Muse Reporting on the arts and culture

As normal as an extra sink?

Entertainment | House Hunters episode urges acceptance of polyamory
by Megan Basham
Posted 2/21/20, 04:23 pm

HGTV shocked many of its fans last week when its flagship series, House Hunters, featured three home buyers who described themselves as a “throuple.”

Titled “Three’s Not a Crowd in Colorado Springs,” the Feb. 12 episode followed married couple Brian and Lori and their third sexual partner, Geli (last names not given), as they looked for a house to purchase together in the popular Colorado town. The trio wanted a home with a master bathroom that would accommodate three sinks, as well as a large backyard for Brian and Lori’s 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.

“Buying a house together as a ‘throuple’ will signify our next big step as a family of five, rather than all four of them plus me,” Geli said.

In the social media storm that followed, HGTV issued a statement defending its decision: “We feature all homebuyers and living choices.” The network, which is especially popular with women, was the third most-watched channel on basic cable in 2019, behind Fox News, MSNBC, and ESPN. Since its debut in 1999, House Hunters has become one of cable TV’s most popular shows, regularly ranking in the top 10, The Washington Post reported.

Robert P. George, a Princeton University law professor and co-author of What Is Marriage, said the positive depiction of a nonmonogamous relationship before such a big audience should surprise no one. “The normalization of polyamory rolls down the track just as I and others predicted it would,” he tweeted in response to the episode. “It was, as I said, less a ‘slippery slope’ than a simple unfolding of the logic of social liberalism.”

Other major entertainment outlets have addressed polyamory in recent months in sympathetic terms that echo those used by the LGBT movement.

In October, CBS produced an original documentary series on polyamory called Speaking Frankly: Non-monogamy. The news division promoted the show with the headline “Not just ‘one big orgy’: Fighting the stigma of consensual non-monogamy.” The psychologists, lawyers, and other experts featured spoke in favor of polyamorous relationships, painting any resistance to them as discrimination. The ABC sitcom Single Parents introduced a throuple in January. A character described such relationships as being based on “radical honesty, active listening, and open communication.”

The medical field is showing similar support.

In 2019, the American Psychological Association created a task force to promote “awareness and inclusivity about consensual non-monogamy and diverse expressions of intimate relationships. These include but are not limited to: people who practice polyamory, open relationships, swinging, relationship anarchy and other types of ethical, non-monogamous relationships.”

The APA, too, frames the issue as one of human rights, borrowing language from the Pledge of Allegiance: “Finding love and/or sexual intimacy is a central part of most people’s life experience. However, the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all.”

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled state Senate in Utah voted unanimously this week to decriminalize polygamy.

With polyamory seeing such tacit approval in pop-culture, politics, and medicine, legitimizing romantic relationships between groups of people could very well be the next milestone in the sexual revolution.

Associated Press/Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko Associated Press/Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko Chinese tourists in Moscow’s Red Square on Wednesday

Vacation days turn to sick days

The fallout from the coronavirus outbreak—slow business, delays, and cancellations—is spreading through the sports and entertainment world. Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon pared down the March 1 race to just a few hundred elite runners and wheelchair competitors. China has canceled almost all organized sporting events, creating uncertainty about how and when athletes will qualify for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.

On the movie scene, producers of the latest James Bond thriller, No Time to Die, called off the Beijing premiere planned for April and canceled a major press tour of China. The Chinese market earns billions of dollars for U.S. movie studios, but about 70,000 theaters across the country are closed because of the outbreak, The Times of London reported.

Even events outside of China are scaling back because of the risks of exposure to the virus during international travel. Organizers nixed the Mobile World Congress telecommunications conference scheduled for next week in Barcelona, Spain, and Facebook canceled its global marketing conference in San Francisco next month. The social media giant, along with Sony and at least eight other companies, also pulled out of the annual Game Developers Conference for video game makers in mid-March, which is also hosted by the City by the Bay.

Meanwhile, major tourist attractions around the world said they are suffering from a lack of Chinese travelers during the outbreak. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated Chinese tourists spent $277 billion in 2018, but the Chinese government banned overseas group tours on Jan. 27. And other travelers are canceling their plans, too. Alberto Corti, a tourism expert in Italy, told The New York Times: “People don’t want to be on trains or planes or go to conferences.” —Lynde Langdon

Associated Press/Allentown Art Museum Associated Press/Allentown Art Museum Before and after photos of Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman

Valuable discovery

Art conservators have identified the Dutch master Rembrandt as the unknown artist of a 400-year-old painting owned by the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania. The museum originally thought Rembrandt had painted the work, which it received as a bequest in 1961. But experts at the time dismissed the idea and said an artist in Rembrandt’s studio did it.

Two years ago, the museum sent the painting, called Portrait of a Young Woman, to New York University for conservation and cleaning. After removing layers of overpainting and thick varnish, NYU experts concluded—based on the use of color and brush strokes—the work belonged to Rembrandt after all. The revelation could increase the value of the painting by millions of dollars, but the museum said it has no plans to sell it. —L.L.

Famous faith

While making the rounds promoting his new album, Changes, Justin Bieber keeps talking about Jesus. In one recent interview with Apple Music, the 25-year-old pop star discussed faith, obedience, and God’s grace: “Jesus wasn’t this religious elite guy ... He was in the dirt, and He found me in my dirt and pulled me out.” —L.L.

Megan Basham

Megan is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine based in Charlotte, N.C. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.

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  • Rich277
    Posted: Sat, 02/22/2020 11:48 am

    I pay the city too much money to pipe sewage out of my house to turn around and pay a cable TV company more money to pipe it back in.

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Sun, 02/23/2020 11:47 pm


  • OldMike
    Posted: Sat, 02/22/2020 09:31 pm

    When we see people seemingly in a race to self-destruct, we also have to take long looks at startling and apparently genuine conversions of people like Kanye West and Justin Bieber.  And we have to acknowledge, “Yes, our God is greater than all the devil can throw at this world!”

    and pray for Mr. West and Mr. Bieber!

  • RC
    Posted: Tue, 02/25/2020 10:08 am

    A Normal as an Extra Sink - A throu-what, a poly-what?  These made up works do not change that they added a concubine to create a small harem.  This kind of arrangement has been illegal in most nations simply because it does not work, is detrimental to civilized society and is only practiced in backward primitive places, like rural Utah and Africa. They can make up new names and call it whatever they want, but they are not fooling anybody but themselves.    

    The parents obviously don’t give a hoot about what they are putting their children through. No self-respecting parent is going to allow their kids to get invited over to the throu-what’s house. They would be totally afraid of what weird stuff would be influencing their children.