Swingtown Episodes

2008, TV Show

Swingtown Episode: "Puzzlerama"

Season 1, Episode 8
Episode Synopsis: Trina hosts a "Puzzlerama" party where mismatched couples attempt to discover game clues based on dark secrets in the neighborhood.
Original Air Date: Jul 24, 2008
Guest Cast James Thomas: John Hyatt Rachelle Lefevre: Melinda Kate Norby: Gail Saxton Rick Peters: Tony Mareno
Full Episode
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Season 1, Episode 8
Paid | iTunes
Length: 16:39:26
Aired: 7/24/2008
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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"Puzzlerama" Season 1, Episode 8

I have to say that I'm bummed that CBS has moved Swingtown to Friday night, if only because such a switch is usually an indication that a show is on its way to cancellation. At the fall TV press tour, CBS president Nina Tassler expressed her support for and love of the show, though she also wished the ratings were higher. I'm guessing it'll complete its summer run, but after that, who knows? Stay tuned. Have you all seen the movie Secrets & Lies? If you haven't, you should put it in your Netflix queue tout suite. It's about an adopted black British woman ( Without a Trace's Marianne Jean-Baptiste) who goes looking for her birth mother, only to discover that she's white! There's a scene near the end of the movie where everyone's secrets are painfully, disastrously revealed, and the great Timothy Spall gives this impassioned speech about the dangers of keeping secrets. "Secrets and lies!" he bellows, as if to say, "Pay attention, that's the title and theme of the movie you're watching!" It's Shakespearean in tone, and a really moving moment. The beginning of this week's episode of Swingtown has a similar, though less speechy scene, in which those benevolent schemers Tom and Trina Decker have a little chat about their Puzzlerama party. Puzzlerama -- "truth-or-dare on a roller coaster," according to Tom-- is a game that ferrets out the secrets of the neighborhood with clever clues and a scavenger hunt involving rifling through the neighbors' houses. "I'm an open book it's secrets that are wicked," purrs Trina. (She kind of purrs everything, right?) While I have to admit this game sounds like my worst nightmare (stay out of my underwear drawer, please!), part of me wishes my friends were as organized when it came to parties. Mostly we just go to bars. I did, however, once go to a 30th birthday party with an all-over-Manhattan scavenger hunt, but once I opened that storage locker in the basement of Grand Central Station and was greeted with the stale stench of urine instead of the next clue, the fun was pretty much over. Similarly, the stale stench of secrets seemed to kill this game of Puzzlerama, whose ultimate effect was to ruin everyone's lives in a way that no stained-glass question mark could ever remedy. Who had the dirtiest little secrets? Read on! Susan has a new secret best friend. While I liked the idea of Susan having a racy dream about Roger and a group suntan-lotion application session, it seemed a bit repetitive of Janet's hot-apple-pie dream from a few episodes ago, didn't it? Aesthetically though, its sun-drenched, candy-colored palette made me realize how clever the cinematography and art direction of Swingtown is. It's typically as dull as a paneled basement with the flat, muted tones (mustard, rust, blue-gray and brown) of the time period. Nevertheless, Susan's complicated feelings about Roger remain interesting to me, and I hope, as Bruce becomes more and more inattentive, they will yield some real dramatic tension. Roger went to a secret pool party. I was heartened by last week's détente in the Thompson household, as Janet agreed to help Roger achieve more. Which is why it was kind of devastating to see that cozy teamwork shattered by Roger's further pool-party deceptions. Thus far, Josh Hopkins has played Roger as a winning though dim-witted little buddy, but I'm hoping that Roger's recent change in employment status will encourage him to broaden his horizons, sexual and otherwise. Hopkins ( Cold Case, Brothers & Sisters) certainly has the acting chops for it. Trina thinks Susan and Roger have a secret. In a nice echo of prior Decker-sponsored extracurricular activities (cough), Trina forms the Puzzlerama teams by swapping spouses. The perceptive Trina positively drips metaphor when she says -- scratch that, purrs -- that she paired Susan and Roger because she saw "a great team that could win it all if they wanted to." But we all know that "winning it all" means something different to Trina, as indicated by her voyeuristic pool-party photos of Roger's hard bod. After spending some QT caressing Susan's gold-hoop earring, she also found Roger's borrowed swim trunks in Susan's unmentionables drawer, which got her imagination working overtime, much to Susan's embarrassment and annoyance. "Winning isn't everything," she tells Trina. Janet figured out everybody's secrets. "I knew you were crafty, but not... crafty," Janet says to Trina. Heh. Miriam Shor had some fun again this week showing us Janet's giddy competitive streak and her great chemistry with Grant Show (foreshadowing?). I like the continued integration of the couples: Janet actually seemed happy to go to the Deckers' party. The ambiguous confrontation between Janet and Roger at the end of the episode -- "What are you talking about?" Janet asks for all of us -- seems to indicate that there will be added complexity in the Thompsons' marriage, a development that I think will serve both actors well. Laurie's mom deduces her secret affair with Mr. Stephens, er, Doug. Last week, in my absence, Adam put this better than I have thus far this season. This student-teacher-relationship stuff is just straight-up clichéd. It's a nice reversal that it's the "grown-up" who wants to take things slowly, and I generally like the outspoken Laurie, but something about this storyline leaves me cold. Adding the Carter campaign to the mix doesn't help. Even the shocking revelation by Susan that her daughter might be doing more than reading Doug's master's thesis -- titled "Passion vs. Intellect" with unsubtle symbolism -- played kind of flat, although Molly Parker's always-expressive face tells us that there will be more on this subject later, so I'll reserve judgment for now. Rollergirl and B.J. have a secret storyline where is it already? No real secrets here, but wasn't it nice to see a smile on Rollergirl's face? She was decidedly cheerier tonight, now that B.J.'s back from Native American crafts camp. Mareno and Gail need to have more secrets. Isn't it strange that the two most promiscuous characters on this show about sexual freedom are also the least sympathetic and/or interesting? Despite my tiresome calls for carnality at every turn of the dramatic page, something about these two crosses the line from saucy to skanky. Maybe they're supposed to demonstrate contrast, but I wish they were a little more fleshed-out. Mareno is a tolerable himbo, and his screen time is so limited that, you know, who cares? But the writers have hinted that Gail has an interesting backstory (MIA/dead Vietnam vet husband, the mysterious Stu, all that aluminum foil), but she's never given the chance to do more than pant and grope and roll her eyes. Barring any deeper knowledge, I'd at least want Gail to be funnier, campier, sexier -- don't you? Bruce and Melinda begin and end (?) a secret affair. After whatever happened last week (do we know for sure that they didn't sleep together?), it was obviously one of those only-on-TV not-coincidences that Melinda showed up at the Puzzlerama party with Mareno. I admire Melinda's nerve, especially considering how taken Susan was with her at the benefit. At the train station newsstand, the intoxicating smells of newsprint and train exhaust combined to ignite the fires of passion between the coworkers and they end up sucking face. Once Bruce realizes that Tom knows his secret (see below), he breaks it (what is it exactly?) off with Melinda for now. I can't imagine that that's the end of Melinda. Tom understands the danger of secrets. Oddly, Tom is the voice of reason this week. When he spies Bruce and Melinda kissing among the porn, his quick, rational thinking prevents Janet from seeing the illicit liplock. Later, he advises Bruce coolly not to "dip his pen in the company ink." And during his and Trina's Puzzlerama postmortem, it's Tom that intones with the wisdom of the sages: "Open and honest doesn't always mean easy." Ain't that the truth! Next week! Tom and Trina endorse monogamy! Bruce and Susan go to a sex club! Up is down! Down is up! What did you think? Are secrets as wicked as Trina thinks they are? Or are there instances in which some things are better left unsaid? Also: Sex club? Is this a good idea? Discover all of Swingtown's secrets by watching full episodes in our Online Video Guide Purchase selections from tonight's soundtrack at Last.fm show less
I have to say that Im bummed that CBS has moved Swingtown to Friday night if only because such a switch is usually an indication that a show is on its way to cancellation At the fall TV press tour CBS president Nina Tassler expressed her support for and love of the show though she also wished the ratings were higher Im guessing itll complete its summer run but after that who knows Stay tunedHave you all seen the movie Secrets Lies If you havent you should put it in your Netflix queue tout suite Its about an adopted black British woman Without a Traces Marianne Jean-Baptiste who goes looking for her birth mother only to discover that shes white Theres a scene near the end of the movie where everyones secrets are painfully disastrously revealed and the great Timothy Spall gives this impassioned speech about the dangers of keeping secrets Secrets and lies he bellows as if to say Pay attention thats the title and theme of the movie youre watchi read more

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Premiered: June 05, 2008, on CBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (590 ratings)
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Premise: A couple faces shifting sexual and social attitudes when they move to an upscale Chicago suburb in the 1970s, where open marriages are openly accepted.


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