Gayness: 3/5, because it’s not much show but a lot of tell
As a lesbian, I feel fairly well represented by today’s TV shows and movies tailored to my likes. There’s hardly any show that doesn’t have a token gay or bisexual character, and they often even get to do stuff other than just be there to be gay. Sometimes they don’t even have to feel anguish over their sexuality. We’ve come a long way!
For anyone who is not in a traditional monogamous relationship, though, things look a little different. There’s hardly any representation, and the only show I remember taking on the topic in detail was The L Word: Generation Q, which – spoilers! – seems to imply those relationships never work. The list of ficitional polyamourous characters on Wikipedia is surprisingly short, too.
One of the few shows that wholeheartedly embrace the topic is You Me Her, which is available on Netflix in some countries, or on Audience or HBO Canada in others.
The premise of the show is that the Trakarskys, a married couple in their 30s, are trying to have a baby but their sex life is practically non-existent. To spice things up, they hire Izzy, a college student in her mid-20s trying to make some money on the side by working as an escort. After a bit of back and forth, the three fall in love and try to work out how to make this new situation work for them.
The show stars Greg Poehler, who I like to think of the poor man’s Greg Kinnear (he’s also Amy Poehler’s brother), Amy Blanchard (from Peep Show) and Priscilla Faia as the main characters. Their acting is fairly solid, but sometimes hampered by stiff writing.
Additionally, Melanie Papalia plays Izzy’s best friend and roommate, a loveable side character. Speaking of which, the side characters are a highlight of the show for me, especially Jennifer Spence who plays Carmen Amari, a disapproving neighbour. She’s delightful.
While the dialogue is often witty, the storyline itself has its ups and downs. The two women certainly have chemistry, but all in all their supposed love for each other is a lot less show and a lot more tell. I can believe they’re trying to navigate all their slightly hostile friends and neighbours – although, geez, they should find a less judgemental bunch! – but the constant push and pull of the characters gets a bit tedious, especially since their solution to everything seems to be getting super high and super drunk.
I like me a nice Gin and Tonic myself at times and I’m all for legalizing weed, but it’s astounding to me that these people manage to hold down steady jobs with the amount of booze and weed they consume. They still manage to get ahead in their jobs and Izzy, who is never even so much as seen holding a text book, is supposedly getting a degree in something while all of this plays out.
Having said that, the show is certainly entertaining if you’re not hoping for anything too brainy and I do appreciate what it’s trying to do, despite its failings.