A Different Kind of Family.. On TV: Terisa Greenan, Sister Wives and Polyamorous Music

Back in October I caught the flu. The real deal. Influenza. I lay on my sofa, drooling on my pillow, shivering under blankets and watching reality tv. I am not generally a fan of reality tv. I tend to watch it on very rare occasions, but being sick, I decided to give Sister Wives a go.

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I watched the first two seasons straight through, broken up by naps and potty breaks. I expected I’d dislike Kody Brown and that I’d be generally annoyed by all the Mormon cheeriness. Instead, I saw a family that works, and as much as I rooted for their courage to come on the show, I also mourned for what the show was doing to them.

Not merely because the government was threatening them with investigation (and as a Pagan I completely understand their freaking out over that) but because it invaded their lives in very real ways. They said things on camera they may never have said to each other before and I’m pretty sure Kody got the rough end of that with his wives expressing doubts, concerns and disagreements in such a public forum. The children shared things with millions of strangers that they normally wouldn’t have. And as always with reality television, drama was created where it perhaps never existed.

As much as I applaud their courage, and as much as I think the show has been positive for alternative families in general, I think the show is harming the Brown family. Sometimes when the media approaches, it’s better to say no. I spoke to Terisa Greenan, the force behind Petal Films and 3 Dog Pictures, about her experience dealing with the media attention from her polyamory web series Family:

There has been some negative backlash associated with being so out and open about polyamory, and with becoming something of a spokesperson for the community, as I have, but the positive feedback and the rewards I have enjoyed have been far greater than the negativity. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I would absolutely do it again. Having said that, though, I’ll add that we have stayed away from certain types of publicity. We have had over a dozen offers to star in a reality show and have declined them all. Just this month we opted to do a print interview in Details magazine, but chose not to do TV interviews with Anderson Cooper or Inside Edition. Certain TV formats strike us as sensationalistic and we don’t want to be a part of those.

Featuring the music of Christopher Bingham, of Gaia Consort and Bone Poets Orchestra, the series focused on a poly family in Seattle, their relationships with each other, with their families, neighbors and somewhat shifty documentary filmmakers. I was a huge fan from episode 1, enthralled by the storyline and fantastic actors, and more than a little heartbroken when it ended.

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The series only lasted a year, but to my knowledge it’s the first time polyamory, and not polygamy, has been the feature of a show like this. Rather than a documentary or reality tv project looking at polyamory from the outside, it was an original creative project created by “insiders”:

I have no idea where the show would have gone if it had continued. The 3 main characters, although originally based on me and my 2 partners, took on a life and a personality all their own. They really weren’t us anymore. So, who knows what they would have done or where they would have gone or what other interesting people they would have met? I have no idea. Anything was possible with those three!

I actually started the web series as a lark. It was supposed to be a small project to keep me busy between feature films. I was in the midst of trying to raise funds for my second feature at the time, and fundraising was so uncreative, that I wanted something creative to fulfill me while I was doing that. Of course, very soon after it started, “Family” became quite popular, and the schedule I set for myself of writing, shooting, editing and posting an episode every 2 weeks for a full year, became a full-time job. My other project fell to the far back burner and “Family” was my life for all of 2009.

The idea of plural, committed relationships is a recurring theme on television the past few years. The outstanding success of Big Love, followed by the more controversial Sister Wives, and the continued growth of polyamory as an acceptable lifestyle, has left many people viewing the legalization of plural marriage as a natural and welcome continuation of the marriage equality movement.

Part of that comes from great representations of plural committed relationships in the media. Without Big Love and Sister Wives, most of us would still have this image of polygamy as an oppressive patriarchal harem rather than seeing a different way families can work. For polyamory, we have Family, which showcases how actual polyamorists live and the issues they face, including dealing with an intrusive media that wants to feature the Freak-of-the-Week. While Family has wrapped up, and we will just have to imagine the future adventures of the trio, it’s still available as a positive example to help people understand alternative families.

Yet the media is a double-edged sword. Sister Wives, although positive, shows the strain alternative families face under the spotlight. The teenagers, before they’ve graduated high school, are already being put on the spot as to whether they plan to be polygamists. Every statement the Brown’s make, from feminism to child-rearing to Warren Jeffs is being debated in the court of public opinion. It’s already caused them to uproot their lives and move to a new state. While a polyamory reality tv show might be good for public perception, how could I wish that on any poly family?

