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Drama, USA, 2008

Synopsis "Swingtown" - "Puzzlerama" - July 25, 2008Previously On: Susan and Bruce "swung" with Trina and Tom; Tom pointed out the "wild" couple John and Sherry Hiatt to Bruce; Tom called Janet good looking; Roger got fired and told Susan but not Janet; Melinda hit on Bruce; Bruce took a shower after coming home from whatever happened with Melinda (which we didn't see); Roger and Susan went to Tom and Trina's for a pool party and Trina (and we) got to see his hot bod; Roger and Susan looked at each other meaningfully; Trina told Susan that Tom had sex with someone in Tokyo, which in their arrangement is cheating; Not Teach Anymore (Doug) and Laurie made out. She wanted more but Doug wanted to take it slow; Roger told Janet he was fired saying he needed more from life, she said "you got it." (Man that's some long previouslies.)Susan floats by in the Decker pool as "Midnight at the Oasis" plays. Tom comes over to rub suntan oil on her. Trina materializes saying she'll take the other side. Tom says not to forget her legs and goes to make out with a blond. (It's all gauzy, so it must be a dream sequence.) Roger arrives to take over. Susan is freaked, but turned on. They kiss. Janet pops up out of the pool fully clad all "Roger!" Bruce pops up out of the other end in his business suit saying the same. Susan stammers "it isn't what it looks like, is it?" Roger shrugs. Janet calls them heathen. Bruce says "so much for open and honest." Susan calls out "Bruce!" and wakes up to Bruce shushing her. He's getting ready for work earlier than usual,catching the first train into the city. Hmmm... He kisses her goodbye. She lies back tormented.Credits Liz gives it up for love. (She's touring this summer!)A huge, stained-glass question mark hangs in the Decker living room as Tom enters with a huge whiteboard. It's the "Puzzlerama" board from last year. Since it's a new year and there are new neighbors with new secrets the Deckers are hot to play their game. Tom wonders if Bruce and Susan are "ready for a party like this" since things got heated last year. Trina says she'll make sure they're prepped for the "all in good fun" game. Tom wonders if there are any secrets about him in the fishbowl. (Trina is putting pieces of paper with ?'s on them, containing secrets, into the bowl). She slaps his hand away saying the game rules apply to them as well. He calls her wicked. She says she's an open book and that it's secrets that are wicked.In the Thompson kitchen Janet is doing laundry as "Band of Gold" plays. She serves Roger some breakfast and the help wanted section with several jobs helpfully circled in red. He thanks her but says he doesn't think he's what those companies are looking for. She's puzzled and reads one of the ads. It's for a debt collector. He says it's not for him. What's not for her? The poorhouse. Roger says they have enough savings to last six months and he doesn't want to get stuck doing something he hates. Janet doesn't want that either but wonders if he has a plan. He sighs and says he does. He heads off to the library, telling her not to worry so much. In the laundry basket she finds the funky print swim trunks Roger borrowed from Tom Decker. (Way to be stealth Roger!)Janet arrives in a tizzy with the swim trunks assuming they're Bruce's and that Roger has been hiding them in a corner since the trip to the cabin. Susan sees them and grabs them knowing they're Tom's. Janet says in Roger's defense he hasn't been himself lately. Susan tries to feign an "Oh?" of surprise. Janet says "Roger's promotion isn't all it's cracked up to be." Yikes. Susan presses for more. Janet says she hopes it's just a bump in the road and that she shouldn't be bothering Susan with it. Susan wants to know if she can help. Janet says Susan can ask Bruce to encourage Roger to "stay the corporate course" and invites them to bridge. Susan demurs saying she and Bruce are going to a "block party/scavenger hunt" at the Deckers. Janet says it sounds exciting. Susan invites her. Janet thinks it would be good for Roger to mingle with people who are "connected." (We think she means in the business world, not the Mafia).As "Billy Don't Be a Hero" plays B.J. is going through his camp trunk. Samantha rides up happy to see him. He'd been trying to reach her on their walkies but she turned hers off not knowing when he'd be back. She looks at his stuff: a feathered head-dress. He made her a "wish bag" with "feathers, tree bark, stones" for good luck. The young actor playing B.J. has gotten taller and his voice deeper. Laurie materializes saying it's dinner time and wondering if his "friend" wants to stay. Samantha says she has to go. Laurie gives him the arched eyebrows of evil big sisterhood and calls Samantha cute.Susan serves dinner to the family and notices Bruce is "wearing cologne again today." He, too quickly, says it's whatever was left over from this morning. She asks after his day. He calls it uneventful. She says hers was fine. Bruce asks B.J. about his day. He says he did nothing. Awkward pause, into which Laurie announces she volunteered for the Carter campaign. Bruce points out she's not old enough to vote. She says she will try to