Here at MRC Culture, we increasingly have to type the word "throuple" into the keyboard when writing about television. Polyamory is the emergent radical sexual revolutionary idea that is popping up on everything from cable shows to police dramas. We can now add "network television comedy" to the growing list of Hollywood junk pushing this idea.
This week, the ABC sitcom Single Parents introduced a "throuple" in the episode, "Welcome to Hilltop!," on January 15th. Single dad Miggie (Jake Choi) and his gilfriend, left-wing public school teacher Homily Pronstroller (Sarah Yarkin), create a throuple with a guy they met on a polyamorous dating app. (Homily is so left-wing she called Thanksgiving "Genocide Day.")
Miggie's friends, Poppy (Kimrie Lewis) and Angie (Leighton Meester), are confused when they discover Miggie's new arrangement. So Miggie and Homily explain how it works.
Angie: Okay, so the three of you are dating each other?
Miggie: Yeah, we're a throuple. I've never been happier. I-I-I call my mom now. I don't know how that relates. [ Chuckles ]
Angie: Dang. Y'all are cheesin' hard. Miggy, did I even know you dated guys?
Poppy: No, you've met his boyfriends before. Remember Chubby Mario Lopez?
Miggie: Yeah, if you're confused, he looked exactly like Mario Lopez but chubby.
Angie: Oh, yeah, he was dope. Okay, I guess I did know. Sorry, this old brain basket of mine's got a lot of holes in it.
Miggie: It's all good, bro. I don't really dig labels. It's just more of the vibe for me. And right now, I'm vibin' double. [ Clicks tongue ]
Angie: [ Clicks tongue ]
Poppy: Angie, no.
Angie: What, I can't wink?
Poppy: You are not part of the group. [ Sighs ] I have a question. Sorry to sound like the old Millennial, but how does this work? Anybody ever feel left out or...?
Homily: We have a three-pronged approach for working through the sticky stuff -- radical honesty, active listening, and open communication. And it just works.
Angie: Well, now I want to be in a throuple! How did you guys meet?
Brian: Oh, there's a poly dating app. It's called Big Bed.
Angie: And, Brian, you're on it?
Rather than be repulsed, Poppy finds inspiration in the throuple's supposed happiness and harmony. She later tells Angie that witnessing the throuple inspired her to relate better with her ex-husband's pregnant second wife. See how that works? Her struggles as a divorceé are just another kind of relationship triangle, like the throuple's.
The episode actually began promisingly with a different subplot. It started out riffing about parents who try to turn their children into celebrity activists. In the opening scene, resident "feminist," Will (Taran Killam), turned his daughter, Sophie (Marlow Barkley), into a protester. He convinced her to save the school parrot from being left in the building over a 3-day weekend.
"Man, I am so proud of that kid's conscience," Will told older single-dad Douglas (Brad Garrett). "Oh, please. You do it because it makes you look good," Douglas replied. "What?" Will objects. "The accolades. 10 bucks says that you're wearing a T-shirt with Sophie's face on it," Douglas answers. Will begrudgingly reveals a Greta Thurnberg-like picture of his daughter, Sophie, on his shirt. (His plans to turn his daughter into an activist go south when Sophie accidentally kills the parrot.)
The show should have stuck with mocking parents who turn their kids into out-of-control activists for their own narcissistic glory. Jumping on the latest radical left-wing sexual bandwagon is not a good look for a network comedy that is supposed to be about adult parents and their children.