She's a wife and mother of three who works as a waitress and a professional horse rider, and as a "taxi driver" for her kids. She doesn't have much spare time to watch TV, though she makes a point to "never miss an episode of 'American Idol.'"
But Barry was incensed and spurred to take action after getting a glimpse of CBS' "Swingtown." Last weekend she emailed a letter of complaint urging CBS affiliates to yank the show that revolves around the lives of three married couples and their spouse-swapping, Quaalude-dropping adventures in the summer of '76.
"Basically, it's defiling marriage," Barry said in a telephone interview Thursday. "The more we put things like this on the air, the more the public is exposed to things like that, it becomes OK. But it's not OK to represent marriage that way."
Barry first heard about "Swingtown" through an item in People magazine. A look back at the era of sex, drugs and spouse-swapping didn't sound like anything that belonged on broadcast TV, in Barry's opinion.
Her instinct was confirmed after she saw a promo spot for the show on CBS. Then she went on the CBS website and watched a trailer "that showed three people in bed together," Barry said. "It definitely really rubbed me wrong."
Just as her outrage over the show was rising, Barry received an email alert about "Swingtown" from One Million Moms, an org run by the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Assn., a pioneering crusader in the culture wars led by the Rev. Donald Wildmon. The alert urged mothers to email complaint letters to CBS and others (including Variety).
Barry said she has not seen a full episode of "Swingtown." What she saw in the trailer was enough. Barry does not particularly care if the provocative stuff is used in a storytelling context to develop the central character of Susan Miller, a suburban Chicago housewife who is very conflicted about the anything-goes attitude her husband embraces after they move to a new neighborhood.
"All the drinking, drug use and spouse-swapping -- it's highly inappropriate, especially for regular TV," Barry said. "I feel really strongly about not viewing it or anything else on CBS since I've seen (the trailer)."
The fact that "Swingtown" airs at 10 p.m. in most markets (9 p.m. in Central and Mountain time zones) is beside the point. The issue is not keeping it away from kids; the issue is that the subject matter doesn't belong on free over-the-air TV at all, Barry says. HBO maybe, but not what she calls "public" television.
"It should be on an adult viewing channel that you should be paying privately for if you want it," she says. "Something like that shouldn't exist on public television."
Barry emphasized that she doesn't expect everything on television to be G-rated, nor does she want her preferences to dictate what the public can see. She doesn't even impose that discipline on her children, ages 16, 14, and 10. But "Swingtown" is over the line, in Barry's view.
"You can't fight everything you don't necessarily agree with or believe in," Barry said. "I have kids watching TV and making choices that I don't necessarily like...But I felt this was way over what should be allowed on regular TV."
Barry said she's considered trying to organize an advertiser boycott or some other protest effort, but at the same time, her life is busy enough, as she works nights, her husband works days and their three kids are all active in sports teams.
So in the time that took Barry to write an email (which she says she wrote herself even though it's virtually identical to others sent to Variety this week), she hopes her voice and the protests of others will be heard by the powers that be at CBS.
"I really hope they pull the show," she said.