Articles - 21st November 2018

We didn’t realise how much we missed Louis Theroux

Words by Chloe Crowther

Louis Theroux’s new project, three part mini-series Altered States, tracks the lives of Americans living outside their traditional social norms in the main stage of their lives; Birth, Love, and Death.

In the first episode Theroux follows multiple groups of people engaged in polyamorous relationships in the liberal north-western town of Portland, Oregon – first meeting with open-married couple Jerry and Heidi, and their daughter Piper. With his classically wry but compassionate eye, Theroux inquires unblinkingly into the specifics of Heidi’s relationship with her second fiancé, Joe, and eventually in turn meets Joe’s first wife, Gretchen.


While some characters appear mildly anxious about their state of affairs, such as soon-to-be father Matthias, whose partner and mother of his child AJ finds new love with “metamour” Q three months before the child’s birth, all round the polyamorous lovers interviewed hold up to scrutiny, dismissing interrogations about insecurity, jealousy, and “not being enough” with radically selfless responses that emphasise “compersion,” or the joy at seeing a loved one love someone else. Even Louis himself, after engaging (obviously) in a blindfolded sensual feeding party, admits that for a moment, this unconventional world makes “a tiny bit of sense.” Nonetheless, having heard him speak a great deal throughout the episode about his wife, we can’t help but wonder what she might have to say about all this decidedly un-British behaviour.

Louis Theroux always delivers good television, with his characteristic blend of boyish humour and unflinching lack of judgement, and this series is no different.

As he delves further into Western taboos, Theroux seems to become even more open-minded the older he gets, perhaps less eager to join in, but always willing to listen, and often asking exactly the right questions. Altered States is a brilliant addition to his ouvre  , if only to learn that you shouldn’t load your plate up with cheese at a feeding party.

Altered States is available online now on BBC Catch Up

We champion the freelancers and every entrepreneur who took a leap of faith with their idea.

If this sounds like you, head over to our Virtual Office and send us your best work via an UnderPinned Portfolio. We want to hear from you!

Make your UP portfolio

Related Articles

Hear more about The Ultimate Guide to Freelancing… from someone who’s actually done it

Journalist and writer Tim Atkinson, a graduate of the Ultimate Guide to Freelancing, writes on his experience of the course and how it helped him g...

Read more
A guide to selling without the cringe

I spent the first five years of my freelance career in, ‘I’ll take anything that comes my way’ hustle mode. My schedule, bursting with work, I’d la...

Read more
How to tell if a regular client is a flight risk

Breaking up can be hard to do, and whether it’s the end of a personal relationship or a professional one – the warning signs are often there sooner...

Read more