Por: executive producer Mark Soldinger, producer/director Liz Friend, production company Firecracker Films
A society that encourages us to want more and more might also explain a new wrinkle in the sexual revolution — polyamory, in which adults commit to more than one long-term relationship. Liz Friend’s I Love You. And You. And You (Channel 4) followed two polyamorous households in Seattle: Terisa and her two live-in boyfriends; and Jerome with his wife, two daughters and two mistresses living under the same roof. No wonder the screen kept splitting like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch. It became clear that this “ethical non-monogamy” (do Americans have legitimizing terms for everything?) requires at least as many “boundaries” and rules as monogamous relationships. At first those interviewed had the confident air of mountaineers and mathematicians who had made something complicated and scary seem simple and safe, but it soon became clear that nothing was straightforward. Terisa developed a rictus grin when one of her lovers found a possible second girlfriend. When Terisa invited her to a dinner party, she turned up with her ex-husband. We had the makings of a French sex comedy. Jerome, a self-confessed “alpha male” who indulged in mock battles at the weekends, needed to schedule his private life much like Bill Paxton in Five’s Mormon drama Big Love. Indeed, Jerome seemed more like a polygamist as he denied his lovers other relationships while trying to hide his lifestyle from his children by making sure only his wife — the “primary partner” — was seen in his bed in the morning. As the radio alarm went off and two women tumbled out of his bedroom to retreat to the living room, Sonny and Cher were heard singing I Got You Babe. You were left wondering what self-esteem issues these women had. Although Friend’s documentary asked pertinent questions, such as the effect on Jerome’s children (they regarded one of daddy’s lovers as the babysitter), it descended into a less satisfying random collection of testimonies from polyamorous “families” at some unexplained festival or summer camp. “Monogamy is so unnatural,” insisted one woman. But that’s what you expect someone to say who wears a T-shirt with the legend “Abstinence sucks”.