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August 13, 2008

Swingtown: Bruce, Susan, Tom and Trina, You’ve Swung Your Way Into Our Hearts


By Cindy Droog

Around my house, the word “swing” is only used to describe something Victor Martinez of the Cleveland Indians or Magglio Ordonez of the Detroit Tigers does. That is, until CBS launched its somewhat raunchy – but definitely entertaining – Swingtown.


Yes, we DVR it. Yes, we watch it after the kids go to bed. Yes, it’s on our ever-shrinking “shows not to miss” list. And that’s pretty risqué for a couple of Midwest stiffs.


I know what you’re really asking, though, and the answer is no. We haven’t changed the status of our relationship because of it. Just our TV-viewing schedule.


My favorite character? Troubled young teen Samantha Saxton. Neglected by a mom who’s more interested in – shall I say – “action and satisfaction,” than her own daughter, Samantha first vows to live in a tent in the woods, then returns to society, only to find herself fending off unwanted advances at a lame basement party, using her sharp right hook.


Samantha is me. I grew up in the 1970s, and while my parents were no Tom and Trina (well, at least not to my knowledge), they gave me a whole lot of independence. I used it to roam my small town on the least-cool-of-all-my-friends bicycle that I’d gotten at a garage sale.


I wasn’t interested in boys, just in somehow being different than everyone else who lived in my town.  


My husband, on the other hand, loves Jake, I mean, Tom Decker. He still calls him Jake, because that was his name on Melrose Place, and my husband can’t let go of his first love of television drama (the show, not the actor).


Of course, he also admires Tom Decker’s Boogie Nights shirts and crazy-patterned swim trunks.


Together, we watch in amusement as the teens on the show explore their sexuality in a much more innocent fashion than the parents do. We laugh aloud every time Janet cooks a casserole to avoid actually thinking about her excitement deprivation. Maybe we laugh because we do that, too, cooking up delicious kebobs on the grill, secretly wishing we were having a steak cooked for us, served up with our favorite bottle of wine, just like in the pre-baby days.


We would not change a thing about our lives, just like Susan and Bruce Miller on Swingtown probably wouldn’t. But we find it interesting that the show touches on a fact: You can fall into a routine without even noticing that you’ve done it. And a routine can lead to a rut. It’s up to you to snap out of it.


Granted, our solution won’t be to host a key party. But I could have taken a housewarming gift to our new neighbors across the street. We could actually hire a babysitter on a weeknight.


We find the bedroom scenes amusing, too. Heck, if That 70s Show can pull off one scene of each episode that’s solely focused around something that’s only legal for medicinal purposes in California, then Swingtown can surely get away with one laugh-out-loud moment of “Oops! How did I get here?” sexual tension.


Oh, and the soundtrack certainly helps in our favorable review. Of course, this is coming from a couple who still jams to the Stones and Bob Dylan on a daily (yes, daily) basis.


So, no matter who’s swinging, and in our house it’s only going to be the likes of Derek Jeter, I still believe what Captain & Tennille sang: “Love will keep us together!”


Now, if only our love for the show keeps it on air, we’ll have one more hour of entertainment this fall.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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