Couple to Throuple: polyamory is primed for mainstream TV

Promising three times the fun, feelings and drama, what can we expect from this dating series flirting with non-monogamy?

Two’s company, three’s a throuple?

Couple to Throuple is a new US dating series premiering in Australia on Seven on 27 March, promising ‘three times the fun, feelings and drama’. The arrival of the show confirms, if we were in any doubt, that non-monogamy and polyamory are firmly on the mainstream agenda.

While dating shows like The Bachelor and Paradise Island have long traded in emotional turmoil, jealousy and the potential of loving more than one, Couple to Throuple makes explicit the desire – or at least the desire to have a conversation about – adding more people to the mix.

Conversations. There will be conversations, and more conversations, and this being non-monogamy on mainstream TV, a whole lot more conversation than action. As NPR’s Linda Holmes writes in her excellent review: ‘… my first thought after watching two episodes was, “This seems like a relationship structure perfect for people who like to attend a lot of meetings”.’

Holmes also calls the show ‘joyfully trashy’ but is quick to note, ‘There is nothing inherently salacious about polyamory. There are plenty of people who make it work. So when I say the show is joyfully trashy, that’s because of the show, not the relationship structure. After all, you can make joyfully trashy shows about couples, too.’

The media release from Seven leans into salaciousness, however, describing the show as a ‘raunchy polyamorous dating series’.

It all takes place at a remote tropical resort (of course), ‘where four curious couples meet, mingle and date a group of singles, many of whom are experienced in polyamory.’

Read: My First Time: LGBTIQA+ Australians share stories in new series

The host is Scott Evans (Access Hollywood), and sex and relationship expert Shamyra Howard is on board for guidance – and facilitating all those conversations that must take place as the relationships are put to the test.

‘At the end of their time in paradise, the couples will decide if their hearts have room for more than just “the one” and either commit as a throuple, go home as they arrived, or leave separately.’

As a polyamorous person, I’m always curious to see how the subject is treated, or mistreated, in popular culture – from drama series like Trigonometry (Apple TV), Wanderlust (Netflix), and You, Me, Her (Apple TV & Tubi), to reality TV like Ten’s 2023 The Bachelors, featuring the ‘possibly polyamorous’ contestant, Jess.

As for Couple to Throuple, Linda Holmes in NPR said: ‘It’s a mess. I will watch it all.’ And I’m curious too.

Couple to Throuple premieres 9.30pm, 27 March on 7Bravo and 7plus. It is produced by Naked, a Fremantle label.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk