Family Business: Episode 1-3 (2003) TV Review

Porn is a multi-billionaire dollar a year business. Some say porn is the only reason the Internet is so popular, and it’s been proven again and again that porn is the only sure-fire profitable business on the World Wide Web. So what does that say about our society? Well, for one, it says that people love porn. Rather you approve or not, “Family Business” is about the porn industry. Or, to be more precise, about a man name Adam Glasser and his family, mother Lila and (much older) cousin Stevie, who runs a porn empire known as “Seymore Butts”, the other name Glasser goes by.

Only on the Showtime channel could “Family Business” not only find an audience, but get made in the first place. Showtime, for those of you who don’t know, is a premium cable channel in the States, so that means in order to get it you have to pay for the privilege. Besides Showtime, HBO would probably be the only other viable home for this reality series, although that would be a stretch nowadays considering that HBO is trying to move away from trash with epic miniseries like “Band of Brothers” and shows like “The Sopranos”.

There’s plenty of nudity in “Family Business” and definitely more than insinuated sex, since the series follows Glasser as he shoots one quickie porn movie after another. (In porn lingo, the type of movies Glasser shoots are called “gonzo”, which are basically shot on video, has no story, and is basically people getting together and having sex.) In the first episode, we meet Glasser, who lives in a big, vacuous house that he also uses to shoot most of his movies. (I wonder what the cleaning bill for his living room alone looks like?)

The first thing you notice is how lonely and isolated Glasser is. The house is almost sterile, with no recognizable personality to its aesthetics. Glasser himself is divorced and shares custody of his 6-year old son Brady with his wife. (The wife never appears in the series, and her name is never mentioned.) In the first episode, Glasser makes lunch for Brady and drives the boy to school, not realizing that Labor Day is a national holiday, and that schools are closed! The sequence really brings home that, despite the fact that Glasser and others in the porn industry would like to think that they’re “like everyone else”, they are in fact not. The “average” person knows that schools and most businesses are not open on Labor Day.

The second episode takes Glasser to his 20-year high school reunion, where he frets about what others will think of him. The third episode focuses more on Glasser’s mother, Lila, who is also his bookkeeper. We see what it’s like for Lila when people ask that dreaded question: “So, what does your son do for a living?” This question, actually, forms the basis for the show’s best moments. It’s uncanny how the camera captures the shocked, surprised, disgusted, or in some cases, delighted look on the face of people who asks the question and gets an answer back. In the first episode, Glasser goes on two Internet dates that both end rather disastrously.

“Family Business” is an interesting series, but I’m not entirely sure where it can go from here. I suppose the series can continue to follow Glasser’s day-to-day business, but the fact that there’s no planned “ending” might damper any hopes of the series being known as a “must see” show. For instance, I actually saw the third episode first, and there was nothing about the episode that required me to have seen the first two in order to understand it. In a way this is a good thing, because newcomers can jump on board at any time. Then again, fans that devote their time to watching “favorite” shows like to think that their devotion offers them something the average fan doesn’t get.

The most interesting thing about “Family Business” is just what a nice and affable guy Glasser is. If anything, he might just be too nice for his own good. For instance, his editor Bishop takes luxuries with his boss’ time, and probably looks down on Glasser as not being a “real filmmaker” as opposed to himself. Cousin Stevie is a 50-something screw up, prone to long bouts of laziness and grumpy disposition. Adoring mother Lila is an understanding mom, proud that her son has achieved great success in his chosen business, and ready to defend her son to the bitter end.

“Family Business” has a lot going for it, and it’s no big deal to spend 30 minutes a day with Glasser. As mentioned, the guy is very likeable, and you root for him in his search for true love. But when your name is Seymore Butts and you produce videos called “Squirters”, where girls literally ejaculate liquid out of their, er, privates, what are the chances that the “perfect woman” will also be that understanding?

CAST: Seymore Butts …. Himself
Adam Glasser …. Himself
Lila Glasser …. Herself
Cousin Stevie …. Himself
Stevie Glasser …. Himself

Buy Family Business on DVD