Welcome to the Valley!

We live in a world of branding. While cows may not like it, it has become central to capitalism, an intimate link between corporation and consumer. When I reach for a Hefty bag, I know I'm disposing waste responsibly, and with no small measure of class. Z. Cavaricci makes the Cadillac of jeans—'nuff said. And I need not explain the intrinsic appeal of certain paper towels to Brawny Men. Porn, of course, is not like other industries. While many people know Vivid Video, by name if nothing else, Jenna Jameson registers with many more. Folks pick up pornos according to theme and stars, whether they know their nom de boom-boom or just like their look. What company produced the disc only matters to hardcore fans. Me, I just reach for the one closest to where I'm sitting.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to three new companies (or maybe they're ones that haven't hooked me up until now). But before that, let's break down the competition.

Clip and save the following section of the column:

JM explores the outer limits of bad taste and aggressive sex, with chained and/or blindfolded women crawling down hallways and way-deep-throating, men costumed as beasts real and imagined, and plots and suggested situations not seen since the days of Extreme Associates, home of gorn pioneer Lizzy Borden. (Sample series: American Bukkake, Girlvert, Perverted Stories.)

Industry giants Elegant Angel and Evil Angel, home of acclaimed director Jules Jordan, zoom in on JM-style sex, discarding the storylines.

Zero Tolerance is chasing down the Angels with consistently aggressive fucking. The adorable lingerie they outfit their consistently beautiful ladies in is a welcome touch.

Skintight offers bad if smartly conceived gonzos like MILF Money along with slight, charming narrative features.

VCA, Jill Kelly, and Digital Playground are like junior Vivids, with airbrushed covers, trad-cute starlets, and some storytelling.

Blue Pictures trades quality for quantity, though the women are well cast.

Legend, like the smaller-budgeted Quad and New Jersey's Pleasure, spices their gonzo with modest conceits, as in the epistolary Dear Whore.

Video Team imports Euro and other fun trash, and runs the self-explanatory Afro-centric.

Macho Man! has the Brazilian bi market cornered with titles like Bi-Sharona (like the song says—"such a dirty mind"!).

In the immortal words of Biggie Smalls: And if you don't know, now you know, sucka. Now for the newbies: Nectar Entertainment offers for our delectation Welcome to the Valley, billed as their "first reality series." The word "reality" should always be taken with a silo of salt when it comes to porno: Sex on camera is by definition real, but it resembles little in the real world. Further complicating this, "reality" series are almost always transparently scripted—only simulating documentary-style shooting. (Rigged TV fare like Joe Millionaire has yet to inspire the skinema establishment. The extreme makeovers are implied.)

Welcome to the Valley works because it rips off The Office, that deadpan BBC faux-doc about a pathetic, two-faced middle manager and his life-stunned minions. Goofy Billy Tyler, a 27-year-old pizza deliveryman, dreams about naked women smeared with non-dairy creamer camping out in his closet and wakes up to a bed full of nasty mags and used tissues. He needs more from life, and introducing his blow-up doll Tracy to a twin named Mandy just doesn't do it. So he answers Nectar's want ad for a PA, and winds up joining a not very well fleshed-out cast of characters who work on high budget flicks. (Nectar has also sent me Liquid, by snooty director Marty Zion. Back of the box: "Drench yourself in a world where dreams collide with reality, where lust and passion flow like rivers from an ocean of love. Quench your hidden desires and swim through Marty Zion's Liquid." No thanks!)

The star here is not Billy—who puts on a cowboy hat, starts acting like a prick, and doesn't give off any sense of wonder or excitement at getting to literally bone girls of his dreams—but producer (in the flick and its credits) Sean Logan. Smug, frequently stupid, and unaccountably mean, he does a decent David Brent, the boss in The Office. Auditioning actresses, he delivers the same corporate-speak mission statement about how young, hot, edgy, and professional Nectar is, than up and asks the bewildered woman to finger herself, front and back, as he watches. Like Brent, Logan also lapses into disturbing, desperate behavior. Referring to an actress who's off absentmindedly banging Billy after having excused herself from the set with a headache, he says, "She's gonna get the snot fucked out of her. Let's see what that does for her attitude." (Obviously he's not minding the budget for tissues.)

Acid Rain surely outdoes almost every other company in the attitude-adjustment department, including Zero Tolerance and sister distributors Diabolic and Anabolic, whose claustrophobically conceived and shot gonzo seems to have set this precedent. If I bought Stack 'Em Deep, I'd be outraged by the phone-sex ads at the beginning, which you can't fast forward through. Others might be outraged by the rough sex: two men grabbing a woman, tossing her down on a bed, and immediately fucking the snot out of her, slapping and spitting in her face all the while. I object to the verbal abuse, which ranges from "You slut!" to "I don't wanna see your hand on this cock or I'll ram it down your throat and rip your fucking head off!" At best, it's painfully banal and detracts from the most impressive set of deep throats I've ever witnessed in one disc. The slim and spiky-haired Euroteen Emily DaVinci provides the highlight, dominating a surprised dude, sticking her own fingers down her throat, and hocking a loogie onto his chest.

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