The O'Dells meet the McLeish Family tonight on Wife Swap

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“McLeish/O’Dell” – A family whose mom runs an etiquette school and is raising elegant and pristine daughters swap with a mud racing family of rough and tumble tomboys who love burping contests and rolling about in the mud, on “Wife Swap,” FRIDAY, MAY 28 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Each week two very contradictory families from across the country participate in a two-week-long challenge: The wives exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover daily life in another woman’s shoes. This astonishing experiment repeatedly changes lives and redefines families.

Good manners, social status and first impressions are paramount for Rosa McLeish, who runs an etiquette school for boys and girls in New York. Rosa also trains young ladies to be presented to formal society at events called cotillions, and loves hosting elegant tea parties for friends. She and husband, Nyron, run a tight ship at home and their two daughters, Jenae (10) and Jasmine (5), are inspected head to toe every morning before they leave and are marked on report cards for behavior, manners and even how long it takes them to get from the car to the house – “transition time.” The girls participate in cheer because, according to Rosa, “cheerleading is an elitist group in the community, so to get accepted, to be part of that group, is a form of stature.” Nyron is Mr. Mom, making sure the home is always tidy and neat, as the MacLeish family believe in balanced roles for men and women.

The O’Dell family of New York love to get down and dirty. Kelly and Sandy are two fun-loving parents who work hard in the family auto shop and enjoy life by spending family time mud racing. Their two daughters, Brittanie (19) and Kayla (17), are tomboys who love working on cars and would never be caught dead in a dress; they’d rather be mud queen than prom queen. Sandy not only works on the cars in the shop but also manages the office and takes care of all the housework back at home, while Kelly puts his feet up watching TV. The O’Dells spend evenings together having family dinner with mismatched plates and no regard to manners, with Brittanie and Kayla belching and burping at the table. The O’Dell’ No. 1 priority is to have fun together, even if it means rolling around in the mud.

In the first week, Rosa arrives at the O’Dell home and is appalled that the girls enjoy being in the mud and getting dirty. She is upset with Kelly for raising his daughters like boys and is shocked the girls don’t match their socks to the rest of their outfits, “a big fashion faux pas.” When Kelly, Brittanie and Kayla take Rosa out for a mud race, she’s disgusted at the sight of the girls rolling in the mud and horrified when she gets a spot of dirt on her clean clothes. Meanwhile Sandy arrives at the McLeish home and feels there is zero fun in the house and that the girls are overly controlled. A tearful and emotional Sandy butts heads with Nyron, and soon etiquette goes completely out of the window.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Rosa is determined to clean up the McLeish family’s act and rules that the girls must take etiquette lessons. But Kelly burns the clothes Rosa has picked out for the family, and the girls break down in tears when they feel that Rosa is belittling their father. At the McLeishes’ Sandy bans manners and rules and tries to introduce the girls to mud-sliding, mud-racing, burping, dressing like tomboys and throwing a mud party. An outraged Nyron dramatically attempts to bring the swap to a stop.

After two weeks in another home, can Sandy O’Dell show the McLeish family that the girls can have fun and loosen up a little? And can Rosa McLeish get the O’Dell family out of the mud and transform them into well mannered, elegant members of society?

The Samel-Garloffs Meet the Fulco's on Wife Swap

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A hard-working family band obsessed with becoming rich and famous swaps lives with a free-thinking family of activists who believe in going against the mainstream, on “Wife Swap,” FRIDAY, APRIL 23 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Each week two very contradictory families from across the country participate in a two-week-long challenge: The wives exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover daily life in another woman’s shoes. This astonishing experiment repeatedly changes lives and redefines families.

