Twenty years ago, the Coen Brothers brought forward a movie with quick comedy, and social commentary. The Big Lebowski quickly became a cult classic. Twelve years later, The Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody, provided fans with more of The Dude except with innuendos, nudity, and meta-commentary. Canadian pornographic film director, producer, and screenwriter, Lee Roy Myers spoofed the original film with artistic (and sexy) liberties.
Myers didn’t parody the entire Coen Brothers’ film. Parts were left out for time and potentially for writing. Even without those scenes, the porn added an hour to the original film’s two-hour running time. To comment on this, The Stranger (Sam Elliott in the original) breaks the fourth wall during his narrations. At the end, he apologizes for the scenes missed and says he hopes the sex scenes make up for it.
Of the parodied scenes, Myers stays close to the original with pornographic flourishes. The most noticeable difference is the inciting incident. Porn tapes that “tied the collection together” were ruined by ejaculate, in place of urine ruining a rug. After the pornos were ruined, The Dude complains, “couldn’t you just cum on the rug?” That was a clever way for Myers to tip his hat to the original.
Myers has directed several other porn parodies including The Godfather XXX; A Dreamzone Parody (2012), A Wet Dream on Elm Street (2011), The Human Sexipede (2010), and The Golden Girls: A XXX Milf Parody (2010). Porn parodies combine the porn audience with the fandom of the original content. Like The Big Lebowski, many of the Myers’s parodies are cult films with followings that stay years and years after the first release.
Porn parody is different from both parodies and porn. It’s a parody that focuses on sex and, thus, sexualizes the original content. Paul Booth, a popular culture researcher at DePaul University, comments on porn parodies in the 2014 article, “Slash and Porn” (Continuum). He describes them as “a form of media dependent on graphic depictions of sex” and that most media merely hints at sexuality whereas a porn parody makes it blatantly obvious. Unlike most porn, the context and the story are already there. Booth mentions that because of this, porn parodies are more “‘narratively driven” and thus appeal to both sexes, rather than porn’s typical heterosexual male audience.
Parody porn has the satirical ability to critique not only the original content but also contemporary culture. Booth explains, “Porn parody, as a commercial product itself, is, of course, part of the culture that is being critiqued. Through mockery and parody, it critiques the mainstream qualities that it also inherently relies on for its audience … Pornography exists outside of, but also tangential to, the system it mocks.”
Myers comments on the same topics that the Coen Brothers do, either directly or as a mimicking tribute. Throughout The Big Lebowski, the Coen Brothers provide commentary on aspects of society such as American culture surrounding the military, and on western societal concepts of sexuality. Myers uses his film as a vehicle to comment on those same topics.
Both films discuss the attitude of American militarism and other specific conflicts using Walter’s character and his preoccupation with bowling. Myers discusses specific conflicts by using a porn parody within a porn parody, “The Gulp Wars.” It showcased a competition to the euphemistic finish line that quickly turns into a threesome. Myers uses this to portray how unpredictable and unnecessary some conflicts can be.
The Coen Brothers comment on female sexuality and its exploitation by using the relationships of Maude, Bunny and the nihilist’s girlfriend. Porn itself inherently comments on gender and social acceptance even if it doesn’t directly intend to. The perceptions of the times are almost always reflected. Gender roles, perceptions of beauty, social norms and deviations are all present within porn. As far as gender, Myers mimics both the attitudes of Bunny and Maude, as the main female characters. They are both forward and blunt in their sexuality, which reflects the feminist movements for more control of one’s body and sexuality.
Using Bunny’s cable guy porn video, Myers comments on the standards in the porn industry. Specifically, for stories, the bar is really low. A lot of porn seems to lack a narrative or substantial dialogue. In Bunny’s porn, the dialogue is painful and an example of the complaints of porn’s dialogue. It was a jumble of awkward and disappointing euphemisms. Euphemisms such as “hardwire my cables” or “I want cable.” As the writer, Myers purposely shows the painful porno to contrast against his film, noting that porn shouldn’t have to lack quality.
Myers parody provides commentary on the original film, porn parody, and the porn industry itself. The Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody is very meta, and very appreciated — in more ways than one.