Tv Review: My Dad Wrote A Porno HBO Special

my dad wrote a porno index

Back in October 2015 the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno began after Jamie Morton discovered that his father had written a series of erotic novels under the Belinda Blinked title using the pen name Rocky Flintstone. In the podcast Morton reads the stories while Radio One DJ Alice Levine and digital executive James Cooper (who used to produce content for the websites for The Voice, The Apprentice and The X-Factor) are on hand to make jokes and snarky comments about the story. It quickly became an enormous success with over 150 million downloads to date, because as the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy proved the world has a fascination with terrible pornography.

Now they’ve been given an hour long special by HBO, filmed at Camden’s Roundhouse venue in London, and after an initial set up where it’s explained how Morton discovered his Dad’s secret hobby and how quickly the podcast became a hit (with Rachel Bloom and Thomas Middleditch talking about who they’d want to play in the movie version, and Michael Sheen jokingly comparing the stories to Hamlet) the trio come out on stage. There they explain how it’s not just a reading of the story but also a drinking game where they have to imbibe alcohol every time there’s unnecessary details in the text, bad grammar or it’s mentioned that Belinda blinks, though given that they seem reasonably sober by the end I’m not quite sure of the point of that part.

When Morton finally starts reading it anyone expecting immediate fireworks (as I have to confess I was) will be enormously disappointed, the initial story is extremely bland and the comments that Alice and James make are a mixture of the patronising, obvious or dull, and their reactions feel a bit fake given their familiarity with the material, and Jamie’s initial reluctance about reading the text is especially disingenuous given how many times he’s done this for the podcast. They try to make it more fun by involving the audience but within the first twenty minutes the comments from the crowd are mainly pointless and unfunny so it doesn’t help improve matters.

Once it finally gets to the sex scenes it does thankfully become a lot funnier, with a good few laughs to be had as the story is one of the most unerotic things I’ve ever heard. Morton’s Dad is not a talented writer and quite possibly someone who has no idea of female anatomy either as the lines “And entered her clitoris” and “flashed her cervix” demonstrate, while the sentence “Belinda gently eased her trousers down her arsehole” suggests the lead character has the world’s biggest backside too. During this part there’s another bit of audience interaction where Cooper goes in to the crowd and asks if anyone wants to help them recreate a scene from the book, which partially works as it shows how physically uncomfortable the seductive scene is supposed to be.

Unfortunately after that there’s some more mundanity where a group of characters throw dice and though they mock it’s dullness it’s not enough to actually make it bearable, I know the point of the podcast is to read the work in full but some judicious editing would have been greatly appreciated. At least it gets ruder again vaguely quickly and so more amusing, with the best part of the special turning up with ten minutes to go where they chat about the phrase “Natasha’s fuckably shaped breasts echoed”, and the final segment is gorgeously messed up and filled with painful sounding imagery (a bit of testicle chewing being the most cringeworthy) but there’s definitely way too much filler and not enough bizarre attempts at eroticism within the hour.

Perhaps the podcast itself is funnier, I can only presume that is the case given it’s ongoing success, but it’s not something that I have any intention of checking out as the trio just aren’t the kind of people I find that engaging. Morton is the funniest but he has the easiest role as he mostly just reads the story, Levine has the occasional decent line but little more than that (reflecting her performance in Taskmaster series six) and Cooper is mostly bland or irritating, a bit too smug, a bit too self satisfied, and that’s something I don’t feel appealing. It is just about worth watching, if only for the final 15 minutes, but skipping through the duller moments is also advised.

Alex Finch.
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Related Link:
The Official My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast site.

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