"Swingtown" Friends with Benefits (TV Episode 2008) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • While Tom Decker has started working long-distance flights to Japan, Trina reestablishes her connection with her high-school sweetheart. Bruce asks Susan to join a benefit committee run by his boss's wife, and she brings along Janet. Hoping to be able to socialize in higher circles, Janet encourages Roger to demand a raise at work. While the boys go away on camp, Laurie finishes summer school ready to finally turn things serious with Doug.

  • At the airport, Tom and Trina Decker bump into her Manhattan high-school lover, gorgeous, obscenely rich Luke. Tom plays by the open marriage rules, even offers a threesome, which Luke accepts, but is clearly atypically insecure about her rekindled youth sentiment. Bruce is delighted when Susan is finally invited to join his boss's wife Rita Pierce's children's hospital charity fund-raising committee, but she feels at odds. Janet eagerly came along and takes to the socialites pack like a duck to water, aiming at the country club. Roger however took her advice to ask for promotion after 12 years as top insurance salesman, but is 'let go', yet won't spoil his wife's gala triumph they can ill afford anymore. Laurie messes up her oral philosophy exam by lack of authentic self-expression but cares only for Doug Stephens's confirmation an affair is no longer inappropriate now summer school is over.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • "Swingtown" - "Friends With Benefits" - July 10, 2008"

    Previously On: Laurie and Teach anticipated getting together; Trina was nervous about Tom's Tokyo route; the ladies defended porn star Harry Reems; Susan started to explore her life as a woman in a changing world to Bruce's chagrin

    Tom and Trina are in an airport bar checking out ladies. Trina spies a blonde that Tom likes.

    Bruce surprises Susan with flowers. He had a good day at work. Susan is trying pick out wallpaper. She doesn't want to make a hideous mistake and have to live with it.

    Tom and Trina decide to kill a half hour by checking out dudes now. They spy a cute one and it turns out to be Luke, her old flame (and bonus points Captain Awesome from "Chuck.") They're surprised to see each other and hug.

    Bruce thinks he has just the thing for Susan to expand her horizons, the Children's Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. His boss' wife got her on the planning committee for their annual benefit this weekend. Susan thinks it's sweet, sorta. All the wives will be pitching in, says Bruce. She wonders if it's about expanding her horizons or making him look good to his boss. Two birds with one stone he concedes.

    Back at the bar Luke reveals that he and Trina were high school sweethearts all four years. Trina qualifies that it was off and on, but Luke says it wouldn't have been if it were up to him. He says Trina wasn't really a one man gal back in those days. Luke's working for his dad now, who, says Trina owns the Manhattan skyline. Luke demurs it's only half and says he'll be in town for the weekend. It's time for Tom to go and she says Luke will take care of her while he's in town. Tom does not looked thrilled with this news.


    Trina swims in the pool and gets out to answer the phone. It's Tom calling from Tokyo. She says she misses him. He says not with Luke there. She asks if he's jealous. He asks if he should be. He then asks how wet she is.

    Susan is prepping B.J. for camp making sure he has his stationery. B.J. goes out to play. Bruce says it means a lot to him that she's doing the committee. She says he didn't give her much choice and asks what she should wear. He picks a pink dress. She says she isn't much for group activities and he says it didn't seem that way at the Deckers. He means the Harry Reems party. Heh-heh. He points out that in addition to porn stars someone has to help the poor, sick children. The phone rings and it's Janet asking about poison ivy cream for camp for Ricky and B.J. Susan asks if it's really okay with Janet to come to the ladies' luncheon. Janet calls it a big deal to work with the head of the committee.

    As she hangs up Roger asks her what the big deal is. Janet tells him excitedly about the luncheon, how she'll be Susan's guest, and how it's a major philanthropic organization, "very exclusive." She says the women are terribly proper. He says she should fit right in. She's not sure about her outfit. Roger gives her money to go buy herself something nice to wear. She tells him to have a wonderful day. He says in twelve years of selling insurance he's yet to have a day full of wonder. (Captain and Tenille's version of "Shop Around" is playing in the background).

