With Normal People absorbing much of our attention over the last week, we’ve been in danger of missing out on one of the BBC’s newly released hidden gems. Trigonometry is an eight-part series on BBC Two about three 30-somethings: Gemma, Kieran and Ray. Gemma and Kieran are trying to make ends meet – with Gemma’s café failing to get off the ground and Kieran’s work as a paramedic putting him in the firing line one too many times – so they rent out their spare bedroom. Ray is their lodger, who takes the room after leaving her ill-fated career as a professional synchronised swimmer.
Although they refuse to admit it to themselves or each other at first, Gemma and Kieran’s attraction to Ray is instantaneous. She’s barely moved a box into the flat before her landlords are accusing each other of being attracted to her. For Ray, the realisation takes a little longer and, in the end, it’s an unsubtle comment from a drag queen that forces her to recognise her own feelings for the couple.
Trigonometry doesn’t represent a polyamorous relationship in a way we haven’t seen before – it’s two women and a man, after all – but it at least offers a more realistic approach. Neither Gemma or Kieran are white, and they don’t all live in a leafy suburb where their only issue is the nosy neighbours. Together, the three face up to the pressures of burgeoning gentrification, biphobia, mental health issues and pressures from family that threaten the balance of their relationship. If your only viewpoint on polyamory comes from shows like Netflix’s You, Me, Her, this will be a refreshing watch, as the characters dispel the myth that polyamory is a radical and subversive act, only for middle-class white couples to indulge in when their marriages become stale.
The entire series is shot through a grainy lens, giving it a quality that transports us back to the early 2000s. Why? Who knows, but it creates a comforting, nostalgic feel that makes it even easier for us to fall in love with this thruple.
BBC Two’s Trigonometry is undoubtedly the dark horse of lockdown television, offering up a captivating distraction from the real world while at the same time not being too far removed from it.
Trigonometry is available to view on BBC iPlayer.
Watch the trailer for Trigonometry here: