Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

March 9, 2009

"Family" poly sitcom gets recognized!

Seattle Times

It's about time. Terisa Greenan's web-based poly sitcom, "Family", gets a big writeup in a major newspaper this morning — in its own hometown.

Seattle-based "Family" webisodes no ordinary sexy sitcom

By Mark Rahner
Seattle Times staff reporter

It's not hard to picture this on prime-time TV: a sitcom called "Family" about a woman and two dudes shacking up in a polyamorous relationship.

In fact, independent Seattle filmmaker Terisa Greenan's short, biweekly YouTube "Family" webisodes — seven and counting [actually nine –Ed.] — have drawn the Kinsey Institute's attention as a sort of landmark on the subject and put a spotlight on this area as one of the nation's, uh, hotbeds of the lifestyle.

..."They always say use something that you know about, right?" said Greenan, an actress who has appeared in commercials for Value Village and Coldwell Banker, done voice work in the "Star Trek: First Contact" video game and appeared in independent flicks and local theater.

While Greenan's zero-budget depiction of poly Seattle lacks the polish of a studio production — she shoots an episode in a day, takes three or four days to edit, and the actors work pro bono — it's ringing true with those who know the subject.

"These are funny as all hell to those of us who have lived poly for more than a week," said "Minx," whose Chicago-based "Polyamory Weekly" podcast (www.polyweekly.com) has run four years and gets about 2,000 downloads a month [I think that's supposed to be 2,000 a week. –Ed.]. "What Terisa Greenan has done is to take all the poly fears, pitfalls and misconceptions and gently poke fun at them in a searingly entertaining way."

Now, Greenan hopes to spread the love further, despite the thousands of hits each webisode already gets. "It's gotten so popular in poly and sex-positive communities, the point is to make it accessible and a crossover hit."

Changing partners

Greenan lives with two men — one for nine years, the other for 11.... They're all free to pursue relationships with other people outside their triad or "V," and she has a couple of "casual boyfriends" as well, who also have other partners. (Although polys live in every conceivable configuration.)

Apart from "Where do you find time for anything else?" the other most obvious question concerns safety. "We're very, very strict about safe sex. That's the one rule we do have," Greenan said.

She bases "Family" on her own experiences in Seattle (with Amber Rack, Eric Smiley and Ernie Joseph as the leads), sometimes transcribing real conversations, other times spinning fiction from some nugget of truth.

"I just thought, what can I do that's original?" Greenan said. "And polyamory still has an element of taboo about it."

However, she said, "One thing I really wanted to do with this, because the subject matter is not widely known, is just show these people in this lifestyle as ordinary. Because when people find out about my lifestyle, they react with shock and horror sometimes."

Like, for instance, her parents....

...But what is it about Seattle and all the free love? Turns out it ain't so free, according to Jodi O'Brien, chair of Seattle University's sociology department and a specialist in gender and sexuality.

"My sociological take on it is that it's challenging enough to handle one committed relationship with full honesty and openness, so when you bring more into it the complications are going to multiply exponentially."

Yep: "It takes us, like, five times longer just to get out of the freakin' house to go to dinner," Greenan said. "The more people you involve the more time everything takes. The same thing's true when there's an argument — you have a whole other person whose argument you need to work through and hear, a whole other brain, a whole other set of opinions. Everything is a lot more complicated, but everything is a lot more interesting."

Polys tend to be white, well-educated, middle-class or higher, in the 30s-to-50s age range, and often in the information-technology industry, according to such experts as O'Brien and Elisabeth Sheff, of Georgia State University, who's doing a longitudinal study of polyamorous families with children.

Sexual minorities tend to congregate in larger urban areas — "Boston, New York City and Atlanta have large polyamorous populations, but they're barely organized. In Seattle there are multiple groups with multiple and consistent meetings. Seattle has one of the most active, well-developed, organized and thriving [poly] communities in the United States," Sheff said.

Read the whole article. And go join the comments!

The newspaper has also produced a nice 3-minute video report on Greenan, her vee triad, and Seattle's thriving poly community.

Update: Christopher Bingham, composer of "Family" the theme song, is offering free downloads of it on his Bone Poets Orchestra site.


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Blogger Crystal said...

Thanks for adding your comment to this article as well! whew! All those negative comments were saddening me- You rock! ;-)

March 09, 2009 12:15 PM  
Blogger Looie said...

My best friend of 25 years has always talked about how he wanted a polyamorous relationship. I never really got it, or understood. I do now and I think I can be much more supportive of what he is looking for. Thanks for putting this out there. As for the critics, well I am sorry for the terrible things they have said. People who are in love and respectful of each other should have the world behind them. Best of luck to all of you.


July 27, 2009 4:31 PM  

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