Friday, June 6, 2008
Swingtown, the series about married swingers in the 1970's debuted last night on CBS. I imagine the high concept for this was something like Desperate Housewives meets Love, American Style. I can't say it's great drama, but it is fun escapist fare, esp. for those of us like me who actually remember the 70's. The cast is attractive and sophisticated and the music is fun and familiar. The clothes, on the other hand... What can I say? Seventies fashions were comfortable but you can't call them classic.
Swingtown starts with the Bicentenial celebrations in July 1976 and does a good job of capturing the hedonistic mood of the era. The Vietnam War was over and the Sexual Revolution in full swing. In the show, Susan and Bruce Miller move into a new neighborhood across from Tom and Trina Decker, a couple who have an open marriage. The setting is, I believe, a suburb of Chicago, since there's a mention of O'Hare Airport in scene one (Tom is a pilot for a commercial airline) and the Millers new home is referred to as a "lakeside mansion". Susan, who is feeling restless, has mixed feelings about leaving her old house and best friend, Janet, but she is soon seduced by the Decker's lifestyle. (And presumably the great group sex which remains mostly off screen. This is CBS, after all, not a premium cable channel.)
Is the show over the top? Probably. Is it unrealistic for the time? Not so much. Group sex and infidelity weren't invented in the 70's but they were talked about more openly. I remember reading a little bit of Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples by Nena and George O'Neill when it came out in 1972. I got to the part where they said jealousy wasn't a natural emotion but a learned response and quit reading. That notion seemed to be a big part of their premise and I wasn't buying it. No one teaches a small child to be jealous, it just happens. Usually when a little brother or sister comes along, LOL. At the time I read this, my mom and dad had a little Chihuahua who went into a snit whenever one of us petted another dog. We didn't teach her that, believe me. It was a hoot to see her sulk, though.
Will the show catch on? Who knows. I'll keep watching though, at least until we get to the disco era. Who knows, I might pick up some ideas for an erotic story.
Did you watch Swingtown? If so, what did you think?
Linda / Lyndi