All the Things “You, Me, Her” Got Wrong About Polyamory

SPOILER ALERT! This post will contain spoilers for You, Me, Her seasons 1-3, so if you care and haven’t watched yet, click off this post now.

Three brown kittens. For a post about You Me Her and polyamoryYou may remember my ridiculous quest to recap every episode of this stupid show, which fizzled out somewhere in the middle of Season 1 because I ran out of time, energy and fucks to give? If not, go read them. It’s snarktastic, I promise you.

In case you haven’t seen it, You, Me, Her is an American comedy-drama series following suburban married couple Jack (Greg Poehler) and Emma (Rachel Blanchard) as they enter into a polyamorous triad relationship with 25-year-old college student and escort, Izzy (Priscilla Faia).

Instead of reviewing this mess one episode at a time, I thought I’d bring you all the things I think it got wrong about polyamory – so far – in one easy post.

1. Izzy would never date these two idiots.

Izzy is a beautiful, 25-year-old college student who is escorting her way through university for the money. When Jack hires her for a date and then Emma later (having found out) does the same thing, she inexplicably decides she’s super duper into both of them for some fucking reason. That would never happen. Any sex worker in Izzy’s place would do her job, take the damn money, and leave this pair to work out their shit in suburban hell by themselves.

2. It’s PORTLAND, not the Bible Belt.

This show is set in Portland, Oregon – a city famous for being super-duper liberal and where I know for a fact there’s a huge polyamorous community. Sure, there are some conservative people there (they’re everywhere, sadly) but the idea that being out as non-monogamous – or even bisexual – in fucking Portland would totally destroy Emma’s life is patently unrealistic. If they wanted that narrative to work, they should have set it in rural Alabama or something.

3. Being bisexual is apparently a worse crime than cheating.

There’s a scene in their therapist’s office where Jack shames the hell out of Emma for telling her bisexual origin story and having slept with women before they met. Seemingly forgetting he cheated on her with an escort about, ooh, a week before. (Also, Emma later declares that her bisexuality “wasn’t a thing,” despite having relationships with four – FOUR – women! That is definitely “a thing”.)

4. Partners are not commodities that you have to share out equally.

Jack and Emma agree that they each get “two nights with her… I mean you” per week. They then have a debate about who “gets” her first. This is gross beyond belief. She’s a human being, not a pie that you both want equal numbers of slices of. Ugh.

5. Dating someone new isn’t how you inject sexual spark back into your ailing marriage.

Jack and Emma’s idea is that they’ll each go on dates with Izzy, then come back fired up and ready to ravish the hell out of each other. That’s not how polyamory works. That’s not even how feelings or sex drives work! And it’s, once again, objectifying as all hell. They’re basically using her as a human sex toy. Also, Jack gets mad when Emma comes back from a date and isn’t up for fucking him right there and then. Your partner doesn’t owe you sex just because they just went on a date with someone else!

6. Jealousy IS inevitable. That doesn’t mean courting it is good for your relationship.

Jealousy is normal and fine, as long as you deal with it in a healthy way. Trying to make your partner jealous deliberately in order to… what, make them want you more? is a REALLY bad idea. And half the time seems to be these idiots’ entire game. Jack and Emma use Izzy to make each other jealous. Izzy uses Andy (who is a dick but seems really into her) to make Jack and Emma jealous.

7. Treating someone like crap then chasing them through an airport isn’t romantic!

Jack and Emma treat Izzy like total crap for the entire show. One romantic gesture (chasing her through an airport to “bring her home”) isn’t

8. Polyamory isn’t just for rich white people!

Jack and Emma are the classic middle-aged, upper-middle-class, professional married pair I’d expect to see at a swingers’ club. Nothing wrong with that, except that the polyamorous community is actually hugely diverse. Trust me, we’re all bored as hell of seeing every representation of our community reduced down to “rich white people who don’t enjoy sex with their spouses any more”.

9. You can’t expect someone to fall for two people in the same way, at the same rate, at the same time.

And that’s EXACTLY what Jack and Emma expect of Izzy. At one point, it becomes apparent that Izzy’s connection with Emma is growing stronger while her connection with Jack is developing at a slower pace, and Jack throws a hissy fit to the point of fucking off for several days. This is exactly the kind of expectation inexperienced unicorn hunters put on new partners, and it’s grossly unfair.

10. Sex doesn’t solve your problems. Communication does.

Whenever these three have a problem, they just fuck and it all goes away… until next time. Sex is great but it’s not how you fix your problems. Only actual, honest, open and respectful communication can do that.

11. You don’t have to live with all your partners!

Jack, Emma and Izzy move in together almost the moment they’ve decided to give a triad relationship a go. Not only is this the mother of all bad ideas, it’s just… not realistic. Just as most monogamous people wouldn’t give a new date the keys to their house before things were pretty stable and established, neither do polyamorous people. And regardless of relationship set-up, the “three people sharing a double bed every night” trope is… sweet but unrealistic. Trust me. I can only manage it even in my King bed for a night or two. You can still be polyamorous if you don’t want to live with all your partners, now or ever.

