Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

September 29, 2012

Q&A with Polyamory producer Natalia Garcia

Natalia Garcia, executive director/producer of the Polyamory: Married and Dating series, is trying to put together her best possible pitch to the Showtime network for them to renew it for a second season. Toward this end, she's seeking to interview poly families and less formal poly groups to be part of the show if it is renewed, or at least for background. The families we saw in the first season may also be back.

Garcia tells what she needs, given Showtime's frankly commercial requirements, in my previous post and in emails going around poly lists. Much discussion is ensuing.

Natalia Garcia (second from right) with the San Diego quad from Season 1.

Here's some online Q&A that I just did with her.


Polyamory in the News: Congratulations for pulling off the series as well as you did. It was a pretty damn amazing thing to watch, all issues aside. What we all want to know is, will Showtime renew for a second season? When do they decide?

Garcia: First, I have to tell you how much I love your website, you're a good writer! And thank you for your support. I'm very proud of the show and what we accomplished. We are discussing what next season would look like — IF we get a next season. Sho is curious about other forms of poly and wants to see what's out there. Whether we come back with the same families or add new ones or new families only, we don't know. My hope is to continue the Polyamory conversation into the mainstream for another season. And to be clear, it's not so much a casting call as it is research and development.

I hear that most first-season shows don't get renewed....

That tends to be the case for scripted shows mostly, or in docu-reality [like our show] if the show didn't do well. Our show did really well — especially in social media. But Showtime knows their brand and they have been very successful at it, so I trust they know what they're doing. And IF we don't come back, we have to applaud Showtime for completely embracing this show when every other network in town loved the idea but were too afraid to touch it. Showtime is a trailblazer network, I take my hat off to them.

Any chance they'll go for hour-long episodes this time instead of 30 minutes? I heard frustrations from the families on the show that the episodes were too short to go into the depth they would have liked.

Yes, I would love to do an hour show as well — that was the original pitch. Everything is being discussed, we will have to see what other families come forward and what Showtime will decide.

What sort of feedback has the network given you about the series?

Sho loves the series. They were fascinated. They are big fans.

How well did it do for them?

It did very well for their 11 pm time slot and for it being a new series with barely any promotion, aside from their own network promos. We were all pleased with its performance.

How did you locate the families? Frankly, they're the very picture of the "impossible" requirements that TV shows have been asking that Loving More, for instance, or the Poly Media Association, provide for them: Long-term poly families who are *also* young, *and also* have kids, *and* all live together, *and* are all totally out to everyone in their lives, *and* are all slim, trim, and beautiful with camera presence — and for crying out loud, in this case they were willing to get naked and make love on national television?! For their parents and everyone to see? We always said "that's impossible." How did you *find* them?

I found the families with tons of research and outreach. Deborah, of the Southern California meetup, was instrumental in getting me accepted by the SoCal poly community. What's fascinating to me is this notion in the poly community that there are no beautiful people. It's strange. Also, everyone needs to understand Showtime has a very specific demographic which skews younger. The way MTV would never make a show about seniors — it's not their audience. All other criticisms, I feel are personal projections.

Okay, diversity. A lot of people in the poly community have criticized the show for putting on only young white California people, rather than a more normal mix of ages, bodies, and races. Are you looking to broaden the picture for a second season?

I looked far and wide, across the country for all colors of poly folks, and these were the families that were willing to come forward. So absolutely, I would love to have more diversity.

A lot of people watching have became deeply attached to the stories of the first season's two families. If there's a second season, will they be back?

I hope so. We are all one big family now, it would be sad not to do this with them again.

What's been the best part of this whole experience for you?

The best part was hanging out with the families. I was constantly learning how to be a better communicator because of them.

And the worst?

When the show finally aired, I had some "post-partum" depression about my "baby" being born. It was a challenging time for me.

