You Me Her: News, reviews & recaps halfway through Season 1
The concept in case you missed it: A stale married couple fall in love with a wild girl (a grad student and sex worker) and vice versa. Awkward triad dramedy goes round and round, as the relationship slowly grows more serious among all three.
Here's a promo video in which Shepherd describes the show's goals (2:40):
Billy Holder, a longtime polyfamily member, activist, and the creator of Atlanta Poly Weekend, is posting weekly recaps on his blogsite. Short version: he's impressed. The show isn't perfect, he says, but it treats the subject and the characters with respect, and it builds on some genuine, all-too-common situations among polyamory newbies.
Brief excerpts from his posts:
...Sitting there watching this story, I almost forgot that it was a fictional portrayal. I seriously felt as if I was watching my neighbors, or myself. They did a great job with researching the topic, and the producers really found a way to make this seem real....
At one point Emma (Rachel Blanchard) says to husband Jack (Greg Poelher), “I want to know everything that happened.” I said out loud, “No you really don't. It won't help.” Why? Because I have lived this moment, early on in our explorations into polyamory and open relationships....
A few things to highlight that I thought were good examples of responsible nonmonogamy behaviors....
[A stormy scene] shows a healthy respect for the relationship they have with each other. Even though emotionally passionate, people are discussing, being open, transparent and sharing emotions. Additionally, showing that it is OK to seek a mental health provider to be a go-between, mediator, to help sort stuff out.
...From a polyamorist’s perspective, this episode was fun and realistic. I commend the show’s creators for accurately depicting a couple falling into a poly relationship. Clumsily like so many do. [The characters] haven’t read any books, they haven’t searched any websites or gone to meetups. They are learning the hard way. Like so many of us have. It isn’t always pretty and fun. It is scary, hard, emotional, and challenges us to be our best self. I think this show has shown that.
[In] several minutes of stumbling conversation, obviously all people in this are very nervous.... Jack and Emma are shown as almost joined at the hip, standing as one, a couple, a unit. While Izzy is shown alone, moving around a lot, much like a free spirit, single. Emma mentions she hasn’t done anything like this since college… then says, “Omg I just used that line.” In noticing how nervous she sounds in her own head, Izzy asks, “Is my voice as shaky out loud?”
...[Later] as they are smoking [weed] and getting high, they begin to talk about their actions in regards to each other. Emma and Jack talk about their masturbation sessions at work. Then realizing how they may sound creepy, Emma stops and asks if Izzy is freaked out. (Awww, checking on the emotional reaction.) Izzy: “I’m way too self-conscious to be upset. I am flattered that anyone would jack off to me.” Laughs all around…. Then a look of terror strikes Emma as she is faced with the reality that feelings are growing, as she sees something in the way Jack looked at Izzy....
Emma and Jack begin to discuss how, what and when things will happen with Izzy. However, they never ask Izzy what she wants. Izzy even calls them out for it at one point, saying "Thanks for remembering I’m in the room and a human being!”
Have you ever heard the term “couple privilege”? This scene was a FANTASTIC example. Izzy has been unicorned. She is the perfect fit for this couple and the perfect HBB (hot bi babe) that can fill their void.
A conversation about Izzy’s wants, needs, and expectations still was not had on camera.
...Emma and Izzy are in heavy NRE [new-relationship energy] and make very common mistakes of NRE.... Emma fesses up and tells the truth about what happened. I'm here to tell you that is never easy. But it is a requirement.... Honesty is where trust is built.
Again I think the show is doing a really good job of telling the story in a realistic way.
Another good one. Really insightful into what happens to poly people when their mono friends find out that they are having relationships beyond the “approved societal standards.” All three characters end up in conversations with their friends and neighbors, in which they're told how “this” is going to ruin their marriage, or in the case of Izzy, end up with “someone getting hurt, most likely you.”
The episode opens with Jack and Emma having some pretty incredible sex. They actually talk about what is and isn’t working, what positions feel the best and not so good. Really good sex-positive example. Then Emma asks, “What got into you? We were damn sexy!” Then, “What if it is all Izzy?”
[Later: Jack goes to Izzy's apartment and announces the whole relationship is over, including between Izzy and Emma.] Izzy throws a salute and says, “Oh, says the misogynistic dickface. I am going to consider this evening's appointment [with you] cancelled and whatever the rest of us consenting adults decide to do is up to us.” Yay Izzy standing up for herself and her relationship with Emma!.... [Of course, in about one minute Jack and Izzy are right back to screwing hotter than ever.]
