Review: Tyger Takes on Porn

Morwenna Jones 18 May 2014

Tyger Drew-Honey has grown up.  The final series of Outnumbered saw his character ‘Jake’ leave behind his adorable, plump eleven-year old self, sprout cheekbones you could cut diamonds on and morph into the stereotypical moody teenager.  Now, the eighteen year old is taking on the weighty topic of ‘becoming a man’, starting with the weighty topic of porn.

At first, his investigation into what has now become a frequently discussed debate seems a bit simplistic.  There are no interviews with any young person who hasn’t watched porn, the interviewees for the question, ‘Does porn give men a warped view of women?’ are all women with only one exception, and all of the interviews are interspersed with shots of what is supposedly going on in Tyger’s head, one of which sees Tyger topless and covering himself in cold turkey slices.

It’s either mind-bogglingly cringe-worthy or comedy-genius but either way (and I’d definitely say it’s the latter), it works.  Rather than ‘take on’ the arguments posed by either side of the porn debate, the documentary investigates s interaction with the porn industry.  As the son of two porn stars, this is something Tyger does very well indeed.

His main interviewees include Leslie Rose, a webcam porn-star/student, Zach, a wannabe porn star and Randiip, a porn devotee and regular user of escorts.  All of them successfully present both sides of the debate.  Frustratingly, Tyger fails to ask Leslie more about her view that, ‘as a woman, my sexuality is my biggest comodity’.   Otherwise however, whether it’s being put in the awkward situation of having to be a webcam-boy for Leslie, watching a porn-shoot with Zach or listening to Randiip explain that he finds normal women unattractive because they aren’t adventurous enough, Tyger successfully exposes some of the problems porn brings with it.

In doing so, he also proves that there’s a lot more to him than playing Hugh Dennis’ son.  Understandably for a teenage boy he is awkward and stilted when interviewing born star Brooklyn Blue and, when speaking to a woman whose boyfriend became addicted to rape-porn, he struggles to find that balance between interviewer and sympathiser.  But the great thing is that he acknowledges his awkwardness and examines what it says about our attitudes to porn and its treatment of women.

It’s clear from the outset that this documentary is never going to be a landmark turning point in the debate on whether porn should be legal yet that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching.  He may not appeal to the radical porn protestors out there but Tyger does skilfully present a program for young people, about young people.  I’d be surprised if anyone who watches the program resolves to never watch porn again, but at the same time, I’d be surprised if Tyger’s audience don’t think twice about their porn habits, especially when Tyger looks as the ‘dark world of porn’ and confesses openly, “I really have been scared by it”.