• The Surprising Anti-Pornography Message on The Orville

    by  • January 9, 2019 • Sexualization, Television • 1 Comment


    The most recent episode of Fox’s Star Trek parody series, The Orville, did something you rarely see on television these days — and even more rarely on television comedies: It told the truth about pornography.

    The alien officer Bortus shirks his responsibilities at work and to his family to go to the ship’s simulation room to have sex with computer-generated members of his alien species. When he does return home, he has no interest in physical intimacy with his spouse.

    Bortus’ pornographic scenarios become more and more extreme, but he finds them less and less satisfying, leading him to seek a computer simulation from another alien species known for creating “some of the most sought-after pornographic simulations in the galaxy.” He tells the alien he requires “something out of the ordinary… I just do not want to be bored.” The simulation he receives carries with it a computer virus that cripples the ship’s computer and puts everyone’s lives in jeopardy.

    While on a mission to save the remaining inhabitants of the planet Nixia, which is about to be destroyed by its own sun, a fellow crew-member asks Bortus about his addiction to pornography. Bortus reveals, “It is a call from deep within. Like a baby seeking its mother’s teat. It feels as if nothing else in the world matters but satisfying the urge and achieving the goal my body has demanded of me. Then as quickly as it began, it is complete, leaving a worn-out shell in its wake. And the only feeling I am left with, the only thing I know, is that a death has occurred.”

    On the planet Nixia, members of the same family are separated as Bortus and his colleague are only able to rescue half of the planet’s remaining inhabitants. Bortus witnesses a touching parting scene which reveals to him the depths of emotional intimacy that he has been missing, and that pornography cannot deliver:

     “You could have included yourself. You are the First Minister.”

    “You know that would be wrong. Please understand, my love. Make a life out there with Nathius (their son). Beautiful life among the stars.”

    “All the days we’ll never have…”

    “Your heart is full of the days we did. That’s what you take with you.”

    Bortus returns to Klyden, admitting that he has been a bad mate; that he has been disrespectful and that instead of communicating his disappointments and resentments to his spouse, he has retreated into a fantasy world.

    The porn industry has many defenders who are quick to claim that pornography is harmless, but a growing body of evidence suggests otherwise. As with narcotic addiction, psychologists are discovering that over time pornography addicts require increasingly explicit images to trigger the dopamine rush that causes the feelings of pleasure pornography users seek; meanwhile, women in relationships with porn users report being less happy than those whose partners did not use pornography.  Both of these realities were explored in this episode of The Orville. 

    Although The Orville is not a program that would be suitable for viewing by the whole family, the series’ creator and writers should be applauded for delivering this important, counter-cultural message about the addictive nature of pornography and how destructive it can be to a marriage, to a job, and even to the consumer’s own soul.




    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

    One Response to The Surprising Anti-Pornography Message on The Orville

    1. Grace Kvamme
      January 16, 2019 at 7:47 am

      Good for her. Amazing she was able to get her words out on those liberal stations!!!! Hard work with a wonderful goal to try to save young people from this increasing filth in our homes.

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