In the beginning, I was excited about this concept. I thought it might end up being
something that sort of falls between “Hung” and “Entourage,” in that it deals with
the world of taboo sexuality (in this case, porn), and the politics of Hollywood.
I felt that the set up was fairly strong. Quinn, after winning Best Newcomer (a
pun if ever there was one!) at Tribeca, finds that his career isn’t exactly taking
the rocket trajectory he’d hoped. In order to pay back some of the debt incurred
from making his independent film, he is forced to sell out his skill as a producer
of pornography. The pilot and the rest of the episodes go on to deal with Quinn’s
attempts to get his Plan A back on track, without having anyone discover his Plan
B career. So far, so good. Supporting characters include Josh (an up and coming
agent, and nephew to Joel Silver), Doug (a hapless editor who can no longer make
it happen in bed with his wife), and a long string of women who give great blow
We’ll get back to that in a bit.
I felt that at their best moments, the writers showed a good knack for dialogue
and the ins and outs of aspiring Hollywood writers. When Quinn is pursuing his writing
dream, I found the scripts and treatments to be at their most believable, but was
consistently disappointed that we spent more time chasing this dream than in the
much more interesting and unique world of San Fernando Valley porn. I felt that
Quinn’s quest to go from indie darling to big name star treads water well covered
in the already very popular and established “Entourage.” Also, I felt that the writers
may be painting themselves into a corner by hinting that Quinn is so close to realizing
his dream. Given that the show is called “Naughty,” and seems to be about the things
Quinn is forced to do to make ends meet, I’d like the assurance that we will be
seeing more of the porn world. I think this milieu has great potential for comedy.
It also doesn’t seem quite as bombastically self-referential as a whole series written
about writers. This is much harder to pull off as a comedy. Especially since the
scene is, as I said, already sort of mined to its fullest by “Entourage.”
Structurally, I was disappointed that we had to wait until Episode Three to see
exactly how Quinn ended up working in porn. I think that rather than begin mid-stream
in his fledgling career, it would be funnier to see him learning the ropes of this
side of the industry. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Pilot begin with his interview
at The Naughty Network and go from there. This way we would have had a better sense,
from the get-go, of Quinn’s character. As it is, I didn’t feel like I had much of
a feel for any of the characters until several episodes in.
In terms of content, I think that the writers might be treading dangerous waters
sometimes. Granted, networks like Showtime and HBO give writers the ability to include
some adult content, but when a character is supposed to be flashing a cell phone
pic of a woman with a “cock in her mouth,” I wonder how this is going to play out.
Also, back to the women: I felt like the writers needed to hand their work to no
less than three female friends for commentary specifically on the female characters.
I got bored with the women in this script very quickly. It seemed that no matter
what the woman’s background may have been, she was horny and not afraid to use all
the dirty words in the land to describe exactly how horny. None of the female characters
seemed to have much purpose outside of giving a heck of a blow job, so after a while,
they all started to blend together, and the script started to feel mildly insulting.
Given the profession of the males in this series, it might have been interesting
to have at least one be a happily married man with a strong female partner, or even
to have one of the TNN employees be a professional woman with a plot of their own
who worked behind the camera. There needed to be much more thought put into a balance
of the sexes here, rather than a smattering of horny broads to provide all the nudity
desired given the subject matter.
Finally, I didn’t actually feel that this worked on an episodic level as well as
it should have. I felt that the writers failed at giving each episode its own plot
arc which would fit into the overall story arc for the season. There wasn’t really
much of a beginning, middle and end to each individual episode – one simply picked
up where the last one left off, mid-storyline. One way to accomplish this would
be to focus on the supporting characters for some of the more episodic plot developments,
giving a greater structure to each episode, while Quinn’s impending sale of the
script becomes the main overall arc. Sometimes I felt that the writers were trying
to accomplish this, but they seldom succeeded, in my opinion. As one last note,
I’d like to point out that the writers did not necessarily benefit at this juncture
from including so many episode treatments. Treatments for a thirty minute episodic
shouldn’t be four pages of solid-block prose, either. I felt that it took me longer
than the length of an episode sometimes to wade through one treatment. Treatments
should be no more than two pages for an episode, and should be much less dense.