Maybe there will be new shows featuring poly families in the future. Terisa Greenan has already moved on to other projects:

It’s a documentary, called “Someday You.” It’s about American author Robert Clark Young, who was sort of a bad boy of literature. You can look him up on wikipedia and read all about him. Anyway, in 2008 he completely turned his life around when his parents had strokes and he became their sole caregiver. My mom is also caregiver for her elderly mother, so it’s a topic that’s of interest to me. And I think RCY’s story is particularly interesting because of the transformation that he’s gone through as a result of caring for his aging parents. I finished editing the film in October, and it’s being submitted to film festivals now, so hopefully it’ll play the festival circuit next year, and with a bit of luck, get picked up for distribution.

However, she’s still working with Christopher Bingham on projects, such as the Perils of Poly music video:

Chris and I and our families are dear friends and yes, we have worked on many projects together. I frequently tell people that Chris is likely the most talented person I know, and I know a LOT of talented artists. It’s amazing to be able to use his art in my art and to be able to collaborate with him creatively. He’s a genius, and I feel so lucky to know him and be close to him. We sometimes clash and disagree, and sometimes get thrilled and jump up and down, and do all those crazy brainstorming things you do when you’re coming up with ideas for things. He’s incredibly smart and supportive and eager to make great art. I adore him.

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I think plural relationships in entertainment media are just getting started. I think we will see more, possibly even Pagan poly families, on television and I find that idea both exciting, and a bit terrifying.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

    My fiancee and I have been playing around with the idea of becoming a poly-household, and the first thing we had to acknowledge is the trust and compassion necessary for such an endeavor. I too found Sister Wives to be engaging and informative in its own way. You not only got to see the various problems faced from the outside world, but some of the tensions within the household as well.

    I am excited that poly-families are getting more press. I see them as just another form of community instead of a threat to the monogamous heteronormative structures touted as the ideal. I look forward to the day when every kind of relationship, and family structure, can be exist without fear of “exposure.”

    This is a fantastic post Star. Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

    My fiancee and I have been playing around with the idea of becoming a poly-household, and the first thing we had to acknowledge is the trust and compassion necessary for such an endeavor. I too found Sister Wives to be engaging and informative in its own way. You not only got to see the various problems faced from the outside world, but some of the tensions within the household as well.

    I am excited that poly-families are getting more press. I see them as just another form of community instead of a threat to the monogamous heteronormative structures touted as the ideal. I look forward to the day when every kind of relationship, and family structure, can be exist without fear of “exposure.”

    This is a fantastic post Star. Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

    My fiancee and I have been playing around with the idea of becoming a poly-household, and the first thing we had to acknowledge is the trust and compassion necessary for such an endeavor. I too found Sister Wives to be engaging and informative in its own way. You not only got to see the various problems faced from the outside world, but some of the tensions within the household as well.

    I am excited that poly-families are getting more press. I see them as just another form of community instead of a threat to the monogamous heteronormative structures touted as the ideal. I look forward to the day when every kind of relationship, and family structure, can be exist without fear of “exposure.”

    This is a fantastic post Star. Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    I’m going to show my complete lack of knowledge with an honest question: what exactly is the difference between a polygamous household and a polyamorous household?  Is it just the bonds of marriage?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    I’m going to show my complete lack of knowledge with an honest question: what exactly is the difference between a polygamous household and a polyamorous household?  Is it just the bonds of marriage?

  • Ursyl

    Polygamy = plural marriage
    Polygyny = one man, more than one woman (what FLDS and such actually practice)
    Polyandry= one woman, more than one man (usually a group of brothers in the one culture I knew of that practices it in the real world, a small tribe in India)

    Polyamory = multiple of both as chosen by the group members

  • Ursyl

    Polygamy = plural marriage
    Polygyny = one man, more than one woman (what FLDS and such actually practice)
    Polyandry= one woman, more than one man (usually a group of brothers in the one culture I knew of that practices it in the real world, a small tribe in India)

    Polyamory = multiple of both as chosen by the group members

  • Anonymous

    The unfortunate fact is that any civil involvement in any personal or family affair is mostly about settling the chaos when something has gone wrong. Marriage laws are trivial: divorce laws are complex. The idea of a “legally recognized marriage” has a tiny bit to do with things that apply while the marriage is in force, but is mostly involved with taking on the legal commitment to sort things out if the marriage ends, including legally-enforceable division of common property, setting rules for division of wages (e.g. child support), visitation rights, and so forth. Anyone who has ever watched or participated in a messy divorce is quickly disabused of the silly notion that people will be reasonable about such things.

