Swingtown

The  biggest TV hit of the summer of ’08 is a show about the summer of ’76.     Swingtown is seen each and every Thursday at 10PM right here on Channel 3, and based on the ratings, you like it..quite a bit.

I confess, I watch it, too.   It’s about three couples and their children during the Bicentennial summer in suburban Chicago.    They don’t say exactly where, but judging by references to Lake Michigan and the “village” it’s likely Winnetka, Wilmette or one of those affluent north shore burbs.    Think Westport, or Fairfield.   

Swinging is one of the sub-plots,  but I love the sets, the music,  the clothing, the props that remind me of the 70s.   My parents had an avocado green bathroom, and a harvest gold telephone that matched the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator.   My mom had the same tupperware that Janet sells. In last week’s episode they showed a Ford Pinto wagon.  I vividly remember going to the Ford dealership with my mother and father to look at one during the gas crisis.   They thought about trading in our big green Ford wagon for something more fuel efficient.   They wisely decided against the Pinto, which later made headlines for its deadly feature of exploding gas tanks.

Also last week, the issue of women’s rights came up.  It was a different time then.  Women were coming into their own and realizing their power at home, society and in the workplace.   In the 70s my mother wanted to get her ears pierced, and my father actually forbade it.  I remember this day like it was yesterday.   My mother’s response?  She immediately called her friend and they went to the salon and got holes put in their ear lobes, openly defying my father’s silly comment “if God wanted you to have holes in your ears, he would have put them there.”   

Swingtown brings up all sorts of memories for me.  Riding my bike to Norwood Center to see a movie, or riding around town.   In a previous episode the kids were playing Gnip Gnop.   We had that same game. 

Alright, children of the 70s, let’s hear from you.  Don’t forget your city or town.

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8 Responses

  1. I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. I am also a fan of Swingtown and I am glad to hear that there are others out there. I was worried that this might be the last we see of the show because I haven’t heard much “buzz” about it. The show isn’t so much about memories for me (as I wasn’t born until ’78) but I enjoy watching life in the time when my parents were doing what I am doing now, raising a family. I like comparing things and I enjoy the characters, plots, and sets. I hope we can enjoy more seasons of Swingtown.

  3. Dennis, Truthfully, I was a bit reluctant to watch “Swingtown” thinking it might be just about sex and while I am certainly not against that, I thought perhaps that would be the only topic. While I am not a “child of the 70′s”, you have made me curious about the show. Fortunately, I can play “catch up” ON DEMAND. Thanks ! I like reading your blog – you certainly touch on varied interests.

  4. Dennis, truthfully, I was a bit reluctant to watch “Swingtown” thinking it might be only about sex. While I am not against that, I thought it might be the only topic – how narrow minded of me !!!! I am not a “child of the ’70′s but I am intrigued now after reading your blog. Fortunately, I can play “catchup” ON DEMAND. Thanks ! I enjoy reading your blog – you certainly write about a variety of interests.

  5. Okay Dennis, I confess that I too watch Swingtown. My first impression of the show was that it portaits families of the 70s having sex with everyone and anyone in the neighborhood. Then my memories started to show this film in my mind of the parties my mom had and believe me we were military so my mom had a party for everything….
    We were living in California at the time and I remember these ladies talking to my mom in the kitchen about the new couple that moved into our military housing community. These ladies were telling my mom that they were “swingers” and my mom response was “oh, invite them over you know the more the merrier” until the lady explain to my mom and oh course myself pretending to do the dishes what a “swinger” was, and then my my mom’s only response was “oh, that kind of swinger” they were not invited to the party that night or any night as I remember.

    I love the props they use on the show. During the scenes I see things that truly bring me back to the summer of “76. That is when summers lasted it seemed like forever!!!! I am still not a fan of the shag carpet, my mom like every other mom put it in the bathroom. My question was always WHY???? and then she would get mad at us when we got it wet…go figure!

    The moms during “our” times did not have HGTV or all these other home decorating shows to watch 24/7. They had Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Ladies home journal. These magazines would show pictures of different ways to decorate your home parties. Well, this one time my mom seen this article with pictures to do a sort of Japenese theme for her party. She had me set the two big coffee tables with the table settings and then instead of using cushions she put bean bags around the tables. The party was going well, everyone was eating and drinking and then my mom wanted to move the party outside to the porch. She is screaming for me to come down stairs and help the “drunk” people get out of these bean bag chairs. They all had a great time and we laughed for years about the “bean bag dinner”. The 70s was all about look and nothing about function.

  6. Dennis,

    I absolutely LOVE Swingtown!!! I couldn’t wait to watch it after seeing the previews and haven’t missed an episode yet.

    I grew up here in Manchester, and graduated in 1973. I do remember all the women’s rights issues, the politics and the porno! :-) (I remember there were a number of theaters showing Deep Throat and all the hullabaloo about it.)

    I do confess to remembering polyester suits and those awful fake silk shirts the guys used to wear. Oh yes, and the “Farrah Fawcett” hair. (Didn’t Denise have a “do” like that?) :-)

    I do enjoy the music on the show, which brings back fond memories of that time in my life. I remember a bar in the Vernon area called the “Dial Tone”. They played all the lasted dance music and had telephones on every table. I recall sitting at the table having a drink with my girlfriends and waiting for the phone to ring. You could dial anyone in the room, ask them to dance or to join you at your table. (I believe it was a more “delicate” way to reject someone than to do it face to face.)

    I will continue to enjoy Swingtown and hope that it’s run will NOT be short one.

  7. Dear Dennis,

    My husband and I taped the first episode of Swingtown just to see if it was only about sex or if it was any good. We keep taping it every week because the story line is really about relationships on all levels. We can’t wait to see what is going to happen to Roger now that he lost his job.

    I have to admit, we were married in the summer of 1976, so we are having a great time hearing all the old music and commenting on the hair and clothing styles. And an episode or so ago, when Janet was demostring the tuperware, we almost fell off the couch laughing because we have that EXACT same container and right now it is holding barbecue sauce in our fridge!

    Keep up the good work.

    Sharon Girard

    P.S. Tell Kevin Hogan that he and I graduated from Wesconn together. Girard is my married name.

  8. Dennis,

    I love Swingtown and the memories that it brings back. I love the music,sets and subjects that are addressed. But my favorite is watching the kids clothes and laughing that I had some of the same clothes from Klines department store! I was reluctant to watch at first but was hooked the first time.

    Growing up in the 70′s was a great time, lots of change. I too am from Norwood. My family has been in Norwood for many, many years and while trying to have that first “date” my mom and dad would know before we even got home where we went and with who! It could be candlepin bowling, the movies, a dance on Saturday afternoon at the Civi Center, roller skating(before blading!). Or just hanging out at Friendly’s.

    We had the shagg rugs and the harvest gold kitchen. Not to mention that tupperware I think I still have some of my mothers in a box somewhere!

    Its a great show and I hope it continues.
    Kathi – Torrington

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