Does 'Swingtown' sizzle or fizz -- Our writers swap opinions on the sexy '70s drama

By Ken Tucker and Henry Goldblatt
August 08, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT
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  • TV Show
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Genre

Does ‘Swingtown’ sizzle or fizz

Love it
You may think you know Swingtown — smutty spouse-swappers with Dorothy Hamill ‘dos (and that’s just the men) — but you don’t. The CBS show is far less risqué than its name suggests; it’s a slow burn of a drama that strives for ambition (real-life events like the 1976 GOP convention play prominently) and pathos. (Believe it or not, the three central marriages are some of the more realistic on TV.) And the acting is superb. Those female leads — Molly Parker, Lana Parrilla, and Miriam Shor — are so bedazzling, they could persuade you to down a tuna casserole and Tab. And ask for seconds. —Henry Goldblatt

Loath it
”Open marriage,” pot brownies, Deep Throat, droopy mustaches — ’70s clichés like these have been rendered better in novels by John Updike and Rick Moody. Swingtown tries to combine cable-TV raciness with nighttime soap, and the result is muddy water. The swinging couple (Grant Show and Lana Parrilla) are obliged to acknowledge jealousy and pledge true love whenever there’s a mate-swapping orgy. Uptight suburbanite Janet (Miriam Shor) is more plastic than the Tupperware she peddles. Good actors are wasted in scripts that view ’70s excess through ’08 censoriousness: It’s a drag, man. —Ken Tucker

type
  • TV Show
Genre
Premiere
  • 06/05/08
Status
  • In Season
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