Swingtown: Surprise! (Sep 4)

We open the second to last episode of this first season (my fault last week for thinking this was the finale!) on Susan wrapping a birthday present for Janet, which she will be receiving at a low-key dinner that night at the Millers.  Bruce says Roger’s been a sad sack since being fired (yeah, shame on him for not being thrilled to be unemployed!) and dinner will be uncomfortable.  Oh, Bruce, you have no idea.  Over at the Thompsons, Rick is uncharacteristically chipper, and has made his mother a smiley pancake for her birthday.  Roger comes in, all ready to head to his interview for a job in commercial real estate that some dude named Larry from bowling has hooked him up with.  Janet wishes him luck, but tells him that if this doesn’t work, maybe he should look for a more “realistic” job.  Yeesh.

We see that Tom & Trina are still with their swinging friends, Anthony & Michelle.  So, this is either the very next day from last week’s episode, or the Deckers were making up for lost time something fierce!  Trina is not her usual self…she looks almost sad as well as ill.  Tom assumes she’s hung over.

Just as Roger’s opening the front door to put out the bottles for the milkman, Susan appears on the porch.  They head back inside to chat.  She tells him she understands about the kiss, that he was confused.  On the contrary…Roger says he knows exactly what he was doing and he wasn’t confused at all.  Susan is clearly intrigued, but says she’s backing off, under the circumstances.  They both express concern about how awkward dinner will be with just the four of them, and come up with the idea of making a bigger party.  Sure, the better to hide in corners and make out, right?

Susan shows up at the Deckers to invite them to the sudden surprise party, just as Anthony & Michelle are headed out, suggesting 7UP & Tobasco for Trina’s “hangover”.  Tom is also leaving to get Trina Alka Seltzer. Yay, product placement!  Talking out by the pool, Susan unburdens herself by sharing news of the big kiss.  She says she’s so confused, since she’s not like Trina…no switch that goes on and off.  Damn, Susan, that stings! Ever the supportive friend, even when being insulted, Trina consoles Susan.

Just in case you forgot that Bruce was far from innocent, we have a scene of Bruce and Melinda flirting at the bar.  We’ll get back to them later.

And we’re back with Rick and BJ, playing with a pair of CB radios, when Sam and Lisa come along.  It seems that all is forgiven, and the couples pair off, with Rick and Lisa headed to the beach on their bikes.  Lori and Doug are playing beach volleyball with some of his friends and she thinks she hears him say “I Love You” so she says “I Love You Too”.  Oh, hello, tired sitcom cliche! Didn’t expect to see you here!

Janet is holding court in the steno pool at the paper, and her new pal Henry thinks she should lobby for the job of the advice columnist (Dear Trudy), while the previous one dries out.  Janet scoffs at this.  Meanwhile, Roger is having a killer interview and is offered the job.  The catch:  it’s in Cincinnati!  Thanks for the heads up on that tidbit, Larry from bowling!

At the beach, Rick buys two Push Ups (yum!) and we find out that Rick is a little afraid of boobs.  Apparently, Lisa took her top off after the poker game, and that’s what prompted Rick to bolt.  I was kind of thinking it was something more, um, premature.  They sit on some rocks and chat, and Rick accidentally leaves his CB on, allowing Sam and BJ to listen in.  First they find out about Rick and Lisa, but then they hear Lisa reveal that Sam is moving in with her family in Naperville.  BJ is shocked and sad, of course.

Back at The Cougar Den, Trina is heading for the doctor, presumably for her annual exam (yeah, right) and tells Tom she feels responsible for what Susan’s going through.  Tom teases her about being a den mother.  At the paper, Janet invites Henry to what she still thinks is small dinner at Susan’s.  And, Melinda and Bruce are chatting about two of his favorite topics–stocks and baseball–and she asks what he talks about with Susan. His answer, “our kids”.  He also implores her not to leave the firm, as she’s been talking to a competitor about a job.

At the big party, Roger enters and has enough time to tell Susan he did get the job…and that it’s in Cincinnati, just before Janet comes through the door to a rousing “Surprise!”  Janet decides this shindig must be the reason Susan and Roger have been spending so much time together!  Oh, dear. A bit later, Bruce comes home to a packed house, and he is perplexed.  On their way to the house, Rick is telling BJ that he thinks he’s Leif Garrett just because he got to first base (ha!  Leif Garrett analogies aren’t what they used to be, are they?) and they argue some more about Sam. Once inside, Rick spies someone’s half-finished drink and then another, and proceeds to get smashed.

