"You Me Her" Season 4 premiers, and other polyamory on TV
|Darko Sikman/ AT&T AUDIENCE Network|
The "polyromantic comedy" series You Me Her opens its fourth season tonight (Tuesday April 9) at 10 on AT&T's Audience Network. There is no other show like it on television.
Season 1 was about a troubled couple who, independently, fell for the same third person by way of comic flukes: a novelty gimmick. But creator/producer John Scott Shepherd soon realized that the show was onto something bigger. Season 2 began straight off with the three together in a serious, all-around polyamorous relationship, and things have grown from there.
Life, of course, hasn't been easy for them. Tonight's opening of Season 4 is titled "Triangular Peg, Meet Round World." Season 5 is already scheduled for 2020.
Trailer for Season 4:
Rather than say more I'll send you to Paste magazine yesterday, The Charming Poly Rom-Com You Me Her Reveals the Biggest Problem with 'Peak TV' (April 8, 2019). The "problem" in the title is that a remarkable show like this can go undiscovered on an obscure channel like Audience.
By LaToya Ferguson
...Though the first season leans on the characters’ sexual relationship(s) more than subsequent seasons, You Me Her is not a show about sex and titillation. It’s about romance and love and all that crap: The series is so committed to the rom-com genre that there’s even, at one point, a last-minute dash to the airport. ...
...The series itself roots for its protagonists to make their unconventional relationship work. It doesn’t make it easy for them to do so, but it is invested in their success: While the phrase “just a phase” may have come up, Shepherd and company make perfectly clear that it’s not the answer, and if the series entertains the idea, it’s ultimately to topple it.
...Their (very supportive) friends wonder how they can even function in the world, throuple or not. Indeed, the supporting cast is as integral to the series as the leads: Jack, Emma, and Izzy are each allowed to have substantial, separate relationships with their best friends ... which is another way You Me Her stands out from other rom-coms.
...For a comedy series about polyamory that doesn’t shame it or make it a punchline to be this far under the radar is baffling. ... This is a light romantic comedy about three people who are in love with each other, one that explores the spectrum of sexuality and identity and self-discovery in a way that doesn’t often get explored in more mainstream series. And it’s also not as though the cast is a bunch of total unknowns ... But the conundrum of “peak TV” is that the proliferation of series and networks/platforms has made accessing specific shows more difficult. ...
AUDIENCE [Network]... lacks what’s called “brand awareness.” ... There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s an audience for the series, and its five-season run on AUDIENCE suggests that it’s something of a hit for the network. But the series is only available to watch via AT&T video platforms like DirecTV and U-Verse, international (not American) Netflix, or DVD. ... You Me Her is, sadly, an object lesson in how shows fall through the cracks when there’s more TV — and more good TV — than ever.
● Five-minute vid on Cheddar.com: 'You Me Her' Stars Talk About The Love and Drama of Season Four (April 8):
Rachel Blanchard (Emma) says here, "I hope that people in the polyamorous community see themselves reflected in what we're sharing on screen."
Priscilla Faia (Izzy) says, "Since the show has aired we've had so many people [in the community] that contact us and talk to us about it. We're so grateful and lucky we get to be involved that way."
● On the Daily Brief: ‘You Me Her’ Wonders If Polyamory Can Survive the Suburbs (March 12).
...At the end of last season, the three sealed the deal with an impromptu commitment ceremony at a pizza joint. Now that they are back living their settled lives in the suburbs, how will they handle new people who are curious about their lifestyle and might be interested in joining in?
● More on the show's Twitter.
Update May 10: Says Hollywood Reporter today, "'You Me Her' Ending With Season 5 on AT&T's Audience Network. With season five set to begin filming on May 21, the network opted to make it the last run. There's no word yet on a premiere date or episode count for the final season. Past seasons have run for 10 episodes." Article.
Meanwhile, to expand our view, polyamory in one form or another is finally infiltrating television more widely. For instance, these have been in the media just since the start of 2019:
● Now Apocalypse, recently launched on Starz, is reviewed by a Slate writer: How Now Apocalypse Creator Gregg Araki Foresaw Our Pansexual Present (March 27).
– And on Hidden Remote, The 3 main reasons you need to be watching Now Apocalypse (April 1).
● Siren is in its second season on Freeform. Says TVLine, Siren Season 2 Is Giving Us TV's First Polyamorous Mermaid Thruple (Jan. 24).
– On Syfy's site, Siren Turns Its Mermaids into Pansexual, Polyamorous Killers (Feb. 27).
– A rave on the feminist The Mary Sue: Siren’s Polyamorous Relationship Is One of the Most Refreshing Queer Relationships on TV (Feb. 5).
