Category: Canonically Poly

Poly Villainy in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

I just finished watching the first eleven episodes of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and it’s time for my (minimally) spoiler-y review below the cut. In short, polyamory is not a major plot point of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but it is repeatedly dropped in as a way of characterizing individuals and communities as villainous. Even the possibly “good guy” who is poly-friendly seems to moving towards a monogamy-redemption arc, or at the very least is self-hating about it. I have to be honest, the level of vitriol aimed at polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy in this show was seriously difficult to watch.

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iZombie – “Brother, Can You Spare a Brain”

Here we go again, another crime/legal drama where the victims and suspects are in an open and honest non-monogamous relationship, and the main characters grapple with and/or argue about whether or not women are ever really OK with non-monogamy.

Crime/legal dramas and other episodic format shows in some sense lend themselves to exploring whatever the hot topics of the day happen to be – and polyamory certainly is one – because they rely on short, one-episode stories and each need to be different. It’s not like polyamory is the only topic these shows explore, they explore every hot topic under the sun and moon, but I’m beginning to be bothered that so much of the poly fiction that is out there is legal dramas makes me think there is a toxic trope of associating polyamory with criminality. Not all of the legal dramas are murder mysteries – in one, the crime being investigated is literally bigamy, and that makes perfect sense – but there seem to be an awful lot of murdered non-monogamous people and murdering partners of them.

iZombie is a crime drama, but also, you know, a zombie comedy… about a zombie who works in a morgue, eats the brains of the recently deceased, and gets flashes of their memories, dreams, habits, and personalities. So there’s that.In Season 1 Episode 2 of iZombie, “Brother, Can You Spare a Brain” (2015) features a murder victim of the week who our zombie hero quickly realizes had a lover. The detective she works with insists that the wife must have killed the husband after discovering her lover. However, the wife did not “discover” any such thing. In fact, she introduces the detective to the lover!

This is my dear friend Tasha. She is my favorite of all of Javier’s lovers.

The detective questions the wife, pushing to hear her secret discomfort with non-monogamy. She describes their relationship lovingly, notes that she herself has “dalliances,” and that asking her husband – an artist – to have only one lover would be like asking him to paint only tourist postcards. As she describes it, her husband’s art, sex, and passion are all intimately intertwined. Artsy and poly go hand in hand. The detective isn’t buying it, and asks her if it bothers her that her husband’s art – his “babies” – are nudes of other women. She snaps back, “It bothers me that you are being dismissive about my husband’s art and our marriage.” Burn!

So what happened? Who dunnit? Was it the wife? Find out below the cut.

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Orange is the New Black has more poly characters in Season 5, Episode 4 – “Litchfield’s Got Talent”

We all remember last season’s introduction of a poly character which turned out to fall into the trope of polyamory as a mark of villainy, especially sexual villainy. Ugh.

That character’s polyamory still features. We see her husband and her boyfriend, who love her and seem to love each other. The word “compersion” is used and defined (somewhat poorly, but whatever).

Of course, Orange is the New Black explores a wide range of relationships, and I already noted last season that there were other situations that could be ready as polyamorous in the broadest sense of the word even if that term was not used. Episode 4 (2017), however, much more explicitly played some of the other inmates relationships against that of the explicit polyamorist. Read more (& spoilers) under the cut.

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Poly as a mark of Villainy – The Walking Dead Season 7

Below be spoilers. Above be spoilers. Spoilers spoilers spoilers.

Not substantive ones, but still – the past few months when I was not caught up with the Walking Dead I felt like I had to avoid the whole internet. Now I’m caught up, and I have something to say. It’s not a pretty something. Below the cut for spoilers of Season 7, Episode 7, “Sing Me a Song” (2016)

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Tom Smith – “Bermuda Triangle”

I’ve written about a Tom Smith song before, but today I was reminded of a much older song that also deals with a more-than-two shipping, of a combination of historical and fictional figures. In the 1997 song, “Bermuda Triangle,” the narrator settles down with Amelia Earhart. He describes  meeting her where he has crashed in the Bermuda Triangle and the grand party going on there:

Who’s that walkin’ on down the line?
It’s Amelia Earhart, she’s lookin’ fine,
She said, “Hey there, big boy, wanna go flyin’?”
I said, “Oh, mama, get me to the church on time!”

Bottle of wine, wheel of cheese,
Amelia on my lap and my hands on her knees.
She said, “Hey, now, my boyfriends’ll be back soon,
The Swamp Thing and the Creature from the Black Lagoon….”

However, this description is not to warn the narrator off. As he later describes:

And I’ve been found in the Bermuda Triangle,
Ain’t nothing ever been so right,
I’m playing poker tomorrow with Ambrose Bierce and Che Guevara,
And Amelia’s by every night.

While shipping Amelia Earhart with the Swamp Thing and the Creature from the Black Lagoon is of course fiction, a fan-ship OT3 of sorts, the plot has some basis in reality, as our friend polyinthemedia.blogspot explains over at Polyamory in the News. Correspondence from Amelia Earhart to her eventually-husband George Putnam show her negotiation for what we might call an open marriage, one in which through honesty the pair can avoid any “difficulties […] should you or I become interested deeply (or in passing) in anyone else.”

Lovely all around.

Rick and Morty – “Anatomy Park”

Hi friends, sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been too busy, you know, being poly. As they say: love is infinite, but the number of hours in the day is not. Anyway, back at it with… Rick and Morty.

 

The “B” plot of the 2013 Rick and Morty episode “Anatomy Park” focuses on the Smith family Christmas, and father Jerry’s attempt to impose a technology-free zone as his parents come to visit. Poly-licious spoilers below the cut.

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Girl Meets World – Girl Meets Triangle

Well, that was a very long and strange episode in which nothing much really happens. As with most episodes, side characters (not the parents, but the friends and random other high-schools) tell Riley and Maya they “have to choose” with respect to Lucas, and tell Lucas he “has to choose” between the girls. As per usual, no one bothers to echo my screams at the television, calling “but why??!?!” The answer is presumed to be some vague BS about ruining friendships and people getting hurt. The episode then diverges into some weird territory where despite the fact that Riley has always wanted to be Maya, Maya has succeeded in becoming Riley. Indeed Maya acts throughout as though she is very much Not Okay. Riley implies that Maya only likes Lucas because Maya is “copying” Riley. At the end of the episode, Lucas announces he has made his choice. We are left on a cliffhanger. I really, really hope the answer is “I choose not to decide, I choose both.” I am frustrated that the show has moved from Farkle’s outright love of each young woman for who they are to this idea that they are not that unique from each other after all.

What do you think Lucas has decided? Let’s see where this goes.

Orange is the New Black introduces Poly Character

Orange is the New Black Season 4 has hit Netflix, and a character who was briefly introduced at the end of last season has revealed herself to be a “polyamory expert.” Details as I watch, as I am sure more will be revealed, but thus far:

Edit: details/having watched the the rest of the season here (spoiler alert, I am disappointed, although not surprised at being disappointed). Hi Redditors. I agree with you, don’t worry. Feel encouraged to comment.

Season 4, Episode 1 (2016) – Work that Body for Me

Judy’s boyfriend Bill escorts her to the prison. As he leaves, Judy tells her to go visit her husband, noting that he is probably more upset than Judy or Bill are about the whole thing. Luschek asks for clarification – Bill is not Judy’s husband? Judy identifies him as her boyfriend. Luschek and Judy continue to talk about it, but most of that conversation is off screen. They bond! Since Judy sent Bill to comfort Judy’s husband, I infer that the relationship is on the up-and-up.

Season 4, Episode 4 (2016) – Dr. Psycho

Luschek and Judy are still bonding. They are playing a game and Luschek quotes Wonder Woman – “Suffering Sappho!” Judy offers up the fun fact that Wonder Woman’s creator had “two wives” and expounded on the connection between their kinky sex life and Wonder Woman’s propensity for finding herself tied up. Dropping the truth bombs! Luschek asks her how she knows these things, and she identifies herself as a “polyamory expert.” “Right,” Luschek notes, “the whole husband-and-boyfriend-thing.” It’s friggin’ delightful, I can’t wait for more.

Life on Mars (US) – Coffee, Tea, or Annie

I’m continuing the Swinging theme today, with a review of the Life on Mars (US) Season 1, Episode 14 (2009) entitled “Coffee, Tea, or Annie.” Life on Mars follows detective Sam Tyler as he is injured in 2008 and wakes up in 1973. It is full of 70s goodness from the soundtrack to the obligatory “pilots and stewardesses are swingers” Monster of the Week. Spoilers below the cut.
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