"Come on, Mom," Laurie says, as Susan frets over wallpaper samples. "Get in touch with your authentic self." Laurie's vocabulary is like an annoying Me Generation glossary, but it nicely underscores the theme of this week's episode of
Swingtown, as our beloved swingers express varying degrees of authenticity in very different ways.
Trina and Tom: The Deckers both seem miserable about Tom's transfer to the Tokyo route. But, for now, Trina is dealing, even accompanying him to the airport before a long haul. While they hang in the lounge playing their "airport game" (essentially a game of "who'd you do?"), they bump into Trina's high-school sweetheart Luke (Ryan McPartlin), who was cast with scary period accuracy. Dude looks like he just walked off the set of an Old Spice commercial, right?
As Trina and Luke walk down Memory Lane, something strange happens: The swaggering Tom gets jealous. Despite his reservations, they ultimately end up in the sack with Old Spice anyway, but it's clear that Tom's feelings about swinging have been altered tonight. As I've said before, it's nice to see that Trina and Tom are actually in love, but it's also refreshing to see that having an open marriage isn't all hairy chests and short-short robes all the time. Judging from next week's previews, Tom's complicated feelings will be explored further, and I think the series will be the better for it.
Susan and Bruce: In a patronizingly sexist way, Bruce urges Susan to join the Children's Hospital Ladies Auxiliary to get in good with Bruce's boss' wife, Rita Pierce. Rita is pretty much a one-dimensional caricature of a woman of privilege. She heads up the planning committee for the children's-hospital benefit, but, as Susan says, she probably couldn't find the building on a map. Since Susan can't seem to do anything alone, she brings Janet with her to an Auxiliary luncheon. Janet is immediately dazzled by the ladies-who-lunch, which is a sharp contrast to Susan's hesitation about joining the group.
At the benefit, Susan meets Melinda, Bruce's coworker. Melinda lives in a man's world, but appears to understand the game perfectly. It's clear that Susan admires Melinda's authentic life, different as it is from those of the Auxiliary barracudas with whom Susan struggles to fit in. Ultimately, Susan agrees to play nice with Rita and her cohorts, for Bruce's sake. Susan's journey to authenticity is a gradual one, and tonight's battle was one that she felt she could concede.
Janet and Roger: "Nobody touch the jacket!" Janet shrieks, when boozy Rita spills her Bloody Mary on herself at the luncheon. Janet performs some sort of stain-removal triage involving large quantities of Sweet-n-Low, and nabs a coveted invite to the Auxiliary's benefit as well. Janet is a bit of a social climber, it seems, and, during the benefit's auction, she gleefully bids on and wins dinner for two at the Lakecrest Country Club for $100 (to which this circa-2008 New Yorker said: "Such a deal!"). Rita invites both Susan and Janet to join the Auxiliary, and Janet is so beside herself with happiness that she runs home and immediately crafts a page in her scrapbook to commemorate the evening. Her hair was kind of funny tonight, right?
If only a new flip hairdo and pressed flowers were all it took to ensure happiness. Once Janet gets a taste of the good life at the luncheon, she nags Roger to ask for a raise. Instead, after 12 years as Mutual of Omaha's best salesman, he's fired. Naturally, he doesn't tell Janet, who is currently suffering from delusions of grandeur about joining a country club and making scrapbooks with all her new rich friends. Roger confesses to his secret confidante Susan that he's happy about having lost his job, since selling insurance required him to be - wait for it -- inauthentic.
The Kids: B.J. and Ricky are shipped off to camp, so no pining for Rollergirl this week. Laurie, on the other hand, has to prepare for her final oral exam, in which she has to apply the lessons of the great philosophers on the subjects of authenticity and self-expression to her own life. She balks at the assignment, since it would require her to reveal her secret affair with Mr. Stephens, who inexplicably scolds her for not being forthright in her exam. But now, to quote the immortal Alice Cooper, school's out for the summer, which means Laurie can suck face with her hottie no-longer-her-philosophy-teacher Doug with abandon, a course of action apparently somehow sanctioned by Kierkegaard.
Next week: Tom cheats! Susan and Roger touch each other! Bruce has a wife, but Melinda has an apartment! And Roger tells Janet that he needs
more! Finally! Somebody get the Thompsons into bed stat! Talk about complications
What did you think of "Friends with Benefits"? Was tonight's quest for authenticity a nice metaphor for the progress of this television series, which continues to move toward its own truth? How will Tom and Susan confront their respective crises of conscience? And will they do it
Put your keys in the bowl, loosen your tie, recline on the sofa and watch full episodes of Swingtown in our
Online Video Guide
Purchase selections from tonight's soundtrack at
Come on Mom Laurie says as Susan frets over wallpaper samples Get in touch with your authentic self Lauries vocabulary is like an annoying Me Generation glossary but it nicely underscores the theme of this weeks episode of Swingtown as our beloved swingers express varying degrees of authenticity in very different waysTrina and Tom The Deckers both seem miserable about Toms transfer to the Tokyo route But for now Trina is dealing even accompanying him to the airport before a long haul While they hang in the lounge playing their airport game essentially a game of whod you do they bump into Trinas high-school sweetheart Luke Ryan McPartlin who was cast with scary period accuracy Dude looks like he just walked off the set of an Old Spice commercial rightAs Trina and Luke walk down Memory Lane something strange happens The swaggering Tom gets jealous Despite his reservations they ultimately end up in the sack with Old Spice anyway but its clear