convince those who are to kick "Nixon's lackey" out of office. Bruce says Ford isn't so bad, but an indignant Laurie is all "he pardoned Nixon!" She asks Susan how she deals with "this." Presumably "this" is Bruce's heretofore unknown political views. Susan says she avoids the subject. Bruce says "all Nixon did was keep a secret he shouldn't have. He handled it wrong. It's not unforgivable. People aren't always as black and white as you think." Uh-oh, sounds like someone's been knocking boots with Melinda after all. Cologne, humph.The doorbell rings. Susan answers and it's Tom and Trina. They're here to drop off something for "Puzzlerama." Which, it turns out is not a scavenger hunt but, per Tom "like Truth or Dare on a rollercoaster." Trina tells them they don't have to participate. Susan and Bruce are in. She tells Trina and Tom that the Thompsons are coming and Janet is competitive. Trina remembers Twister at the cabin. Susan asks what they have to do. Trina says to just step outside and give her two minutes alone. Bruce, Susan, and Tom leave, looking giddy and worried.Trina goes up to the Decker bedroom and rifles through the drawers until she finds Susan's jewelry box. (In it she notices the pair to the earring of Susan's she found at her house the night after the two couples got together). She hides the "Puzzlerama" cards in it. (They look like coasters with mutli-colored "?"'s on them). She goes to close the drawer and is stunned to see Tom's swim trunks, which Susan stashed away after Janet gave them to her.The booze is flowing and the party has begun at the Decker pool. Trina floats around hostess style. Susan comes in saying she has something for Trina. Trina says she does too producing Susan's earring from her bra. (Ouch!) Susan gives her the swimtrunks and explains. Trina, who now understands, admits that seeing them had her wondering what Susan and Roger had been up to after the pool party. Susan is offended and asks if Trina is joking. Without missing a beat, Trina says she is and asks why Susan isn't laughing. At that moment the Thompsons arrive and Susan puts the trunks behind her back telling Trina that Roger didn't tell Janet about the pool party and that it would crush her if she knew. Trina looks chagrined. As the Thompsons walk up Trina walks behind Susan and grabs the trunks. Janet greets Susan with a "how fun is this?" This is not going to end well. Janet admires the view from the backyard in the daylight.Over at the bar Bruce is trying to figure out the game, wondering if it will mean him and Susan running around trying to solve a puzzle. Tom says it won't be Bruce and Susan since Trina likes to keep things interesting. Moreno, Tom's trader frenemy arrives with Melinda. Tom appreciatively observes that it must be nice to "have an office with a view." (See it's extra funny 'cuz he's a pilot!) No one's sure who invited them.A male party-goer, attached to a blond, grabs Trina's hand and tells her he's looking forward to seeing who she pairs herself with this year. She tells Tom to keep an eye out for Janet. Tinfoil Terry, in very short shorts is looking for someone named Stu. Trina says she hasn't seen him since the 4th of July and jokes that she was worried that TT killed him. She goes up to greet Moreno, with whom she had a tryst IIRC, noticing he didn't come alone. He says he did as he was told. She grabs his ass and says "perfect, my husband won't suspect a thing." Melinda rolls her eyes. Bruce gives Melinda the eyes.Trina greets Janet and Roger who are standing with Susan. Janet is excited saying she hasn't seen her since the Harry Reems benefit. Roger and Susan look away. Janet compliments the stained-glass question mark. Trina made it. Janet is impressed. Trina says the winner gets to take it home until next year. Janet says she has just the spot for it. (I have a feeling it's going to be in Roger's anatomy by the time the night is over.)Trina calls to Tom to bring some drinks. Trina calls everyone together for a "Puzzlerama-rita." They look like pink smoothies. She says she knows some people have played before but that there are newbies so they should begin by welcoming each other to the annual event in the spirit of community that it's given. Trina continues to explain that they all know how toxic secrets can be so she designed this event to help set the neighborhood free. Every year, everyone with a secret is fair game, including her and Tom. Riddles are written on the white board in random order and the answers can only be revealed by those who know the truth. The team who unravels the most neighborhood mysteries, wins. Janet is raring to go. They toast. Inside each glass is colored marker pairing up the teams. Janet sucks hers down, and she gets Tom. Roger and Susan get each other. Moreno and Tinfoil Terry have blue (after she grabs it from Melinda). Melinda and Bruce are matched. The players don their "team medallions." Trina explains it's a race against the clock as well as each other. Whoever's collected the most puzzle pieces by 7pm is the winner.Tom puts the riddles on the board. The first has to do with a hotel chain and sandwiches. The second concerns a "recipe," which Janet just knows is hers. When Tinfoil Terry hears the first one