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September 5, 2015

Swingtown: Cabin Fever

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 27th 2008 12:41PM
Swingtown-group shot(S01E04) It's only a matter of time before we hear "Love Will Keep Us Together" on Swingtown, because that seems to me to be the theme of this show. Oh, yes, there's some experimentation with open marriage, there's been indications that the Millers could become full-fledged swingers, but it's feeling more and more that sexual curiosity will not trumped abiding fidelity and true love.

So while Susan is talking a big game, she's really more into Bruce and their re-energized sex talk. I don't really think her inviting the Deckers to the Miller cabin by the lake was a move to have a wild weekend, although it sure looked like it was going in that direction -- until the previously invited Thompsons turned up.

I liked the idea of getting those six together in a potentially explosive situation (no pun intended). After all, remember how The Sopranos treated Tony and Carmela visiting Bobby and Janis in the lake house? Big doings can erupt in such bucolic settings. So, it was a great set up for the Millers, Deckers and Thompsons.

It seems as though Susan wants the best of both worlds. She's acting all modern and open woman, but the Wisconsin lake cabin is pure "good girl." Her family summer retreat was a church gathering! How's that for putting a wet blanket on a sex romp? Still, if not for the surprise visit by Roger and Janet, would Trina and Bruce and Susan and Tom had another group scene?

After deciding that the Thompsons would be staying, even though there are only two bedrooms, there's still messy emotions with which to deal. Roger and Susan had another chance to talk. He is really upset about the new Janet, although he can't express his feelings.

Doesn't it look to you like this has disaster written all over it? Roger, who is clearly a pre-Phil Donahue/Alan Alda sensitive man, is in love with Susan. He's too morally-upright to make a move, but the eyes say it all. Now that he knows about Susan's fluctuating moral compass, will he act? If so, Susan's going to break his heart and say she just thinks of him as a friend. Ouch.

While we're talking emotions, my heart is aching for Trina. Her cool acceptance is hiding the fact that she's afraid of losing Tom. How ironic that it was Janet, not Susan, who offered her supportive friendship when Tom is away on those long Tokyo runs.

In an obvious way, this episode showed how the parents are acting like children -- playing Twister, having a sleep-over (boys in one room, girls in the other), doing Boy Scout activities like splitting logs and fishing -- while the children at home are aping adult behavior. Laurie seductively entices her teacher, Doug, for a romantic dinner. He wisely skips the meal, but in trying to let her know how inappropriate a relationship between them would be, he encourages her. "I'm your teacher. This can't happen." Still, they watch Double Indemnity together, a film noir movie about inappropriate behavior -- and the consequences.

And BJ, Ricky and Samantha spend the night -- albeit on the patio lounge chairs -- at Freak Central. That's Sam's name for the Decker house, where she's seen too many swinging parties. She's scarred by those images, as well as her mother's wanton ways, but she does take a dip in the pool with BJ. Rick helps himself to the liquor cabinet, growing up too soon.

The irony of the episode was Janet blossoming, reaching out to Trina in friendship, letting Tom flirt with her. It was refreshing. She led the skinny dipping in the lake, a real stunner based on how uptight she's been till now, but the undercurrent was also Bruce's insecurity. When he says to Susan, "We're all right, aren't we?" he's not sure they are.

Other points of interest

-- Did you buy Tom and Trina doing it in the cockpit? The impression was that she was pleasuring him while the co-pilot was sitting right beside them!

-- When Bruce questions Susan's new open policy, she says cryptically, "Let's not over think it." Is this her new philosophy or does she really not know what she feels.

-- Funny line, when Samantha calls down to BJ, Rick refers to her as Rapunzel.

-- The Deckers are surprising. Based on their jet set lifestyle, I thought the lake would be too much country for them, but they were right at home. The only nod to their lifestyle was putting pot in the brownies.

-- Good use of 1976 iconography, the Kodak Instamatic, cans of Tab, Twister.

-- Logan returned, the guy who left Laurie at Waiting for Godot. Dimples is a creep, a point reinforced when you see him watching the house when Doug leaves. This has prefiguration written all over it.

-- Tom's advice to Bruce about marriage, "Want to keep it open, keep it honest." But will he practice what he preaches on those layovers in Japan?

-- "Everything looks normal on the outside," Sam's take on suburban life.

-- Eric Clapton's "Hello Old Friends" underscored the Millers playing cards with the Thompsons.

-- Okay, I know I'm a stickler, but would the Millers be going away for a weekend just a month after moving into a new house? Seems kind of soon.
Will Roger ever tell Susan he's in love with her?
Yes, it's just a matter of time58 (58.0%)
No, he wouldn't break his marriage vows17 (17.0%)
It depends on whether or not Susan reaches out to him25 (25.0%)

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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show. I hope it continues in the fall. It's absolutely delicious, and I find myself wishing it were 2 hours every week instead of just one. It's sooooooooooooooooooooooo good!

July 01 2008 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I always got the impression that they had an afaair seeming less and less likely though.

June 27 2008 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What Ben said.

June 27 2008 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ben Scripps

Re: the cockpit scene--they quite clearly showed the co-pilot leaving the cockpit just before Trina entered.

June 27 2008 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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