son, who is now just an adorable kid who loves his dad. As you watch scenes of the two of them together, butted up against scenes of anal sex, one wonders where the kid is at those points. There's something for the cameras to look for.
His son isn't the only person he's trying to develop a relationship with, as he continues his nearly fruitless dating quest. A shot at speed dating is observed in this set, as is a rather easy mark who throws herself at Adam. He seems unable to find exactly what he wants, but to his credit, he's not looking for an easy way out either. I can't imagine it's very easy to go on a first date when a camera crew is trailing you. The pressure on the other person must be rather unreal.
The crew behind the show seems to have a hand in what goes on in Adam's life, because conflicts crop up and wrap up a little too neatly for reality. Sure, there are some realistic ones, like dealing with Mirna's desire for breast implants (this girl is a complete case study for the textbook on how to become a porn star). But they follow them up with Cousin Stevie filming a woman sodomizing a human-sized blue dog with a rubber chicken, which is simply too weird for words. I don't think this show needed any plot prodding, but it seems to have happened, disappointingly. If they had stuck with following Adam and watching him live his life, the show probably would have been just as good, if not better.
For the first season, three discs held 10 episodes. This time around, Showtime lost a disc, putting the 10 episodes of the second season on just two DVDs. The animated menus feature a low-budget 3D-rendered graphic of a porn set, with transitions that move the menus around the "set." The menus list the episodes on each disc, and an audio set-up option. Choose an episode, and you can watch the episode all at once, or choose from four points in the show, labeled as "For-play," "Heavy Petting," "Main Event" and "Climax." The lack of a play all option is a bit annoying. Audio options include two English tracks, 2.0 and 5.1, and a Spanish mono track that is pretty entertaining for non-Spanish speakers. The disc says each episode has closed captioning for the hearing-impaired, but it didn't work for me.
The video on this set isn't the epitome of consistency, but that's because of the source materials, not the DVD production. Shot on the cheap on digital video, daylight looks much better than night, and grain and compression can get annoying at times. But overall, the show looks pretty good for what it is.
The audio is available in stereo and 5.1, and surprisingly, for a reality comedy without much in the way of action, there is a big difference between the tracks. The 5.1 mix is relatively active, with lots of music backgrounds fed to the surrounds. The sound simply has much more depth. The dialogue is clear and without distortion in either track.
Much like Showtime's DVD set for the second season of "Bullshit!," this collection's bonus features pale in comparison with the first go-round. It seems like Showtime has decided to do their home entertainment on the cheap. Instead of commentaries and featurettes, all there is to this set are a couple of Showtime Shorts, which are very stylishly-produced mini-interviews with Adam, Cousin Stevie and the two of them together. These are just on-air promos for Showtime, so if you've watched the series, there's nothing new here. These are found on the second disc.
The Bottom Line
After the first season, it was no longer surprising or revelatory to see Seymore Butts as a human being, complete with family. Therefore, it's the stories and characters that have to carry the load in Season Two. Occasionally, they do, like during Adam's camping trip with his son. But often, the action seems staged and too porn-focused. The best parts are the "real" moments, and there are too few of them here. Add in a less-than-tremendous DVD package, and it's hard to recommend this as a purchase. But in the end, I will give it a recommend, simply because the show is enthralling. Nowhere do you see this business from this angle, which makes for some truly unique TV.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.