WTF?

02.18.15 5:18 PM ET

Robin Williams’s Suicide to Be Recreated By A Porn Star in Tasteless TV Documentary

A shameful British TV show will recreate Robin Williams’s suicide using, of all things, a porn actor. We’re absolutely outraged…and probably going to watch.

A British TV channel is producing a docuseries that will recreate Robin Williams’s suicide using an impersonator who has also starred in porn films.

For fuck’s sake.

Pardon the language, but the pathetic lunacy of this is just too much. According to British newspapers, Channel 5 will reconstruct Williams’s final days, including a depiction of the actor taking his own life, for a series about the shocking deaths of celebrities.

These deaths will be recreated I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant-style (hinting at the taste level we’re working with) using actors. The actor portraying Williams is named Alain Poudensan. He’s a professional Robin Williams look-alike. Poudensan is actually quite convincing as a doppelganger. He’s also appeared in porn.

The series is called Autopsy, which has recently explored the deaths of Elvis Presley, Karen Carpenter, and Anna Nicole Smith. Perhaps this is a case of “too soon” that has gotten us all up in arms over a TV show that has been in existence for years in the same format it plans to treat Williams’s death.

A spokesperson for the network, when reached for comment, would only say, “Yes, we are filming the program but have no further comment to make.” A source close to the show apparently told the Mirror, however, that producers have already decided to tone down the death scene for TV.

About that porn star thing, however—it’s not as scandalous as it sounds. Oh, it’s still plenty scandalous. But not quite as bad as you’ve imagined. When impersonating Williams, Poudensan, who is French, goes by the name Alain Robin. A photo taken from the Alain Robin website even shows Williams himself with his arm around Poudensan, hinting that the star endorsed his look-alike.

When he is performing in porn, which he’s done in films with titles including Sexterror, Deep Anal, and Anal Magic, Poudensan has gone by the name Alain L’Yle. We recommend you don’t Google that name.

The Mirror quotes a friend of the Williams family who discussed their reaction to the series. “With each passing day the pain for Robin’s family eases just a fraction but something as disturbing as this just takes them backwards,” the friend said. “Why anyone would want to make such a program is beyond comprehension. His wife and family will be utterly dismayed that someone is seeking to profit from Robin’s death in such a grotesque way.”

And then the kicker: “The producers should be ashamed of themselves. I hope people refuse to watch.”

That’s the thing. Obviously this friend hopes people refuse to watch. I hope that people refuse to watch. After you read this, you’ll be disgusted at the very idea of this and pledge not to watch, too. And then, when all is said and done, you know we’re all going to watch.

We’re a culture of hypocrites. We hand-wring and clutch pearls at the first hint of exploitation, crassness, or questionable taste. But we also take pleasure, of both the perverse and guilty kind, in defying our initial scoffs and imbibing in the very pieces of entertainment we had derided.

Could you believe how quickly Lifetime wanted to make a movie about Whitney Houston, capitalizing on the attention around her death? It was shameful! We also counted the days until it aired and were even disappointed that it wasn’t more salacious. We wag our fingers and tsk-tsk at the recent spate of headline-baiting TV biopics on celebrities who met tragic ends, but we’ve also turned them into such a bona fide phenomenon that Lifetime is now a veritable factory for them. Autopsy, really, is just Channel 5’s version of that very thing.

Hell, “ripped from the headlines” plots have sustained Law & Order, CSI, and their coterie of spin-offs and rip-offs for decades now, bastardizing and exploiting real-life tragedy for our own entertainment to Nielsen-approved success.

Even now, we’re focusing on the moral ambiguity of producing a docuseries that will restage Williams’s tragic suicide. But, to be honest, if the episode is juicy enough we may even do another piece in which we embed video of the scene and dissect it. It’s a win/lose situation: everybody wins and we all lose our dignity.

And we’re not sure that being self-aware about it helps the matter much, either.