    Legal recognition of polyamorous relationships is a thicket that makes monogamous divorce law look like jay-walking laws. One practical reason that polygamy is so patriarchally repressive is that it is just a whole lot easier to view the man as “owner” of his wives, under much the same legal precedent as owning sheep or cattle. Where such things are recognized (as in Arabic cultures, and I’m here drawing from the personal experience, as related to me, of an Arabic friend), there is typically some counter-compensation for the woman. In my friend’s case, the marriage contract stipulated a “dowry” to be paid to the woman’s family should he divorce her — it was a substantial amount of money. That leads, of course, to gold-digging, which is what happened to him.

    Just trying to figure out who gets what in a polyamorous “divorce” makes my head hurt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    Again, out of curiosity based on lack of knowledge (I honestly have no judgement for what anyone does as long as they are all consenting adults): if polyarmory is multiples chosen by a group.. does that mean that everyone is having sex with everyone?  Would that imply that to be in a polyamorous relationship the members would need to be bisexual?

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Not at all. In the series “Family,” Gemma is a straight female who lives with her two straight male partners. They date outside of their relationships with each other, but their primary relationship is this “Vee”: Gemma’s separate romantic relationships with Ben and Stuart, and their identity as a being a family of three.

    • Anonymous

      Having been briefly involved with the poly community a number of years ago, I think it’s safe to say that every group is custom-made.

      One quad (foursome) I knew was simply two married couples who were sexually less compatible with each other than with the other couple’s partner: they liked being married to their current partner, but switched places in the bedroom. Not the least bit bisexual.

      The most common arrangement worldwide is the “kept woman,” a mistress known to, and tacitly approved by, the wife. Look at Carl Jung. That’s a form of polyamory.

      A common and slightly more intimate (and less gender-specific) arrangement they call a “V”, where one person has two lovers who are themselves friends, but not lovers. A woman with two men who hang out and watch football (male stereotype). A man with two women who are good friends. No bisexuality.

      A “V” will often branch out into a “W”, where one of the ends of the “V” will take another partner, who is perhaps a friend of the root of the “V”. Or is perhaps a newcomer to the growing group. That newcomer could become involved with the other end of the “V”, or could bring in yet another partner, extending the “W”. Again, no bisexuality.

      As you can see, an extended “W” can easily fold back on itself with multiple linkings, like a long-chain polymer cross-linking itself at various attachment sites. Still, no bisexuality.

      If you throw in bisexuality at any point — and in an open environment, people tend to try things out, even if they end up not caring for it — it simply makes the linking more complex.

      A fairly common arrangement is a bisexual woman with a husband and a (female) lover, who may herself be bisexual or lesbian. I know two families who fit that pattern. The husband may or may not be involved with the other woman — more likely not, if she’s strongly homosexual. My former wife “turned gay” about fifteen years into our marriage — I put that in quotes, of course, because she was always gay, though closeted and functionally bisexual — and I’m good friends with her new partner, who is not sexually interested in men at all (nor with polyamory).

      The only thing you can really say about polyamorous relationships is that there are “more common” and “less common” arrangements. Every single one of them is unique.

    • kenneth

      In one important sense, its no different than “normal” monogamous partnerships. The terms of each relationship are unique to the people involved. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    Again, out of curiosity based on lack of knowledge (I honestly have no judgement for what anyone does as long as they are all consenting adults): if polyarmory is multiples chosen by a group.. does that mean that everyone is having sex with everyone?  Would that imply that to be in a polyamorous relationship the members would need to be bisexual?

