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Series / Swingtown

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Swingtown takes place in the suburbs of Chicago at 1976, when the Millers leave their old lower middle class neighborhood, and move into a new home in a more affluent, liberal suburb. The parents, Susan and Bruce, befriend next door neighbors, swingers Trina and Tom, who maintain an open marriage and encourage them to follow suit. In the meanwhile, the Millers attempt to hold on to their old friends - Roger and Janet, who lead a far more conservative life style. Meanwhile, teenage daughter Laurie is Hot for Teacher, and naive BJ falls for his Troubled, but Cute next door neighbor Samanatha, to the chagrin of his best friend Rick, who is also Roger and Janet's son.The show is full of nostalgia of The '70s, complete with disco, teased hair, pong, Deep Throat scandals, big sunglasses and roller skates. Mostly, however, it focuses on the cultural transition aspect of the period, and the clash of values between old world conservatism and the height of the sexual revolution.


This show provides examples of:

  • A Day in Her Apron: Roger, after being laid off from his job selling insurance.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Bruce calls Roger Rog.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Laurie's appeal to Logan.
  • Ambiguously Bi: the show never goes into detail into what goes on betwee people of the same sex in the group sex scenarios, and focuses only on what happens between the men and the women. It is however obvious that Susan and Trina are very attracted to each other.
  • Amicable Exes: Trina and her highschool boyfriend.
  • Betty and Veronica: several examples. Melinda is the Veronica to Bruce's Archie and Susan's Betty, Roger is the Betty to Susan's Archie and Bruce's Veronica, and Doug is the Veronica to Laurie's Archie and Logan's Betty.
  • Stealth Insult: Janet's backhand compliments are quite legendary.
    Janet: Trina, I knew you were crafty, but I had no idea you were crafty.
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  • Beware of the Nice Ones: Susan and her son, BJ, share this trait. They are both very flexible and mellow, until someone pushes their respective Berserk Buttons- for Susan it's selfishness, for BJ, it's anyone who tries to hurt Sam.
  • Birds of a Feather: Laurie and Doug, straw Democrats and philosophy nerds.
  • Black Sheep: rightfully or not, Laurie considers herself to be this.
  • Blithe Spirit: BJ.
  • Bow Chicka Wow Wow: the soundtrack for the group sex scenes sometimes fits the trope. Justified by the period in which the series take place, when most of this kind of music was made, and by the mentality of the swingers in general, who seem to be the kind of people who would enjoy this kind of music..
  • Brainy Brunette: Laurie.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: inverted with BJ and Samantha.
  • Brutal Honesty: Laurie, and to a lesser degree, Trina.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Janet is thrilled by the idea of going to a fancy philanthropic gala, but Trina grew up going to this kind of events.
  • The Casanova: Tom. Also Moreno, Bruce's colleague at the stock exchange.
  • The Charmer: Tom mostly, but also Moreno.
  • Carpet of Virility: Tom, in true 70's fashion.
  • Chick Magnet: Roger, though he is distinctly oblivious to it. Tom is more of a Proud Beauty.
  • Cool Big Sis: Laurie is quite supportive of BJ, and acts as a Shipper on Deck for him and Samantha.
  • Cool Teacher: Doug the philosophy teacher, who doubles as a Hot Teacher and a bit of a Sexy Mentor for Laurie.
  • Control Freak: Janet, though pot brownies really loosen her up...
  • Covert Pervert: A large part of Susan's arc is about her self discovery, mostly sexually.
  • Cute Bookworm: Doug, the Hot Teacher.
  • The Cutie: BJ and Sam. Susan and Roger are mature examples.
  • Cleans Up Nicely: Janet, in full 70's glory - slinky wrap dress and teased hair.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: It seems that even after years of marriage, Trina's parents still hate Tom.
    • Laurie and Doug are a prime example as well.
  • Disco: heavily featured in the soundtrack, clothing, club scenes and dance parties in the series.
    • This is basically the only genre of music form the time featured in the show, with the exception of Laurie teasingDoug for his love of Progressive Rock, which apparently her mother shares.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Laurie mostly, but also Melinda and Sylvia.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Janet towards the Deckers.
  • Dumb Blonde: played straight with ditzy, alcoholic Gayle, subverted with Sylvia and Sam.
  • Envy: Rick's defining personality trait.
  • Easily Forgiven: Susan by Janet for lying to her with roger.
  • Ethical Slut: all of the swingers.
  • Extreme Doormat: Laurie seems to think of Susan as one, and she does shows some aspects of the trope, though she sheds them via Character Development.
  • The Fashionista: Trina, lampshaded by Janet. Susan also singles out Sylvia's sense of style as glamorous, as Sylvia is one of the few women on the show that regularly wears pants.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: played very straight with homemaker supreme Janet, subverted with glamorous Trina.
  • Fiery Redhead: Melinda the stock broker.
  • Fish out of Water: lampshaded verbatim about Roger, when he and Janet join the Millers at the Pendulum sex club.
  • Foil: Most obviously - Trina and Janet. Trina is liberal, worldly, artsy and supposedly Fun Personified, while Janet is conservative, homely, very practical and kind of a wet blanket. They also apply as a pretty classic example of Light Feminine Dark Feminine, with prim Housewife Janet as light and Bare Your Midriff Trina as dark.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: interesting in world example, as Tom takes over the new line of flights to Tokyo thanks to this big trend of the 70's. The silk kimonos he brings Trina from Japan become a minor plot point at one episode.
