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IS NBC TAKING A SWING AT SWINGERS?

NBC has been promoting tonight’s episode of Law and Order, Special Victims Unit (SVU), “Bombshell”, which apparently features the detective duo, Benson and Stabler, on an undercover assignment at a “swingers’ club” to expose criminal activity.

While we have not seen the episode, we have apprehension that it may feature gratuitous demonizing and sensational characterizations of swingers and others involved in the swinging lifestyle.
We encourage you to watch SVU’s “Bombshell” episode (NBC 10pm ET/9pm CT tonight, Wednesday) and help us review the show as we consider any possible response we may wish to make to the network.

After you watch, we invite you to leave comments below.

  • Sara

    Thanks for the heads up. Will watch and let you know!

  • Anonymous

    Can’t be a swinger’s club ’cause I don’t see any polyester pants?? And remind me to keep away from the finger foods?

    So far I’m not thinkin’ much of this…..

  • Cybil

    I find it hard to believe all of the characters are straight. And is it just me or does it seem like they are kind of defensively hetero?

    • rlevy

      I’m still kind of blinking at the trans comment at the very beginning of the show.

  • Carl

    Got involved in this “place” and fell in love with someone else. It could happen. But still. This whole premise is antithetical to the premise of swinging. It’s not that it can’t happen, but swinging is a couple thing – at least where I go!

  • rlevy

    Well, it’s hard to know where to start. This had nothing to do with swinging, other than (I’m assuming) the promise of “sex” to entice viewers.

    What is it they say? The names have been changed to protect the innocent? Well, in this case, the whole lifestyle has been changed to entice the innocent and portray the guilty. But not guilty of swinging.

  • Kim

    Inaccurate? — I don’t know, I’ve never been to a swingers club.

    The unfortunate overall messaging of the show was negative in the sense that the incestuous, sociopathic, criminals operated in the backdrop of a swingers club; and even the “good guy” member turned out to be a dupe then a killer. So the uninformed viewing audience, when they hear the word “swingers,” will recall only the negative connotation derived from the show.

    Sure there were offhand derogatory comments/jokes —
    I thought the polyester pants joke was funny. If there hadn’t been these types of remarks, the show would been wholly unrealistic. That IS the viewpoint of a large portion of society. They did attribute those remarks to Elliot, the hyper-conservative hotheaded Catholic, and the regular viewership knows his biases.

    But with all of that said, I thought there numerous positive reflections on the swinger community. The people at the club were intelligent and articulate. The couples talked about how their involvements strengthened their relationships. They talked about the openness and lack of jealousy. They mentioned the benefits to a couple of broadening their horizons through their shared experiences.

    I watched together with my 20 year old college Sophomore. He “extrapolated” those horizons to mean enhancing their social networks and forming bonds with new people, and those things assist a person to learn more about themselves and build self-confidence.

    So, in asking whether swingers were “sensationized” —
    my son thought the presentation of the swingers (outside of the criminals) was “tame”. He said that uninformed viewing audiences’ perceptions are indeed the “key parties” of the ’70s as portrayed in so many movies —
    it is exactly what he thought before the show. His view is that this show should fall in the “win” column if, for no other reason, for dismissing that perception altogether, as well as showing the positive aspects of the community and its members.

    I was put off by the suggestion of immediacy of the sexual encounters — but television in general is forced to show issues and events in (to steal a word from Ricci) hyper~time.

    Did it portray swingers as lurid and promiscuous – notsomuch! Certainly no more than at a party on any Thursday night on any college campus.

  • Richard

    It’s a ploy to get and keep ratings.
    The less said is the way to go.

  • http://GetSexSavvy.com Bex

    I honestly didn’t think it was that bad – aside from the fact that clubs RARELY allow single guys, it was about what I would expect.

  • http://www.practicalpolyamory.com Anita Wagner

    I was reasonably happy with it on the whole. At least NBC included accurate information amongst the sensationalized storyline.

    Dialogue ran the gammut from Elliot’s tired perceptions of swinging to intelligent comments from the duped man’s wife about the reality of the lifestyle, to the couple coming on to Olivia from both sides and touching her without asking permission, which to me was indeed smarmy. Of course, the main character incestuous twins operating their scam in the swing club subtly implies that swingers may be of suspect character, and/or that swing clubs attract criminals and sleaze. Sigh. But I guess that if everybody was happy and nobody got hurt there wouldn’t be a show. It would have been nice to hear from the club owner, perhaps a scene where the owner is asked for comments by the press and offers up words in defense of the lifestyle that condemn criminal activity, etc., but I don’t think that was part of NBC’s agenda.

  • nikkii adams

    i thought that considering it was on network television, it was interesting. i agree with the comment that there was
    alot of nonconsensual touching going on; something anybody who knows anything about the subject knows just isn’t gonna
    happen.

    i found it to be somewhat sterilized; but again, it was network television.

  • Mark Kernes

    I’m with Nikkii: Not too bad for a network show, and the swing club was really just a background for the crime. The “swingers” they did feature, aside from the con artist, seemed decent enough, and in line with what I’ve seen among my friends that do swing.

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