As someone who somehow snagged two boyfriends, writes about multiple relationships, and believes the world could do with a whole lot more love, I’m pleased to see an ever-swelling mass of stories centered around polyamory. Coupled with the giddy thrill of getting to see something before everyone else, I was delighted to be offered an early look at a new webseries: Unicornland. Starring Laura Ramadei (of Orange is the New Black fame), it follows the fractious lovemaking of newly divorced Annie in her quest to date couples.
Though I’m pleased by the increasing visibility, I have to say that I’m anxious when ethically nonmonogamous relationships are portrayed onscreen–Girls, for example, did a wonderful job at portraying polyamorous queer men as selfish and destructive, but failed miserably at representing real people’s lives. Often when threesomes are portrayed (whether in Will and Grace, Sex and the City, or Please Like Me), they’re dysfunctional, and indulged by deeply damaged people. In short, threesomes are used as a warning against straying outside the bounds of conventional monogamy. As someone who lives his life inside one, it’s.. well, I’ll restrain myself and simply say it’s a tad disappointing.
Unicornland offers something different. Created ‘with the full support of New York’s sex positive community’, the comedy certainly offers disfunction–cringe-laughter abounds–yet it’s with a sympathetic protagonist geuinely searching for a little nonmonogamous love. For once the humour is on our side, and we have a comedy about polyamory that polyamorous people can actually enjoy, and which their monogamous friends could actually learn from. Compare it to the transition queer themselves have gone through: at first represented as figures of fun that straight people could laugh at, before becoming real, sympathetic characters in their own right. It’s an incredibly important shift.
Honestly, in an increasingly bleak and intolerant political landscape, glimmers of light like Unicornland become all the more important. It’s well-written, it’s sympathetic, and most importantly, it’s funny. Coupled with a strong minority cast, this could be something really special. Also it starts tomorrow, so be sure to check it out.