  • Freudian Excuse: Sam's mother's antics have apparently made her as suspicious and guarded as she is.
  • Fun Personified: Tom, though he has some more somber, sensitive moments.
  • The Generation Gap: A discussed trope. Interestingly, the swingers experience it twice as parents - in contrast to their own parents, and in the still large gap between them and their children. this most evident in Laurie's and Bruce's relationship.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Laurie is a young version, Sylvia and Melinda are grown up versions of this trope.
  • Good Bad Girl: most of the swinging ladies, but mostly Trina - and to a lesser degree (since she is portrayed as less "good"), Melinda.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Doug, who has a "contentious objection to television", is somewhat obsessed with political broadcasts.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: played straight with BJ, subverted with Logan and Sylvia.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Gayle, Samantha's mother.
  • Has a Type: Bruce's Love Interests are both red heads.
  • Henpecked Husband: Roger, at least at first.
  • Highschool Sweethearts: Susan and Bruce. Susan got pregnant when they were still in their teens.
  • Hot-Blooded: Bruce and Laurie share this trait, as Susan points out.
  • Hot for Teacher: Laurie falls for her philosophy summer school teacher, Doug. Eventually he falls for her too, and once summer school is over they ensue a relationship.
  • Housewife: Susan and Janet, though eventually Janet gets a job as a secretary.
  • Hypocrite: Bruce, who gets mad at Laurie for breaking the rules of propriety while having an open relationship and fooling around with his colleague. Susan and Laurie both call him out on it.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: BJ, complete with Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • The Ingenue: BJ is a Rare Male Example.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Susan. To a lesser degree, Janet.
  • In-Series Nickname: BJ actually stands for Bruce Junior.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: what Trina says when looking at her high school graduation photo from the early 60's, complete with Ojou curls and white lace. One can only imagine how a few years later she would look on her teased hairstyle and very very shiny dresses.
  • The Lad-ette: Melinda, who enters the office pull on who will get in her pants first.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Inverted with the Miller family. Susan mentions more than once that Laurie and Bruce are similar - proud, hot tempered and adventurous. BJ seems to take after his mother, and is as gently open minded as she is.
  • Love Dodecahedron: One of the risks of open relationships. Bruce is into Melinda, Susan and Roger are interested in each other, Janet is drawn to Tom...
  • Mood-Swinger: Sam.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Trina, who appears in a bathing suit in nearly all episodes.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Tom and Trina, and to stronger degree, Brad ans Sylvia.
  • Obliviously Beautiful: Janet, according to Tom.
  • Odd Friendship: Janet and Trina, eventually.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Any dress worn by anyone at the disco clubs, especially the Pendulum sex club. Trina's dresses take the prize though.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Rick and BJ, Susan and Janet.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Creator Mike Kelley's childhood friend Liz Phair helped write the score.
  • Pornstache: Harry Reems, obviously.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Janet.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Janet rains one on Trina, Roger and Susan at the end of the Puzzlerama party.
  • Rebellious Princess: Apparently, Trina. She was brought up to be a proper New York socialite, but eventually rebelled against her mother's and society's expectations, became a stewardess and met Tom.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Rick is the Red to BJ's Blue. Laurie and Doug are a romantic example.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Doug and Laurie.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Brad and Sylvia, the fancy academics.
  • She's Got Legs: fanservice queen Trina.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Rick for Sam and BJ. To a lesser degree, both Tom and Roger intervene against Bruce's trysts with Melinda.
  • Shipper on Deck: Laurie for Sam and BJ, Trina for Susan and Roger.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Bruce, mostly towards Laurie.
  • Smug Snake: Moreno.
  • Soap Box Sadie: Laurie is a classic example. Sylvia is a grown up version of the trope.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Samantha plays some serious hot and cold vibes on BJ.
  • Tomboyish Name: Samantha is often shortened to Sam.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Laurie and Susan. Laurie also qualifies as a Tank-Top Tomboy, and usually sports a Tomboyish Ponytail as well.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Samantha, according to BJ.
  • Uptown Girl: Trina to Tom, though this aspect of their relationship is rarely brought up.
  • Vapor Wear: literally all of the ladies at one point or another, especially while going out, in accordance with disco fashion.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Laurie and Doug, who both veer into Straw Political territories.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: Samantha, who takes care of her alcoholic mother. Laurie would like to think of herself as this, though it's up for debate.

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