Isabella Rossellini’s Back for More Green Porno

Green Porno, in which Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) explains how insect sex works while wearing bug costumes, was one of the hottest web series of 2008. Well of course it was — that’s one of the top 10 premises for a web series ever, even surpassing “supervillain musical” (and it means I get to slip the word “porno” past the copy editors — porno porno porno!).

And the second season, which launched this week on sundancechannel.com, starts off with Rossellini wearing her most unconventional costume yet — clothes. Before delving under the sea to explore the wonders of marine life gettin’ it on, Rossellini chooses to kick things off by putting on a black turtleneck and considering how, exactly, the penis and vagina evolved to be similar yet different across a diverse range of species.

It’s a great note upon which to move onto the following episodes, which are equally delightful; I dare you not to laugh as Rossellini’s whale costume’s penis is threatened by a shark, or, in a later episode, a limpet gang bang ensues. The show maintains what Chris referred to last year as its “elementary school play” aesthetic, with Rossellini more often than not playing the male role in these mating scenes. (Though if someone offered you a chance to wear a giant whale penis, would you really resist?)

It’d be nice to see Green Porno embrace the format just a little more — why no embeds, Sundance Channel? And while I’m as big a fan of conciseness as the next online video critic, each episode feels a little too short, a feeling compounded by the fact that each three-minute episode seems to be about 50 percent credits.

Would Green Porno work if it weren’t grounded by the relaying of genuinely interesting scientific theory? As charming as Rossellini is, the answer is, sadly, probably not. Because what’s key in keeping Green Porno from being just a gimmick is the way Rossellini divorces the reproductive act from the emotion we always associate with it as “enlightened” organisms — reminding us that in the natural world, things are an awful lot simpler.

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