The Fulco family from Nevada believe they’re musical superstars who have yet to be discovered. With dad Joey on the drums, mom Vanessa on the keyboard, daughter Joei (12) on the guitar and vocals, son Jesse (10) on the bass, daughter Stevie (6) singing vocals, and youngest son Tyler (3) still in training on the drums, the Fulcos believe they are on the fast track to global popstar domination. The band practices three hours a day, and the family never leaves home without their “PR” bag filled with headshots and business cards ready to be handed out. When they aren’t singing, dancing or rehearsing, the kids are expected to do well in school and even become fluent in Mandarin and French for their international fans. The Fulcos believe their kids’ education will come in handy one day when they can manage their branded products like Fulco hair gel and Fulco popcorn. Dad Joey is a bundle of energy and a self-proclaimed “yellist,” who barks at his kids to keep them focused on the dream. Mom Vanessa is constantly on the go, making sure the kids have nothing to worry about except becoming the next pop sensation!Fu

In Oregon, the Samel-Garloff family devote themselves to social causes and an alternative lifestyle. They choose to go against the grain by avoiding television shows which promote pop culture. Tattoo artist and piercer mom Mori opts to home-school her boys, Bronson (13) and Max (11), and uses unconventional techniques like teaching from her bed and letting the boys decide what they want to learn. They encourage the boys to use their voices and write speeches defying corporate globalism in hopes of reaching out to the younger generation. When they aren’t marching around town with signs and megaphones, the family like to relax with calming yoga. Dad Jon can often be found unwinding on his hammock watching the trees grow. However, the laid back, anything-goes atmosphere in the Samel-Garloff home has caused reserved Max to resent his self-assured older brother, Bronson, for always stealing the spotlight.

In the first week, vivacious Vanessa Fulco leaves behind her driven family band for the slow-paced Samel-Garloff home. Upon arrival, she accompanies Jon, Bronson and Max on a march for the environment. After observing the small turnout and Max taking a back seat to his brother, Bronson, Vanessa begins to question whether Jon and Mori are committed to actually making a difference or just like talking about it. Although she tries to embrace Mori’s leisurely lifestyle of lying around in bed all day, she finally confronts Jon about his lack of ambition and involvement in his kids’ lives. Meanwhile, in Nevada, relaxed Mori steps into the limelight and joins the Fulcos on stage for a big performance. While she admires their passion, she begins to worry that the Fulcos are only seeking fame to better themselves instead of bettering the world. She watches the way demanding Joey snaps at his children, and becomes concerned that the kids have no identity outside of their pursuit for musical superstardom.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Vanessa Fulco attempts to help the Samel-Garloffs find their true potential. She puts away Jon’s hammock and bans home-schooling from bed. In order to put an end to the rivalry between Max and Bronson, she creates a family band, finally giving Max a chance to step into the spotlight and take the lead. Meanwhile, Mori Samel makes an effort to help the Fulco kids figure out who they truly are – outside of their pop star aspirations — by banning all things musical. In order to help Joey realize the effect his perpetual yelling has on his kids, Mori switches up the roles and gives the kids a chance to be in charge. After two weeks in another home, can Vanessa Fulco help the Samel-Garloffs put the focus back on their own home rather than the rest of the world? And can Mori Samel teach the Fulcos to use their voices to make the world a better place?

Wife Swap Mom Arrested for Stabbing Husband

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Jamie Czerniawski was released on $75,000 bail last month after being arrested for allegedly stabbing her husband with a kitchen knife.

Mrs Czerniawski, a former Miss Teen New Jersey who also appeared in the ABC reality show “Wife Swap” in 2006, was arrested after she allegedly stabbed her husband Charles in the heat of a domestic dispute. Charles spent two days in intensive care with stab wounds to his right arm, according to The Examiner. He lost four pints of blood as a result of his injuries.

Mrs Czerniawski, who traded places with a tatooed freak show performer from Arizona on Wife Swap, says that she stabbed her husband in self defense, after he caught her talking to a male friend and went into a jealous rage. Mr Czerniawski says that she simply lost her mind and started stabbing him.

Both parties currently have restraining orders against each other. To read all the gory details, click here.

The Padovan-Hickmans meet The Burroughs on tonight's Wife Swap

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A family who choose to live off the grid, without modern conveniences like electricity or a refrigerator, swap lives with a wealthy, materialistic family obsessed with status, on “Wife Swap,” FRIDAY, APRIL 17 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on  ABC . 

