Hello Sexy People!
Television often serves as a lens for what is going on in the world around us. In 1994, “Melrose Place” made history when it almost aired a homosexual kiss, but chose not to show the kiss onscreen to minimize problems with the network. A few years later, in 1997, Ellen Degeneres made waves when her character, Ellen Morgan, came out on “The Puppy Episode” during season four of “Ellen”.
Fast forward 25 years and, today, the representation of gays, lesbians and transgendered people is much more common. One of my favorite shows is BBC’s “Boy Meets Girl”, which ran for two seasons in 2015-16. The show features the “developing relationship between 26-year-old Leo and 40-year-old Judy”, the latter of whom is a trans woman. And, of particular note, this trans woman character is played by a trans woman, actress Rebecca Root.
But, what about depicting open relationships and polyamory? There still seems to be a lot of resistance to showcasing these non-conventional relationships on the big or small screen.
Back in 2016, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jackie Stone for the Loving Without Boundaries podcast. Among the many talents of this award-winning director, writer, and content creator is her hit web series “Compersion”, episodes of which can be found on YouTube.
In 2018, Netflix launched the short-lived show, “Wanderlust”, which had only the one, 6-episode season. Starring Toni Collette and written by award-winning playwright Nick Payne, “Wanderlust” explored “the relationships of a multi-generational family, looking at how happy relationships are created and maintained and asking whether lifelong monogamy is possible, or even desirable”.
Similarly, while not exclusively focused on open relationships, Joe Swanberg’s comedy anthology series, “Easy”, looked at “diverse Chicago characters, modern romance technology and culture.” This well-written series featured scenarios such as “a married couple hoping to reignite their sex life, a couple looking to spice things up with another woman, and middle-aged dating.”
Moving from scripted to unscripted, Showtime’s “Polyamory: Married and Dating” is a reality TV show, which “takes an inside look at polyamory: non-monogamous, committed relationships that involve more than two people”, that ran for two seasons.
And, while not strictly about polyamory, I highly recommend the show “Sense8”, which included a gay couple that came out in front of a crowd at a Pride parade and later invited a woman into their bedroom and into their relationship. They don’t utter the word polyamory, yet it is certainly displayed on camera (as well as threesomes). Also of note, the show’s director/writer/producer sibling duo, Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, were originally assigned male gender at birth, and have both come out as trans women.
Additionally, a Vice article, published in 2017, mentions two others I had not previously heard of: “Unicornland” and “You Me Her”.
Are there other shows that I am missing? What do you think about the depiction of consensual non-monogamy on television? Please share your thoughts.
With love and gratitude,
Kitty Chambliss, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP
Founder, Loving Without Boundaries