‘Our America’ Amateur Porn Episode Made Lisa Ling ‘Uncomfortable’

by | October 7, 2011 at 2:48 PM | Interviews

Lisa Ling on 'Our America' (OWN)

Lisa Ling on 'Our America' (OWN)

After profiling subjects such as faith healing, online brides and transgender individuals earlier this year, TV journalist Lisa Ling is back for a second season of “Our America with Lisa Ling,” set to debut on Sunday, Oct. 16 (10/9c) on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

And in these episodes, Ling says, the documentary show goes even deeper.

“I think that the reason why so many people were willing to give us the access that they did in the second season,” Ling said in a Friday conference call with reporters, “is because they really appreciated the way we treated people in the first season.”

That approach? “Treating everyone with respect and not judging them,” Ling said, while also trying to avoid sensationalism and maintain a sense of balance — no matter how controversial the issue.

They do get controversial, too, with “Our America” tackling amateur pornography in the first episode and polygamy later on. Also to be addressed: Post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, extreme parenting, twins and sex trafficking.

Watch An Extended Sneak Peek Of The Amateur Porn Profile:

Here are some other thoughts from Ling, who considers herself “so proud” to be part of the immersive series:

On the season premiere episode:
Ling grew up in a “pretty strict home,” a universe away from the amateur pornography explored in the first episode of Season 2. But “the world of porn is undeniable,” Ling said, including this amateur aspect that brings in all kinds of people — from mothers to consenting couples — and can be broadcast from basically anywhere.

So although there were some quite “uncomfortable moments,” she said, “I was also riveted at the same time.”

“I was absolutely fascinated by this world, and how amateur porn has sort of taken porn to another level. … It’s providing this level of engagement and interaction that never existed before. Now, that also can have consequences, and become extremely addictive, and we go into that in the show as well.”

On any Oprah-mandated changes between Seasons One and Two:
Oprah “definitely has a lot to do with the post-production,” Ling says, often giving notes. But “honestly, she didn’t suggest any changes” in terms of the show’s approach.

“Oprah has been such a champion and fan of ‘Our America,’” Ling said, “and that hasn’t changed.”

In fact, Ling said, Winfrey recently watched their veterans episode — “and I just got the most incredible email from her. She just had a glowing response.”

On being a part of OWN:
Ling, a former correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” has worked with Winfrey for years. So Ling trusts the new network exec on her big cable endeavor.

“I actually feel more strongly about it now than ever,” Ling said. “Oprah is fully engaged. … She’s incredibly involved.”

Plus, Ling said, “I don’t think I’d be able to do this kind of show on any other network.”

On the intense issues she faces in the field:
Take the PTSD/veterans episode, which Ling says is “truly heartbreaking” in its portrayal of an often terrifying affliction.

“As you’ll see [during the show], my eyes are hugely puffy the entire episode,” Ling said. “It was incredibly emotional.

“This may be one of the most important shows I’ll ever do.”

On the flip side:
But it’s not just about drawing tears. Be it with a “fun and beautiful” look at twins, or through the payoff of the PTSD episode — which includes a trip to a wellness retreat — Ling also wants to focus on hope.

“There have been so many times that I’ve seen and experienced the worst in humanity,” she said. “But almost always, I experience the best of humanity at the same time.”

More Celebrity News:
‘E News Now’ ‘CelebTV’ ‘Access Hollywood’ ‘Hollywood 411′