In a log cabin in the backwoods of Virginia, the Padovan-Hickmans are proud to be “modern pioneers.” DeLaura (46) and Steve (60) are raising their daughters, Tara (11) and Maren (8), to be self sufficient and environmentally conscious. Without electricity, the family must wear head flashlights to find their way around the dark house at night. Instead of going to the supermarket, they raise chickens, make their own cheese and eat fruit right off the vine. To conserve water, the entire family use the same tub of bath water, which they then use to flush the toilet. Even their clothes are recycled; Tara admits she has never owned a piece of brand new clothing. DeLaura doesn’t waste any time on her appearance; she gladly admits she hasn’t shaved in six years, to the delight of her husband. The Padovan-Hickmans believe they’ve cut out all the “stuff” that comes along with chasing the American Dream. For them, the American Dream is a nightmare.

Meanwhile, the materialistic Burroughs family from New Jersey say they are living the American Dream and loving it! Spoiled Shannon Nicole (33) and her husband Shannon Michael (35) believe life is about spending money and dressing to impress. Shannon Nicole loves big diamonds, big furs and big hair. She spares no expense on cosmetic procedures and, when asked if her appearance is real, she answers, “real….real expensive!” Shannon Nicole spends hours each day primping herself and her twins, Nicholas and Alexa (6). To keep the kids happy, they proudly admit that bribery is a useful parenting technique. The Burroughs designed their ornate home around a glistening, high-wattage chandelier in the hope that people driving by will be impressed by their “wow” house. In order to keep up with his wife’s expensive taste, Shannon Michael works as a technology consultant. He has passed on his love of technology to his kids, who each have their own computer and heaps of video games.

In the first week, DeLaura Padovan-Hickman leaves behind her pioneer life and enters the high-tech, modern world. In order to live as Shannon Nicole, she receives a “Jersey chic” makeover complete with teased hair, high heels and animal print clothing. After spending hours alone staring at herself in the mirror and visiting the plastic surgeon’s office, she concludes Shannon Nicole is living a self-centered and shallow life, while her husband and kids trail behind doing nothing but playing on their computers. Meanwhile in Virginia, Shannon Nicole Burroughs is shocked when she is dropped off in the woods and has to trek through mud just to get to the Padovan-Hickmans’ electricity-free, log cabin. When she sees the goats, she explains that she usually doesn’t take care of animals-she wears them. She refuses to transform into DeLaura and claims that people who shop at thrift stores are nothing but losers. After spending time with Tara and Maren, she believes Steve and DeLaura are failing as parents because they don’t pamper the girls like the princesses she believes they deserve to be.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, DeLaura Padovan-Hickman strives to “unplug” the Burroughs family in hopes they’ll learn to appreciate one another. Though Shannon Michael argues he didn’t build his fancy home to have to rely on flashlights, he eventually succumbs and turns out the lights. DeLaura also asks that the kids donate some of their toys and clothes, but the usually indulged twins struggle to understand why they have to part with their prized possessions. DeLaura hopes Shannon Michael can learn to stand up and be a father instead of tuning everything out. Meanwhile in Virginia, Shannon Nicole wants to turn the Padovan-Hickman “dump” into a wow house. She attempts to bring the out of touch family into the 21st century by introducing them to technology and the thrill of spending money, but it all goes downhill after a failed trip to the mall. Steve tries to explain his family doesn’t believe more stuff will bring his family any more happiness than they already have. After two weeks in another home, can DeLaura Padovan-Hickman bring the Burroughs back to basics by cutting out the clutter and healing their disconnected lives? And can Shannon Nicole Burroughs bring the Padovan-Hickmans one step closer into the modern world?

The Hensteins trade lifestyles with The Toulous on Wife Swap

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“Henstein/Toulou” A hard-working real estate couple who never take a day off swap with a fun-loving family of jokesters, on “Wife Swap,” FRIDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Each week two very contradictory families from across the country participate in a two-week-long challenge: The wives exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover daily life in another woman’s shoes. This astonishing experiment repeatedly changes lives and redefines families.

