Room For One More: Polyamory in Television
In recent years, polyamory has found its way onto television. Spanning genres, polyamory has found a home on several of today’s biggest shows. Has polyamory become a funny addition, or just more relatable as time marches on?
The Big C (2010 – 2013)
In season three of Showtime’s cancer drama, Cathy’s (Laura Linney) brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) finds himself in a polyamorous relationship. Heterosexual Sean works as a gay phone sex operator, and decides to meet up with one of his clients. Sean is interested to find out that his client has a wife, and in turn are polyamorous. When Sean comes out as polyamorous to his sister Cathy, he refers to their relationship as a thruple.
Game of Thrones (2011 – present)
Oberyn Martel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) visit King’s Landing for the wedding of the king. Oberyn refers to Ellaria as his paramour, and they share both male and female lovers while staying at Little Finger’s brothel. Oberyn later describes this as a cultural norm in his homeland of Dorne.
American Horror Story (2011 – present)
Evan Peters is involved in two polyamorous relationships during the seasons of American Horror Story. In Season 2, Asylum, Kit Walker (Peters) lives with two women: his wife Alma (Britne Oldford) and Grace (Lizzie Brocheré). Both bear Kit’s
Polyamory: Married and Dating (2012 – 2013)
Perhaps the quintessential polyamory based show, Polyamory: Married and Dating is a reality show following several groups of polyamorous individuals. Kamala Devi has become the breakout star of this show, which features her 4(+) person pod in both seasons. Both seasons also feature a triad of one male and two females.
Vikings (2013 – present)
In the first season of Vikings, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and Lagerta (Katheryn Winnick) are married. In Ragnar’s first raid to England, he returns with Athelstan (George Blagden), a catholic monk. Athelstan becomes Ragnar’s slave, and returns to his farm with him. One night Ragnar and Lagerta invite Athelstan to join them in their bed, illustrating the looser sexual confines of their culture.
With growing conservativism in the western world, it is surprising to see polyamory receive greater exposure. While polyamory is generally a b story add on to a series, shows such as Polyamory: Married and Dating prove that it can anchor a show. Successful shows such as HBO’s Big Love underscore that alternative families and living can be a lucrative source for creativity.