Swingtown: Reality Check

By ElaineB
Near the end of the latest episode of Swingtown, Janet, in shock at what she’d discovered in a single night, confesses to Tom that “I can’t be that kind of woman.” She doesn’t mean loose, though that is a part of it. She means wild, sexy, free. Tom says she underestimates herself, she is a beautiful woman. Then he kisses her. A friend watching the scene with me raised his fist in the air. “Tom kicks ass!” he said. “He’s so smooth … like a white Billy Dee Williams.”

Yes, Grant Show fans, the former Melrose Place star is finally bringing Tom’s character to light and it is good. Tom and Trina are the powerhouse couple on this series for their honesty, their insight and their incredible ability to put people at ease in the most uneasy of situations. But more on that later.

The episode opens with Bruce confessing to Susan that he kissed Melinda – twice, she tells him. But, of course, he didn’t mean anything, not really. She’s angry, and she’s understanding. She decides they need to visit the Pendulum Club, a downtown sex club, with Brad and Sylvia. “We should control the sex,” she says, adding, it would be good for them. For us, too, I was really looking forward to seeing this place. Of course she wants to go. Brad is going and the sparks are starting to fly.

(And as a side note: Why is it that Brads always have sandy hair and that certain squareness of jaw that implies they would be great at team sports or toting an Uzi?)

Later Trina tries to soothe over Janet’s fury at discovering Roger had gone to a pool party during the blackout. So she thinks of what Janet would like and makes some really terrible muffins and takes them over to her. Janet takes pity on her lousy baking skills (did Trina mess up the recipe on purpose?) and gives pointers. Soon they are relaxed and getting along very well.

Janet notes that Trina is an observer. Yes, she is.

Roger meets Bruce after work, suggesting that Bruce might be able to find him a job in commodities trading broker (as if that’s a lower-stress job than selling insurance). Bruce clues him in that it would not be for him, then says he is going to this sex club that night. At about the same time, Janet shows up at Trina’s to return her muffin pan. By then Susan has convinced Tom and Trina to join them at the club to put them more at ease. When Janet shows up to drop off the muffin pan (and the recipes she’d written down for Trina) she decides that since she survived the pot brownies and skinny dipping, she wants to go.

Janet, dear, you barely survived getting naked in the dark with friends. You’re hardly ready to get naked with total strangers.

Roger, in his suit and tie and looking terribly newbie and innocent, finds himself the man of the hour when they get there and is soon dragged off by a woman wearing the same hot red dress as the one Trina loaned Janet. He tries to be polite while the woman is all over him. Janet decides she needs to see the back room – bad, bad idea – and when she sees what’s going on back there, she decides she has to leave. Roger goes with her.

But, since she needs to get her clothes, she and Roger head back to Tom and Trina’s, where a post-sex-club party is just beginning. Loose woman in red dress is there and latches on to Roger, who still can’t figure out how to say “enough!” But then, that’s the story of his life, at least to date. When Janet sees her all over her blushing hubby, she feels pretty inadequate. That’s when she makes her confession to Tom, the kiss, his brilliant moment of insight. When she asks Roger for the keys, he said he never wanted to come in the first place. I doubt they made it home without stopping for a quickie.

Susan and Bruce have left, taking Brad and Sylvia with them, since Susan has invited them over for what she expects will turn into a night of passion. For someone who thinks they need to be open and discuss things, she is certainly taking charge, but Bruce, being a guy and guilty about Melinda, goes along.

Since they were going to be out really late, Laurie invited Doug over to watch the GOP convention and gets him aroused by knowing who the president of France is. BJ and Sam are at Little Rickey’s playing video games and spin-the-bottle until Sam gets angry and leaves with BJ close behind.

When the two couples arrive home far earlier than anticipated, Laurie and Doug hide behind the bar. I dig her doing this, but isn’t he old enough to put on his shirt and act like nothing was going on? Anyway, they smell what the adults are smoking and Laurie, far from a dummy, figures out what is going on. They get caught, of course, their antics reminding Bruce of his parental duties as a good Republican. He’s ready to ground her while Susan takes Laurie’s side. I mean, at least Doug is educated, even if he is about … 8 or 10 years, maybe … older.

So nothing much happened except that Janet is realizing what a powerhouse she can be and Susan is realizing that Bruce has a long way to go.

One final thought: Is it time to start petitioning CBS to move this show to Showtime where it can really let loose with its premise?