The new Netflix series explores the complexities of sex in the modern age.
In 2015, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus premiered their documentary Hot Girls Wanted at the Sundance Film Festival, to mostly positive reviews. The film profiles a talent agent named and the 18- and 19-year-old girls he recruits into the porn industry. Mike Hale of the New York Timeswrites that the film’s uncertain tone vacillates between weary outrage and motherly concern. He notes the filmmakers faced the challenge of respecting their subjects’ decisions while also abhorring them. It is a challenging subject to document. These women enthusiastically claim they are choosing to be part of the porn industry but face many hardships and heartbreaks along the way. Hale’s review says it seems to be a reality television-style slice of life, the camera intimately focusing on the young women, their possessions, and the spaces they inhabit. The film does not come across as judgmental, but it does point out the potential dangers for young women entering the adult entertainment business.
Liz Shannon Miller of Indiewirewrites that it has become common for films acquired by Netflix to become follow-up or spinoff series — for example, Wet Hot American Summer became First Day of Camp, and now Hot Girls Wanted has become Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On. This new series takes what the film does and expands it further. Gradus and Bauer use the same intimate style wherein the camera lingers on faces and lets its subjects talk at length about their deepest personal feelings. But this time, they explore a number of different aspects of sex in our modern age. The first season has six episodes, and most of them focus on the adult entertainment industry and the different career paths people have chosen within porn. One episode focuses on dating apps, and the final episode centers on a young woman who filmed a sexual assault on the Periscope app. The episodes cover a wide range of topics and feature a wide range of perspectives on sex and technology.