It's the pilot episode, so this is where we all get acquainted with the show's premise and its characters. Let's dive in:
There are three adult couples around whom the show will presumably revolve. The first is Tom and Trina Decker. They have awesome blow-dried hair and a child-free, open marriage. The second couple are Bruce and Susan Miller; they're movin' on up to the lake side, and are meant to represent the impact of liberal social forces on mainstream America. And the third couple are Roger and Janet Thompson; he's a mensch, while she would stroke out if someone ever sang "Dammit, Janet" around her. Janet represents the lagging edge of the pre-sexual revolution mores.
Then there are the kids. Bruce and Susan have two: Laurie, who appears to have wandered in off the set of Dazed and Confused, and BJ, who is at that critical stage in his adolescence where he's equally excited by explosions and Penthouse magazine. BJ is best friends with Roger and Janet's son, Rick, who is at that critical stage in his adolescence where he is slowly realizing the next six years of his life are going to pass in a sebaceous slog of serial humiliations. And then there is Samantha, the loner girl who is the Millers' new neighbor. She's allowed to be a little prickly, as her mom is a delusional cokehead.
Now that we've met the principle players, here's what got established in the pilot episode. Susan and Roger are moving to a swanky new neighborhood. Roger and Janet are their old neighbors and previous best couple-friends, in that way where not everyone in the couples is friends with everyone else. (In fact, Bruce cannot stand Janet.) Trina and Tom, their new neighbors, decide that the polite thing to do would be to invite the new folks over for an Independence Day party. In addition to celebrating our liberation from the U.K., the partygoers are celebrating their freedom from that part of the marriage vows that includes the phrase "forsaking all others." Susan and Roger don't know this yet, but are excited about the party and prepare to head out. However, Janet did not take to the move well, so the Thompsons show up just as the Millers are leaving for the party and four people end up at the Deckers'. Trina, no dummy, promptly gets Susan stoned on 'ludes and sends Janet home by "accidentally" giving her an eyeful of swinger sex. Then she and Tom put the moves on the Millers. It would appear the Millers are not merely going along with the spouse-swapping because of a good neighbor policy.
(Susan's life is like My So-Called Life, except with Qiana and group sex. Like Angela Chase, Susan is the redhead who is not quite happy with who she is or where she is. Her old friend Janet is the Sharon Cherski character, and her new swinging neighbor Trina is like Rayanne. Who will Susan hang with? As of the end of this episode, it's Team Trina. But it's pretty obvious Janet's not going without a fight. Nobody who has that much Tupperware at her command is unprepared to throw down.)
As for the kids: at then beginning of the episode, Laurie's boning a stoner, but by the end, it's evident she's going to make a play for her philosophy teacher. The two younger boys are just doing the usual adolescent stuff -- stealing their dads' Penthouse magazines, biking to the movies and lying about what they do with girls -- but Rick has a run-in with a girl he lied about and BJ has a run-in with Samantha, who had been squatting in his room pre-move.
And now that we've met everyone and established their issues, let the series begin!
Line of the night: "I know enough to get into your pants every night" -- Logan the stoner boyfriend, seconds before getting dumped. Guess you don't know enough to keep your mouth shut, eh, dopey?
Episode MVP: Grant Show's moustache. Seriously. I hope it's getting paid handsomely because it is a character unto itself.
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Would you like to know how we can tell we're in the 1970s? Because we're on an airplane and the captain has just told people they need to put out their cigarettes in preparation for landing. Also, because the captain has a mustache. We hear "Spirit in the Sky," we see a blonde crouched down near his torso, and ten seconds later, the show chides us for our salacious thoughts by showing us that the stewardess is a motherly blonde who's trying to swab a coffee stain off Captain Mustache's torso. Anyway, Captain Mustache asks how Tammy the stewardess is -- she is clearly the one who spilled coffee on him -- and strolls on back to check up on her in the galley. His co-pilot smirks.
And now, the seduction of Tammy the butterfingers flight attendant commences. His gold chain gleaming in the dim lights of the cabin, his feathered-and-blowdried hair ruffled by an improbable breeze, Captain Mustache leans in to ask how Tammy's doing. She sniffles, "Your shirt's ruined." His hand covers hers, and we see his wedding band." Captain Mustache reassures her: "It's okay. I have plenty." Tammy sniffles, "Your wife is going to kill me." Au contraire. Captain Mustache coos, "My wife is going to love you."
And now, because shots of trains going through tunnels aren't sufficiently Seventies enough, we get a shot of a plane soaring away as Rita Coolidge covers "Higher and Higher." We see Tammy's uniform crumpled on a shag rug, along with Captain Mustache's and ... another set of female clothing. Quelle scandale! A woman purrs, "Mmmm, I'm thirsty. Anyone else?" She might as well be talking to the wall: both Tammy and Captain Mustache are still going at it. We fade to the third party's hand popping a can of Tab -- is that a wedding ring I spy? -- and then we meet the bride of Captain Mustache. This is underlined by her strolling over to place the Tab can right in front of a picture of the two -- he in his pilot uniform, her in her flight attendant uniform. She looks distinctly blasé. Perhaps the sex wasn't that great? I'm just saying ... there's not a hair out of place on her disco flip.
So -- we've just met Trina, who's married to Tom (aka Captain Mustache, a nickname I am already tired of typing and am therefore not using on a regular basis). She smiles at the picture and then gets distracted by a sight across the street. A gold-jacketed Century 21 agent is busy handing over housekeys to Bruce and Susan. They thank him, then kiss so passionately, it unnerves the poor agent. Bruce apologizes a moment later, while Susan demurely smiles. The agent replies, "I wish my old lady was that enthusiastic." Perhaps she would be if you didn't refer to her as your old lady. Anyway, no sooner does the agent shuffle off, signifying that the deal is done, than we get a thunderstorm and a hellacious downpour. Say, you don't suppose that stormy weather could be a metaphor for Bruce and Susan's marriage once they move to this neighborhood?