It is a truth universally acknowledged, that once you’ve been polyamorous a while, traditional rom-com plots start to look a little more worn for wear, and you might even become one of those people who tosses popcorn at the screen and goes “JUST PICK BOTH” to love triangles. As polyamory becomes more mainstream, tv and film are beginning to flirt with polyamorous storylines - even if they often don’t give us the happy polyam payoff we want for the characters. Here are some plots we’d like to see in romantic comedies with polyamory-aware audiences in mind.
• Plucky bi girl has a meet-cute with a great guy, but ends up falling for his partner instead - and he’s mostly supportive, around some played-for-laughs human emotion about the transferred affections.
-Alternatively, we can get the "partner is helping her awkward guy partner with all of his dating process, so much so that eventually she's Will Smith in Hitch in his ear, and comedy ensues." I'm not sure that's in anyway a realistic polyam story, but it's a comedic one.
• “‘New meta is trash’ to lovers” as a variation on “enemies to lovers”
• Resolve the love triangle by being with both of them! Team Edward AND Jacob, Bella! (This author does not support Twilight as a franchise, but it’s a pretty well-known love triangle in print and film.) Plus, doing this often gives us an MMF dynamic, which we don’t have a ton of representation of, and need more public representation for. There are laughs in everyday life in a V or triad once it’s established - or in figuring out which of the two you’re going to be.
• New Girl - but she moves in with her boyfriend and his boyfriend and then starts dating his boyfriend too.
• “Meet the Polycule” - a “meet the parents” variation where our protagonist meets their new partner’s existing polycule and a series of hijinks ensue - potentially rife with stereotypes of polyam folks but charming nonetheless. (It’s still a rom-com so we’re still trading in stereotypes, so there will be a Manic Poly Dream Girl to intimidate her, a Wise Elder who may be on the outskirts of the polycule or may play a leadership role, an intimidatingly attractive Guy who Overexplains Polyamory, maybe while smoking too much weed, at least one pagan, the triad from next door with kids, and someone with poorly defined but extensive relationships. We’ve got to represent the big archetypes, and give them each at least one moment of being utterly ridiculous. If we can’t make fun of ourselves, who can?)
• Alternatively, a meet-the-parents/guess who’s coming to dinner remake where the main character is coming out as polyamorous to their family over a big event, and brings their partners/polycule along, played in scenes alternately for laughs and emotion. Can you see parents not wanting to get it (a la Corwin’s folks from our podcast episode on coming out faking a heart attack when he came out to them) alternated with well-acted reassurance between partners in private? I can, and I’d like to see it.
I’m sure there are many, many more - I’m not the most creative writer, nor is fiction or romance in particular my area. I’d watch any of these, or any of a number more, because I like the idea that polyamorous relationships, and our particular foibles (our stumbling blocks with metas, our struggles with dating while partnered, our repeated conversations that essentially end with “really though, we’re just normal”) could be normalized by letting folks laugh at them more often in some context other than a step on the way to monogamy. If you would too, and you’re a step more creative than me, write your stories, and let’s see if we can get them out into the mainstream.
You can find the podc