12. Extremely conservative, homophobic parents don’t come around in three seconds flat.

Emma’s parents go from hyper-conservative, openly-homophobic bigots who only care about her having babies, to being totally chill with the accidental dropping of the polyamory bomb in… yeah, less than five minutes of screen time? (Which equates to about an hour in plot-time). People can come around, of course. People question their assumptions when they are directly confronted with them by someone they love. But it usually takes more time than this. Sometimes much more.

13. And finally… NOT ALL POLYAMORY IS A FUCKING MFF TRIAD.

Are we all sick of this very specific picture being painted yet? Good, me too. Let’s move on to something more representative and less relentlessly cishet-male-gazey. Please.

So what’s next? This show has been renewed for seasons 4 and 5. I hate this about myself, but I already know I’ll watch them all. Maybe I’ll even live-tweet them.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please buy me a coffee!

Ten Fun or Meaningful Things to Do On International Celebrate Bisexuality Day

Did you know that September 23rd marks International Celebrate Bisexuality Day? Also known as Bi Visibility Day, ICBD is observed by members of the bi community and our allies and supporters, and is used to campaign for greater bisexual visibility, to celebrate bi history and culture, and to show pride in our identities and those of the bi people we love.

If you’re low on energy today, or this is the first time you’ve heard of ICBD, here’s some easy and fun ways you can celebrate and make a difference!

The bi pride flag, for a post on international celebrate bisexuality day1. Wear something purple

Purple is the internationally recognised colour of bisexuality. I think this originally came from the idea of purple as a mix of pink (gay) and blue (straight), which is a little problematic. But, hey, we have our own colour!

If you don’t have the energy to do anything else today – and that’s A-okay! – then why not put on a purple shirt, scarf, shoes or other accessory to show your bi pride?

2. Tell the bi folks in your life that you love them

If you’re monosexual (gay or straight), this is a great time to reach out and support the bi people in your life. A “happy bisexuality day!” from a gay or straight friend has never failed to make me smile on September 23rd.

And if you’re bi, reach out to your fellow bisexual friends, partners and allies, wish them a happy ICBD, and maybe get together for some cake?

3. Share bi content on social media

A retweet, a share or a comment goes a long way towards supporting the visibility and normalisation of bi people on social media. Obviously your comfort levels will vary, and I would never ask someone to out themselves if they weren’t ready or put themselves at any risk, but if you can safely post on social media about queer issues, try these on for size:

“Did you know September 23rd is International Celebrate Bisexuality Day? Just popping up to remind y’all that I’m still bi, regardless of my relationship status! I’ll be wearing purple to show my pride today. Will you wear something purple to show your support?”

“Did you know September 23rd is International Celebrate Bisexuality Day? I’m (straight/gay), but I support my bisexual friends! I’m wearing purple today in solidarity. Will you?”

4. Bust some myths

Hear someone say that bisexuality isn’t real, that bisexuality erases trans folks and enforces the gender binary, or that people can only be bi if they’re attracted to men and women exactly 50/50? Bust those myths! If it’s safe to do so, speak up! Explain why they’re wrong (see the linked articles for inspiration). Stand up for the bisexual people in your life and don’t tolerate biphobia when you see it.

5. Consume some bi media

Read books by bi authors (Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker, Robyn Ochs, Rachel Kramer-Bussell, Jennifer Baumgardner…). Listen to music by bi artists (Freddie Mercury, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Pink, Amy Winehouse…). Watch films or TV shows with bi storylines (try Imagine Me & You, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Call Me By Your Name, the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Loving Annabelle, Steven Universe…). Share content by your favourite bi bloggers, vloggers, indie writers and content creators (I’ll be doing a separate post on this later).

6. Give your favourite bisexual some cake

It’s well known that bisexuals love cake. It’s our little way of reclaiming that stupid “have your cake and eat it too” expression. Today is a great day to give your favourite bisexual (even if that’s yourself!) some cake.

7. Donate to causes that support bi people

LGBTQ+ causes have historically been pretty shitty about including either the B or the T in their work. Thankfully, this is improving, and there are now organisations specifically dedicated to improving the lives of bisexual people.

The Bisexual Index highlights and combats biphobia, works for bi inclusion in events such as Pride, and connects bi people to resources and community. They also have super-cute merch.

Bisexuals of Colour is a fantastic group for Black, Minority Ethnic and Mixed Heritage bisexual people. Check out their Tumblr and donate via Paypal (bis.of.colour at gmail dot com).

Biscuit is an online magazine and organisation for “modern bisexual women, femmes and those assigned female at birth”. If you experience life at the intersection of misogyny and biphobia, Biscuit is for you. You can donate at their homepage.

MindOut are the LGBTQ-specific arm of Mind, the UK’s mental health charity. Did you know that bisexual people are among the most likely to struggle with a mental health issue at some point during their lives? MindOut is dedicated to combating mental ill health within the LGBTQ+ community and as far as I can tell their bi inclusion is fantastic.

8. Subscribe to a bi magazine

Bi Community News keeps you in the loop about all the fun things happening in the UK-wide bisexual scene – and it’s only £12 for an entire year!

9. Support bi and queer porn makers

You know by now that you should be paying for your porn, yes? Well, what about awesome ethical feminist porn featuring real queer women having real sex? Check out Crashpad Series and Ersties to support awesome women-owned-and-created porn.

