The New Yorker: The Critics: On Television
So, the polygamous marriage show has started on HBO in America. As if you didn't suspect it already, the shows creators have fine liberal credentials:
The series was created by Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen, who are life partners as well as professional collaborators. They also serve as executive producers (as does Tom Hanks), and wrote five of the season’s twelve episodes (and co-wrote another two). Scheffer and Olsen have said in interviews that they aimed to create a nonjudgmental portrait of plural marriage, and it’s true that the series focusses more on the practical and emotional aspects of polygamy than on its moral or ethical aspects.
What interests me is this: many feminists or other liberals would, I suspect, object to polygamy on the basis that it arguably does not do much from the status of women. If a show portraying polygamy in a "non judgmental" light had been made by some clearly right leaning figures, would their sexual politics have been criticised? However, have it made by gay Hollywood liberals, I wonder how much this issue may be raised.
(Perhaps it is being raised, I have not spent much time looking for commentary on it. I just raise this as a point of interest.)
And while I am on this, it seems that openly gay writer's and producers have really never had a bigger influence in TV and movie production as they have had in the last 5 years or so. I am thinking Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, (I presume) Will & Grace (which I don't find offensive, just not funny, even though I like the lead female); this polygamy show, some movie guys whose names I can't recall without googling, etc.
Funny how sexual matters seem to be somewhat of a priority in the stuff they are doing. Funny how ratings and movie earnings are down too. They may be cool and "out there" with their writing, but they aren't so good for business.
UPDATE: Saletan's take on why polygamy will never really catch on is a good read here at Slate. You can then read arguments for and against Saletan's position here.