Now that the first season of the show has come to an end, it's clear that while they explored hot topics like open marriage, wife-swapping and group sex, the essence of the show was not titillation or a guide page by page through The Joys of Sex. Swingtown was about the characters, three families and the changing times in 1976.
Questions, questions. Will Tom and Trina keep the baby? The Deckers are the open marriage couple and they've enjoyed the freedom to swing. But how amazing is it that they are the marriage that's in synch! They actually talk things out and share what they're thinking. You can't say that about the Thompsons and Millers.
I've been reviewing Swingtown since it premiered earlier this summer and I've liked the show. In fact, it's grown on me and if I were in a position to make the call, I'd give Swingtown an order for 13 more episodes. Yes, the series has not been a ratings hit, I'll give you that. However, it has created a lot of buzz and media coverage.
I guess that's a good thing, being on the edge of my seat, hungry for more. Of course the next episode is two weeks away and probably the last of the show unless CBS deigns to bring it back in 2009. Based on the level of interest I have and I've seen from readers, Swingtown has earned a second season.
But I digress, let's get back to "Get Down Tonight." There was an awful lot of getting down, including the kids. BJ and Ricky had a hot game of strip poker with Sam and her very mature cousin Lisa. Not surprisingly, Ricky was all bluff and ran for the hills when things got too advanced, while BJ showed again that he's a real mensch (Yiddish for a quality person).
Oh, if only it were as simple as a family vacation to repair the damage to the Millers. It's clear by now that something's missing between Bruce and Susan because she can't stop thinking of Roger.
And Laurie is going through teenage rebellion -- I recognize the symptoms -- and Bruce's answer is to threaten her boyfriend and rip the phone cord out of the wall. Of all the characters, Bruce needs the most work for the writers. He's way too predictable.
While the Millers are struggling, so too are the Thompsons. Janet made an appointment with a psychiatrist -- for Roger. The truth is that they both need counseling, as the therapist realized when she spoke with them. Janet is so much a woman of that time, unsure about getting a job because it may emasculate Roger and struggling with the attention she's received -- and enjoyed -- from Tom.
That would seem to be the motto for Swingtown. It is all about relationships. On the marriage front, Tom and Trina's open marriage, which has been the model for marital bliss till now, has hit the rocks. Okay, maybe not the rocks, but there have been some rough waters.
The menage a trois, which was rather graphically depicted, was not the most interesting aspect to Tom and Trina's marriage. The more we get to know these two and their open marriage, the more we see that they really do love each other and enjoy their partnership. But they also take full advantage of the freedom of the lifestyle they've chosen.
So were there really sex parties and swinging in the Kelley home? "You know, it comes from imagination, for the most part."
Inspired by 1976, the era of women's liberation, disco-dancing, the end of the Vietnam War, and sexual freedom thanks to the pill and no AIDS, Kelley balances the fantastic elements with nostalgia.
All in all, I'm getting hooked on Swingtown. It's a soap, no doubt about that. Being in 1976 is a time and a place and a specific social setting, but ultimately this show is about these characters and their intertwined lives. It's a serialized drama and rather addictive. More about the show after the jump, including all the happenings from tonight's show.
(S02E04) Sadness is nature's spankings. - Clay Puppington
Those of us who have been watching Moral Orel since the beginning know that the show is more complex than it appears on the surface. The inner tensions within his own family and the other grown ups in Moralton were hinted at in the first season and have come more into focus this season. I'm not a television writer, but I imagine trying to meld the funny and the emotional into an eleven-minute amalgam can't be easy, which is why I think the "slow reveal" approach has worked so well for Moral Orel. In this episode, when Orel finds out his mother might have another family, the scene doesn't feel like it was suddenly sprung on us out of nowhere, because Bloberta's unhappiness and detachment has been part of the show's subtext since it first aired a year ago.
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