10. Plan to go to a bi event

Going to BiCon in 2019? It’s the highlight of the bisexual year and I really recommend checking it out if you can! Failing that, there are regular bi groups in cities up and down the country – check out this list and find one near you, and make a plan to go along. You’ll  be sure to make some friends and allies.

What are YOU doing to celebrate ICBD? Tweet me or comment and let me know.

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions, as ever, are my own. If you want to support my coffee-and-cake habit for bisexuality day, you can do so via Ko-Fi.

A Very Brief Look at Sex Toys in Popular Culture

Despite its problematic elements (and OH GODS there are a lot, TW for biphobia, transphobia and racism in that link,) Sex & the City was groundbreaking for its time. In 1998, when the episode “The Turtle and the Hare” aired featuring the women discovering the Rabbit sex toy, a frank discussion of vibrators on a prime-time, hugely popular TV show was a big deal. A few years later came The L Word – queer women’s answer to Sex & the City, which I devoured when I was in my late teens, low-key ridiculous though it undoubtedly is. Alice asks her girlfriend Dana to penetrate her with a strap-on. Sex toys then feature as a recurring theme throughout their relationship.

DivaInner G-Spot Rabbit vibrator with box, for a post on sex toys in popular cultureBut let’s face it, the portrayal of sex toys in popular culture hasn’t been hugely positive.

In the fairly recent past, sex toys in movies and TV were treated as the butt of a joke. 2001’s Not Another Teen Movie, for example, famously opens with Janey getting caught masturbating by her entire family (and for some reason a few random children and a priest.) The idea of a woman masturbating – especially a geeky, not-classically-beautiful young woman – is supposed to be hilarious in itself. The “Rabbit” episode of SATC depicts Miranda’s friends shaming her for using a vibrator instead of having sex with a man. (“You can’t take it home to meet your parents!”) Later they stage an intervention to stop Charlotte using hers, treating her like an addict.

In The L Word, Dana’s shame around using toys is an ongoing theme in the depiction of her relationship with Alice – including a cringe-inducing scene where they go through airport security. (“Yup. Nipple clamps.”) Later, a jilted Alice dumps out a box of toys in front of Dana and her new girlfriend, who recoil in disgust. It’s a dildo, guys! It’s not going to hurt you!

Thankfully, things are starting to improve.

The wonderful Sense8 features a beautiful scene of two women having sex using a strap-on dildo. Netflix’s Grace and Frankie feature the two main characters trying to design sex toys for women over 60 – and older women’s sexuality is not treated as gross or as a joke. And, of course, Broad City’s pegging scene became such an instant classic that there is now a line of sex toys themed around the show.

This is all a great start. I’d really like to see more positive portrayals of sex toy usage in popular media going forward. Give us joyful depictions of female masturbation, divorced from shame or guilt or narratives about being addicted, a nymphomaniac, or unable to find a man. Give us sex scenes in which partners reach for toys and no-one thinks it’s weird, gross or offensive. I’d even like to see vibrators casually sitting on female characters’ night stands without it being a big deal.

Popular culture has begun to catch up, but still has a way to go in the sex positivity realm.

Luckily, sex toys themselves have (s0metimes) improved tremendously in the last twenty years. The infamous 1998 SATC “Rabbit” is made of some kind of translucent jelly material, which is certainly not body-safe. Jelly toys are softened with phthalates, plasticiser chemicals which are now banned in children’s toys in many countries as they are known carcinogens. They’re also horrible for the environment! Unfortunately, the adult product industry remains largely unregulated, allowing unscrupulous manufacturers to keep making cheap, dangerous sex toys. There have been documented cases of people getting chemical burns in their genital area from unsafe toys!

Fortunately, there are reputable adult brands out there dedicated to offering body-safe and eco-friendly toys. DIVAINNER is one of them, creating intimate products of the highest standard such as this fab G-Spot Rabbit, out of exclusively premium, body-safe materials such as non-porous, phthalate-free silicone! Despite the silly stereotypes, it’s impossible to get addicted to a sex toy – so you can let go of your inhibitions and have as much fun as you want.

This post was commissioned by DivaInner and first appeared on their blog. Featured image is property of DivaInner. All opinions, as ever, are my own. Want to see YOUR company, brand or product on these pages? Get in touch!

“Creepy Fuckery” (or: “Niece Jackie”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E5

You may recall that episode 4 ended with Izzy’s roommate (edit: her name is Nina!) catching Izzy and Jack making out, moments after crashing into and breaking Nina’s grandmother’s antique lamp. Well, episode 5 begins with them sitting at the table looking sheepish while Nina tells them off.

There’s a knock on the door, and in comes pdeudo-boyfriend Andy. “Ooh, this is gonna be interesting,” says Nina. No kidding. Jack awkwardly introduces himself, calls Andy “dude,” then apologises which just makes the whole thing that bit more excruciating. Jack says he’s Izzy’s uncle but they’re “more like cousins because we’re so close in age.”

  1. Who are you kidding, Jack-Not-Fred?
  2. If Andy is buying this for even a tenth of a millisecond, he’s the biggest idiot in this entire show populated by total idiots.

Izzy asks to move their planned lunch to cocktails later. Andy leaves after throwing a snarky “dude” remark in Jack’s direction.

“Yes, I’m a client,” Jack says, answering both Nina’s question and mine. “There’s your tip,” he adds to Izzy, leaving money on the side and walking out. Nina pockets the money, which is kinda fair given that Izzy and Jack just broke her expensive heirloom lamp.

