Swingtown: The Complete First Season

Molly Parker and company in a CBS show too good to last...of course!

December 24th, 2010 by Wayward Muse
Rating: Genres: Featured Actors: Actors: Aaron Christian Howles, Brittany Robertson, Grant Show, Jack Davenport, Josh Hopkins, Lana Parrilla, Michael Rady, Miriam Shor, Shanna Collins Directors: Alan Poul, Alex Zakrzewski, Bob Balaban, Daniel Minahan, Jamie Babbit

This show is real—in a sweet, lighthearted way. Swingtown is full of the exhilarating optimism of a time when everything was changing, and anything seemed possible. Shown not through the cynical, ironic gaze of hindsight, that pastes on labels like the “me generation,” but with all the sincerity of a time when “consciousness-raising” was a revolutionary act, and we really did still believe at a core level that “love would find a way!” It was such a treat to revisit the giddy optimism and innocence of that time.

Swinging in Swingtown

Swinging in Swingtown

I can’t imagine anybody who is too much of a prude is going to rent a show called “Swingtown” about swingers in the suburbs during “the social and sexual revolution!” But just in case: no, this show is not a promo piece for the “swinger” lifestyle, any more than, say Rome, is for the raping and pillaging lifestyle! It does, however, show all it’s protagonists in a really positive, caring light—fallible human beings certainly, one and all—but sincere and likable, frequently profound and wise—not the biggest jerks of the era—so don’t expect to use this as your “Reefer Madness” propaganda piece against the horrors of “free love” either! No graphic sex is depicted—this is CBS, not HBO. Most you get is foreplay, and even that is minimal, but it still manages to be quite sexy.

Twister in Swingtown

Twister in Swingtown

I can’t remember ever seeing a film or a show that caught the 70’s as well as this does—in so many details, large and small—and again, without condescending irony, but with complete sincerity—a long-time-coming breath of fresh air. But it is the script, the characterizations, and the wonderful cast that propels this offering so far ahead of the pack. This is extremely well-written—absolutely hilarious one moment, deeply poignant the next, and continually thought-provoking—the questions explored are ageless, though the times have certainly changed. Television for grown-ups. Molly Parker, perhaps the best actress of her generation, simply shines—but the entire cast is top-shelf. What a delight!

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