Saturday, September 1, 2012

The revolution will be televised

I recently decided to check out Polyamory: Married and Dating, which is on Showtime. I've only watched one and a half episodes so far, so here are my thoughts on the whole thing at this point.

Firstly, a bit of back story for those of you who haven't seen the show. It's two couples - one is a triad (MFF), and the other one is a quad (MFMF). The triad is a younger married couple and their girlfriend, the quad is two married couples (one of which has a child).

Secondly, I'm watching the show really only because it features poly. I didn't really go into it with high hopes or any expectations whatsoever. It's a bit like being in any other minority, and grasping for any representation of your culture in popular media, regardless of what it might be. Also, you have to at least be aware of it, because chances are some dickweed somewhere is going to be like, "oh, you're poly? I've seen x, y, or z cultural representation of poly, so let me now inundate you with horribly wrong ideas about how it's 'supposed' to work." Then you have to patiently and calmly explain to them how just because they've seen one TV show or movie does not mean that they actually understand a culture. My personal favorite (read: makes me almost grind my teeth into powder with annoyance) is when they have a friend, or roommate, or best of all "knew somebody in a class once" who was of the same minority as you. Because then they like, really get it.

For opinions. I think the premise is actually quite interesting, if not a bit disappointing that they fell into the ultimately inevitable storyline when it comes to poly. "We can't just have it be about their everyday lives - they do things 'normal' couples do like buy groceries and go to work. Nobody wants to see that! Let's make at least half of each show about how they fuck each other, because that's what people are really interested in." So, yes, a large part of the first episode and a half I've seen has been spent talking about bedroom politics. Which is another interesting thing when talking about poly with people who aren't. I don't ever feel that I get more sex than monogamous people in any quantifiable way, or that the sex I have is somehow so outside the bounds of what "normal" sex is supposed to be like as to be almost completely unimaginable (in order to get into that discussion, we have to introduce the kink aspect, and then heads figuratively begin exploding). So it was nice in the first episode and a half that in addition to the whole "omgz they like fuck each other all at the same time lulz" aspect, they also had cut-away interviews with the people involved to add that little dose of, "it's just sex, essentially the same sex anybody else would ever have, we just talk and negotiate about it more."

Which brings us to rules. They've really only defined them loosely so far in the show, so I'm not sure if they're going to go more in-depth. I would certainly  hope so, because the triad's rules at least sound fucking stupid and not very well thought-out at this point. The first two are "honesty" and "safety." That's pretty much it. Not any real definition of what that means or how they physically make sure that the rule is being followed. Just some nebulous vocabulary concept that could be interpreted in any multitude of ways. (As an aside, there's a decent little blog entry on rules vs. expectations here.)

My favorite part so far has been that they took a minute for both couples in the interview portions to be like, "yeah, the sex is 'weird' by society's standards. And a lot of people think that poly is an excuse for cheating, or some way to just get laid in an indiscriminate fashion. But really, there's a lot of work and communication and self-awareness that goes into it." That was nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment