Finalewatch: 'Swingtown.' The summer of '76
Summer lovin', had me a blast...sumer lovin', happened so fast. You know, that's a lyric most guys probably wouldn't appreciate much. That aside Swingtown has come to an end of it's summer lovin', with a show that tried to answer....well. Just about anything, I suppose, yet still left more questions.
The show opens with Tom & Trina preparing for their annual Summer End Clam Bake, with 10 cases of seaweed and a couple dozen coolers of lobsters, clams and other bits of seafood. Which makes the pregnant Trina feel more than a little ill. Across the street there's an equally unpleasant aroma as Susan unpacks the family's winter coats from their mothball lined boxes. There is a terse conversation with Bruce, who didn't return until after midnight. He asks if she can drive him to the train station and she tells him to take the car himself, reminding him not to forget his briefcase. It's right there. IN THE HALL. Yeah, she clearly knows, Bruce.
Meanwhile, Janet is being a telephone hog while talking to Henry. Roger tells her he is waiting for a call and she again tries to undermine him by telling him that maybe no news is news. He informs her that he was already offered the job, but that he wanted to sleep on it before making a decision. Janet hugs hum and offers congratulations. Until he reveals that it means they are moving to Cincinnati. She is less thrilled about that, and even more so when she finds out that the editor of paper wants her to take over the Ask Trudy advice column - which she turns down, much to Henry's dismay.
Susan has agreed to help Trina & Tom store seafood and get ready for their party, and as they chop lemons and clean clams, Trina asks her how things went with Roger. Susan tells her that they've agreed to never see each other again, and that she's pretty certain Bruce is having an affair based on his behavior and dreadful briefcase lie. Trina advises her to confront him now, because the longer she waits the worse it will get. So, Susan goes to the bar where he always seem to hang out, but instead of finding Bruce, she finds Melinda. So she confronts her instead. It goes about as well as you would expect. Melinda admits she doesn't love Bruce, but says she does feel a connection and then asks Susan if she can say the same, because Bruce told her he didn't. Ouch!
Roger sees Susan leaving the train station and tells her he was hoping to find Janet. He admits that she didn't take the news of their impending move very well, but that he is flying out the next day to go house hunting. Susan hugs him and tells him she is proud of him, which is probably why he loves her more than Janet at this point.
Speaking of Janet, she's not on the train because she is at Trina's house, to gift her with a book by Dr. Spock. I am 99% sure my mother had that book. Janet tells Trina that she wanted to give her the book since she won't be around to help out herself, since they are moving to Cincinnati. Trina urges her to tell Roger she doesn't want to go, so Janet marches home and does just that. I expected Roger to be more than happy to have an excuse to stay put, but he goes the opposite way by telling Janet she may be the heart of the family, but he is the head. So when he says they are moving, they are moving and that is final. Anyone who knows Janet, knows that is hardly the case.
At the clam bake, there is the infamous fish bowl for key collection, to decide who people go home with that night. Bruce tells Tom they are sitting that game out. Trina asks Susan if she confronted Bruce yet and Susan tells her no, but she talked to Melinda. She also reveals that the other woman told her that Bruce said he didn't feel connected to Susan any more and she admits that she doesn't disagree with the sentiment. Trina changes the subject, letting Susan know she is pregnant but isn't keeping the baby. Susan asks what Tom thought of it all and Trina tells her that she didn't tell him because it's her body and her choice. Susan points out that it's a little hypocritical of someone who espouses complete honesty in a relationship to keep such a secret. Game point: Susan!
Janet stops by to drop off her rosy perfection salad before taking Roger to the airport. It's a terse visit, with a few tears as she tells Susan that she doesn't want to go and isn't sure she can, no matter what Roger chooses. The party wears on until it's time to pick keys. Bruce attempts to hold Susan's hand and she stalks away. Because a party is a perfect time to confront your husband about his mistress! She tells him that she spoke to Melinda and he yells back that all they did was talk. Susan counters that the point is that he lied to her face and tries to shift the blame to her, bringing up that she was the one that opened the door to their bedroom. Not willing to be outdone, she points out that it was his dissatisfaction with life that led to the new job and new house. He says it was what they both wanted, adding that she is not Janet and he is not Roger. She icily tells him "You got that right" and then walks up to the fishbowl, grabs a set of keys and leaves with some guy named Tim.
Of course, nothing can happen with Tim and we don't even see him again. What we do see is Susan getting a phone call from Roger, who never got on the plane and is instead sitting in a hotel room. He asks her to meet him there, and she goes. Bruce, of course, runs right to Melinda. Janet is sitting home alone until Henry shows up with a bottle of champagne and an early edition of the paper with the new Dear Janet column. She's beside herself and asks him to stay, but he tells her he has a date. She asks if it's Jenny from accounting and he tells her that it's Marc from shipping. Did anyone NOT see that coming? Back on the beach, Trina tells Tom that she's pregnant and he tells her that he's never loved her more.
The kids? Oh yeah, they were in it too. Sam's mom was sent to rehab and she went to go live with her ex-addict aunt and cousin, giving B.J. her father ring and a kiss before she left. Oh, and a fish tank, which he used to rescue lobsters. Doug's former college roommate was caught in a major earthquake in Guatemala. He turned out to be OK, but Doug decided to go help with the disaster relief. Laurie wants to go to, which leads him to finally tell her he loves her. She goes home to pack, pointedly not telling her parents, but when she returns he has already left. There's a good-bye letter telling her he doesn't want her to rush her senior year of high school for him and he gives her the keys to his apartment for her refuge.
Thus, it seems that the swingers and the high school girl dating her former teacher had the strongest relationships, doesn't it? What did you like best about Swingtown? What did you like the least? Who is hoping for a last minute renewal?