Black Tie Nights - Date and Switch

Adult content

Frank (Jeff Archibald) is a fashion photographer recently discovering his lover ditched him because of a lack of communication. Two girlfriends, one still reeling two years later from the death of her husband, Olivia (Amy Lindsay) and another needing to reevaluate her present career status, Cooper, make a “matchmaking” challenge with Frank as the target. Frank is overheard by the two while telling a guy friend that he’s done with dating and the ladies not just telling him what they want and expect in a relationship. He seems like the perfect guy to settle a bet that Coop is capable of finding romance or love for anyone she sets her mind to. Frank believes he’s being set up with opinionated, bluntly honest, chatty Candy (Beverly Lynne), but what he doesn’t realize is Cooper (Tiffany Bolton) has actually initiated a “date and switch” where yacht captain/organizer, Allison (Elina Madison). While Candy rattles on and on about herself, Frank appears more interested in Allison and Allison certainly can’t take her eyes or attention off him. Candy knows this and concludes their date telling Frank to just be open and honest with whomever it is he so wants to have a relationship with. Then we realize that Candy was a voluntary tool to orchestrate romance between Allison and Frank, now expecting Coop to match her up with a man in the future.

The first episode of Black Tie Nights, “Date and Switch” touches briefly on  Olivia’s mourning (the first sex scene has a quick but hot encounter between her and Hoyt Richards) while Cooper tries to encourage her to finally put the past behind her and focus on the future. Olivia even considers a job in Denver at a law firm, but Cooper, somewhat unsure of what to do with her future and needing a friend to help steer the ship in a path to accommodate her party girl lifestyle, could sure use her guidance in the present (in presumably LA). Too bad Bolton isn’t included in the four (!) sex scenes, covering a tight twenty minute running time. We get her in a bikini and she is full of spunk and spirit. Lindsay kicks off the show remembering what she’s lost: the hunky hubby seducing her dress off before the two are in naked embrace. Lynne, not to disappoint, tells Frank of her “hot Latino phase”, including one particular encounter with Eduardo (softcore and Retromedia mainstay, Billy Chappell), who eventually dumps her for someone named Cinnamon. There’s a memory Frank shares of denying a fashion model’s clear advances, as Cooper listens, while photographing her “tasteful nude” shoot. Then there’s Frank receiving immediate coitus with Allison, the two just meeting while he was on a date with Candy; this kind of quick embrace of passion is a softcore porn staple. Why should Frank and Allison wait any longer than necessary? They’ve only known each other a few hours!!! That’s what I enjoy about these shows, though. Sex just happens after little “getting to know you”. These people, all blessed with nice physiques and desirable bodies, forgo unneeded foreplay and time to determine whether or not they might be compatible for the long term and decide to fuck because that is what they yearn for. All the cast represent the wonderful era of Cinemax After Dark during softcore’s golden age (1995-2010; some believe it was 1999-2005 where the genre was at its peak). Lynne and Lindsay are particularly faces/bodies recognized by the genre’s fans for their veteran longevity.

In Lynne’s scene, it is essentially two positions: Lynne faux blows Chappell, and Chappell faux doggies Lynne from behind (well she turns around to receive it, that is). Both are as expected…perfectly positioned not to reveal much of anything. Still these two are masters at manipulative sexual positions. This was prime Lynne while Lindsay has easily the best scene of the four early, letting Hoyt slowly remove her dress, softly hand her legs, and accepts him into her affectionately/passionately. Lindsay is often not as popular as her peers (Monique Parent, Tracy Ryan, etc.), but I think her sex scenes are generally quite steamy and excitedly performed. To her credit, she didn’t go through the motions but showed vivid and often playful attitude when in sexual play with other guys. This scene, though, is more about her character and the man she loves putting down their liquor and taking to the nearby bed to obey their urges.

The end has a confident Cooper and Olivia seeing the Frank experience as the opportunity to run a blind dating service, putting their charms/brains to good use as the city seems ripe for such an idea.

Not to be denied, I get my cunnilingus scene when Frank is allowed to shed Allison's clothes and go down on her. Allison then rides him on top inside the cabin of her yacht. Down to business and the scene is right up my alley in that both actors clearly show that their characters are quite okay with abandoning so much talk when their desires demand to be satiated.

Token dialogue:

I can only drink this stuff when it’s on your lips.

I have a button that needs pushing.

I love the smell of the ocean…it gets me turned on

If someone were to ask what makes this show any different than “Thrills” or “Passion Cove” or the others of its ilk, I’d say very little. The engine that drives these shows will often more than not be sex. Relationships or pursuit of romance with different beautiful people in an attractive locale with sex ever present is Cinemax After Dark’s claim to fame. Any attempts to progress the genre into something meaningful and heady would be inadvertent or uncharacteristic. Are the dialogues profound or thought-provoking? You know the answer to that I imagine. But multiple “appetizers” without the full meal in these half hour shows just don’t linger long enough to satisfy. Sure there are glimpses of these tantalizing nudes, with heavily edited sex to be agreeable to the rules limiting what the genre could and could not do at the time. As a piece of titillation, the show’s first episode gives tasty bits that move along fairly quickly avoiding much in the way of lengthening their encounters too provocatively.