Later, Izzy and Nina walk across campus and Nina asks Izzy why she kissed Andy in front of Jack. Izzy says it was to keep Andy “on simmer” (um?) but Nina knows it was to make Jack jealous and calls her out on it. Here’s a thing: if purposefully making your partners (who don’t even officially know about each other!) jealous is your game, you’re not ready for non-monogamy.

Nina asks Izzy if she’s okay breaking up a marriage. Izzy confesses her feelings about Jack and Emma. “Oh yeah, it would be so tragic if all three of you didn’t live happily ever after,” says Nina, ever the sympathetic friend. I mean, I can kind of see her point because we all know this is heading towards a trainwreck of epic proportions, but at the same time ,triads CAN work and can be happy and functional. Just not when they start with both members of a couple cheating on each other with the same escort, the escort inexplicably catching feels, and no-one having a clue how to do even the most basic communication.

The phone rings and it’s Emma. Only apparently she’s “Em” to Izzy now. Emma is with Carmen, who is obnoxiously trying to get her attention – I think to tell Emma to break up with Izzy. Izzy pretends Andy is on the other line and about to take her on holiday, and hangs up. Emma is upset and shouts “FUCK,” despite the fact that she’s in the middle of a public park and there are children around. This leads to this amazing exchange:

Emma: “Sorry, sorry! Hey kids, don’t do drugs, stay in school!”
Random Mum: “They’re toddlers, dumbshit!”
Emma: “Dumbshit!? Oh yeah, well I bet those snotty little brats aren’t even vaccinated!”
Random Mum: “I’ll vaccinate your ass!”

And then Carmen pulls Emma away, Emma professes how much she “HATES ANDY,” and Carmen demands that Emma not bring any of the Izzy drama into “HER neighbourhood” or around “HER children.” Hey Carmen, Emma might be acting world-class foolish, but she lives in the neighbourhood too and can invite whoever she damn well pleases back to her own damn house. Step off.

Later, Emma and Jack are having drinks. Emma confesses to phoning Izzy, and Jack confesses to visiting Izzy during his lunch hour. In a moment of surprisingly rational and adult conversation, Emma admits to being “scared and nervous and excited.” Next thing we know, they’re actually communicating! Jack asks what happens next, and Emma points out that there’s a third person involved who should probably get a say. I suddenly find new respect for her until…

…the bitching about Andy begins. “I hope he has low self-esteem!” says Jack. “Does he hate puppies and poor people?” Emma counters. Wow, guys. Really?

We cut to Izzy and Andy, who are eating pizza – because of course when a skinny, normatively attractive woman loves pizza, it’s OMGSOCUTE #Keepingitreal. I bet if Izzy was fat, this scene would get a very different response from viewers. Andy wants Izzy to “decide.” Decide what?

Back at Jack and Emma’s house, they’re fighting about the “niece” thing (remember when Jack told his boss’s daughter, whom he inexplicably felt he owed an explanation to, that Izzy was his niece “Jackie?” Yeah.)

Izzy is in a cab after Jack texts her telling her to come over but take a “slightly different route.” The cabbie is hitting on her and asks if the drop-off spot – in seemingly the middle of nowhere – is where she really wants to be. She essentially tells him to fuck off, gets out of the cab and wanders into some nearby woods, muttering, “damn fucking aunt and uncle bullshit. Fucking JACKIE!” Meanwhile, Jack and Emma are freaking out waiting for Izzy to arrive (apparently they just said “come over” but didn’t specify a time or anything, because obviously people do that,) and right on cue she arrives. Her first words are “if you don’t have something that makes sense in a shot glass, I’m killing everyone but the pug.” On balance, I’m voting in favour of this idea.

Lori, across the street, is spying on Jack and Emma’s house. Because of course she fucking is. Because she’s not only the nosiest busybody in existence, she’s also Jack’s boss and has no sense whatsoever of professional boundaries. If I found out my boss was watching my house, neighbour or not, I would literally take out a restraining order. Lori’s kid (“Ava,” apparently) comes outside and says, “we both know there’s something weird going on with them and that niece.” They then quickly realise “Jackie” is “in there.”

Jack, Emma and Izzy are all drunk, but Jack stops them getting stoned before they talk about Serious Adult Things. Meanwhile, back in the bar, Andy is talking to the bartender, who is also the cabbie from earlier who dropped Izzy off. Sure, why not? Also, he’s played by Patrick Gilmore, who was adorable David Mailer in Travelers, if you’ve seen that. (If you haven’t, you should. Gilmore is wasted in this nonsense.) Ooh, Bar & Cabbie Guy (“Shaun” is apparently his name) has recognised Andy as Izzy’s boyfriend and is about to reveal where he dropped her off.

Our intrepid “throuple” (fuck me I hate that word) are talking. Apparently Andy was a ploy all along to make Jack and Emma jealous and see if they “feel the same.” Also, Izzy is all “I MET YOU FOUR DAYS AGO BUT I CAN’T STAND THE IDEA OF YOU HAVING SEX WITHOUT ME.” For fuck’s sake, Izzy. Firstly, they’re married. Secondly, as you correctly identified, you’ve known them ten minutes. Third, and very important, even in non-monogamous arrangements the individual dyads do tend to have sex 1-on-1 at times. We’ve established that all three of them are super jealous for various reasons. This is not a problem in and of itself, of course, but I just know they’re not going to handle it in a constructive fashion.

In the bar, Andy is putting two and two together. In the house, Jack asks “where do we go from here?” “Well the logical question,” Emma replies, “is, has anyone in this room ever had a threesome?” They establish they haven’t. In the bar, Andy gives Shaun $80 to tell him exactly where Izzy is. Creepy. And credits.

Are we FINALLY going to get to see some hot threesome action in episode 6 of this “SUPER HOT THREESOME SHOW?” I will be very angry if not, but based on what I’ve seen thus far, if this lukewarm nonsense can pull “hot” out of the bag I will be stunned.

“Is That a Vagina Joke?” (or: “Check a Box”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E4

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, for I watched episode 4 of this travesty three weeks ago and have only just gathered enough fucks to write it up.

Episode 4 begins with Jack and Emma fucking. Jack says, as they finish, “it feels like we just gave orgasms to everyone within a two-mile radius!” Um. What? The pillowtalk that follows consists entirely of them congratulating themselves on how sexy their performance was. [Spoiler: it wasn’t.] Emma reveals she used to feel relieved after sex was over (poor woman!) and wonders if this new spark is “all Izzy.”

Jack goes jogging with Emma’s friend Carmen’s husband, Neighbour Dude. [Edit: his name is Dave!) Dave is interrogating Jack in a “he blatantly knows” kind of way. Not one to mince his words, he tells Jack “I think you’re a fucking moron” and lectures him on keeping fantasy as fantasy, then admits he’s jealous and asks how the rules work.

Also this just in: when two women have sex, apparently their vulvas just “smoosh together.” Well then.

Jack admits he thinks he has “never found a fucking G-spot in my life.” I have two comments on this:

  1. This is literally 5 minutes after “OH EM GEE WE JUST REINVENTED SEX.”
  2. It’s, like, a couple of inches inside and on the front wall in most vaginas. It’s not hiding!

Dave mentions that Carmen thinks Emma is in love with Izzy. No she isn’t, they barely know each other. She’s infatuated at best.

Next scene, Jack is at work (he works in a school, remember.) A teenage girl comes in who turns out to be Lori’s daughter (Lori is their nosy neighbour, who is also the Dean of the school and therefore in charge of basically Jack’s entire career.)

Lori’s Kid: “Who was that chick at your house?”
Jack: “Why do I have to tell you that?”
Me: “You don’t, Jack! You’re the fucking teacher here! Tell the brat to mind her own business and throw her out of your office stat!”

Lori’s kid is acting inappropriately sexual and Jack tells her to stop with the “Lolita act.” Ew. (Also LOLITA WAS A FUCKING TWELVE YEAR OLD ABUSE VICTIM, READ THE FUCKING BOOK FOR FUCKING FUCK’S SAKE.) Jack says Izzy is his niece, leading Lori’s kid to say he must be “old as shit.” Okay why isn’t this kid in detention yet? Jack finally gets rid of her, gets Emma on the phone, and they decide no more Izzy at the house. Lori comes by and Jack goes into full-on Kiss Ass mode, and invites her to a party. Smooth, Jack-Not-Fred. Very smooth.

We cut to Emma and Carmen, who are drinking juice on a pier. Carmen is giving Emma a much-needed reality check re. Lori and the future of Jack’s career. She lectures Emma about ruining her life with the “Izzy” situation and the spectre of waking up one day “with saggy tits, wondering where your awesome life went.” Nice. She steals Emma’s phone and threatens to dump Izzy for her if Emma won’t do it herself. Emma grabs the phone back and runs off.

Meanwhile, Creepy Pseudo-Boyfriend Andy is pissed that Izzy has been booty-calling him and breaking dates for 3 months. Fair. Izzy is vegging out on the sofa in jeans, comfy booties and… a lacy bra!? Fuck me sideways, I don’t even wear lacy bras to go out in, never mind on the sofa at home. There’s a knock on the door and…

…surprise! It’s Jack! Izzy scolds him for coming round unannounced. He points out she did the same a couple episodes back. I guess mutual stalking is okay?

Jack: “Why aren’t you dressed? It’s like 12:30.”
Me: “STUDENTS, Jack. Students.”

He makes a show of dumping her – apparently they won’t be “requiring [her] services any longer.” These people have no fucking clue if this is a sex-worker/client or a love relationship and they really need to make their minds up. Izzy calls his bluff, stating that Emma had no part in this decision and he’s unilaterally decided to duck out. Yeah, no shit.

He tells her to keep away from his wife. She calls him a “misogynistic dickbag.” I suddenly like her a lot more! She makes a bet he’d call her again within 2 weeks. He says, “stop acting like you’re irresistible.” “You don’t think about me?” she asks, taunting him. They make out. Her shirt is off. They crash into a lamp.

“This counts as our date, right?” he asks amidst the making out. Then right on cue, Izzy’s roommate walks in. Roomie is pissed – apparently the lamp was her grandmother’s and is an antique, and also Izzy broke the eminently sensible “Rule #1” – never tell clients where they live. She calls Jack “Clark Griswold,” a reference which is lost on me.

