Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

August 22, 2012

San Diego quad does us proud
on the Dr. Drew Show

So I needn't have worried. Kamala, Michael, Jen, and Tahl handled the Dr. Drew Show on HLN very well just now, getting their message out past a skeptical host and partly winning over a hostile relationship "expert."

You can watch 2 minutes of it here:

For the first half hour, before the guests came on, the host and his stable of three advice-givers answered pathetic calls from viewers about cheaters, the cheated upon, abuse victims who put up with cheating because of low self-esteem, cheaters and cheatees pathologically following the cheating ways of their scummy parents — who watches this show, I wondered?

Then our quad came on as guests for the second half hour. By way of introduction, the show played many bits from the promos for Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating where the four co-star. These, thankfully, went a long way toward setting the scene for what loving poly is about in contrast to the awfulness of the first half hour.

Then, Dr. Drew to Tahl:

"You are on record as saying 'Monogamy destroys families.' How?"

In an early promo Tahl indeed said this jokingly (and has taken heat for it from the poly community), but he fielded the ball. He explained that when someone falls in love in the conventional model of an existing relationship, it has to end in tragedy: either lost love or the wreck of the existing family. But those don't have to be the choices, he explained: "We can bring the love into the family and keep the family dynamics."

A caller: How do you explain it to your kids?

Kamala ran with this one, telling how their 5-year-old has known nothing but a large family of caring parental figures around him and thrives in it — what he'll someday have to be told is that most other kids aren't so lucky.

One of Dr. Drew's skeptical advice experts informed the four that these things don't last. Michael replied "I've been polyamorous for 15 years" (and married to Kamala for 10), and said that it has only gotten easier and better. Kamala talked about jealousy and compersion and drew the host into discussing the new word. Jen, who is certainly having some (justifiable) trust and jealousy situations in the Showtime storyline right now, said that she is probably the most prone to jealousy of the four; "it comes up, we communicate about it, and I feel better." She said all four are committed to staying a part of each other's lives for life, even if the present relationships transform into some other form.

The skeptical advice expert, Simone Bienne, declared, "Having it all is a slogan that proved to be dead back in the 90s." She called polyamory a security blanket for people who want to be insulated from having to be close to one person. Kamala responded: "It's not an easy path, and it's not for everybody. But I have been doing it for 15 years, and when I started I had no role models. I am so proud now to be able to model that for others." [Not necessarily the exact quote but close.]

A caller said that crap like this show is what desensitizes kids and make them turn out bad, and it shouldn't be on TV. Drew got in a dig about STDs in everybody's body fluids. Between that and the sudden ad breaks they didn't get to say all they could (have snappy sound bites rehearsed for all the likely questions, people!), but they overcame Simone in the end; she admitted that with these unusually together people, "it works for these guys," but before viewers get ideas of trying it, it could be a pathology for people coming from "a pathology space."

Which is true.

Points to the quad for grasping that on TV, your body language says more than your words. They were all holding hands for most of the half hour. That's all that most viewers will remember.

Hey guys, despite a few momentary ragged edges you did good. You can be proud.


The final episode of Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating airs in less than 24 hours, on Thursday August 23 at 11 p.m. Eastern time. One of its promos seems to raise the possibility of an imminent breakup or at least a "transition," but their Dr. Drew appearance (months after the Showtime series was in the can) certainly doesn't look like that.

Here's my last post on the progress of the series.


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Blogger Anita Wagner Illig said...

Ms. Bienne was obviously against the entire concept of poly from the start and was a source of frustration and disappointment. She was positively shrill as she declared that free love (term she kept repeating often) and communism both look good on paper but they don't work. She said she has treated many "of these poly people" and went on a pathologizing diatribe, concluding that these relationships never work. Oh, with the exception of the guest quad, she grudgingly admitted.

Expert therapist sample bias is alive and well. That said, I agree that the quad did a very good job of modeling polyamory and responding positively and non-defensively to even the harshest assertions. Kudos and appreciation to them. They handled themselves admirably and did us proud indeed.

August 23, 2012 12:47 AM  
Blogger Chelona said...

Phooey, I missed it! Is there a full version of the show online somewhere? Downloadable? DVD? :)

- Becky

August 24, 2012 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Showtime, so you can bet there will be a (pricey) DVD out, but they usually wait until just before the next season ( if they renew it).

August 30, 2012 9:43 PM  

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