Family Business: Season 1
While Family Business: Season 1 is not for everyone it will appeal to many out there, don’t expect a true reality show or documentary
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The term a "Families Business" used to mean a little mom and pop operation where the children often work there and eventually inherit the store. More recently it has become slang for organized crime, especially due to shows like the Sopranos. Now, a new usage of the term is entering the lexicon. Showtime’s new reality show deals with adult entertainment. We get to meet the Glasser family. On the surface they look like a normal family, the father, Adam, is a single parent, supporting his son. His mother Lila works as his bookkeeper and his somewhat quirky cousin Steve runs the production side of the business. What sets this family apart from most is they produce adult films under the somewhat puerile nom de voyage of ‘Seymore Butts’. Now the product of this operation is not the soft core Cinemax at night stuff, it is true hard core. What does make the Family Business series work, at least at one level, is the juxtaposition of the normal daily lives of this family and their professional more aberrant work. This is Showtime’s attempt to get in on the all too popular ‘reality’ television craze that has infected programming of late. Like most such programs there is the dilemma noted by quantum physics, the very act of observation alters the reality of what is being observed. There is a sense of much of the show being staged as the cameras follow Adam and his kin through their day. Let’s face it; being followed by a crew holding lights, microphones and cameras is not something can go unnoticed. While they attempt to maintain a documentary style they are not able to really pull it off.
That’s not to say Family Business: Season 1 is lacking in humor, albeit a somewhat puerile form, there are moments. We see the plight of a male actor unable to deliver the required close to a scene even after the ingestion of some quality of Viagra. We also get to witness Adam on his futile quest for a personal relationship. In one episode of Family Business: Season 1 he goes out on a blind date he set up on the internet. Things are going fairly well until he gets around to telling the young lady what he does for a living. Her polite shock increases as he admits he not only produces these films but occasionally stars in them. Adam is after all a single father. We see him get his son ready for school only to find out when they get there that it is Labor Day and the school is closed. So much for being the involved father as he would like to be. Once he gets his mother to sit for the child Adam goes to work. On this day he is interviewing prospective female leads for his next picture. This involves mostly asking them what they will and will not do and a few photographs, just another day at work for Mr. Butts. The way each episode is cut tries emphasizing the contrast between both aspects of Adam’s life but the point is somewhat overdone.
An almost constant source of comic relief here is Cousin Steve. Nominally in charge of distribution, Steve is actually more Adam’s grunt man than anything else. Every job Adam does not want falls to Steve. Adam gets to photograph the endless stream of girls while Steve gets to take pictures of the guys. Steve’s vocabulary is such that he would fit in well with the Osbourne family. Since Family Business: Season 1 is on Showtime there are no bleeps, just the endless stream of obscene words uttered by the hapless Steve. Momma Lila is constantly trying to set up her son. She also notes that she draws the line at not watching her son on camera; it’s not that she hasn’t seen adult films, she just doesn’t want to see her son in such a venue. There is a strange family dynamic that seems to work in Family Business: Season 1. They do come across as a close knit family that just happens to have an unusual means of making a living.
In a way Family Business reminded me of Boogie Nights. While it deals with pornography it is not in itself explicitly pornographic. That’s not to say Family Business is a show for the whole family. There are many scenes with nudity and some with sexually explicit activity, somewhat tempered by the camera angle, which are part of these lives. There is no love or even lust involved here, just business. Adam gets to give his direction, command the angles used by the camera, they shoot the scene and it’s a wrap. Like Boogie Nights, the Family Business series demystifies the adult entertainment industry. Family Business: Season 1 goes behind the scenes and shows there is more concern over the bottom line of the ledger than anything else.
The Family Business DVD is done well. All ten episodes of Family Business: Season 1 are presented. The Dolby Surround audio is clear, the full screen video free of any defect, not surprising considering this is a new series. One episode includes a commentary by the producers. There is a little featurette of Lila talking about the business, deleted scenes, the theme song "A Different Kind of Love" performed by Wonderstick and a montage of Steve’s use of the dreaded ‘F’ word as every part of speech possible. Rounding out the extras are family interviews, a family tree and a sneak peak at season two. While Family Business is not for everyone it will appeal to many out there, just don’t expect a true reality show or documentary, take Family Business for what it is, adult oriented entertainment.Movie Review of Family Business: Season 1
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