In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.
Oh, pornography, what would the internet be without you? Since the days of dial-up, people (read: dudes) have gone from spending 15 minutes waiting on a nekkid picture or a scandalous animated gif to load to streaming broadband smut readily available 24/7. As the internet evolved, as did its porn… Though “evolve” may be an overstatement as Rule 34 of the internet was instated by the collective teeming masses. The basis of Rule 34 is simply “if it exists, there is porn of it.” The recent resurgence of parody porn in the DVD market these days has further driven this point home. With everything from classic superheroes (like the awesome Batman XXX) to game shows (Hustler just released a Jeopardy porno) to the highest-grossing film of all time (That’s Avatar, kids) getting the porn treatment, there seems to be nothing that’s off limits.
…including the Simpsons…
Granted, it’s no Zombie Porn, but Simpsons: the XXX Parody is unsettling on some level that I can’t properly express into words, but I’m damned sure going to try. For starters, it’s live action, which sets a VERY weird tone as Andy San Dimas tries her damnedest to be sexy while affecting a Marge Simpson voice, and I’m not entirely sure that’s even possible. It’s weird in all the regular exchanges between her and Homer, but when they start doing the deed, it’s downright horrifying. On the opposite end of that spectrum, Josh Thomas provides the voice of Homer via ADR and that’s just…. weird, because it’s a REALLY good Homer impression. Homer shouldn’t say such things.
Credit where it’s due, the premise of this thing is actually fairly clever. The idea is that Homer borrowed Flanders’s camera and shot a sex tape with Marge. Given that, it’s a believable enough scenario, so it has that going for it. Moe comes along and borrows the camera, too, so hey, bonus! Flanders makes a thankfully sexless appearance, as does McBain, via a porn parody WITHIN the parody (META!). The color palettes on the sets are all eerily accurate to the show and again, aside form Marge, the impressions are pretty good. To get the jaundice-inspired look on the actors, a digital filter is applied to change the color as opposed to using body paint, a la This Ain’t Avatar XXX. The plus side is that all the skin tones are consistent. The downside is that it’s a sex flick full of yellow people. Period. It’s just weird. As “good” as it looks, it’s still unnatural and makes me feel like the sad inside.
This is seriously about as good a Simpsons porno flick as is humanly possible given the performances and attention to detail. The problem with Simpsons: the XXX Parody is simply that it exists. This is a thing that should not be unleashed into the world. I’m reminded of the concept of the Uncanny Valley:
From Wikipedia (oh, like you don’t use it)
Masahiro Mori’s hypothesis states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong revulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels.
This area of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a “barely human” and “fully human” entity is called the uncanny valley. The name captures the idea that a robot which is “almost human” will seem overly “strange” to a human being and thus will fail to evoke the empathic response required for productive human-robot interaction.
To paraphrase, human-looking robots freak people out. The Valley has also been used to describe the inherent ookiness of Robert Zemeckis’s motion capture movies. Nothing on Earth has ever been scarier than Tom Hanks in the Polar Express. That’s the Uncanny Valley. Something artificial shouldn’t look that real. Simpsons: the XXX Parody is essentially the opposite of that concept. These are real people looking and acting SO much like something artificial that it becomes by its very nature creepy and weird and not cool. I guess I can appreciate the effort, this being America and all, but man, this flick skeeves me out.
Thanks for everything, pornography. But dare not to soar too close to the sun on wings of wax. That shit melts. Just sayin’. And yes, I DID just use both a theory about advanced robotics and an ancient fable in article about Simpsons porn. That’s called “journalism.”