‘Swingtown’ recap: The pluses of pornography
Who’d have imagined that it would take porn star Harry Reems to bring feminism to the sleepy suburbs of Swingtown? The Deep Throat star’s visit, for a benefit party the Deckers threw for his legal defense, resulted in a few raised eyebrows and raised consciousness for Susan and Janet, and maybe even for Trina.
Susan underwent the biggest change in this episode, titled ”Go Your Own Way.” At first, she was disgusted by the idea of a fund- raiser for a controversial porn star. (Swingtown’s writers made an impossible-to-miss contrast between the Deckers’ soiree and the Tupperware party Janet and Susan were throwing.) But after Susan read Reems’ legal file — and after she learned that Bruce had seen the movie without her, with some of his coworkers on a boys’ night out — she changed her mind and decided that there was an issue of freedom involved. First Amendment freedom for Reems, freedom to go see the notorious flick by herself, and freedom to go to the Deckers’ party despite Bruce’s disapproval. (Check out Lindsay Soll's take on the series’ spot-on ’70s fashion.)
Janet, too, overcame her initial revulsion and came along (to give moral support to Susan, she said). After she met the guest of honor — who told her he’d been paid just $250 for his role in the hugely profitable movie, only to be hit with tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills and the loss of any interest in him from non-porn casting agents —, she warmed to him as well.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Roger were still stuck in the 1950s, bowling together like Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton. Bruce was mystified to come home and find that not only was his wife championing a porn star but she was having her own thoughts and was too busy to cook him dinner. It was like the scene in Pleasantville, where Joan Allen is off discovering herself while William H. Macy comes home for the first time to a darkened house and a cold oven.
The surprise event of the evening turned out to be a living-room screening of the movie. Janet and Roger, once they got over their squeamishness and mystification that a movie that silly could be the source of so much controversy, actually found themselves turned on, and when they went home, they broke their sex-only-every-other-Friday rule for the first time. Bruce and Susan had a rockier homecoming, as he whined that he wanted to know where this was all going, and she said (with her usual candor) that she didn’t know. (Cue Helen Reddy’s ”I Am Woman” on the soundtrack, obvious but effective.)
NEXT: Young love