– Update June 13, 2019: A long, detailed, positive review on Paste.com: From Ecoterrorism to Polyamory, the Second Season of Siren Continues to Transcend Expectation. "Freeform’s quiet, murderous mermaid series has only gotten bolder and more interesting as it’s found its sealegs."
– Update June 14: Breaking into the bigtime? TV Guide interviews the actress who plays the show's lead character Ryn, the deadly mermaid in a poly triad: Siren's Alex Roe is Proud to Portray TV's Most Interesting Polyamorous Relationship.
● Future Man. As Pride.com notes, Polyamorous Families Thrive in Hulu's Post-Apocalyptic Comedy (Jan. 16).
● The Wanderlust series (BBC, Netflix) has been dissed in poly circles for cringiness, but Canada's National Post said Netflix's Wanderlust offers an honest examination and a unique discussion around polyamory (Jan. 2).
– Poly comedian and activist Kate Smurthwaite discusses Wanderlust and delivers this memorable line: "It demonstrates one of the most important axioms of the media: If you want to know how to do something, don't look at the mainstream media [such as that]. Wanderlust is sort of a master class in how not to do open relationships":
● I'd never heard of the long-running teen soap Hollyoaks on British TV (Channel 4), but a couple months ago came this: Hollyoaks lines up polyamorous relationship storyline for Tom Cunningham (Digital Spy, Feb. 15).
– And, Hollyoaks spoilers: Soap to explore polyamory storyline between Tom, Peri and Harley (Metro UK, Feb. 14).
– But this is a soap opera, so of course the poly relationship didn't last long: Hollyoaks star Mollie Lambert speaks out after Harley Frater's surprise exit (Digital Spy, March 9).
● Teasings of a polyamory direction coming on the macabre Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix, Hulu), on Digital Spy: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina needs to be brave and subvert the 'love triangle' (April 5). "Give the people what they want."
● A distant early alert about The Simpsons is getting a lot of notice this week in the queer press (and, furiously, on Breitbart). First out in Metro UK: The Simpsons showrunner teases Lisa’s sexuality and could become polyamorous president (April 2).
The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean has high hopes for Lisa in her future – and has backed up the suggestion she could become the first polyamorous bisexual president. Despite being stuck aged eight for the past 30 years, smart-alec Lisa Simpson is clearly wise beyond her years, and thanks to the magic of flash-forwards and dream sequences, we’ve been given glimpses to who she could become as an adult. ... Al also confirmed that the team were looking to bring more diversity to the show – including more LGBT characters. ... Lisa was seen in a flash forward card to have been in a throuple. ...
Future Simpsons family portrait? Bart looks jealous of Lisa's triad. (Fox)
● Don't forget about three indie webseries that have been out for a while: Compersion, Unicornland, and 195 Lewis. At last February's Poly Living con in Philadelphia, Ruby Johnson of Poly Dallas called 195 Lewis "my idea of the most realistic portrayal of positive black poly community," with its highlighting of "the mutual support and community solidarity." She called 195 Lewis "a cult classic" among women of color. "The first couple episodes are a bit rough technically, but it gets better."
● Oh, while we're at it, here's The Daily Dot's pick of the nine Best Sex-Positive TV Shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (March 14).
Labels: polyamory on TV, TV, You Me Her
This series is illustrative of the old adage 'A little information is dangerous' in that they make pains to point out how couple privileging and disadvantaged IN the relationship Izzy is and then they keep reinforcing it when she yet again, accepts THEIR status quo. For the first time in this series run I just want the whole thing to fail and that upsets me as a person who strongly believes in plural marriages. But of course I just really want them to FIX it!!!
So, I binged on the last 6 episodes of Season 4 this weekend. If you wait a little, you can find it on YouTube (though I have still not found the last episode of season 3). Again, I like this rom com takes polyamory seriously, including challenges.
Two specific criticisms. I've been saying all through they need to talk with other poly people for support and insight. I episode 4, I think, they go to a workshop led by a poly guru. His advice and guidance is often useful, though too much one size fits all. He charges $800 a person for an evening, so $2400 for the thrupple?! Robyn runs a whole weekend with workshops, networking, etc, for less than $200 a person. Also, he uses the term polymonogamy for what we would call polyfidelity, and he is totally negative on it, which is what this thrupple is doing.
Second major criticism is there is an expectation, it seems, that people in a closed relationship won't be attracted to someone outside. This is totally unrealistic. If you are in a closed group, mono or poly, you can feel attraction but decide not to act on it. Even if you are in an open relationship, you can choose to not act for various reasons, including seeing that the possible partner is mono and likely has an agenda to pull you out for a monogamous relationship of his/her own. The expectation that you won't be attracted to someone new is totally crazy.
Anyway, I'm still glad this show exists, I'm emotionally invested in the people and the relationship, and I wish I could fix them :-)
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