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How Popular Would Ross and Rachel’s Sex Tape Have Been in Real Life?

This weekend’s release of Sex Tape got Vulture thinking about other fictional sex tapes from movies and TV. Two separate Friends bits involved sex tapes — but where would those rank in terms of marketability alongside the Sawyer/Kate coupling that was captured on security camera? To assess the comparative quality and real-world sales potential of these tapes if the fully fleshed-out versions had ever hit the market, we took the topic to parody-porn impresario Lee Roy Myers, a creator of WoodRocket.com and the mind behind such titles as Game of Bones, SpongeKnob SquareNuts, and The Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody. To come up with the ranking below, listed from best- to worst-selling tapes, Myers judged 12 of our favorite dalliances from TV and movies as if the characters were real people and their shows/movies were reality shows. Read on, and dream on. [As told to Jesse David Fox.]

1. Friends: Ross and Rachel
I think this would be the big one. It’s Friends, the most popular show at the time, and one of the most popular shows of all time. Ross and Rachel were the most popular couple on that show throughout its run. When they first kissed, it was a giant deal, so imagine showing them having sex — it can only be a magnification of the first time they kissed. It would probably be the best seller of all time. It was around 2001, so that's pre–free porn on the web. This would be between Pam and Tommy Lee's tape, which I would say is the best seller of all time, and Paris Hilton's, the second-highest-selling celebrity sex tape — perfect timing. I think it could have possibly been the biggest-selling celebrity sex tape of all time. 

2. National Lampoon's European Vacation: Clark and Ellen Griswold
I’m trying to think of a celebrity sex tape that predates this, but this would’ve been, I think, the first official celebrity sex tape. So it’s definitely got that going for it. You’ve got a real home-movie, you’ve got early-’80s video technology. Then the problem is it’s an American couple in Europe, so you’ve got maybe a little rejection from both sides: You’ve got a language barrier on the European release and you’ve got a strange background and strange setting for American audiences. Those could play against it, definitely. American porn viewers like porn shot in America. That’s usually the way it goes. Something familiar, you know? When you fantasize about something, it needs to be grounded in your reality, and your reality is where you are, mostly. Still, as big a hit as National Lampoon’s European Vacation was, I think it maybe blows all those ideas out of the water. Everybody knows the Griswolds, enough to keep making sequels. And honestly, no matter how poorly it was filmed, it can’t be as bad as Vegas Vacation, so I’m gonna say it probably would’ve been a huge hit both in America and overseas. 

3. Lost: Sawyer and Kate [as caught by security cameras]
It was at a time where people were starting to realize that there’s starting to be porn on the web, so DVD sales started going down. Membership sites were still going up, but it was bad timing for porn. It just wasn’t as big as it would’ve been when Ross and Rachel were around. But at the time, who wasn’t talking about Sawyer and Kate and Jack? I think they missed out on not having Jack in there as well. I think a Jack, Kate, and Sawyer three-way probably would’ve just blown up anything before it. Still, Kate and Sawyer were really passionate. At least, what we saw. It was hot and heavy, so it would’ve probably been a steamy sex tape that people would’ve been talking about. Not just because of the people in it, but because of how good it probably was. 

4. Mad About You: Paul and Jamie
I remember watching it — not the sex tape, sadly — but the episode. I can’t imagine it being a fun romp. People may have talked about it after and used phrases like cringe-worthy to describe it. I feel like it would be very neurotic, very quick, and possibly very painful to watch, but like most celebrity sex tapes, people buy it because of the name and are disappointed by the homemade sex factor. It could’ve been a hit. It was in the second season, so they were just growing and bursting.

5. Road Trip: Josh and Beth
Like the movie, I think this would’ve been a surprise hit. You know, something that was spread by word of mouth. As much as the director [Breckin Meyer’s character, Josh] may have been trying to stop its release, I think that it maybe [would have been] one of the first celebrity sex tapes to have grown as it went viral. It’s one of those things where everybody’s heard about it and it doesn’t really matter what’s on it as long as there’s hardcore penetration. I think people would make it kind of a party tape that they pass on to their friends, and I think it would’ve been a sleeper hit for sure.

6. The Office: Michael and Jan
The show was a very popular NBC sitcom. It’s got that going for it. A breakout character of the show. Michael was really great. People loved him. Going against it: He’s also very awkward, so it couldn’t have been a very exciting sex tape. And I think people would expect that he may still be wearing his suit in the sex scene, things like that. Nothing too sexy about that. 

7. How I Met Your Mother: Lily and Marshall
It’s a cross between Buffy and The Muppets. Weird. Fun. High energy. And like the show, it probably ended horribly. People would be waiting from all that build-up, but then be disappointed all around at the end. I think it’s a popular tape that people are bad-mouthing after. 

8. Community: Britta and Jeff [as confirmed by the show's writers]
Cult show, so let’s say cult porno. Not the biggest audience in the world watching it, but there’s a rabid Jeff and Britta celebrity sex-tape fan base for sure. And honestly, if it didn’t sell really well, people would still be pushing for it to come back and for them to do a sequel. Still, there are some issues: dorm room, bunk beds — which means the lighting definitely wasn’t that good. 

9. Cougar Town: Bobby and Jules
Okay, so I can see this not having a lot of buzz. It wouldn’t have high expectations for it. Small audience buying it and thinking, Oh, those are nice implants. Let’s try and watch this. And then feeling kind of faked. The title might be one of the only things saving it. You know, MILFs, cougars. Depending on the time that these things go out, it could do very well. But, once again, how many people really love this show? I think the tape would probably disappear and then TBS would air it late at night. 

10. The L Word: Jenny and Nikki
There’s a couple interesting things here. One, they showed a lot on cable, and The L Word was one of those shows that started taking soft porn seriously and incorporating it into its series. When we did a Game of Thrones porn parody, I heard, “Why are you making a porn out of something that porn essentially?” But that’s not true — no penetration. Soft-core can be a tease to buy the hard-core version. It’s got that going for it, even though it’s not a giant show in the spectrum of all the other shows on this list. Still, lesbian sex tapes, or what in porn they call girl-girl tapes, don’t do as well as what I phrase as guy-girl sex tapes. So the male-female penetration sex tapes do better. It couldn’t break out and be the best-seller. 

11. Sex Tape: Annie and Jay
Once again, I think Road Trip really paved the way of having something go viral. As the movie makes it seem, that's what happens. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much money in selling porn anymore. It’s probably the worst-possible time to put it out there. But if their goal is to become famous, then it’s perfect. They make some money on it. They write a book. They say some crazy shit, and TMZ writes a story on it and stays with them until one giant meltdown ends all of the success. 

12. Friends: Monica and Ross's Parents
You going from MILF and DILF category to GILF and, well, GILF category. I did a Golden Girls parody that did phenomenal. So it probably would’ve done pretty well, but mostly as a novelty tape. We were at a good time for porn. You had this crossroads: People were both buying DVDs and VHSes and they were buying on the web. But it's not Ross and Rachel. It would be more of a “watching the train wreck”–type celebrity sex tape. You wouldn’t be able to look away, but it’s a guy who looks like an old Elliott Gould naked, so you’d want to look away. 

Photo: NBC, ABC and CTMG