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Blue-movie watchers know this award-winning producer, director, and sometime performer better as his on-screen alter ego, Seymore Butts. Butts is the mastermind behind such classics as Tushy Con Carne, Behind the Sphinc Door, and Tampa Tushy Fest Part 1, the groundbreaking video that portrayed vaginal and anal fisting and landed Adam in jail for obscenity. He fought the legal system for over a year (the Los Angeles district attorney settled his case last March with a $1000 slap on the wrist), making it safe for fisting fans everywhere to run out and make movies. The cameras are rolling once again, but this time it's someone else's turn to peer through the lens, capturing a scene much more intimate than the deflowering of an anal virgin: Butts's life is the subject of the new Showtime reality series Family Business (Fridays at 11:30 p.m.), which debuted on February 28.
PR for Family Business touts it as "just like the Cleavers but with a little more beaver," and there is certainly plenty of pink. From casting calls, video shoots, and editing sessions, pussies and pricks represent, but all the nudity and fucking plays second fiddle to the unexpected ordinariness of Adam's life. In the first episode, we see him as the single father of adorable, scene-stealing six-year-old Brady, and we meet his mother, Lila, who's forever trying to fix him up with the perfect woman. Both Lila and short-tempered 60-year-old Cousin Stevie work with Adam at his porn company. Lila balances the books and Stevie calls himself the business manager. Witness the awkward absurdity of Stevie sitting across the table from one male hopeful who's jerking off to a magazine so that Stevie can snap a Polaroid of the guy's hard-on, and you see how "business manager" can be interpreted in multiple ways. As Adam searches for Ms. Right, we're privy to several first dates/debacles with women he meets through Internet personals. After he reveals his line of work, a woman lectures him on how porn is degrading and awful; another is titillated by the idea until she sits in on an editing session that clearly shocks her.
When I caught up with Adam in Los Angeles, he told me that the series shows everything but actual penetration in its behind-the-scenes look at the world of porn. The second episode, in fact, captures a first for cable television: female ejaculation, one of Adam's favorite sexual hobbies and one of the most magical but misunderstood phenomena of female sexuality. Yet Adam believes that people will be most surprised by what happens when he's not directing two women to lick a guy's dick at the same time ("But only after you have an orgasm sitting on Herschel's face," he instructs a female performer). When Seymore Butts has seen his last butt for the evening, he's just "a dad who makes breakfast for my son every morning, goes out on dates, and has a meddlesome mom. We're the antithesis of the Osbournes. They are outrageous people in a normal world, but we're normal people in an outrageous world."
Family Business is subversive not only because the family appears pretty normal, but because it directly contradicts the usual mainstream media portrayal of the porn industry. Theirs is a world of consenting adults with everyday problems who like what they dothey are not your usual cardboard cutout victims. Perhaps because the show is executive-produced by Emmy winners with top-notch credentials and no stake in the porn industry, Family Business comes off as a positive portrayal of a much derided world: Adam is a role model for single dads (take that, Dan Quayle), and because it's documentary-style, it all seems honest and unscripted.
It's clear from the first episode that Adam is looking for true love, so I had to inquire if, by now, six months after shooting began, he's found it. With twice the IQ of Joe Millionaire and more beautiful women around him than The Bachelor, you'd think his love life wouldn't look so much like Survivor, but it does. When I asked him about a certain starlet who appears in the show's trailer enough times to look like a possible love interest, he told me that he hasn't dated or slept with her because he's friends with her on-again/off-again boyfriendhe thought it just wasn't worth the potential headaches or drama. The opposite of the anything-goes, sleazy sex-hound pimps of skin flicks, he's a thoughtful guy with good boundaries who also happens to be a pornographer. Imagine that. Sure, he could use a fashion makeover, but hey, I'll take a guy with bad taste in clothes who's G-spot literate over an Armani-suited hunk who can't get a handle on the clitoris any day.
As part of his quest for love (and as a clever cross-promotional effort), Adam placed a personal ad on Nerve.com, which has established a reputation as the place to hook up with intelligent, hip, sex-positive peeps. In his online profile, he says, "I know the female body as good as any doctor, at least the female sexual anatomy. I know what I'm doing in that area very well." Me too, Adam, me too.
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