The Toulou family from Washington are doing their best to keep up with today’s faltering economy. As real estate agents, Lisa (40) and Troy (39) are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to cut down on expenses, the Toulous recruit their two children, Lauren (14) and Connor (10), to help them clean their office. Lisa has high expectations for the kids at home as well: Both Lauren and Connor have an extensive chore list, as Lisa aims for her house to look like a model home. They even have “by invitation only” rooms which the children cannot enter unless their parents give them approval. With so many chores and little time to relax, the Toulou children have no social life, leaving Connor to play with his only friend…a stick.

Further south in Oregon, anything goes in the Henstein home! Fun-loving Eric (43) and Joyce (41) like being “cool parents” to teenagers Josh (18), Jake (16) and Erica (14). They have an open door policy in their house allowing the kids and their friends the freedom to flow in and out. To ensure she is able to spend as much time as possible catering to her kids’ every whim, Joyce runs a daycare out of their home. Eric admits he will never strike it rich installing cabinets, but life is too short to worry about money. He’d much rather spend time with his kids playing practical jokes. In the happy Henstein home, it’s hard to tell who the parents are and who the kids are, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the first week, real estate agent Lisa leaves behind her model home for the no holds barred Henstein house. Upon arrival, she admits the unkempt house would need plenty of work if she were taking it on as listing. She also has trouble keeping her cool when the Henstein boys place a fake toy rodent in the kitchen cabinet. Though she tries to confront Eric, she sees that his antics are just as juvenile, and she compares the Henstein home to a fraternity house or a zoo. Meanwhile, in Washington, joyful Joyce finds the Toulou home to be prim, proper and a bit stuffy. When 10-year-old Connor tells her he helps out with his parents’ business so that he doesn’t have to live on the street, she understands how cheerless the Toulou kids’ childhood really is.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Lisa bans all pranks. Since the Hensteins refuse to grow up, Lisa decides to treat them as children; every time they disobey one of her rules, they’re sent to the “naughty chair.” As the only adult in the house, Lisa expects Eric to lead by example, but to her dismay he continues to encourage the kids to break all the rules. Meanwhile, in Oregon, Joyce transfers all the kids’ chores to Troy. She also turns the “by invitation only” rooms into a kid zone, complete with toys and an indoor basketball net. Joyce hopes a little fun and goofing around will bring Eric closer to his lonely children. After two weeks in another home, can Lisa Toulou help the Hensteins grow up and take life more seriously? And can Joyce Henstein show the Toulous that they need to put the focus on their kids rather than work?

The Chi Family meets the Edwards on Wife Swap

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In New York, the Chi family is all about getting down to business. Wife Myra (48) turned husband Charles‘ passion for martial arts into a business, and together they run two successful martial arts schools. Myra is the CEO, Charles (51) is the “product,” and kids Meagan (14) and Charles Lee (9) serve as role models to other students. When they aren’t putting in exhausting hours at the studio, Myra runs the family’s home life much like a corporation. She proudly admits she’s the dictator and makes her children sign a document making them citizens of the family. Meagan and Charles Lee have an extensive chore list because Myra admits messiness “distorts her brain.” Through martial arts and a tough parenting style, Myra and Charles hope their children will learn the structure, discipline and respect they need to succeed in life.

Meanwhile, the eccentric Edwards family of Washington lives to entertain. Wife Jackie (44) and husband Phil (44) are actors, singers and celebrity impersonators. They own and operate a community theater out of their home, and Jackie spends most of her time swamped in fabric because she’s constantly making new costumes. She loves to dress up as Dolly Parton, Mae West or Marilyn Monroe, while Phil dons pirate costumes and delivers singing telegrams. Free-spirited daughter Elisa (15) has few rules and is following in her parents’ footsteps, dreaming of acting and singing professionally. With so much creative energy flowing through the house, there’s no time for domestics matters. Dishes are only done when it’s absolutely necessary, and bills often get lost in the shuffle. But Jackie doesn’t worry; she believes, “If life gets messy, just go with it!”

