It's accepted wisdom that the Golden Age of plot-driven, big-budget pornography was at the tail end of the seventies and early eighties, after blue reels but before mass-produced home videos, when big-budget films were made with a story and the eye of a non-adult film director. This of course ignores the fact that a lot of the "celebrated" classics of the early eighties were actually quite bad, even among their genre--they just happened to be at the right place at the right time, one of a small number of well-known pornographic films available at the time home video devices came onto the market. Consider, for example, Marilyn Chambers's best-known, ridiculously pretenious, incredibly un-erotic Behind The Green Door.

What I think many also assume, afraid to think about their culture's pornography and thus dooming the task to be performed by cultural anthropologists a millennia in the future, is that the change in porn quality was sudden; in a single day the paradigm shifted entirely to crap.

This is absolutely not true; the decline in the production quality of pornographic films has undergone a gradual, three-decade drop. The erroneous assumption of a sudden unprecedented change is easy to understand, however: witness the difference between a "story-driven" porn of yesteryear and those of today, when terrible, terrible crap like Fashionistas is not only celebrated but wins Adult Video News's Film of the Year Award, and worst of all, deserves it, being, sadly the best of the year.

Today's pornos subject us to films where in the middle of a build-up implying the two people making the beast with two backs are alone, they are suddenly blinded by the flashbulbs of the production crew shooting pictures for the box cover. Imagine if The Rock walked around the set of The Scorpion King with the boom mic floating above him at all times.

When you have less emphasis on plot, it's very easy to stretch a simple premise into ninety minutes. Witness Legend's 2000 release Pimped By An Angel:

Scene One

Street-walking prostitute Gwen (Gwen Summers) is contemplating suicide by shooting herself in the head with a gun. Her pimp (Valentino) pulls her into his bright red Pimpmobile and shows her scenes on a projection television outlining how her life has improved the lives of those around her . . .

Scene Two

Sky (of Sky's Perversions and Sky's Slumber Party) and Evan Stone are a husband and wife; normally, we assume, the man is satisfied with his visits to Gwen, but in her absence, he is forced to bang his spouse, to her annoyance.

Scene Three

Briana Banks (of Squirting Illustrated #1) is another prostitute walking the same beat as Gwen, who is harassed and forced into sex with police officer Dale DaBone, who pulls her off the street and, in mid-frisk, suddenly starts tonguing her asshole.

Scene Four

Claudia Adkins (of Fast Times At Deep Crack High #2 and Honey I Blew Everybody) is a new prostitute tormented by an overly bossy pimp in this tangentially related vignette. I guess this woman wouldn't have to be a hooker if Gwen was around?

Scene Five

In this most touching of flashbacks, we leave the TV and visit Gwen's sister (Miko Lee, of Asian Anal Freaks and Cumback Pussy Girls of the Orient), blind (you can tell because she's wearing sunglasses,) forced to pay for some "operation she needs" by pimping her own self out to Fabio look-alike Chris Summers.

Scene Six

Relieved by the fact pimping herself out has saved others from having to have sex for money themselves, Gwen has sex with the pimp on the hood and trunk and inside his Cadillac.

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