she grabs Moreno. He wonders if she knows the answer. She replies "don't care."Melinda apologizes for the awkwardness to Bruce saying she didn't know he'd be there, Moreno set it up.Another riddle goes up about a "shady" lady. This must refer to Tinfoil Terry's big sunglasses.Bruce tries to explain something to Melinda about "the other night," and she says there's no need since he helped them both dodge a bullet, not that she thought so at the time. (Phew!) They were drunk. She calls him a perfect gentleman. He says "not so perfect." Susan comes up and says hello to Melinda who scurries off for a drink. She mentions that Bruce didn't mention that Melinda was coming. He blames Moreno. Susan wonders who invited him. He points out Tinfoil Terry "our neighbor behind the Foster Grants" who's groping Moreno in the living room. Susan's light bulb goes off and she says "the shady lady!" Bruce doesn't understand and wishes her good luck with the game.Over outside the grocery store Laurie is haranguing customers about Carter/Mondale. They are not responding. Doug tells her to go slow and steady. She wants to know why he's always about slow and steady. She says the election is important. He agrees but says trying to frighten people won't work. She bets him that she can get more signatures. (Apparently, there's a petition involved.) The winner gets "final say" for the rest of the night.Janet and Tom arrive at the store and Laurie tries to stop them but Janet is on a mission looking for brownie mix to solve the clue about herself. They go through boxes and find the marker. As Tom puts the boxes, back Janet puzzles over the "hotel chain" riddle as Tom spies John and Sherry "Hyatt" arrive at the store. And Tom and Janet are off to check into the "Hyatt." Janet is thrilled saying she loves this game and "here I thought all your parties were just drunken orgies." Tom: "Well they can't all be perfect."Roger and Susan arrive at Tinfoil Terry's - Gail that's right. They go through Terry's kinky stuff including some handcuffs. Roger says the best part of losing his job has been becoming friends with Susan. Susan agrees but says no more secrets saying she about died when Janet showed up with the swim trunks. Roger laughs and says the next time they play hooky they'll make sure to get both their stories straight. Not what she meant and... awkward. Roger finds the puzzle marker just as Moreno and Gail arrive mauling each other.Melinda and Bruce have come to the train station to solve a clue that involves the earlier-in-the-season discovery of Bruce's Playboys by B.J. and Ricky. They rifle through the "adults only" section of the newstand. As they do Melinda confesses that she did know Bruce was going to be at the party and that's why she agreed to be Moreno's cover date. She asks if he's mad. "That you're not on a date with Moreno?" he asks. No, he's not. They find the markers in Playboy and drop them on the ground. (There's a color for every team). As they go to pick them up, Melinda kisses Bruce. Who does not resist. They put them back in and really start making out against the wall.Janet and Tom are striding down the street towards the station and she wants to know how Tom knows that this is where Bruce "buys his porno." Apparently, says Tom, it's where everyone does. Tom sees Melinda and Bruce before Janet does and quickly spins her around saying he was wrong about the spot and asks if she trusts him. They walk away.Back at the Decker house Janet is trying to figure out the 6th riddle which has to do with Susan and Bruce swinging and Susan's lost earring. Bruce says no other clues look familiar. Melinda says they should team up with another team and share info. As Melinda walks away Tom pulls Bruce aside and advises him to never dip his pen in the company ink, spilling that he saw them making out. Bruce says "it's not like that." He warns him that Janet almost saw. Trina comes over to warn them that time is almost up. Bruce says he and Melinda are bowing out gracefully. Trina hmms, and as Bruce walks away looks at Tom and surmises he has a story to tell.Janet figures out the swinging clues and runs off. Trina asks where Janet is and Tom, alarmed, realizes she's gone. Janet finds Susan's jewelry box and grabs her marker. She sees the single gold earring and looks confused but moves on quickly.At the grocery store Laurie has made headway and Doug tries to flag down a couple of potential signers, it's Susan and Roger. Laurie is surprised to see them and realizes it's the scavenger hunt. She introduces them to "Mr. Stevens. Doug." Saying he was her teacher over the summer. Laurie wonders where her dad is. Susan says he's on another team. As Roger goes to get the marker Susan says she didn't realize the politicizing was school-sponsored. Doug says it isn't. Laurie says she and Doug share similar interests. Susan is fully on to them. Roger returns with the marker, he tells her her mom is a really good player. Laurie wonders if they found the clue at their house yet. Susan says it's time to stop playing and they leave. Laurie and Doug decide it's time to tally the signatures.Back at the party Melinda is looking for help. Bruce pulls her aside. Melinda says the Hyatt's may be willing swap infomation "as