In the first week, Myra Chi leaves behind order and structure to live the chaotic life of Jackie Edwards. While dressing up in Jackie’s costumes and trying to run the family’s theater, she determines the Edwards aren’t marketing their talents in a way that could benefit them financially. With the dishes piled high, clothes strewn about and no organization in sight, Myra has difficulty stomaching the home and dramatically walks out. Meanwhile, upon arrival in New York, free spirit Jackie Edwards finds the immaculate Chi home “sterile.” She observes the cold interaction between Charles and his kids as he rewards them with cash for their chores, and worries the blurred lines between family and business might have a negative effect on the kids.

In the second week, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Myra Chi and Phil Edwards battle for control. She attempts to empower the family by introducing them to martial arts. Using his newly acquired discipline, Phil sets up a public speaking seminar to help bring in some extra income. At home, Myra wants both Phil and Elisa to pitch in and help organize things. Meanwhile, in the detached Chi home, Jackie Edwards bans all chores and eliminates the family’s citizenship agreement. To help bring the family closer together, she asks the Chi kids to give up one of their prized possessions in exchange for quality time with their father. After two weeks in another home, can Myra Chi help the Edwards family live their passion without sacrificing their financial stability? And can Jackie Edwards help the Chis recognize that families are meant to be loving and connected, not run like businesses?

The Petersons meet The Vaughn Family on tonight's Wife Swap

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An eccentric pair of yoga instructors who have raised their son to be the king of the household swap with a hard working, no-nonsense family of six, on “Wife Swap,” tonight (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

In California’s northern Bay area, the Petersons are an unconventional family of three. Parents Susan and David teach laughing yoga while raising their only child, 10 year-old Victor. Victor is the head of the household, creates rules for his friends, has no actual responsibilities and bosses his parents around on a daily basis. David, although the father of the home, is a self-proclaimed freak who is proud to be nuts and prides himself on wearing a tiara, as well as tie-dyed clothing. Susan and David operate on the supposition that Victor’s happiness is everything. Their non-traditional lifestyle is reflected in their attitude that husband or wife, male or female, everyone plays an equal role at home and in society.

In a more remote part of California, in an isolated town with a population of 50, resides the Vaughn family. Justin, the father, is a dairy farmer who rarely sees his four children or wife, and is often more concerned with his cows than his own family. Beth, the mother and disciplinarian of the home, is strict and teaches her children that life is not fun, but involves hard work and sacrifice; she’s content not to be a friend to her kids, but rather the authoritarian. Ryan (9), Zachary (7), Marissa (6) and Grace (4) live alone on their farm, 40 miles from school, and have multiple chores that take up most of their free time. The kids are sad to live such an isolated existence, but parents Justin and Beth maintain that life isn’t always fun and happy.

In the first week, Susan leaves her husband, son and laughing yoga for a more traditional role as a mother. She arrives at the Vaughn home to find it spotless, but realizes how lonely it is when every day is spent cleaning and tidying up. Susan connects almost immediately with the children, but she’s saddened by their isolation. Meanwhile, up north, Beth arrives to a new environment and is freaked out by all the odd statues and decorations in the home. She’s concerned with David’s lack of authority and Victor’s manipulations. After participating in some laughing yoga sessions, Beth is convinced that the Vaughns have not faced the reality of parenting, and she’s distraught at Victor’s spoiled and rude behavior.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Susan is determined to bring fun back to the Petersen farm. She begins with attempts to have Justin spend more time with the kids, which at first results in confrontation and battles, but that eventually changes when Susan sets aside her laughing yoga and focuses more on the interests of the children. They attend a football practice, have a family whipped cream fight, and the kids finally get to spend more time with their father. Beth, on the other hand, sets out to create more structure to the Petersen home. It begins when she hides David and Victor’s clothes and replaces them with more “masculine” attire. Since Beth sees David as a poor example to Victor, she asks him to start disciplining Victor, which proves difficult.

David and Beth argue almost constantly over parenting methods, but then David begins to see that Victor is manipulative and that showing a little authority may not be such a bad idea. After two weeks in another home, can Susan Petersen convince the Vaughns that life should be fun and family focused? And can Beth Vaughn show the Petersens that being a parent is not always about being a best friend, but rather about finding a balance between example and enforcement?