Tom and Trina observe as Bruce and Susan discuss how the dinner party became a house party, which apparently involved calling everyone in Janet’s address book.  Trina dispatches Tom to talk to Susan and says she’ll take Bruce.  Tom makes a plane analogy for Susan about securing her oxygen mask. He says she’s no good to anyone if she can’t breathe.  Trina simply asks Bruce if he’s OK.  For the second time, Trina is essentially written off as nothing but surface.  Bruce says her life is effortless, and “God forbid life should throw you a real curve”.  Trina is definitely wounded by that one.

In the kitchen, where I was assuming they’d be busted by Janet any second, Susan and Roger talk again.  They agree they shouldn’t see each other, and she says his being in Cincinnati will certainly help to that end.  Undaunted, Roger says he needs to know how she feels, and that he’s falling in love with her.  Susan bolts.

Doug and Lori have an annoying conversation about how he should just dump her already, since he’s not a real big long-term relationship guy, according to his pals.  I agree.

Tom and Trina debrief on Bruce and Susan and Tom says he’s much better at “physical therapy”.  Trina’s just about to tell him some big news, when Rick literally bursts through their conversation, drunk as hell.  Roger tries to control his son, but Janet overrules him, as per usual.

Upstairs, where she’s retreated to the hallway, Susan happens upon Bruce on the phone, talking to someone about how sad it would be not to see them everyday, and so forth.  Her face falls, as she knows what must be going on. 

Janet is now having a heart to heart with her poor, drunk son.  He admits he’s upset about BJ having a girlfriend, but it’s still not real clear if he’s jealous because he’s lost his childhood pal, or because he wants to be BJ’s girlfriend.  Janet, amazingly, talks him down from the proverbial ledge and doesn’t rant and rave about how this looks in front of her friends, or anything I would have expected her to do.  Of course, this is what makes Janet one of the best characters on the show.  The other contender for that title, Trina, overhears and admires Janet’s skill.  She blurts out that she’s pregnant, which prompts Janet to snatch the drink and cigarette from Trina’s hands as well as immediately ask whether or not she’s knows if the baby is Tom’s.  Trina claims to have done the math and insures Janet that they closed their marriage at just the right time.  Janet give her unlikely friend a big hug, which poor Trina needs in a big way.

Back with Bruce and Susan, he’s now making up a story about having to go back to his office to get his briefcase, which apparently contains all the day’s receipts.  Susan knows this is a cover, and meekly says, “At this hour?”  Of course, she feels betrayed and hurt, but considering her own feelings, she can’t protest too much.

One more check in with Doug and Lori.  Standing by the car, he tells her that if he took the job at her school they’d have to hide their love and  since he thinks she’s so amazing, he’s turning it down.  Why not?  I’m sure secure teaching gigs with solid benefits come up constantly for 24-year-olds with Philosophy degrees.  Doug, buddy, you can’t coast along on your good looks and cute butt forever.  Just sayin’.  Chicks like Lori are a dime a dozen.

Susan is escorting Tom and Trina to the door and they ask after Bruce.  Susan dejectedly says “he had to go back”, and both of them catch the snap right away.  Trina simply states, “we’re just across the street if you need us.”  How awesome is Trina?  The awesomest.

Oh yeah, we have to wrap up the kids, so cut to Sam and BJ confirming that Sam is in fact moving away.  Rick appears and gives her his CB radio so she and BJ can talk whenever they want.  Again, sweet and everything, but dull as dishwater.

Susan and Roger are cleaning up a bit and she tells him that perhaps taking the job would be best for everyone.  Janet pops back in to thank Susan for the party and chides Roger that “all good things must come to an end” and Rick’s in the car already.  She leaves them alone long enough to share as deep and meaningful a hug as I’ve ever seen, and in doing so, Susan sees Bruce’s briefcase in the corner, erasing any lingering doubt that he was lying through his teeth.  Still, she can’t throw Roger down on the floor and nail him, given who’s waiting outside, so she just lets him go. 

Next week’s finale, which we hope is only a season ender, looks excellent.  See you then!
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