HBO Max's 'Minx' Is Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s — Is It Based on a True Story?

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Mar. 18 2022, Updated 10:36 a.m. ET

Is the Porn Queen of Pasadena a real-life entity or the figment of a scriptwriter's imagination?

This question is bound to puzzle fans who've already worked their way through the trailer for Season 1 of Minx, a ten-episode comedy coming to HBO Max on March 17, 2022. Minx tells the curious tale of Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond), an outspoken feminist who teams up with a publisher named Doug (Jake Johnson) to create a title challenging the male gaze. Is Minx based on a true story?

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'Minx' tells the success story of a pioneering magazine.

Written and created by Ellen Rapoport and executive produced by Paul Feig, Minx revolves around a trailblazing editor who joins forces with a porn purveyor, Doug, to create a publication bound to win over audiences with its strong ideological charge and even more potent imagery.

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Set in the 1970s, Minx follows in the footsteps of other shows like The Deuce and Mrs. America. The Deuce was inspired by a real-life person whose experiences were as colorful as Vincent Martino's. There's a rich tradition of journals challenging the aesthetic limitations of porn catering to a cishet audience — but does Minx reference any of the people behind these titles?

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The '70s saw an upsurge in experimental porn titles challenging the norms. Take, for instance, Suck, the "European sexpaper" that featured contributions from poets like Michael McClure and John Giorno. The Matriarchy Awakens, Joyce's proposed publication in Minx, may have been thought up with inspiration from these real-life publications.

Unfortunately, the creators behind Minx have not yet spoken on whether the show is based on a true story; however, it's pretty clear that it did come from some real-life influence.

'Minx' is heavily inspired by several '70s erotic magazines, including 'Viva.'

While in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, creator Ellen Rapoport revealed that her inspiration for Minx's overall narrative stemmed from erotic magazines for women of the 1970s.

"I read something about one of these magazines, and it struck me immediately: These magazines in the 1970s were feminist magazines, which I’d had no idea about," Ellen told the outlet.

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She added, "It was a workplace that was populated by feminists and pornographers. If you’re a TV writer and read that and don’t immediately think 'workplace comedy,' they take away your WGA card."

Ellen researched various erotic magazines, but one that heavily inspired Ellen's work on Minx and its full-frontal male nudity was Viva. Created by Penthouse, the short-lived publication debuted in 1973 and played a substantial role in luring female readers to eroticism and pornography.

According to Men's Health, Viva "constantly struggled with how revealing its art should be" and, in its six-year run, the publication "failed to find a solid identity and couldn’t turn a profit." Ultimately, former Penthouse editor Gay Bryant told the outlet that Viva failed to stand on its own, stating it "did not evolve into something that women could appreciate."

The first two episodes of Minx are now streaming on HBO Max. Two new episodes will debut each week through April 14.

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