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Having watched the pilot last night, I think it was a fairly accurate depiction of how some lived in the pre AIDS-war on drugs-political correctness era. Bruce and Susan Miller are a reasonably happy married couple with 2 teenage kids. Moving to a more affluent neighborhood, that are quickly greeted by Tom and Trina Decker who live across the street and invite the Millers to a party the next night (July 4th 1976) Arriving at the party with their former neighbors, Robert and Janet Thomson in tow, they come to realize that Tom and Trina are dedicated to the swinging lifestyle. Having walked into a room where an orgy was going on, Janet (who really needs to lighten up)gets in a huff about it and insists on leaving. Conversally Bruce and Susan are curious and elect to stay. Parents take note: Although there is nothing graphic here, it is network TV after all, this is not for kids. Aside from the sex, drug use is rampant. It might be good discussion material for an older teen but IMO not younger than 16 at least. Good score of vintage music. Didn't notice any out of time props(Like Mad Men). Costumes appropriate to the time. Some rough edges in storyline execution, but worth checking out. Just as not everyone was into swinging, this show's not everyones' cup of tea I'm sure, but I enjoyed it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, what I loved about watching the first few minutes of
SWINGTOWN, was the mental picture I got of religious right-wingers
everywhere clutching their collective chests and reaching for their
heart pills. The brainchild of Mike Kelley and executive producers
Robert Del Valle and Alan Poul (two of the finest minds behind SIX FEET
UNDER), this is a series meant to evoke the mid-'70's and to reflect
the sea-change in the Sexual Revolution during that time, on the cusp
of the birth of the Disco era. And it does so with a vengeance!!!
Kind of THE ICE STORM without the precipitation, we meet two couples: Tom and Trina Decker (former MELROSE PLACE resident stud Grant Show and THE NINE'S Lana Parrilla) and the Miilers, Bruce (Jack Davenport of the PIRATES OF THE Caribbean series and THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY) and Susan (Molly Parker - a long-time favorite of mine from many, many TV shows and film roles, most recently as Tim Olyphant's main squeeze in DEADWOOD.)
It's July, 1976. The Millers are "movin' on up" - not to the east side, mind you, but a few blocks away, to a bigger, better house and presumably a slightly more upscale lifestyle, thanks to good fortune smiling on Bruce's career and financial situation. This new turn of events has Susan a little bewildered, to say nothing of the loss felt by their former BFF's/next-door neighbors Roger and Janet Thompson (DAMMIT, JANET! - sorry, I just had to throw that in there), played by Josh Hopkins and Miriam Shor. Although the Millers will be literally just down the street, it might as well be half a world away for the Thompsons. Alas, the two families have NO idea.
Because as it turns out, Tom and Trina Decker are swingers. And not the 'just-on-the-weekends' kind, either. They are very active participants in the lifestyle, and being an airline pilot, Tom sees to it that he and his lovely wife (a former stewardess herself, not coincidentally enough), are never fresh out of new "guests" to stay over and party with. In fact, it's just as one of their latest 'friends' is on her way out the door, that Trina spies with her little eye the the attractive Millers, moving in to the house across the street. Let the games begin!
CBS has a summer hit on their hands, I think. It's controversial and nostalgic all at the same time. The cast is excellent, with everyone looking terrific in polyester pants, (especially Grant and Lana), and no expense or effort has been spared in getting the details just right. But even more important - and evocative - is the soundtrack, which is chock-a-block with original Seventies chestnuts, and not tired sound-alikes. Just in the first episode alone, we are treated to the likes of David Bowie, Norman Greenbaum, The Captain and Tennille, Gary Wright and The Commodores. I can't wait to see what future episodes have in store.
Of course, if the whole plot was just about swinging, that could get old really fast. But interesting subplots abound in the adventures (and misadventures) of the Millers' and Thompsons' kids, reflecting on how the 'sex-quake' of the Seventies affect and inform their lives as well.
Based solely on this premiere, I have certainly been convinced to stick around. I hope that creator Mike Kelley and the writers will be as adventurous as Bruce and Susan have become by the "climax" (pun most definitely intended)...
I am hoping this one makes it. This show is pure entertainment, a
nighttime soap. It deals with adult relationships and the issues of the
70s, which were a time of change. It has a cast which works and is
believable, and it is also fun to see the decorating style and fashions
I remember from my childhood.
It is a shame, but not a surprise, it is being challenged by conservatives, but their views do not reflect the whole story. Keep it at 10pm on Thursdays, and put the kids to bed. If it becomes too much for CBS to handle, I hope FOX or a cable channel will pick it up.
I'm ready for another drama to get into that is intelligent and well produced. Swingtown seems to have both so far. I am glad my friend pointed it out for me. Pass the word! Thank you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Right from the start, CBS wants you to know it's intent on
accomplishing two things zapping you directly back into 1976 and
convincing you that Jessica Fletcher doesn't live there. And boy, do
they do it well. Before the show itself even starts, we see the actual
CBS logo from that year a neon glowing eye, accompanied by the
musical slogan, "Turn us on, we'll turn you on." Then wham we see
what appears to be a scene of oral sex.