    Over at summer school, Teach says after studying the great thinkers it's time for the students to think, and speak, for themselves in tomorrow's oral exam. They should draw from the philosophers they've studied, be authentic and express themselves with examples from their own lives.

    At the luncheon, the speaker is saying each woman is meant to bring two potential donors. Janet is excited to see that she's some big muckety muck. The MM spills her Bloody Mary on her jacket. Janet springs into action putting Sweet and Low on it and getting the stain out. The muckety muck calls her a miracle worker and invites her to the benefit as her guest. Susan asks what the women do at the hospital. The MM says they're fundraisers not doctors. So, they don't actually work with the kids to Susan's dismay.

    At a bar after work Bruce runs into a pretty, blond, female co-worker Melinda who compliments him on staying long...when everyone else was selling short on IBM. She says she learned a lot. He says to keep an even hand on the market and do research and rely on instinct. She says she plans to write that down and offers to buy him a drink just as he spies his obnoxious friend and a few others at a nearby table and he goes over to say hello. They have an office pool going to see who'll be the first "to bag the hot new runner." Bruce is the odds on favorite 2-1. Bruce is aghast, sorta.

    In the Millier living room Susan and Laurie are looking at wallpaper swatches. Laurie says to pick the one that says what Susan wants to say about herself, her authentic self. Laurie goes all philosophical and talks about the existentialism of wallpaper choice. Susan didn't realize she was having an existential crisis. Laurie is nervous about talking in front of the class. Susan says unfortunately life isn't always about doing what we like. Laurie says she likes the blue patterned paper.

    Roger comes home to a candlelit table and the wedding silver laid out.Janet emerges with a covered dish for her hubby. He wonders what's up. She says she is and that it turns out that there's more to the Millers new world than just the Deckers and tells him about the exciting invite from the MM. She says these are the kinds of people they should be friends with. Roger can't wait to meet them. She says they will tomorrow night at the benefit. And since it's at some swanky country club Janet is hoping if they make a good impression someone will offer to sponsor them. Roger says she knows they can't afford that. She knows but says since he's the best salesman at his company he should remind his boss of that and angle for a raise. She sits in his lap and tells him he deserves it, in fact, they deserve it.

    Luke and Trina are looking at old slides, getting high, and reminiscing about the time he got caught sneaking out of her room. (He pointedly said it was the one and only time her mother got out of bed before noon.) Trina says being forbidden to see him was the best thing to happen to them since she always wants what she can't have. They look meaningfully at each other. The phone rings and it's Tom. He's stuck in San Francisco due to weather. She tells him about Luke and the slides. She hangs up and says since she's free they can do dinner. Luke wants to do something else. Which is look at more slides and order in.

    In San Francisco a blond stewardess proposes that she and Tom have a drink. He says sure, why not. (This is like his mantra).

    At the Decker house Luke and Trina giggle and chase each other around.

    The Decker doorbell rings and Trina answers in one of her apparently endless stream of bikinis. Susan has come to invite her to the benefit. Trina says to count them in. Luke comes in wet and hot from the pool. Trina introduces him as her boyfriend...from high school. Susan is a little put off. Trina asks what his plans are for the evening and he says he can cancel. Trina says Susan should invite him since he's filthy rich. Tom walks in asking "who's filthy?" Tom looks at Trina quizzically. She explains Luke had one too many last night during reminiscing. Susan excuses herself.

    Laurie is giving her oral exam talking about the inauthenticity of predominant cultural norms according to Heidigger and Kierkegaard. She sits and Teach reminds her that she was supposed to draw from philosophers and her own life. Laurie says she knows but... He tells her to take another stab. She says it's all she's got, clearly afraid to express her authentic self in front of the class about her personal life.

