Saturday, August 30, 2008

In Defense of Swingtown


I know, I know surely I can't be a fan of Swingtown. I mean it's such a soap opera, but hold on wait one second. I think it has merits. Sure its all about three couples in the summer of 1976, but the characters are getting better written as the show evolves. At first you can say yeah theres the marriage which seems to be imploding slowly, and then there is the couple who have a more modern way of looking at marriage, but as the series progressed this summer some of those stereotypes began to melt away.

Here's the premise in a nut shell:

"The early episodes take place in the summer of 1976, when the Miller family relocates to a more affluent neighborhood in North Shore, a suburban area north of Chicago. Bruce Miller (Jack Davenport) is a futures trader working his way up in the business, while his wife, Susan (Molly Parker), is a housewife.

Tom and Trina Decker (Grant Show and Lana Parrilla) are the Millers' new neighbors. Tom, an airline pilot, met Trina while she was a stewardess. The Deckers have an open marriage, and quickly befriend the Millers.

Roger and Janet Thompson (Josh Hopkins and Miriam Shor), the Millers' neighbors and friends from their old neighborhood, are envious of the Millers' new affluent neighborhood. They try to maintain their friendship with the Millers, but are appalled when they learn about the Deckers' open marriage.

The Millers' daughter, Laurie (Shanna Collins), explores her relationship with her summer school Philosophy teacher. The Millers' son, B.J. (Bruce Jr.) (Aaron Howles), has a strained friendship with the Thompsons' son, Rick (Nick Benson), as a result of their move, and B.J. befriends Samantha Saxton (Brittany Robertson), an enigmatic girl who lives next door.


Now sure it all sounds all too familiar, but as the series progressed. The Deckers become a bit less modern, and in the end Trina is faced with a dilemma that is a contradiction to her and her husbands lifestyle. The Millers family is just the opposite. Their dreamy little nuclear family is melting down, and Susan realizes that there is more to her and the world. Molly Parker plays the character beautifully, and reminds me of Jill Clayburgh character Erica in "The Unmarried Women".

It's a fact I grew up in the seventies, and the series gets the era right. Maybe audiences aren't seeing this because CBS isn't promoting it as well as it should, and that's their fault. Already they moved it to Fridays at 10PM instead of Thursdays. Now I know summer shows have a lot to compete with. Lets face it not many people are not in front of their TVs on a Friday summer night, and in an era where the Internet, and Play stations rule it becomes a bit harder to draw that audience.

So that's why I'd like CBS to try harder. It may already be too late for the show. The finale of the show airs next week, and there is somewhat of a cliffhanger, but yet we are promised a full filling episode where if the series ends then it will leave it's audience happy and content.

I still think the show holds a lot of promise and that the actors who portray the characters on the show do an extraordinary job at fleshing the characters out. I really would LOVE to see this series go for a season two. I would bet dollars to donuts that it's second season would be twenty times better then it's first. All I'm saying is hey CBS give the show a break, and renew it. Put it in your fall or spring program line up. It will do better. Because after all how many cop and procedural shows can you do in a season? Give Swingtown a chance.

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