—–Spoiler alert —
A few weeks ago I stumbled across the series “You, Me, Her”, where a married straight couple begins a kind of triad relationship, after first the man (secretly) and then his wife (out of interest and jealousy when it comes out) meets an escort and both fall in love with her.
It is announced as the first “polyromantic comedy series”. I found it interesting to observe how a series addresses the subject of open relationships, although I have to admit that I don’t like the series very much so far.
I know, I know, I sometimes judge series too quickly and too critically. Especially since I’m only at the beginning of season 1, but there are some things I don’t like at all so far. For example, I don’t like the way the subject of sex work is treated. Starting with the distinction between escort and sex work and the associated condemnation and devaluation of sex work. There is always an explicit difference between sex work and working as an escort, because sex work is constantly devalued in the series (at least as far as I have watched it). I don’t like it, actually. Why can sex work not even be presented in a positive light?
Then there is the heterosexual couple, whose love life is the starting point for the whole series. It starts with the man arranging a date with an escort out of sexual frustration in his marriage. First moment of frustration. Why doesn’t the woman arrange the date? Her libido appears to look exactly for the same way of affection as his. After all, I must admit that I was positively surprised when the woman turned out to be genuinely interested in women rather than “curiously heteroflexible”. I find that too often all sexualities that are not heterosexual are presented as phases or curious slips. This makes it less sincere and, among other things, tells desperate parents – including mine 13 years ago – that the child will return to the right path of heterosexuality. When the husband learns that his wife really did like women once in her life, he is so horrified that he first expresses himself homophobically and briefly questions her relationship, because it seems questionable to him that a person can be attracted to different people with different sexualities. Is it really so difficult not to use the words “phase” and “lesbian” together in one sentence? I don’t understand. If a series wants to show surprised overload, why is this so often at the expense of some marginalized group?
Then there is the part where they start making arrangements, how they can meet each other and what is okay and what is not. At first not all three appear to be equal in this constellation, the couple sets the rules. The first thing that comes up is the “no penetration” rule, which turns out to be a misunderstanding because the husband thought that no penetration meant no orgasm. Second moment of frustration. First, I would have liked the series not to focus so much on the purely sexual aspect of triads, but hey, we’re still talking about series;). And secondly, I find this misunderstanding quite heteronormative. Seriously? Penetration=Sex…?
That sounds pretty negative so far, but there are also some little things I like. I like it, for example, that the couple don’t just quarrel over several episodes and turn it into a giant barrel. Of course, it presents them with new challenges, but I like that the series doesn’t focus too long on the “conflict”, but rather shows how they deal with it. They seem pretty happy after they’ve each had a date and it seems to put their marriage on a new track. I find it beautifully presented, because it is also exciting and new and unusual. New energy can be quite inspiring. And besides, the show has managed to arouse my curiosity, at least I want to know how it goes on. I’ll keep you posted!