THE NET—Maybe realizing that their highly polarizing 2015 documentary Hot Girls Wanted cast only the most microcosmic, completely unbalanced light (whether by intention or not) on an entire industry ... or maybe just capitalizing on the eternal fountain of colorful material into which they tapped with that venture, producer/directors Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus and Rashida Jones set out to dive much, much deeper into the oceanic realm of porn and sex with six-part series Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, which debuts on Netflix tomorrow.
With this follow-up effort, it seems that the HGW team has actively sought out the favorable perspectives that were sorely lacking from their first outing, according to early write-ups. The Los Angeles Times said right in its headline that the series takes a "demure, compassionate approach to the porn industry," while Entertainment Weekly noted that Jones, Bauer and Gradus "clearly heard [the industry's] criticism," later adding, "Turned On delivers a fascinating collection of raw, human stories. They won't shed light on every element in the id-fueled industry, but they do illustrate the complexity of working inside it."
The six installments of Turned On tackle topics from female porn directors to camming to Tinder dating. Featured industry figures include mother-daughter lenswomen Suze and Holly Randall, feminist director Erika Lust and performer/talent recruiter Bailey Rayne. One episode also revisits the original doc's main subject, Hussie Models owner Riley Reynolds.
Unfortunately, even if Turned On is an overwhelming positive portrait, it still faces a steep uphill battle in the purview of the massively uneducated public when it comes to ingraining that message. Taking the EW review as just one indicator of this, the glowing A- grade aside, writer Shirley Li's utterly misinformed standpoint on the industry—even after watching the series!—shows with her use of such misnomers as "camming girls" and particularly with her statement, "Porn rarely caters to the female gaze."
So will Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On provide the balance its predecessor failed to, or will it just draw more fire from adult's ranks? Stay tuned.