And even though "Swingtown" is a drama, the show's creator's take every opportunity to treat viewers to all the camp that symbolized the 1970s, and they do it with pinpoint precision: an airplane cabin decorated in garish orange and gold, populated by passengers wearing leisure suits and smoking cigarettes on board; a woman with a modified Dorothy Hamill hairdo opening a pull-top can of Tab; an episode of "The $10,000 Pyramid" featuring Tony Randall feeding clues to a contestant for the puzzle, "Things that are Spread;" men sporting bushy porn star mustaches and wearing Angels Flight pants or cut-off blue jeans shorts. Then there's the music nearly every scene has signature 70s pop tunes playing in the background The Captain and Tennille, Chicago, Seals and Crofts, Johnny Nash. If you were alive during this awkward decade, you won't be able to stop smiling, sometimes uncomfortably.
As for the show itself, well, it's deeply flawed, but it's got potential, mainly because of the terrific performances by the principle actors. Grant Show and Lana Parrilla play Tom and Trina Decker, an airline pilot and his former stewardess wife living in an upscale Chicago suburb. Their singular mission appears to be recruiting anyone and everyone to join them for group sex sessions. Jack Davenport and Molly Parker are the new, naive neighbors who immediately become the prey of the Deckers' lust hunt.
The Deckers invite the Parkers to their 4th of July party, where Jack and Molly discover Quaaludes, pot, cocaine, and orgies. Jack and Molly seem to get comfortable with it all a little too quickly, and by the end of the episode, they're sharing a bed with the Deckers. And as if all this weren't enough, there are other subplots involving involve teenage angst, a whacked-out and drug-addled neighbor, and possible allusions to budding homosexuality.
It's hard to know how long the show's writers can sustain the gimmick of 70s nostalgia while building a drama that revolves around key parties and wife swapping, but there's no doubt that it's going to be fun watching them try. I can't wait for the episode featuring the Pet Rock!
I was there and this is the way a lot of people lived, from the details
in the props and costumes to the ambivalence toward the women's
movement and open marriage.
In the Seventies, rehab was where repeat offender felons went. We were playing it by ear. I gasped when the new neighbor popped a Quaalude; it was possible to O.D. on two, if mixed with alcohol. Easyrider magazine ran a special editorial, warning its readers NOT to use this counterfeited prescription drug.
Swingtime shows both sides; the remorseful housewife who returns to church, family in tow, after her fling with the neighbors, the young girl disgusted with her mother's addiction and promiscuity, the kitschy hor-d'oerves and party games at the house-warming--can't wait to see if they get the best friend from the old neighborhood to give a Tupperware party! If you don't 'grok', you weren't there! Go back to your Xbox or Wi. The rest of us have a new guilty pleasure.
I won't tell you that the acting is stellar or that the plot lines are
deep but that hasn't affected my enjoyment of this show. Personally I
haven't watched an offering from a major network in the last five years
that I considered worth my time and attention.
Swingtown has broken that streak in that it is simply fun to watch the collision of different personalities and moralities which happened during this time in our history. Plus, the music is great and the look/feel really allows my suspension of disbelief to take hold and transport me back to the 70s.
Don't knock it till you try it :)!
I watched this with my wife and we really loved the fresh and exciting feel of the show. I enjoyed the many characters with the specific characterized needs each has. Certainly from a male perspective it has a formula that made me want more (and more). I enjoyed the party scenes and all the 70's references. The kids bring a very interesting twist in storyline. The adventure aspect for the new neighbors has me wondering what is lingering around the corner for them. And the across the street neighbors made me wish I lived on their block. It's made the PVR list with high priority. Going to tell my "friends" about this show. Keep up the good work!
If I could understand the illiteracy of the user comment '70's drama with no excitement', I'd take my rebuttal, but seeing as how it's hard to even understand, I'll leave that one alone. This show is great. If you ever watched Boogie Nights, Dazed and Confused, and felt the pure excitement and giddiness that comes with hearing Captain and Tenille, this show is for you. And, when I say 'feel' pure excitement, I mean it. The sexual tension is off the charts for cable, and it keeps you wanting more...and more. Two thumbs up. The cast is spectacular. Tom is SO HOT, and Janet - well, as a woman you realize how NOT to behave. Keep 'em coming.
I love the show "Swingtown"! being born in 1962 I remember much of the
70's. I grew up in a strict Catholic household, I was not exposed to
much in the outside world so this show is a joy to see! I enjoy seeing
all the 1970's decor, the grocery store scene, clothes and the cars.
What fun it is to see many items which I remember seeing in homes where
I babysat that are similar on this show; the same glassware, furniture
I am hoping the BEST this show lasts a long time! Besides I LOVE Molly Parker and hope to meet her someday! I loved her in "The Wicker man". I look forward to each episode! Thank you
We have caught the first two episodes of this show and thoroughly
The characters are entertaining and we were drawn to several of them immediately. One of the other posters seems to be offended as they state this is not a fair portrayal of what went on in this neighbourhood in the 70's???????? This type of behaviour goes on in every neighbourhood around the world and who cares what consenting adults do anyways....
I will keep watching the show and hope that it is renewed for future seasons.
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