Roomie asks if Jack is a client or “something else.” I’m glad I am not the only one wondering this. Izzy goes, “umm…” and we fade to black.

Goddamn, even for this show, that episode was inane.

“No Common Sense Whatever” (or “No Penetration”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E3

Well then, I’ve been putting off writing this up but I suppose it is really time I did.

Episode 3 picks right up where Episode 2 left off, with Izzy the escort-not-a-hooker (ugh the sex worker shaming in this show is gross) on Emma and Jack-Not-Fred’s doorstep. It is quickly revealed that they didn’t actually invite her – she “cyber stalked [their] address” and “sprinted away” from Andy, the specimen of creepy toxic masculinity she’s dating.

The dialogue in this show is stellar as ever:
Jack: We don’t have any sedatives, but we do have wine.
Emma: It’s… made of grapes.

(Also, apparently they have bottles of wine that are just for show and not to be drunk. Doesn’t not drinking it defeat the object of wine?)

A short while later, and they’re all smoking Izzy’s weed while talking about Creepy Andy (the “most amazing guy in the world,” apparently – Izzy, your standards need some work, girl) and “why are we doing this?” GOOD FUCKING QUESTION EMMA. Emma confesses her office-wank from Episode 2, but says “I pleasured myself.” Ugh, is it just me or is that such a yucky, twee expression? What’s wrong with “masturbated” or even “wanked?”

Izzy is “way too insecure to feel anything but flattered” by their creepy obsession with her. She should be feeling “creeped the fuck out.” She cannot stop thinking about them, which literally makes no sense – these two idiots are not only her clients but the most boring and nondescript clients I imagine she’s ever had the misfortune to be hired by. A short while later, they’ve set up their arrangement – Jack and Emma each get two nights a week with Izzy (“we each get two dates a week with her… I mean you”) and no penetration.

Emma: We objectified her.
Jack: Honey, she’s an escort!
FUCK YOU, Jack-Not-Fred.

In the next scene, they’re in a cafe deciding who “gets” Izzy first (Emma,) and Emma very obviously foot-jobs Jack under the table. Meanwhile, Izzy spaces out in class and her roommate bullies a random boy next to her into giving her his notes. This scene serves no purpose. We then learn that Jack doesn’t realise his employer could track his browser history on his work computer. This fucking guy.

Emma goes outfit shopping with Carmen, neighbour-lady-and-yoga-friend, and tells her all about how she “couldn’t poop this morning.” Um, yay? Next shot, Izzy’s roommate is working out and enquiring what Izzy gets out of her new arrangement. Um, a SHIT TONNE OF MONEY, I imagine?

The outfit Emma chooses is pretty and classy. It’s kind of a shame that’s the best thing I can find to say about this nonsense. She tells Jack she wants him to “ravish” her later. These people are no unprepared for non-monogamy, it’s unreal.

Emma and Izzy start their date sweetly nervous. Izzy has an “idea” and runs off to a shop. Jack is at a party and VERY STRESSED (I think because Emma is on a date?) I can actually relate somewhat to this.

Emma has taken Izzy to a roof overlooking the city. Izzy talks about being sad because Jack and Emma were sleeping in bed without her the night before, which makes no sense because 1) They’re MARRIED for fuck’s sake, 2) This is a business arrangement, supposedly, 3) She’s known them ten minutes. Izzy talks about vegetables and “disturbing videos,” for some reason, and Emma goes off somewhere and comes back with a blanket and pillow. Emma says Izzy makes her nervous, Izzy says Emma’s beautiful, they make out. Emma peels off her shirt as the making out intensifies. I hate to say it but this is quite hot until…

Emma: I love your eyes. They’re like doe eyes but you’ve probably heard that a million times.

Ew.

Also Emma: It feels so weird that you don’t have a beard. (Hasn’t she been with women before!?)

Also also Emma: I think we broke the no penetration rule.

I’m just wondering why women in films and TV always have sex with their bra on, and next thing we know Emma is creeping in and Jack is fake-snoring. Really badly. Once she’s in bed, he pounces on her for sex but she is “orgasmed out” and tired. He says, “are you serious?” He’s clearly not happy. “I thought we had a no orgasm rule!” he says. Um, they never agreed that. They agreed on no penetration.

Jack is pissed. “I thought we were supposed to bring it home,” he says. And then, “it doesn’t look like I’m getting anything out of [this arrangement.]” Except the two dates a week with Izzy where he gets to do the sexy times too, I guess?

“Maybe a little jealousy is good for both of us?” Emms suggests. I mean, I disagree entirely, but working through their stuff like adults might be good for them. Fat chance of that, though. Instead, Jack is threatening to do the same things on his date with Izzy. Emma seems entirely nonplussed by this, since it is entirely in keeping with what they agreed. They make out.

Izzy, in her room, stares at the ceiling with a dreamy expression then pulls up the selfie she took with Emma on her phone. She zooms in on Emma’s face, puts her hand down her pants, and… her roommate walks in! (Without knocking, which no-one who has lived with a roommate for more than five seconds would do.)

“What are you doing?” Roomie asks. “Sleeping,” Izzy replies. She was wanking, Roomie. WANKING. Roomie grabs Izzy’s phone from her hands in a spectacularly rude and invasive fashion. “Well, fuck!” she says. And end scene.

