The explosion of reality television over the last few years has resulted in mainstream America being able to experience a wide array of lifestyles, occupations and subcultures through real (to varying degrees) people living those lives, ranging from professional athletes, polygamists, and snake handling preachers to Bigfoot hunters, crab fishermen on the Bering Sea, the former Amish, and young rabble rousers spending the summer on the Jersey shore. A&E will continue this trend on March 22 when they premiere Neighbors With Benefits, a new reality series featuring several suburban couples in Ohio who are willing to out themselves to the world as practitioners of one of the most infamous lifestyle choices ever — swingers!
“Neighbors are often more than just friends in this seemingly ordinary neighborhood that has become home to the controversial, yet surprisingly common, ‘swinger’ lifestyle,” reads the network’s press release announcing the series. But these aren’t your parents’ Oldsmobiles, so to speak. “They’re attractive [people],” executive producer Aaron Rothman tells The Post. “This isn’t your pony-tailed, earring guy that you would picture being a part of swingers. They look and feel like they are your neighbors. Their kids are playing with your kids.”
The first season will feature five married couples over nine one-hour episodes and will premiere Sunday, March 22 at 10/9c. Here is more about the show from the official press release:
The series follows multiple married couples as they court prospective partners and interact with friends and participants, all while going about their typical everyday lives as parents, professionals, soccer moms and little league coaches. Even with a strict set of rules to prevent taking extramarital relationships too far, each couple must deal with the varying effects of living this lifestyle, both inside and outside of their marriages. The series will examine the pitfalls that the lifestyle creates for some, proving that it’s not without its challenges and possible personal devastation. While some of the couples on the block believe this way of living strengthens their union, others try to warn potential recruits against the consequences along with its disregard for the sanctity of marriage.
In the premiere episode we meet Tony and Diana (above), who were the first to move into the neighborhood and serve as the leaders for the movement. They are very open about their lifestyle and often serve as the center of the activity – hosting events and bringing new members into the community. Other couples include Brittany and Cody, who are struggling with playing by the rules within the lifestyle; Longtime couple Lori and Eric, who have been part of the scene for some time but fear the judgment of others; Vince and Penny, newbies who are considering the lifestyle and getting pressure from couples both for and against it; and Mark and Amy, who are strictly monogamous and feel that their friends Tony and Diana are always on the prowl for new recruits. Throughout the series, some of the couples find that things change drastically as a result of the lifestyle, while others remain loyal to what they consider the only way to live life to the fullest.
“It’s looking at marriage and sex in marriage through the prism of this subculture,” EP Rothman says of the show. “We’re in an interesting place with social mores in this country. This is a weird and intriguing look about how people can make decisions and how they lead their lives and how this subculture operates.”
Photos: A&E/Scott Gries (The couple in the center of the top photos is Jason and Cristen, who were not mentioned in the press release.)
UPDATE – After doing a bit of research online, it appears as though there will also be a couple named Brayden and Quinn on the show. Here’s a photo:
I still can’t find photos of Vince and Penny or Brittany and Cody. I also can’t find any more information on Jason and Cristen.