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Not at all. In the series “Family,” Gemma is a straight female who lives with her two straight male partners. They date outside of their relationships with each other, but their primary relationship is this “Vee”: Gemma’s separate romantic relationships with Ben and Stuart, and their identity as a being a family of three.

    • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

      Having been briefly involved with the poly community a number of years ago, I think it’s safe to say that every group is custom-made.

      One quad (foursome) I knew was simply two married couples who were sexually less compatible with each other than with the other couple’s partner: they liked being married to their current partner, but switched places in the bedroom. Not the least bit bisexual.

      The most common arrangement worldwide is the “kept woman,” a mistress known to, and tacitly approved by, the wife. Look at Carl Jung. That’s a form of polyamory.

      A common and slightly more intimate (and less gender-specific) arrangement they call a “V”, where one person has two lovers who are themselves friends, but not lovers. A woman with two men who hang out and watch football (male stereotype). A man with two women who are good friends. No bisexuality.

      A “V” will often branch out into a “W”, where one of the ends of the “V” will take another partner, who is perhaps a friend of the root of the “V”. Or is perhaps a newcomer to the growing group. That newcomer could become involved with the other end of the “V”, or could bring in yet another partner, extending the “W”. Again, no bisexuality.

      As you can see, an extended “W” can easily fold back on itself with multiple linkings, like a long-chain polymer cross-linking itself at various attachment sites. Still, no bisexuality.

      If you throw in bisexuality at any point — and in an open environment, people tend to try things out, even if they end up not caring for it — it simply makes the linking more complex.

      A fairly common arrangement is a bisexual woman with a husband and a (female) lover, who may herself be bisexual or lesbian. I know two families who fit that pattern. The husband may or may not be involved with the other woman — more likely not, if she’s strongly homosexual. My former wife “turned gay” about fifteen years into our marriage — I put that in quotes, of course, because she was always gay, though closeted and functionally bisexual — and I’m good friends with her new partner, who is not sexually interested in men at all (nor with polyamory).

      The only thing you can really say about polyamorous relationships is that there are “more common” and “less common” arrangements. Every single one of them is unique.

    • kenneth

      In one important sense, its no different than “normal” monogamous partnerships. The terms of each relationship are unique to the people involved. 

  • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

    The unfortunate fact is that any civil involvement in any personal or family affair is mostly about settling the chaos when something has gone wrong. Marriage laws are trivial: divorce laws are complex. The idea of a “legally recognized marriage” has a tiny bit to do with things that apply while the marriage is in force, but is mostly involved with taking on the legal commitment to sort things out if the marriage ends, including legally-enforceable division of common property, setting rules for division of wages (e.g. child support), visitation rights, and so forth. Anyone who has ever watched or participated in a messy divorce is quickly disabused of the silly notion that people will be reasonable about such things.

    Legal recognition of polyamorous relationships is a thicket that makes monogamous divorce law look like jay-walking laws. One practical reason that polygamy is so patriarchally repressive is that it is just a whole lot easier to view the man as “owner” of his wives, under much the same legal precedent as owning sheep or cattle. Where such things are recognized (as in Arabic cultures, and I’m here drawing from the personal experience, as related to me, of an Arabic friend), there is typically some counter-compensation for the woman. In my friend’s case, the marriage contract stipulated a “dowry” to be paid to the woman’s family should he divorce her — it was a substantial amount of money. That leads, of course, to gold-digging, which is what happened to him.

    Just trying to figure out who gets what in a polyamorous “divorce” makes my head hurt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    So this particular relationship could be considered an open polyandry (polyandrous?) relationship?  

    Maybe it’s the strep throat germs that make it hard for me to differentiate between the terms and how they all apply.

    As long as they’re all happy doing what they are doing, I guess it doesn’t really matter, though.  =)

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Right. Polyamory is a term that’s used to identify plural relationships based on love, and to differentiate poly folks from swingers and patriarchal polygamists.

      • Anonymous

        At the Poly Paradise theme camp at Burning Man in 2000, at one of the “Polyamorous High Teas” and Q&A forums, they referred to themselves as “the lunatic utopian fringe of the responsible non-monogamy movement.”

        The “responsible non-monogamy movement” is all the people who break out of the “monogamy” model but handle themselves as adults making conscious decisions. Which may actually be an ex post facto reflection on how well or how badly it all turned out.

