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.
My media consumption in general has been rather low lately, and even the things I’ve intended to write about I haven’t had time. But you didn’t come here for my apologies or excuses, you came here for some reflections about William Moulton Marsden, author of the first Wonder Woman comics.
Jill Lepore wrote a book about Marston recently, called The Secret History of Wonder Woman. I keep promising to write a full post about it, but this post is not that post. In brief, however, Lepore tells the history of Marston’s romances with his wife Sadie Elizabeth Holloway Marston as well as with Olive Byrne and Marjorie Huntley. The former two women lived with Marston and raised children with him; they later lived together for years after Marston’s death. The latter woman lived with the family intermittently.
Well I have two things to say about it today. One is that if you do not already know, Angela Robinson is directing a film about this family, called Professor Marston & the Wonder Women. It has just recently arrived in my town, and I cannot wait to watch it! As far as I can tell, the movie does not talk about Huntley at all, which is a disappointment to me. At any rate, if you’re interested in this blog, you’d probably be interested in this film.
The other thing I want to say today is just to quickly point out the CBS-now-CW television series Supergirl features Lynda Carter, who famously played Wonder Woman in the 1970s TV show, playing the US president. Cool on many levels! They character’s name, however, seems like a clear homage to the creator(s). President Olivia Marsdin evokes both Olive Burne and William Moulton Marston. I got a real kick out of this, but I’ve surprisingly not seen much acknowledgement of it around the fandom blogosphere (in comments yes, but in the main text, it seems to be overlooked). A very interesting nod!
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.
Quick hit and quick question: is polyamorist a word? This is technically a spoiler for Riverdale (Chapter 11), although an extremely minor one, so I’ll put it behind the cut. Riverdale DID expicitly reference polyamory in its premier season, but amazingly NOT with respect to classic OT3-ship Archie-Betty-Veronica.
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.
Well friends, the love triangle is over. At least the pain of the bad retconning is gone with it. Spoilers after the cut.
Just a brief note on the (2016) Girl Meets World episode, “Girl Meets True Maya.”
Farkle kisses Maya on the nose
Farkle: We’re getting older, these are going to be more unpredictable.
Maya: (indignant) I’m telling Smackle!
Farkle: (happily) I’m telling Smackle!
Farkle is so delightfully unphased by the expectations of traditional monogamy.
I strongly dislike this plot, and not just because it is not poly-friendly. It strikes me as poorly written and full of characters acting uncharacteristically and some overwhelming retconning of crowd favorite Boy meets World. By “this plot”, I mean the “Maya loses herself and is just copying Riley” plot, which is for some reason integral to the “love triangle” plot. I’ll put it below the cut for spoilers but, spoiler alert, you ain’t missin’ much.
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.
I am not necessarily surprised to have to tell you that Judy King was not the poly hero this blogger desires — and only may or may not be the poly criminal Orange is the New Black deserves. Extremely minor spoilers below the cut.