Swingtown (2008)
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Running on Empty 

Bruce sets up a trip to get his family back on track, but it's less pleasant than he'd hoped. Rick comes along, but he and B.J. fight about Sam. When Laurie hitchhikes back to town to be ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Bruce Miller
Janet Thompson
Samantha Saxton
B. J. Miller
Roger Thompson
Doug Stephens
Rick Thompson (as Nicholas J. Benson)
Dr. Gardner


Bruce sets up a trip to get his family back on track, but it's less pleasant than he'd hoped. Rick comes along, but he and B.J. fight about Sam. When Laurie hitchhikes back to town to be with Doug, her parents have to confront the reality of their daughter's relationship. Tom and Trina explore the delights of monogamy to reestablish the trust between them, and Janet takes Roger to see a psychiatrist because she thinks he's in a crisis, but ends up taking a session of her own. Written by Peter Brandt Nielsen

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis








Release Date:

8 August 2008 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Laurie Miller: Mom, life is short. We need to be happy now.
Susan Miller: Sometimes life is long, Laurie.
Laurie Miller: Even more reason.
See more »


Couldn't Be Me
Written by Joe Lervold & Barbara Martin
Performed by The Joel Evans Quartet
Courtesy of Position Music
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User Reviews

Running on Empty was another compelling episode of "Swingtown"
15 August 2008 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

After last week's swinging mess-up at the Millers between the parents and their daughter Laurie, Bruce plans a family get together at their cabin to try to get things back to normal. (good luck with that!) Janet Thompson brings son Ricky for the family to take along since she and Roger have issues of their own to confront. Laurie so wants to ditch but reluctantly comes along even though she really wants to see Jackson Browne in concert with Doug. And just before they all leave, B.J.-after the situation with Samantha in the last episode-tells Ricky he's not talking to him. Niice! Janet pulls a number of a psychiatrist she got from Brad Davis and tells Roger he needs to go, which he reluctantly does with his wife as moral support. When they arrive, however, this female shrink senses Janet herself might need some help and asks her questions Janet is very uncomfortable with quickly ending the session. Janet later returns by herself to say she won't pay for the session. The shrink says to sit down and then asks her about thoughts of other men she may have considering the troubles she and Roger are having. Janet mentions Tom and the feelings she thinks he has for her because of his kissing her last episode. She says she's uncomfortable about his advances which the shrink tells her to confront him about if she wants them to end. So Janet goes to the Decker house where she encounters a shirtless Tom. Knowing Trina is out, she's about to tell him when Tom's wife comes back in. Tom says Janet was about say something important. Not wanting to reveal her feelings in front of Trina, Janet invites her and Tom to dinner at the Thompson home. Trina and Tom accept and get dressed up quickly since the scheduled time is 5:30. I should note that long before Janet's arrival, Trina and Tom were involved in some kinky sex as another swinging couple called and invited them over which Tom had to turn down as their marriage was still closed. Back at the Thompsons', the Deckers are served some martinis and cheese ball with Janet asking Tom help in the kitchen. There she tells Tom what she thinks are his feelings for her and tells him they're just friends. Tom, relieved Janet's not giving in to his "advances", tells her how brave she is for her "honesty" and agrees with her on the "friends" part. While that's happening, Trina tells Roger there's only two things he can do about Susan: Either tell her and suffer the consequences or forget about it entirely. Just before the main course, as the Thompsons are back in the kitchen, the Deckers decide to leave especially when Tom notes how the party was "freaky and boring". As they politely say their goodbyes, Trina tells her husband to call that other swinging couple. We last see them get action with an African-American couple. Oh, and on the shrink's advice, Janet tells Roger she's going on the job market which is a relief with her husband. Back at the Millers' cabin, Laurie is constantly talking to Doug on the phone, so much so that Bruce, her dad, pulls it out of the wall to force an ultimatum. Later when her mom is rock throwing, Laurie asks Susan what she ever saw in her father. Susan reveals it was only a few months when she was pregnant with her daughter when she married Bruce. This then becomes a discussion of how Laurie loves Doug vs. how Susan loves Bruce. Later, as Susan is talking on the fixed phone with Roger, Bruce-angry that his wife didn't arrive for their planned picnic-asks where she was as Susan then hangs up pretending to have spoken to an operator. At this point, B.J. gives them a note from Laurie saying she's gone hitchhiking. The woman who picks Laurie up is the one who played the recently deceased Ida on "Desparate Housewives". Ida, having been married four times, tells Laurie "Men are like light-bulbs. You keep screwing them until they're done. And they won't last forever". As the Miller parents are driving, Bruce switches stations looking for news of his daughter. When a Jackson Browne concert promo airs, Susan says stop the car as she goes to a pay phone and calls Doug as he tells her where Laurie is since he's picking her up there. After everyone's side is aired over pie-even after Bruce threatens to send Doug to jail-a truce is reached with Laurie's father offering her money as she leaves with her former teacher for the concert. As they leave and a montage of the other goings-on between the couples are depicted, Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" plays on the score. Oh, and before this synopsis ends, I have to note that after B.J. and Ricky's fight over Samantha ends with both exhausted, they reach a truce themselves as B.J. declares, "My family needs help." "Join the club!", Ricky exclaims...I found the whole Decker/Thompson dinner quite hilarious especially when Tom commented on the cheeseball nuts! Oh, and while part of me is still uncomfortable with the Laurie/Doug relationship, they and Susan seem to be a little more mature in their handling the situation than Bruce though even he is practicing some restraint here. Wonder how long that will last? Oh, and after weeks of seeing just Caucasians how cool to see the swinging couple that spend some time with Tom and Trina near the end being people of color. And how long before Roger and Susan can keep their phone "relationship" secret from their spouses? Intriguing questions all and with only a few episodes left this season, how and will they even be answered? I guess we'll have to wait and see so until next time...

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