“Can You Be Any More Ridiculous?” (Or: “Can You Be Cool?”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E2.

I live tweeted You Me Her episode 2 two weeks ago but somehow, writing about anal sex was more appealing than writing it up until now. Alas, I’ve set myself this ridiculous challenge to spare you all from this terrible TV show (and, to be entirely honest, I’m still harbouring a tiny hope it’ll redeem itself,) so here we go.

Episode 2 opens with Jack and Emma pretending that all the ridiculousness they got up to in episode 1 was all a dream. Small mercy that’d be if it was true, but alas, no. They kiss for half a second and then both screw up their faces in horror. These people have been together how long and they can’t cope with morning breath?

We cut to Izzy, she of the ‘college girl escort DEFINITELY NOT A HOOKER’ trope, who is talking to herself in the mirror, then vomiting, then getting text messages from her creepy boyfriend, ‘Andy,’ who is angry that he can’t reach her. A little later, she’s cleaning like mad. Her roommate comes home and accuses Izzy of being in a “death and resurrection cycle,” as if the symbolism needed bashing over our heads any harder.

Jack is at work. He works at a high school, and we are treated to close ups of the word INTEGRITY in the motto on the school’s sign. Okay, we get it, you’re telling us what the people in this show lack with more subtle-as-a-brick-to-the-face camera work. There’s a knock at Jack’s office door and Izzy’s voice says, ‘Fred? Are you in there?’ Hahaha, it’s a throwback to ‘Jack not Fred’ in Episode 1. In she comes, and we cut to Emma, who is looking at Izzy on the escort site on her work computer (just to further hammer home the point that these people are A) unhealthily obsessed with this much younger woman who they hired as a PROFESSIONAL, and B) completely lacking in any kind of basic common sense.)

Back in Jack’s office, Izzy is climbing on his desk and telling him all about what a bad girl she is, just as Emma slips her vibrating mobile phone between her legs on her desk chair (true confession: I used to wank that way when I was about 13.) Izzy’s making out with Jack, then – wait, what? – she’s making out with Emma, too, and…. oh, no. It was just a fantasy and Emma has been walked in on, very obviously masturbating in her office, by a young male co-worker. Izzy moans, ‘Jack.’ A male voice says, ‘Jack?’ And our intrepid hero comes back down to earth, dream-Izzy gone, and realises he’s been caught having a lurid sexual fantasy at work by his boss. Emma makes an inappropriate sexual comment to her terrified young comment and then promises to write him an excellent recommendation (in exchange, one assumes, for keeping quiet about catching her mid phone-wank.)

Izzy pseudo-meditates, for some reason while hanging half upside-down off her bed, then Creepy Andy calls and they make a date. Jack is now hanging out with his brother again, (he of the ‘shag an escort to improve your sex life with your wife’ advice) and talking about having great sex with Emma but fantasising about Izzy. This leads the brother to compare women to cars. Fuck off, Jack’s brother.

Meanwhile, Emma does some weirdly orgasmic yoga and comes out with, ‘I’m having some kind of mind-body renaissance.’ What the fuck is this I can’t even. She then tells her yoga friend (remember Neighbour Lady, whose name seems to be Carmen?) about how great she is at hooking up with girls. Carmen refers to Izzy as ‘that hideously deformed grad student.’ God, this show really hates women. To top it off, Carmen goes straight to, ‘if you’re into girls why not me?’ and calls her a ‘big lesbo.’ It hates bisexuals too, apparently.

Next up, Izzy’s date with Creepy Andy, who is clearly mad at her. ‘I’m trying really hard to be patiently submissive here,’ she says while he glowers. Heads up Izzy, if you feel the need to be ‘patiently submissive’ in your relationship and it’s not consensual D/s, you might be being abused.

‘I think you might be my penance,’ he says, and there’s a veiled reference to ‘evil deeds’ in his past. Well, now this reminds me of the time my ex told me I was a curse. Thanks, stupid show. Apparently they’re going on a date because Andy wants romance.

Back in the therapist’s office, Emma tells her bisexual origin story (a totally sweet and normal college romance with a girlfriend, with only a tiny bit of ‘being dared to kiss by a guy’ thrown in) and Jack is pulling out all the biphobic judgement. ‘I’m embarrassed for you even telling this story,’ he says. Fuck you, Jack-Not-Fred. Also, apparently her having dated women in the past (BEFORE THEY MET) is worse than him having sought out an escort and cheated on her (LIKE LAST WEEK.) So there’s that.

Prettied up now, Izzy is back out with Andy. This guy has some serious toxic masculinity issues going on. Apparently he’s ‘hot enough to be a dick,’ which is definitely not a thing. But, again, he wants romance and will even make her breakfast. I hate everybody in this show.

At home, Jack and Emma are lying on the floor for some reason and declaring their love for each other. ‘It wasn’t a thing!’ says Emma of her bisexuality. Emma, having dated four women is definitely a ‘thing.’ Stop erasing your own bisexuality, other people do enough of that for us.

Communicating entirely in eyebrow waggling, they decide they want to have a threesome with Izzy. Next shot, she’s walking up the drive to their house while a neighbour across the street spies out of her window. Then Izzy’s at the door and supremely awkward ‘hi’s are exchanged. She smiles, and…. end scene.

