TV Review: Unplanned America – Episode 4 – 19th May 2014 (SBS2, Australia)

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In the next two episodes of Unplanned America the lads Gonzo, Parv and Nick tackle some interesting stereotypes and turn them all upside down and make us re-evaluate what we think we know about the rap music industry, gangs, the parody porn scene and nudists and nudity.

In episode 4 “Inhibition and Exhibition” the boys decide to delve into the very real and surprising world of the porn industry. They’re invited to visit the set whilst filming Austin Powers XXX a parody of the Austin Powers films. The director of the film B. Skow sums it up “There’s a lot of dick jokes…but the main story is Austin trying to stop Dr Evil from sticking his cock into the centre of the earth” and soon enough the guys discover there’s a lot more to what’s going on in this industry than first impressions.

One of the starlets Natasha Nice reveals that she started out in porn fresh out of high school and needing work so she signed up with a modelling agency who then got her work in the industry. Even though Natasha is studying marine biology (and clearly quite smart to do so) the fun she gets out of working in the porn industry is still too exciting for her to give it up. Allie Haze on the other hand had very specific motivations, as a lesbian now bisexual, her main reason for getting into the industry was so she could have safe sexual encounters with both women and men. Both of these women have differing reasons for being there but it seems that at the end of the day the fantasy world of the porn set is more enjoyable than the real world, and pays significantly better too. After hanging around and waiting some more on set, when the guys end up finally getting to witness their first sex scene, it’s all so over the top and unrealistic to be taken seriously.

After a chat with veteran porn star Nina Hartley though, we get some real insight into how the industry has changed over the years. Hartley explains that once the shift to digital arrived and the ability to have porn so readily available via the internet and peer 2 peer sharing sites, the industry took a drastic hit in its ability to earn money for its workers. B Skow also sheds some light on how prior to the digital age it was considered a more underground, taboo but legitimate scene but now that it’s so mainstream and catering to every possible taste it’s not as valuable. That long held stigma still follows all of the people involved in the industry, from the actors in front of the camera to the crew working behind it. Despite the benefits it comes with its own challenges, despite all of this though, it seems that all the people we meet in this story wouldn’t give it up or change anything.

To add to their nudity quota for the evening the guys visit Portland, Oregon to participate in one of the world’s only nude bicycle protest. Event organiser Halley Weaver explains that there’s no one specific message they’re trying to push, the dependence to fossil fuels, the vulnerability of cyclists on the road, vegans against exploitation of animals are just some of the things people like to protest about on the ride. Despite initial hesitation, Gonzo decides to strip down and join in on the fun. The most commonly shared sentiment from participants is how liberating and free it feels and clearly there’s safety in numbers when you have about 10,000 other people baring all beside you. Common beliefs and common goals with no pretence and no body image issues to be seen.

For a country steeped in conservative thinking and beliefs it’s surprising to see things like the porn industry or nude protests still surviving. They still manage to bring controversial issues into discussion but they are in no way as taboo as they used to be. Breaking down the stigma attached to these is one of the ways in which we can progress as a free thinking society.


Unplanned America airs at 9:30pm Monday nights on SBS2 or On Demand via the SBS website.


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Carina Nilma

Office lackey day-job. Journalist for The AU Review night-job. Emotionally invested fangirl.