well as other things" with them. Bruce says they need to stop. She wonders if she did something wrong. He said he did. He's a married man, and loves his wife. He says he's sorry. She says she's not and heads off to take the train home.Samantha is sitting on her stoop when B.J. rides up. Gail has her out there handing out markers so she and Moreno won't get caught by Stu. She tells B.J. to grab a chair to enjoy the freak show. Gail and Moreno flounce out and she tells Samantha if Stu asks they were never here. Gail tosses the rest of the markers.Back at the party. Trina is appraising the puzzlerama board. Susan and Roger arrive and Trina informs them that they and team pink are tied for first. Roger goes off to get a drink. Susan calls Trina clever with the clues but that she didn't retrieve the one in her bedroom. Susan says it was no coincidence that Trina put Susan and Roger together. Trina says she thought they'd make a good team. Just like Bruce and Melinda, Susan wonders? Trina says Bruce was supposed to be with Gail. As she says this, we hear Stu calling Gail a slut and storming out. Gail runs after him. Susan protests that Roger is Janet's husband and she doesn't want to think that Trina sees "something" there. Trina says all she saw was a great team that could win it all if they wanted to. Susan says winning isn't everything. Susan goes to kiss Bruce. Janet arrives with the marker and wants to go back to the train station but Trina says time is up. There is a three-way tie which no one likes. Janet, hungry for victory, asks what they do in the event of a tie. Trina tells Janet to pull out one final riddle.Janet reads it. It's about Tom and Trina. Janet figures it's about them and pumps Tom for info. It has to do with a silk kimono he gave her after their fight about his infidelity. Janet finds the marker in the kimono, giddy with triumph. Until she knocks over Trina's box of photos and sees the one Trina took of Roger in the swim trunks.The natives at the party are restless chanting "one tie, we all tie!" Bruce understands why they only throw this party once a year. Janet arrives with the marker... and the photo. She says there's not going to be a tie and wants to know why there's a half-naked photo of Roger "hidden" in her closet. She's pissed. Trina tries to explain. Janet calls Trina a slut. Susan comes over and says it's not what she thinks. Janet is upset that Susan knew about whatever "this" is, also. Roger comes over and tells the story. Janet is now mad that Susan knew he lost his job before she did and that apparently instead of advising him to go home and talk about it with his wife she brought him to a pool party with the swingers. Trina says it wasn't like that. Janet says "oh really, anyone lose an earring that day" while glaring at Susan. She hands Trina the marker and says "I win, I think you know what you can do with that question mark." Bruce looks on all this unhappily.Doug lets Laurie into his apartment. It's a cute studio, exactly as she imagined it. She looks at his books and grabs his master's thesis: passion vs. intellect. She wonders which one wins. Tonight, he says, passion since she got one more signature than he did. They fall on his bed.Janet storms into her kitchen and starts to make coffee. (Where's Ricky? Isn't he back from camp too?) Roger follows and asks if she'll just let him explain. She wonders why she should since he's become so adept at lying how would she know what the truth was? He says this is why he didn't tell her, he didn't want to "put her through this." She says it's not about his stupid job but about him confiding in another woman. He says things always have to be so perfect with her, and for their whole marriage he's been trying to get it right. He loves her but admits it's not so easy to talk to her, especially if he doesn't have the right answer. She asks what he's talking about. He simply apologizes and walks out.Susan pulls out her earring and places it with its mate. She fingers the marker in the jewelry box. Susan apologizes to Bruce for not telling him about the afternoon she spent with Roger at the Decker pool. He asks why she didn't. She asks if he tells her everything about his days. He admits he doesn't. She says she assumes he tells her the important stuff. He says this wasn't important? Susan says it was to Roger, he didn't want everyone to know he lost his job and she honored that. She says the last thing she wants to do is keep secrets from him. He gets teary and says "me too." They hug and she says "no more secrets."Trina is overlooking the pool as Tom arrives to say he's put the puzzleboard away. Trina wonders if he should've burned it. They talk about the party's left turn. Trina says she didn't mean to hurt Janet. He says everyone knows that and that Roger and Janet and Bruce and Susan aren't like them. Open and honest isn't always easy. "Don't we know it," says Trina. On the bright side he figures there's nothing left out there that can hurt anyone. (Which is interesting since he knows about Bruce and Melinda.) They head off to bed.

Directed by Alan Poul  

Starring Molly Parker, Jack Davenport, Grant Show, Lana Parrilla, Miriam Shor, more...

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