● Here's an interview with producer Shepherd, on Wheretowatch.com: We Chat With the Creator of TV’s First Polyromantic Comedy (April 15, 2016).
By Bryan Abrams
After watching a couple of episodes of You Me Her, you realize that a lot of the story-beats you were waiting for haven't arrived, and the show is moving to its own peculiar, beguiling rhythm. In fact, you realize you've never seen TV quite like it, and that perhaps it really is television's first "polyromantic comedy," as the show's been billed. Neither dark and twisted or goofy and unrealistic, You Me Her is a look at what might actually happen to a married couple if they both had real feelings for the same woman....
Let's start with the casting, which is always crucial, and especially so here, considering we spend almost all our time with the three leads.
The casting philosophy was that these are real people in the real world. A lot of extramarital shows get sort of un-relatable, you know, like pretend frogs in real gardens, with no consequences or stakes — they seem to exist in a vacuum. The whole idea of You Me Her was, what if? What if this was happening to me in main street, Portland. That idea drove us....
...The premise of a polyromantic relationship has been explored before, but not quite in a true rom-com fashion. What intrigued you about doing it this way?
All these assumptions about our happiness, relationship wise, what works for us, the idea that everyone’s happiness works the same — that’s not the case.... The idea of approaching polyamory as a polyromantic comedy, that’s not about dire circumstances and damaged people hurting each other, appealed to me. What if this is right for these three?... The hardest part of rom-coms is finding a real reason to pull the two lovers apart. Also, to make it the guy who's struggling.... Instead of him being the one that's the happiest with the arrangement, he’s the one with most at stake, he’s the most wary of it, he’s the most concerned that he may end up the odd man out....
● Deadline Hollywood: Audience Network’s ‘Kingdom’ And ‘You Me Her’ Push Boundaries (April 10):
...Meanwhile, You Me Her seeks to introduce the word “polyamory” into the national vocabulary. Created by John Scott Shepherd and inspired by a Playboy magazine article [allegedly, but maybe not really –Ed.], the story examines the love affair between two women and a man.
Appearing on the [April 10 "Contenders" Emmys] panel with cast members Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia, Shepherd said the show attempts to show such a relationship from a realistic perspective, showing ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. He said the audience should be able to imagine themselves caught in such a dilemma.
He called the series part of a trend toward the “prestige half hour” in television. Shepherd also noted that while the series seeks to be naturalistic, “Season 2 is wild.”
● Priscilla Faia, who plays Izzy, had this to say during an interview on Untitled TV (April 12):
Q: Polyamorous relationships are still a foreign concept to most of us. Through the course of filming did you learn anything about them that made you think differently about them?
To be honest, polyamory was a totally new concept for me. I hadn’t heard much about it before in a real context. I think a lot of people have a false impression that polyamory is like swinging. Swinging is described as sex oriented. Polyamory is based around creating deep relationships with more than one person. I thought that was interesting. I’m a huge advocate for people expressing themselves however they see fit. So I was down....
● Faia also gave an interview to GoldDerby (April 6), with video:
"I think people are going to be very surprised," declares Priscilla Faia as we chat via webcam about her new DirecTV's series You Me Her. "...The show’s not about sex, it’s about connection and relationships."
As she explains, “You see this guy, who’s married, who is possibly maybe having a threesome with these two women, but it is so different from that. It’s totally told from a unique perspective. It’s about the average joe, this suburban couple that are really falling for this girl and she is falling for them.... We’re moving into an era where we have all these shows that are really uncomfortably honest, but that’s why they’re so funny, because everyone that watches it says, 'Oh god, I know exactly what that’s like.' It’s relatable.”
Rather than being apprehensive about the subject matter, she was keen to shine a light on people and relationships that do not neatly fit the stereotypes we normally see on television. "I really loved the possibility of being part of something that would stir up some conversation.... What if the life that you want to live is nothing like you thought it was going to be. Would you risk it all to live it? That’s the big message of our show.”
● Meanwhile, Dan Gainor of the wingnutty Media Research Center declares on talk radio that You Me Her is "putting a nuclear weapon under the nuclear family and destroying it" (as reported by Right Wing Watch, a project of the liberal People for the American Way; April 18).
● My previous posts about the show, which include some video clips:
March 23: A poly review of You Me Her
March 22: You Me Her, DirecTV's "polyromantic comedy," debuts tonight
March 9: You Me Her: a "polyromantic comedy" debuts March 22 on Audience Network
Update, May 4: A longer, deeper interview with the show's two main actresses, at Paste magazine: Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia Talk Polyamory and You Me Her (May 4).
Labels: You Me Her