This week, Swingtown kicked off with a horrifically uncomfortable erotic dream that Janet finds herself in the middle of, where she and her husband Roger are seduced by Trina and Tom over apple pie in her kitchen. Sex Pie! It’s uncomfortable because in Janet’s erotic dreams, people keep their clothes on. And they are poly-blends. The CBS clean format works in that respect, anyway! Thus, Janet’s still haunted by finding herself at a swingers party, where she and Roger left, while Susan and Bruce…didn’t. So, Janet is avoiding them by ignoring the phone and their weekly bridge night. Is that really a loss?
Also haunted is Susan, who makes a pact with Bruce that the night with Trina and Tom was a one time deal. Bruce agrees, but wanders out the front door, sans suitcase, to run right into Trina. Where he stumbles around awkward small talk until Susan appears with his briefcase. I love awkward! It gets even better when Trina invites herself to tag along through Susan’s morning errands.
To keep with the haunted theme, Tom get bit by the ghosts of infidelity past – namely Tammy, who is gossiping about her night of play with him and his wife. The suits at corporate tell him he will no longer be flying the Miami route that Tammy works. Instead, he’s getting promoted to Tokyo. So, he’s failing upwards! And Bruce has a good day wheeling and dealing in his job as a broker, so the men are happy.
Susan runs into Janet at the grocery store, but since Trina is with her Janet snubs them both and tells her that bridge night is off because she’s having a diner party instead. Which gives Trina the opportunity she was waiting for to invite Susan and Bruce to dinner. She promises that it’s just dinner, adding "no Quaaludes". Not even for dessert? To go with the Sex Pie!
Meanwhile, Laurie is haunted by her jerk boyfriend, Logan – who weasels his way into attending the field trip to see the rewrite of an existentialist play as a treatise on feminism Laurie is going to because she’s hot for her teacher. Take a moment to review that sentence and indulge in the irony, please. And B.J. is haunted by the runaway next door, Samantha, who leaves him a list of demands and a map to where she’s hiding in the woods. He spends 6 months of his allowance to get her a tent, flash light, radio, food, etc and she doesn’t even say thank you. Because she’s a bitter teen with a junkie mother.
Bruce has such a good day at the over aggressive office that he goes to celebrate with his boss at the Playboy Club. Since this is the world before cellphones, Susan goes to pick him up at the train station to find out from Roger that he wasn’t on the train. She has to go back home to get a message to have him paged at the club so he can tell her what’s going on. How inconvenient! She goes over to Trina and Tom’s to apologize for not being able to keep their dinner plans only to find out they are also Playboy Club members. Of course!
They all decide to go down and surprise Bruce – who thinks his wife is great for coming. They meet up with Trina and Tom’s "friends", Sylvia and Brad – the Overachievers. Sylvia is a former Playboy Bunny who put herself through law school, while Brad has a PhD. in psychology and has written 3 books on human sexuality. Despite any possible intimidation she might feel, Susan manages to confide in Trina about the pact she made with Bruce. Trina is completely supportive and assures Susan that her and Tom have several pacts themselves. Safe words are not the same as pacts, Trina! Sylvia and Brad invite them all up to a penthouse in the Hancock Building (too easy) for an after party, but Susan and Bruce have to get home to the kids and Trina and Tom decide to call it a night too.
Janet is having a less great night, with less fluffy tail as well, as the last minute dinner guests she invited are uptight conservatives who allude to a belief that Jimmy Carter just might be the devil. Even their misogynist son, Rick, thinks he’s a douche. Are they allowed to say douche on CBS? Roger excuses himself to get the pie (Sex Pie!) and cooks up a scheme with Rick to break a dish, fake a serious injury and end the evening as quickly as possible. A plan that goes off without a hitch, except for the fact that it is one more thing that pisses Janet off. And no one gets pie, sex or otherwise. Surprise, surprise. However, it’s all just a cover up for how much Janet misses Susan.
Roger tells Janet to do something about her floundering friendship and Janet decides to bring the Sex Pie to Susan as a token of forgiveness. In fact, she is leaving it on Susan and Bruce’s front stoop when they drive up…with Trina and Tom. And Janet gets all prudish and tight lipped again and stalks off to furiously scrub her dishes. Bruce is the only one who eats any Sex Pie. Susan is too busy being a house wife and finding Sylvia’s business card in Bruce’s pants pocket, with the note "Let’s get together!" scrawled on it. Cue camera angle of foreboding!
- Bruce borrows a dime to make a phone call. A dime.
- Aerosmith records.
- Fiesta ware.
- "You ladies wait here and I’ll Godot get the car."
So. Second night in picked up the pace. But the difference in tone between the story lines surrounding the kids and those around the parents is jarring, and takes away a certain sense of gravity. Samantha sitting in a tent, devouring leftovers B.J. brought her and telling him "My mom must have the cops looking everywhere for me" and him replying "Actually, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know you are gone" should have incited some sort of reaction beyond wishing B.J. showed an emotional range exceeding staring. Nor do I care a whit about Laurie. I almost felt like I was watching two different shows, shoe horned into the same time slot.
Did you guys agree? Disagree? Do the hustle? Who wants pie?