Swingtown: The First Season

Swingtown: The First Season
With orgies, key parties, Quaaludes, cocaine, Deep Throat, swinger clubs, polyester jumpsuits, Jimmy Carter, Women's lib and a healthy dose of "goin' with the flow," Swingtown captures, at least archetypically, much of the groovin' '70s spirit that started in cultural hotspots and eventually seeped into mainstream suburban living. It is no surprise that the series was originally developed for cable, as fantasy montages about clothed crotches, graphic orgies, lingering scenes of threesomes, teenage pot smoking and a liberal use of recreational drugs amongst parental units are evident in every episode. This is not to imply that the show explores darker themes, as, on the contrary, the characters are relatable and well drawn, acting conflicted and sincere when confronted with dominant ideologues, as well as personal liberations and instant gratification. They are relatable and more importantly, not drawn as sexual predators, which is a common depiction of swingers in pop culture. The season starts out with Susan and Bruce Miller (Molly Parker and Jack Davenport) moving away from their middle-class digs and middle-class Republican friends Roger and Janet Thompson (Josh Hopkins and Miriam Shor) to an upper-middle-class neighbourhood not far away. Almost immediately they meet their extremely liberal neighbours Tom and Trina Decker (Grant Show and Lana Parilla), who, amongst other things, are swingers, partiers and very affable, which of course leads to some liberation on the part of Susan and a loss of power for Bruce. The 13-episode first season - and likely only season - is well written, if occasionally clichéd, and impeccably acted by the veteran cast. The DVD box set includes commentaries on the first and last episodes from producers Mike Kelley and Alan Poul, who discuss mostly characterizations, censorship and the amount of thought and detail that went into wardrobe, production design and even the sex scenes. Also included are two featurettes on the "making of" and "Sex & Morality in the '70s," which offer some insights on political relevance, cast interviews and much camaraderie. Included are a gag reel and deleted scenes. (Paramount)