    Roger is telling his boss about how awesome he is and says he's ready to step into a stronger management position with a stronger compensation package. The boss says he's right but with the economy the way it is it's just not possible to give him what he deserves. He then stands up and offers his hand saying he wishes him luck wherever he ends up and thanks him for his years of service. Roger is flabbergasted but does not do what any normal person would do in this situation and explain that he wasn't actually quitting.

    Bruce arrives home and tells Susan to shake a leg since he wants to get going for the party. She says she'll call the Thompsons to hurry them up. Bruce can't believe they're coming. The MM- Rita Pierce-loved Janet says Susan. Bruce assumed she also loved Susan. She says that she loved that she brought Janet. She says Tom and Trina are coming too. He's glad since he figures the Thompsons and the Deckers cancel each other out. He looks at the wallpaper samples confused that she hasn't picked one yet. She says she's trying to find the one that expresses her authentic self. He laughs at that notion saying he has no idea what that is. Clearly, neither does she.

    At the train station Janet picks up Roger in her party dress, her hair all wavy, looking quite cute. Roger gives her a wow. She has a tuxedo rental for him. She asks if the boss agreed that he deserved a raise. Not lying, he says he did. Janet hugs him and says she can feel that things are about to change and asks if he can feel it. He admits that they are and he can. As they hug we get a classic over the shoulder tv face change from Roger.

    At the benefit Janet is telling Susan how excited she is. Susan is worried she doesn't fit in with these women. Janet says to keep an open mind, like Susan is always telling her to do with Tom and Trina. Bruce's obnoxious friend - Marino, Maretto- greets them. Susan is wearing the pink dress and looking lovely. The men are in their tuxedos.

    Rita Pierce comes to ask Janet for her help with the auction. Marino is going to be the auctioneer again this year. She wants Susan to collect the checks at the end of the night. Bruce all awkwardly shakes her hand and introduces himself saying how swell it is to work for her husband and how great what they're doing is. She snootily assures him that she'll pass that on to Mr. Pierce and shoos the ladies to their tasks.

    Maretto explains to Bruce that getting in good with the boss means getting in good with the wife, adding with women handling the checks it's no wonder it's a non-profit. (Did I mention that I hate Marino-Maretto?) They spy Melinda at the bar and Maretto goes in for the kill.

    Trina and Tom arrive and she says she's having a flashback to when her mother used to parade her around at events like this. She says she feels like she's 16 again just as they spy Luke. Luke greets them complimenting Trina's looks. The last time she saw him in a tux was their cotillion, he asks if she remembers the dance and they waltz off to "Call Me Irresponsible" yukking it up. Tom? Again, not psyched. (I wouldn't be either, dude is hot).

    Rita formally invites Susan and Janet to join the committee. Janet is thrilled. And so is Bruce. Susan demurs talking about her schedule with the kids and Rita is not amused. Bruce pulls Susan aside and reminds her this is a big opportunity for her. She counters it's for him. He compromise on "for us." She says she is nothing like those women. He says she's barely given them a chance. He asks what happened to exploration and having all options on the table. She says it's different. And he wonders if it's because it's something he wants. She says he's not being fair. He says maybe they should go over the rules one more time. She just shakes her head. He says he'll go start damage control.

    Back at summer school Teach is packing up his books. Laurie drops in and tries to explain that she couldn't express herself in an authentic way because all she thinks about is him. She babbles on and on about it and says she couldn't since she's his teacher. He points out that he's not her teacher anymore. "So then we can.." she starts. "Say whatever he want," he finishes. They totally make out. (How old is this guy supposed to be?)

    In the bathroom at the benefit Susan and Melinda are touching up their lips and Melinda asks which trader Susan is married to. She tells her Bruce. Melinda says he's one of the good ones. Susan didn't know they had women at the firm. She asks how Melinda stands all the pushing and shoving on the floor. Melinda says it's what she's always wanted to do and wears a padded blazer to fake out the gropers. Susan wonders if that makes her feel inauthentic. She says she plays along, laughs, and bats an eye to make life easier. She says she knows exactly who she is. Susan admires this.