        Humans are a partially-monogamous species afflicted with a monogamous culture. The culture has a simple and broad brush for any form of non-monogamy: “cheating.” A man who cheats is a philanderer. A woman who cheats is a whore.

        There are very few people alive who are not either philanderers or whores. Terms like “responsible non-monogamy” or “polyamory” are attempts to work out from under the universal condemnation applied to such a common human behavior.

        • http://thetinfoilhatsociety.com/ Susan

          As a Pagan and as someone who is comfortable with “alternative” lifestyles, I would define ‘cheating’ as my spouse indulging in a relationship that we neither talked about nor agreed on.  Which has happened and we nearly divorced over it.  It isn’t merely taking another partner, although according to the dominant paradigm I would guess he was ‘cheating’ on both counts. 

      • Anonymous

        I’d like to add that a lot of studies have been done of teen-age sexual behavior, and a very common polyamorous arrangement there is a Ring. It’s not very responsible (teen-agers rarely are), but it’s the way things work out. They often refuse to have sex with their friends, but have sex with their friends’ friends, usually brief, serially-monogamous relationships with a large circle of once-removed friends. Several of my guy-friends might have had sex with my best friend Monica, who (being my best friend) is someone I would refuse to have sex with. This creates, visually, a large circle of sexual interactions that often spans entire school districts.

        The concept of “cheating” has mostly to do with getting actively interested in someone else — whether you have sex with them or not — before you’ve officially broken up with your current love-interest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

    So this particular relationship could be considered an open polyandry (polyandrous?) relationship?  

    Maybe it’s the strep throat germs that make it hard for me to differentiate between the terms and how they all apply.

    As long as they’re all happy doing what they are doing, I guess it doesn’t really matter, though.  =)

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Right. Polyamory is a term that’s used to identify plural relationships based on love, and to differentiate poly folks from swingers and patriarchal polygamists.

      • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

        At the Poly Paradise theme camp at Burning Man in 2000, at one of the “Polyamorous High Teas” and Q&A forums, they referred to themselves as “the lunatic utopian fringe of the responsible non-monogamy movement.”

        The “responsible non-monogamy movement” is all the people who break out of the “monogamy” model but handle themselves as adults making conscious decisions. Which may actually be an ex post facto reflection on how well or how badly it all turned out.

        Humans are a partially-monogamous species afflicted with a monogamous culture. The culture has a simple and broad brush for any form of non-monogamy: “cheating.” A man who cheats is a philanderer. A woman who cheats is a whore.

        Most people view non-monogamy as a moral failure: slipping into the “sin” of philandering or whoring. A “non-monogamist” implicitly sees this as something other than “sin.” The poly folks see non-monogamous behavior as potentially fruitful.

        • http://thetinfoilhatsociety.com/ Susan

          As a Pagan and as someone who is comfortable with “alternative” lifestyles, I would define ‘cheating’ as my spouse indulging in a relationship that we neither talked about nor agreed on.  Which has happened and we nearly divorced over it.  It isn’t merely taking another partner, although according to the dominant paradigm I would guess he was ‘cheating’ on both counts. 

      • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

        I’d like to add that a lot of studies have been done of teen-age sexual behavior, and a very common polyamorous arrangement there is a Ring. It’s not very responsible (teen-agers rarely are), but it’s the way things work out. They often refuse to have sex with their friends, but have sex with their friends’ friends, usually brief, serially-monogamous relationships with a large circle of once-removed friends. Several of my guy-friends might have had sex with my best friend Monica, who (being my best friend) is someone I would refuse to have sex with. This creates, visually, a large circle of sexual interactions that often spans entire school districts.

        The concept of “cheating” has mostly to do with getting actively interested in someone else — whether you have sex with them or not — before you’ve officially broken up with your current love-interest.

  • kenneth

    I think this “reality show” and documentary process is just a part of the often difficult growing pains of any subculture as it asserts its place in our society. Its really no different than what pagans have and are going through. Yes, there will be predatory producers and journalists and talk show hosts looking for the “freak of the week” segment.

     Over time, though, that bit gets stale. It loses its shock value. If you hang on long enough, TV writers and Hollywood and documentary makers and the local press begins to realize “hey, these people are real and have an interesting human story to tell.”  It’s that good storytelling, the kind that takes a deep and honest look at you, that ultimately anchors your place in this country.  Somewhere along the way, the dominant culture has that “aha” moment where they realize for themselves that you’re “just human” and fully human.  Every racial and ethnic or religious minority in this country has been through that wringer at one time or another.

    If we risk nothing, we gain nothing, where this is concerned. The best thing to do is go into it with open eyes. Learn to read the agenda and integrity of people who approach you for publicity, whether its just the local paper or a TV producer.  Make sure you know what YOUR intentions and energy are.  If you go into a project mainly to enrich yourself or feed your own vanity, you’re going to attract the exploiters. 

     Finally, I think we need to develop some skills in “turning the tables” as it were, when we do get caught up in exploitative media.  The way to do that, basically, is to carry yourself with dignity throughout the process. Some of that WILL shine through no matter how manipulative the writing, filming or editing may be.  We can learn a lot in that regard by studying the actors who were often cast in the exploitation films and shows of the past.  These people were forced to play absurdly stereotypical roles intentionally crafted to deny their humanity. More often than not, the trick backfired. Many of these actors brought an incredible integrity and humanity to their work that was bigger and finer than any of the absurd lines they had to deliver.  Remember that even the worst hacks can cast you as a fool and market you as a fool, but they can’t make you play the fool…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

      Having several relatives who work “in the industry”, I can say with some level of confidence, that no matter how you go in acting or what your intentions are, if the producers want to make you look like a fool, or the villain, or a freak, they will set us situations and then edit the heck out of them to make you look like you fit that label they’ve placed on you.  And they’ll get you signed on by telling you that they want to spin whatever it is you do or are in a positive manner.

      There are a few (like Sister Wives) that actually show the positives, but they are few and far between.  I’d be very hesitant to get involved in any type of “documentary style” show.

  • kenneth

    I think this “reality show” and documentary process is just a part of the often difficult growing pains of any subculture as it asserts its place in our society. Its really no different than what pagans have and are going through. Yes, there will be predatory producers and journalists and talk show hosts looking for the “freak of the week” segment.

     Over time, though, that bit gets stale. It loses its shock value. If you hang on long enough, TV writers and Hollywood and documentary makers and the local press begins to realize “hey, these people are real and have an interesting human story to tell.”  It’s that good storytelling, the kind that takes a deep and honest look at you, that ultimately anchors your place in this country.  Somewhere along the way, the dominant culture has that “aha” moment where they realize for themselves that you’re “just human” and fully human.  Every racial and ethnic or religious minority in this country has been through that wringer at one time or another.

    If we risk nothing, we gain nothing, where this is concerned. The best thing to do is go into it with open eyes. Learn to read the agenda and integrity of people who approach you for publicity, whether its just the local paper or a TV producer.  Make sure you know what YOUR intentions and energy are.  If you go into a project mainly to enrich yourself or feed your own vanity, you’re going to attract the exploiters. 

     Finally, I think we need to develop some skills in “turning the tables” as it were, when we do get caught up in exploitative media.  The way to do that, basically, is to carry yourself with dignity throughout the process. Some of that WILL shine through no matter how manipulative the writing, filming or editing may be.  We can learn a lot in that regard by studying the actors who were often cast in the exploitation films and shows of the past.  These people were forced to play absurdly stereotypical roles intentionally crafted to deny their humanity. More often than not, the trick backfired. Many of these actors brought an incredible integrity and humanity to their work that was bigger and finer than any of the absurd lines they had to deliver.  Remember that even the worst hacks can cast you as a fool and market you as a fool, but they can’t make you play the fool…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451145781 MrsBs Confessions

      Having several relatives who work “in the industry”, I can say with some level of confidence, that no matter how you go in acting or what your intentions are, if the producers want to make you look like a fool, or the villain, or a freak, they will set us situations and then edit the heck out of them to make you look like you fit that label they’ve placed on you.  And they’ll get you signed on by telling you that they want to spin whatever it is you do or are in a positive manner.

      There are a few (like Sister Wives) that actually show the positives, but they are few and far between.  I’d be very hesitant to get involved in any type of “documentary style” show.


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