After watching the show my reactions were a bit mixed. On the one hand, it wasn't as bad as I feared it had the potential to be. It wasn't quite what I expected from the promos (which were nothing short of awful).
On the other hand, I was still not impressed and felt it was not a good representation of polyamory or something I would want to be associated with, as a poly person.
I liked the bits which showed the groups communicating. Unfortunately these scenes were brief and blown through to get to the next sex blurb. The whole show feels choppy, random, and poorly edited. The 'sex scenes' are not well integrated and don't add value to the show in any way. Most take the focus away from the actual relationships and basically sexploit poly like I expected (making it seem like orgy city). But even as pure entertainment, they fail because they're not long or involved enough to be terribly interesting or exciting. Either way it just doesn't work. The only redeeming part was when the two couples were together at one point and one of the women showed signs of discomfort, so the other stopped and asked her what she was feeling and what she needed. I thought that was positive. Otherwise, it was just out of place, failed, contrived barely soft-core pornyness.
One scene particularly annoyed me. The triad was having a discussion about their issues surrounding one of the women's new relationship. The issue clearly wasn't resolved for everyone but suddenly they jumped up and ran off to get naked in a very forced manner. It was like someone stepped in and said, "This is boring. Go get it on instead." So the segment skipped straight from actual relationship issues and communication straight to how awesome these three model-esque people are in bed together. No resolution or segway to speak of (unless you count the awkward "I won't be happy til she's naked" comment as a transition).
So, it wasn't as bad as it could have been but it was still uncomfortable and very disappointing/embarrassing.
Most of the interactions with the triad group seemed contrived and staged. The quad's interactions came across as more genuine and positive, but the editing prevented the viewer from getting a clear look into the dynamic and inner workings of these poly relationships. That's what I want to see. Otherwise "Polyamory" should not be the title of the show, IMO. It should just be about group sex, show better sex scenes, and get on with it. (I'm not saying the people involved aren't poly or in multiple loving relationships, I'm just saying that Showtime isn't letting that remain the true focus or be explored to an appropriate extent for a show *titled* "Polyamory".)
One good thing that came of the show... My frustration with the whole thing led to an interesting conversation with my mother about what poly is and isn't.