Screener Girl Checks Out Swingtown

Swingtown PhotoIt Has The Makings Of Pure Greatness

Swingtown Photo

Swingtown On CBS – Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

CBS’ official description of Swingtown sells it like this:  

After moving to an upscale lakeside Chicago suburb in July of 1976, Susan and Bruce Miller must confront temptation in the form of their provocative new neighbors, Tom and Trina Decker, while not abandoning their old friends Janet and Roger Thompson. As the adult couples evaluate whether to embrace or avoid newfound personal freedoms, the curious Miller and Thompson children begin to discover and assert their own morality and sexual identities as they come of age in a world on the precipice of change. 

There are a lot of things to like about CBS’s Swingtown.  The fact that CBS let this show on the air in the first place speaks to a great idea on paper, that I think could be really great on screen.  Looking at the list of actors they’ve assembled, it has the makings of pure greatness.  Molly Parker (Deadwood) and Jack Davenport (Coupling – the real UK version) play Susan and Bruce.  Tom and Trina are played by my favorite Melrose Place alum Grant Show and Lana Parilla from Boomtown (I loved that show).  Janet and Roger Thompson might so far by my favorite couple on the show.  Miriam Shor plays Janet with such shock and repulsion and confusion and I hope that this is a true breakout role for her.  Her hubby is played by sometimes-show killer Josh Hopkins (you know him from lots of stuff, like Ally McBeal and most recently from Brothers and Sisters), who is so curious that it’s endearing.  They’re such an eclectic mix of actors, it’ll make for some good stuff down the road.  I love the time period they’re focusing on – the late 70s were such an interesting time around the country, that it’s “groovy” so to speak to see it on screens on a weekly basis.  And the clothes and the music from that era are just amazing.  I also really liked the idea that though the show is “about” the swinger lifestyle and open marriages, they find time to focus on the children and how this era affected them, too.     

I worry, though, that this show, after a semi-lackluster pilot episode that tries to cram too much into one hour, could face a lot of backlash.  A show about swingers and open marriages?  On CBS, a network designed for an older-skewing crowd?  It probably belongs on cable, so they can be a little freer with their sexual freedom as portrayed on the show.  I also think they would have had a better first few episodes if they prolonged Bruce and Susan’s basically immediate jump into the action, so to speak.  I also worry that they’re going to polarize Parilla’s Trina, who is a little bit too much “I’m 100% okay with this” for my tastes.  I don’t want the writers to have to cower to the network censors, and I hope that their true vision comes out, so I’ll keep an open mind.

I’m 50/50 on the show.  I think after seeing the second episode, which is garnering better reviews than the pilot, I’m likely to flip to the “must see” side of things.  And maybe I’m just nitpicking because I feel like this show needs to be perfect for CBS to continue showing faith in it.  My fingers are crossed, because I would like for something new to work!