Swingtown: Oh My Filthy Mind!

By ElaineB

Last week I assumed that the Bruce who came home, immediately needed a shower and looked so miserable and guilty, must have been doing more than lusting after sweet Melinda. Had my mind not been in the gutter, I would have realized that he was only sweaty, likely reeked of smoke and probably a bit of Melinda’s perfume. And he felt guilty because, gee, he really wanted to do something.

This, of course, is only revealed later in the episode, which features another delightful throwback to the ’70s, the scavenger hunt. But Trina’s Puzzlerama also reminds me of the era of unlocked doors and trusting neighbors. These were people that held potluck marathons (appetizer in one home, salad in the next, etc.), neighborhood parties, and who gave each other housekeys. I still live in a neighborhood like that, but I know how rare and precious they are. So Trina asking Susan and Bruce to step out of their own house was not unheard of and I must say, the game was as charming as she is.

And devious, too, since couples participating in the hunt were chosen by matching beads in the bottom of cloudy shots (I found myself wondering what it was since Tequila Rose had not yet been invented – and what it had been spiked with) and she could fix the draw to make sure that Susan was teamed with Roger (Trina knows a perfect couple when she sees one).

Tom is teamed with the competitive Janet, who comments to Trina when she brings back their first clue, “I love this game! And I thought all your parties were drunken orgies.” Yep, she’s a charmer. And she only joined in because she thought that it would be a good place for Roger to land a job, or at least an interview. He seems to be his own man on this, researching something at the library.

Bruce was teamed with Melinda, which Trina says was just the luck of the draw. But it did create one of the more interesting moments in the episode. When Tom and Janet headed for the porn rack at the train station to find another clue, Tom spies Bruce lip locked with Melinda and diverts a catastrophe by heading Janet in a different direction.

Later, Tom tells Bruce, “Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.” Wow, Mister-Bang-All-The-Pretty-Stewardesses giving cautionary advice. Maybe it was the pot speaking – or merely regret now that he got reassigned to the Tokyo run.

The kids are, we hope, all right. BJ is back to hanging with Sam, helping her hand out puzzle pieces and keep a lookout for mom while she, totally wasted, is having sex with Bruce’s coworker Marino. It ends badly, but if it weren’t for poor Sam, would anyone care? Meanwhile, Laura and Doug are campaigning for Jimmy Carter. They bet that whomever gets the most signatures on Carter’s campaign papers gets to decide what they are doing for the rest of the evening. She wins, they go to his apartment and, after a bit of coy dancing around about what they really want, they get to it on the bed. How far will they go? I am getting my mind out of the gutter and going for “second base.”

Finally, in the puzzle search, Janet finds the photo Trina took of Roger at the pool party the day the lights went out. She demands to know what was going on and Susan explains, sort of, trying to save Roger the embarrassment of knowing why he showed up at her house first (the check).

At home, Roger tells Janet that she is a little bit of a perfectionist and hard to talk to. True. He also said he loves her. That, I’m not so sure of anymore.

Next week: Bruce and Susan visit a sex club. Tom and Trina continue to be exclusive. Roger and Janet?

Thoughts: Overall, isn’t it interesting that the best marriage of these three is turning out to be Tom and Trina’s? They are on the same page (or at least in the same chapter), they talk things out, each knows what turns the other on. Hopefully, the series won’t cop out when it comes to them. They belong together.

To be fair, to those who tested the limits in the ’70s, swinging was the refuge of the uptight. It was the practice that confused and not very effective men and women used to perfect their technique in the era before Dr. Ruth, Dr. Drew, Dan Savage, sex surrogates and Hank Moody told us everything we needed to know about sex, there were things you could only learn from strangers. And if you couldn’t admit you were unsatisfied to your spouse, it was better to dump him/her into the arms of an emotionally detached lover in the hopes he/she would learn something. Bruce already has, and if the marriage lasts (and I’m still hoping to see a permanent couple swap here) Susan will owe a huge debt of thanks to Trina. And I think she knows it.

So, for those old enough to have been there, what was the stupidest (or smartest) thing you ever did to spice up your married life? Do you regret it, or late at night, do you smile?