I’m not sure if I’m more depressed that people are calling this a great portrayal of polyamory, or that there are still 10 more episodes for me to get through.

“Bad Writing and Clunky Dialogue and Crap” (or: “Cigarettes and Funions and Crap”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E1.

Contains Spoilers.

I have set myself this ridiculous challenge of watching and reviewing new Netflix drama You Me Her so that you don’t have to. I was really, really hoping to have more nice things to say but as it is, I think I’m going to have to get through this by making fun of it mercilessly. You can follow what I think as I’m watching at #CKWatchesYouMeHer.

The premise is simple: a married couple invite a young college student, who also happens to be an escort, into their relationship. Things go about as well as can be expected.

Episode 1 – Cigarettes and Funions and Crap – opens with suburban white married couple, Jack and Emma, at what we assume is a couple’s counselling session, bemoaning the fact that they don’t have kids yet and lying about how often they have sex. Cliche the first. We meet their equally boring and suburban neighbours in two minutes of screen time that serve absoluely no purpose whatsoever except to illustrate that Emma is friends with the wife of the couple next door. Okie-dokie then.

Coming home late from a night out, Emma walks in on Jack masturbating and things get weirdly sex-shamey. Yes, he’s a grown man who likes to masturbate. Deal with it. (On a completely unrelated aside, can the notion that people in relationships don’t/shouldn’t masturbate just die in a fire already?) They have some weird, aggressive and totally unsexy sex wherein she tries to get him to spank her and he doesn’t seem keen.

Eight minutes in, I tweet “this is about as romantic as a root canal.” Also, weren’t jokes about married couples not liking sex any more fresh and edgy in about… 1842?

Jack is advised to cheat on his wife with an escort, in order to save their marriage/sex life, by his brother. For some inexplicable reason, he goes for it straight away and we are subjected to his excruciating date with young escort ‘Izzy’ (inexplicably her real name. Nothing about this show makes any sense.) For our next cliche here, we have “college students who are also escorts to pay the rent.” (“But we’re ESCORTS, not h**kers, which is totally different because sex work stigma or something, no-one seems to have a convincing argument for this…?”)

The dialogue throughout this show is so badly written it’s painful. Jack comes out with such gems as “you are also unhideous,” to which Izzy replies “that’s cool. D’you wanna make out?” SEXY. The writers do, however, get in a ‘unicorn’ quip, for which I have nothing but respect.

He rips her shirt. They make out for like two minutes and then he realises he “CAN’T DO THIS” and right on cue Emma calls and Izzy just leaves. That’s like three cliches in one, yes? Actually, this probably some nice foreshadowing for what’s to come when a horribly dysfunctional triad inevitably materialises out of this mess. At home, Jack confesses to Emma and she’s understandably pissed. Sadly, this mainly comes out as anti-sex work rhetoric and her wanting to see pictures of Izzy. Because “does she have nicer skin than me?” (something Emma worries about in the next scene) is totally a bigger issue than her husband having massively and deliberately violated her trust.

We cut to, presumably, a day or two later. Emma is out with her friend Neighbour Lady (I need to look up the character’s name even though she serves no actual purpose thus far) and telling her about Jack’s tryst with Izzy. Neighbour Lady asks Emma what she’s going to do… and then poof! Izzy appears in a puff of unicorn glitter (okay, not quite) and asks for “Lola.” Because the totally sane thing to do when your husband cheats on you with an escort is hire the same escort yourself.

We’re seventeen minutes in and I’m tweeting, “this show is 1000% ludicrous.”

Izzy is drunk because she’s never been on a date with a woman before, and she awkwardly toe-fucks Emma under the table. Only the tablecloth isn’t even very long, so everyone in the restaurant can see their drunken, extremely unsexy toe sex. These two have less than zero chemistry and their subsequent kiss in the bathroom a few minutes later (after Emma confesses who she is and grabs Izzy in a way that totally bypasses even the most cursory consideration for consent) reminds me of all the worst bits of The L Word mashed together into one. And it’s about as realistic.

Emma confesses to Jack what she’s done and he seems surprisingly fine with it. She also drops in here that she’s been with women before. How can you be married to someone for many years and not tell them a huge detail like that you’re bisexual!? The fact that she’s cheated is glossed over, because it’s not really cheating when it’s between two women, is it? (Spoiler alert: it is.)

We’re twenty-one minutes in and I’m getting a bit angry.

In the next scene, Jack hangs around outside Izzy’s building and presses the buzzer repeatedly until she comes along and talks to him. Can anyone say STALKER ALERT? Seriously, this behaviour is creepy as hell and not okay. He then goes home to Emma and goes down on her on the kitchen floor (without removing or even moving her dress at all, because that’s how TV Sex works) while Izzy goes home and cries because she’s sick of getting caught up in other people’s bullshit and wants to quit escorting.

This show has all the hallmarks of “cute young bi women exist to save failing cishet marriages” and, by the time the credits roll on episode 1, I’m thoroughly unimpressed and possibly even a bit depressed.

A ridiculous premise. Characters I am totally incapable of caring about. Plot holes out the wazoo. Sex-negativity, sex worker stigma and gross stereotypes. Literally the only thing this show has going for it is the fact that it’s brought something that might, kinda, vaguely resemble polyamory (if you squint hard) to mainstream TV screens.