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'Swingtown' recap: They love the nightlife

After Janet has a falling out with Susan, the Millers wind up spending an evening at the Playboy Club with the Deckers, who introduce them to another couple

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Grant Show, Lana Parrilla, ...

Swingtown

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
06/05/08
performer:
Grant Show, Jack Davenport, Molly Parker, Lana Parrilla
broadcaster:
CBS
genre:
Drama

‘Swingtown’ recap: They love the nightlife

After we were lured in by last week’s orgy-tastic, coke-fueled premiere, tonight’s episode of Swingtown seemed downright square in comparison. At a minimum, the show failed to live up to its title — no swinging tonight, kids; Mom and Dad made a pact (more on that later). But even without recreational drug use or titillating threesomes, the hour managed to provide a few deliciously choice — not to mention awkward — moments as the Millers and Thompsons continued to grow apart.

Well, I may have spoken too soon about those orgies if we’re counting the jaw-dropping opening dream sequence. Apparently pie is an aphrodisiac. I half expected a pubescent Jason Biggs and the glam-metal band Warrant, of ”Cherry Pie” fame, to appear mid-orgy (anachronistic, I know, but oh so fitting). Though Janet was obviously startled by her Decker-on-Thompson dream, I can’t help thinking Janet (not Jan) is becoming curious about this unscrupulous lifestyle. Perhaps not as curious as her husband, though, who would agree to a threesome quicker than you could say ”your place or mine” if he knew Susan was involved. The slight hint of sexual tension between the two last week at the Deckers’ party was only underscored by the way Roger coyly eyed Susan and her décolletage at the train station. ”Wow, you look great. A little dressy for a bridge game, but great.” Cool your jets, tiger.

Meanwhile, back at the Millers’, Susan declared that she was not a swinger and made Bruce all but pinkie swear their first two-couple romp would be their last. Um, you know you’re on a show called Swingtown, right? Let’s bet how many episodes it’ll take before that pact is broken. I say one and a half.

The awkwardness of the morning was not lost on brainiac daughter Laurie, who astutely asked, ”Are you guys acting weird?” (There’s a reason this girl’s taking a summer philosophy class.) They sure were acting weird, Laurie, and the uncomfortable vibe only intensified as Bruce ran into a jogging Trina for the first time since their night together. ”I figured you and Tom more for the evening types,” Bruce stuttered as he uncomfortably fiddled with his Pop Tart. Smooth.

As Gary Susman (your usual Swingtown recapper, who’s out on vacation) observed last week, Swingtown is at heart really about class. And once again Janet was the only one to point out the elephant in the room when she ran into Susan at the grocery store. ”I thought you’d be shopping on the other side of town now,” she said sheepishly. To make things worse, Susan was there with loosey-goosey Trina. Susan’s punishment? No bridge night for you! No matter, though — that left Mrs. Miller wide open for dinner (a quiet, Quaalude-free dinner at that) with the Deckers. Seriously, though, are we to believe the former flight attendant knows the difference between a broiler and a baster? Or has even used an oven? I smell some Chinese takeout.

But as we learned, dinner wasn’t meant to be. After a boffo day on the trading floor, Bruce celebrated his spoils with some coworkers at the Playboy Club, and wouldn’t you know, Susan and the Deckers showed up because, wouldn’t you know, Tom had a key.

Surprisingly, instead of being irritated that his wife crashed his boys’ night, Bruce welcomed her with open arms. ”You just keep surprising me,” he cooed.

At the club, the Deckers introduced the Millers to another couple (fellow swingers, I presume), Sylvia and Brad Davis. Sylvia’s a lawyer and former Bunny and Brad is a sex psychologist. When Sylvia asked Susan what she did for a living, I could feel the feminist rhetoric coming on. And Sylvia, a regular Susan B. Anthony, delivered. In 2008, this conversation sounds trite, like a Ms.-magazine-sponsored after-school special. Especially when a few scenes earlier, Tom had been given a promotion largely because he had a threesome with a hot, young stewardess.

NEXT: Who are the kids watching?

Meanwhile, Janet, who had attempted to replace BFF Susan by inviting the new neighbors over for dinner, was suffering through the husband’s right-wing diatribes or awkward silences. Thankfully Roger’s good for something besides leering at Susan; he came up with the Great Bleeding Hand/Ketchup Gag of 1976. On a side note, when my dad used to take me to play videogames at the arcade (in the early ’90s), he’d often use that same ”kick some Commie ass” phrase that douchey neighbor Paul is so fond of. Apparently you can take the kid out of the ’70s, but you can’t take the ’70s out of the kid.

Speaking of kids, the Miller children continued to delve deeper into their own relationships. B.J. helped lost girl Samantha run away, while the subtle flirtation between Laurie and her teacher (who, by the way, I finally figured out played dreamy Greek suitor Kostas in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) seemed to intensify as he invited the class (and by ”class,” I mean Laurie) to an extra-credit performance of Waiting for Godot. Once quasi-boyfriend Logan left Laurie and Teach alone in the dark theater exchanging goofy grins, I breathlessly waited for the old yawn-arm-around-the-shoulder maneuver. Sigh. It never happened. Is it wrong that I was disappointed? Sadly, it appears Teach may be dating the play’s bohemian director. But for how long, I wonder? Or are we just being made to believe they’re dating?

Back at the Playboy Club, a pleasant and relatively tame evening came to an end, but not before Susan caught a glimpse of Bruce giving saucy Sylvia a goodbye kiss on the cheek. If that weren’t unsettling enough, finding the vixen’s business card tucked away in Bruce’s pants pocket left Susan quite distraught. As Trina said, swinging only works if couples are on the same page, and it looks like the Millers may soon be reading from completely different books.

We’re two episodes in, and I really want to like Swingtown. The concept feels fresh, but at this point, I’m not sure I’m convinced. I’m wondering what will happen once the Millers do embrace the swinger lifestyle. Since Swingtown‘s broadcast home won’t allow it to fall back on T&A, strong plotlines are the key to this series’ success.

What do you think, TV Watchers? Are you diggin’ Swingtown so far? How will Tom’s new Tokyo itinerary affect his relationship with Trina? What will it take for Susan and Bruce to give swinging another chance? And what’s up with train-wreck neighbor Gail?