‘Couple to Throuple’ Is Addictive, Diabolical Trash About Polyamory


Whenever a new reality dating series hits my inbox, I often find myself wondering what word participants will use to describe their time on the show. In Bachelor parlance, everyone’s on a “journey;” on Netflix’s Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum, “experience” gets tossed around a lot. And now, we have Peacock’s wickedly compelling polyamorous dating show, Couple to Throuple, where the word “experiment” takes center stage.

In case the premise is not inherently obvious from the title, Couple to Throuple follows four longtime romantic pairs as they toy with the idea of polyamory. Every few days, the couples have the opportunity to invite one of 14 “open-minded singles” into their suite at a tropical resort, or to stick with the one they’ve already chosen. In addition to host and Access Hollywood co-anchor Scott Evans, sex and relationship expert Shamyra Howard is on board to help the couples navigate their desires, boundaries, and inevitable jealousy. At the end of the month, the couples will each decide whether they want to stick with the polyamorous lifestyle—and each other.

In other words, this show is about to be a big, huge, bikini-clad mess. The first three episodes debut Thursday, and appropriately enough, the rest of this season’s 10 episodes will also roll out in batches of three until the standalone finale. From our first three episodes alone, I can safely say that each of these pairs are in for a wild ride.

Couple to Throuple knows exactly what it’s doing. From the jump, the show puts sex front and center, teasing us with some extremely steamy night vision clips and throwing in some moaning audio for good measure. Butt, boob, and crotch shots abound, and at one point, we even catch a glimpse of some exposed nipples. Series previews also dangle the prospect of some very dramatic break-ups in front of our faces, solidifying the idea that polyamory is not for the faint of heart.

The cast of ‘Couple to Throuple’ toast each other with glasses of champagne

Dylan, Lauren, Sean, Brittne, Ashmal, and Rehman


It’s no surprise that even just the trailer for this show has left non-monogamous Reddit less than thrilled. As users there have pointed out, Couple to Throuple centers a certain kind of polyamory—a version that the community itself often derides, at that. These couples are all dating together, rather than forging new connections individually, a practice that can lead to unbalanced relationship dynamics with the new partner. It’s also fascinating to observe that most of these couples are composed of a man and a woman who are seeking out a bisexual woman specifically. (There’s a term in the community for that, as well—“unicorn hunting.”)

Multiple times during this season, you can see the effects of this specific approach. When one of the singles, Sanu, tells her chosen couple, Sean and Brittne, that she feels their approach to this experiment feels “dehumanizing” to the singles, Brittne immediately clams up. Another couple, Lauren and Dylan, start to feel friction with one of their chosen singles, Becca, when her relationship with Lauren progresses faster than her connection with Dylan. And then, there’s Ashmal and Rehman, whose three-year relationship turns rocky almost immediately due to jealousy.

Behold, the Dumbest Feud in ‘The Bachelor’ History

In other words, Couple to Throuple is provocative in pretty much the same way that almost all reality dating shows are. Like, is it really a good idea for Corey and Wilder to participate in this show, given that she’s clearly still hurt from the time they tried polyamory and she found him making out with their chosen “third” behind her back? Probably not! And yet, here we all are, hanging out on the beach and watching Corey wince at the idea of Wilder kissing another woman in front of her. I wish that I could claim to be above it all, but there I was, sitting on my couch, gobbling down cinnamon hearts with my eyes glued to the screen.

What can we say? This show knows how to hit all the right buttons. Our resident relationship expert, Howard, might challenge the couples with communications exercises designed to help them navigate their jealousy, but as with many raunchy dating shows, these scenes are also designed to tweak their nerves.

Wilder gives Corey a piggyback ride in a still from ‘Couple to Throuple’

Wilder and Corey


During one session, for instance, each couple selects one person to interact with their chosen single in front of the other, gradually progressing from flirting to touching to kissing, while the other watches and debates whether or not to use the “safe word” and shut it all down. One could argue that this is effective boundary training, but to this (maybe prudish!) viewer’s eye, it also feels a lot like the middle school game “Are You Nervous?” on steroids. In fairness, other challenges—like a fireside emotional confessional—feel a little more straightforwardly practical.

We’ll have to wait and see what becomes of our four couples in the weeks ahead, but based on what we’ve seen so far, they all have a tough road ahead. Here’s hoping that on this island, at least, no one succumbs to temptation and does something they’ll regret.

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