    Janet is grooving at the side of the dance floor to "Rock the Boat" (by the Hues Corporation.) Tom sidles up and says she looks dynamite. She thanks him. She calls it the most fabulous party. He says he's been to a lot of parties. Not Janet. They watch Trina and Luke dance. Janet compliments Trina's skills. Tom says Trina is a woman of many surprises and asks Janet to dance. She takes his hand and they twirl and boogie.

    Susan says goodbye to Melinda who's whisked off by Marino. Bruce comes upon Susan and is puzzled by her priorties, blowing off the boss' wife but befriending the lowly runner. She points out that he asked her to give these people a chance. He didn't mean Melinda. Susan likes her and says she's not lowly and that she's doing something with her life unlike Rita Pierce. Bruce tells her about the office pool and says that "that says something." Susan points out that it says something about the men at his firm, not Melinda. She asks if he tried to stop the bet or tell her about it. He's silent. She says his priorities are the interesting ones.

    Maretto has got the bidding going. It's dinner for two at the country club, Janet bids $50 and Roger is worried in the back of the room. Susan finds Janet and tells her the committee isn't for her and hopes Janet isn't offended. She's not offended but a little disappointed. She says she'd rather join together but since it's rare that someone actually wants Janet without Susan she's going for it. Susan is a little surprised. Janet then ups her bid to $100. She wins. Roger? Not psyched.

    Luke is asking Trina why they didn't end up together. She says there must've been a reason. He asks if she wishes she could go back. She prefers the here and now. In the here and now Luke kisses her. She resists a second one. He says Tom doesn't have to know. Trina counters that he does and gives Tom a look to the side. She tells Luke that they have an open marriage and they don't cheat. Tom tells Luke that he and Trina are a package deal.

    Bruce finds Melinda at the bar and tells her about Moreno (I think it is) and the bet. She says she knows and that Moreno just won. He looks around saying "here??" She points out as the smartest trader on the floor he doesn't know much about women. She tells him that she agreed to say she slept with Moreno and he agreed to split the pot. She offers to give Bruce his money back. He says he didn't bet. She's impressed.

    Roger finds Susan and asks for Janet's check back, admitting he got fired today. Susan says she's sorry. He says he's not since selling insurance sucks and he was scared to admit it. He tells her Janet doesn't know. Susan says he shouldn't have to keep it from her. He says he can pretend for one night and he didn't want to ruin it for her. Susan reassures him about the check and gives him a litle rub.

    Trina and Tom and Luke are having a little menage a trois when Tom excuses himself. (Presumably back at the Decker house).

    Susan spies Roger at a table and returns the check. He thanks her. She hands him the prize anyway saying she bought it. Roger says he can't accept it. Susan says she owes Janet lunch anyway. He's grateful. She and Bruce depart and Roger falls more in love with Susan. But he also gazes lovingly at his wife. As Susan and Bruce leave Rita bids them goodnight and says she'll see Susan next week at the hospital. Bruce is puzzled. Susan says she will try and make the committee right for her and kisses him and adds until she can make it right, she'll fake it.

    Trina comes out to ask Tom if he's coming back in. He says he'll sit this one out but for her to go ahead. She asks what's wrong. He says it feels different since Luke gets parts of her that Tom never will- her childhood, her family. She says that Tom is her family. He asks if she ever wished she married Luke instead of him. She says she's going to tell Luke to go. He kisses her and tells her not to, and leads her back to bed. (This is a nice moment for Grant Show).

    At school Laurie and Teach are nuzzling and taking down his posters.

    At the Thompson house Janet, still in her party dress, is already scrapbooking the night, gluing in her auction number, invitation, and to Roger's dismay the winning gift certificate.

    At the Deckers' the menage is in full swing.

    At the Millers' Susan finally picks a wallpaper and they go to bed.

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