I would like to add some parameters of the families I'm looking for: 25 to 50, camera friendly, and open to letting us into the bedroom. All male, all female, V's — all poly formations are welcome. They should have or try to watch the series to understand what would be expected of them. Also, if people could send a picture when they inquire, that helps me keep track of everyone — and there's a lot people to keep track of! Please email me at natstertv@yahoo.com.




Anonymous Dawn Davidson said...

I've had some back and forth with Natalia myself. We've mostly ended up with agree to disagree." You can see the whole post I made in my own blog:

In particular, here's what I wrote in response to THIS post here in Poly in the News:

FWIW, it’s not that I think there aren’t attractive people in the poly community; there surely are! It’s that I think that showing ONLY people who are thin, beautiful, and (almost all) white, means that there are a whole lot of people in the poly community that do not see themselves represented on this show. And Natalia’s response [here] saying that “all other criticisms … are personal projections” is precisely what I criticize in my commentary [in my blog]. Natalia of course is correct that she has to work with whatever the media will buy (that’s the nature of commercial media after all), but she seems oblivious to the fact that she’s reinforcing these very stereotypes in her choices around what and who to show. In particular, she’s not adequately addressing the fact that by showing that much skin, and placing that much emphasis on sex, she narrows her potential participants to only those who have enough privilege to withstand this much public scrutiny, and who can manage the potential risk of losing jobs, custody of children, or other social standing by being out to this degree. Many people of color, or people of lower socio-economic status, simply cannot afford to take this enormous risk, and therefore haven’t answered her calls. So saying airily that “these are who came forward” just minimizes her own contribution to the narrow field of applicants, IMO. Oh well, hopefully she’ll have better luck next time, now that the ground has been broken.

September 30, 2012 11:42 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...


I've been in correspondence with Natalia via. email as well, and have also posted comments on the show's page on Facebook. I think at this point, we're at the "agree to disagree" stage as well.

Part of my response to her re-iterated what you have mentioned about how her vision for the show: emphasizing a message of sex-positivity. While sexuality *can* be an important part of polyamory, and it is important that we work towards building a culture that is more sex-positive, making that the focus of the show limits the potential diversity of the cast (due to issues of security through social privilege).

I would've also hoped that she would've been willing to read and take to heart the various reviews of her show, not just the positive ones. Even the snarky/satirical stuff pointed to things that were genuine concerns when it comes to the show's messaging and how polyamory is portrayed. While I am glad that the show exists, I hope that if there's a season 2 or spinoff, they provide a means to better examine and explore healthy relationship behaviors vs unhealthy/unethical ones (like respecting physical boundaries vs. touching someone after they said they don't want to be touched).

I'm also hoping that future shows about polyamory leverage social media early-on and more often. From what I saw, there was a fair amount of activity on individual blogs as well as on the show's Facebook page. It would have been awesome for the full cast to have been able to engage viewers who had questions or concerns.

October 01, 2012 12:15 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

Well there are stereotypes and there are stereotypes. The cast may have shown a picture of polys as all young, hot and privileged, but they certainly busted up another stereotype, that polys are all old gray-haired hippies.

--Alan M. (oldish, hippie at heart)

October 01, 2012 7:34 AM  
Blogger Kamala Devi said...

Thank you Allen!
I agree it's important for people to see a range so that they can find role models to relate to. When I was in college, I felt so alone and scared going to a poly gathering where I couldn't find young people or anyone with a slender body type to (let alone latina) to relate to. I admit, I started to believe the heavy grey-haired stereotype. (Sorry I didn't do my part to break from the hippie stereotype.)
As a woman of jewish heritage I'm pleased that Natalia showed shabbat dinner and talked about Tahl's African upbringing. And I am certain that if the people of color in my community were willing to appear on camera Natalia, B &B, and Showtime would be delighted to represent their diversity.
In fact, this is why I am so excited about reaching out and finding new faces and families for season two. Thank you for helping us spread the word!

October 02, 2012 12:47 PM  

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