The Linkins Meet the Bonetts on Wife Swap tonight

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The LARPING Linkins from Virginia live in a world of fantasy. As a Live Action Role Player, Mom Grace (53) spends her days dressed up as an elf, gypsy or queen and roams the forest with other fanciful characters from her LARPING group. When she’s not in the woods, she spends 12 hours a day on the computer frolicking in virtual fantasy worlds, while Dad George (57) runs the family cleaning business. Neither Grace nor George see a need to be strict parents, which sons Casey (19) and Randy (12) take full advantage of. With few rules and a mom who would rather create spell packets or fancy costumes, sleeping in or bringing home less than stellar grades is totally acceptable. Randy’s real dream is to become more active and try football, wrestling or martial arts, but his parents have discouraged him from these intense sports in favor of LARPING.

Meanwhile, the success-driven Bonett family from Florida believe the sky is the limit if you have the right attitude. On the advice of a motivational speaker, Dad Warren (43) starts each day jumping on a mini trampoline, which gets his blood pumping and puts him on the road to success with a positive attitude. Mom Prebble (48) covers the mirrors in the house with motivational messages for kids Wyndham (15) and Celia (13) to keep them thinking positive! However attitude is only half of the formulaeducation and hard work are essential to the Bonetts’ success. Warren and Prebble lead by example and are workaholic real estate agents; Warren’s phone is attached to his ear at all times, and his laptop is never out of his sight. And, since higher education is mandatory for their kids, Warren and Prebble have gone as far as to cut the kids out of the will if they don’t attend college.

In the first week of the swap, Grace Linkins leaves behind her life of fantasy and journeys into the real world at the Bonnet home. She is impressed by the care and precision that has been taken to keep the Bonett home immaculate, but is troubled by how much time Warren spends on work and how little time he spends with his family. An exhausted Grace worries that, with so much focus on setting and achieving goals, the Bonnets are missing out on valuable, relaxed family time. Meanwhile in Virginia, energetic Prebble has trouble adjusting to the slow-paced Linkins home. She feels Grace spends too much time on childish role playing in the forest instead of taking care of her home or encouraging her kids to reach their greatest potential in life. Prebble attempts to show George his lax attitude is making his kids go nowhere fast.

In the second week, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Grace strives to bring the world of imagination into the Bonnet home. She breaks down after pleading with Warren to turn off his phone, lock up his computer and join his kids in a LARP. The usually structured Bonett family finds it difficult to morph into whimsical characters and join the world of make believe. Meanwhile, Prebble Bonett attempts to bring a dose of reality into the laidback Linkins’ home. To better prepare them for their future, Prebble encourages Randy to go for his dream and try martial arts. and she persuades Casey to get a haircut and go on a real job interview. After two weeks in another home, can Grace Linkins show the uptight, go-getting Bonetts that a little fantasy isn’t going to stop them from being successful? And can Prebble Bonnet motivate the Linkins to leave the world of fantasy behind to achieve real life goals and become successful?

The Jones' meet the Martinsons on Wife Swap

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“Jones/Martinson” A nonconformist California family who have radical views on mainstream society and traditional education swap lives with a busy Colorado family whose focus is grooming their children to become successful, model adults, on “Wife Swap.”

The free-spirited Martinson family from California choose to go against the grain when it comes to educating their children. Instead of public schools, Mom Heather (39) “fun-schools” her children using amusement parks and a homemade time machine. She encourages her three boys, Nick (18), Riley (10) and Harrison (7), to question everything, including the theory of gravity. Self-employed, aspiring author Dad Lee (50) shares Heather’s perspectives and feels that schools are “socialist, anti-family rat holes.” Both parents pride themselves in the chaotic environment they have created in their home; they feel less structure gives kids higher self-esteem. As a result, the boys have no chores or responsibilities. Without any restrictions on their appearance, they often choose to wear mismatched outfits, but it’s all in the name of self expression.

Meanwhile, the Jones family from Colorado are the ideal image of time management and structure. Speech pathologist and former beauty queen Mom Kerry (46) believes formal education is the key to success and devotes her time to handling daughters Krista (17) and Brooke’s (14) jam-packed schedule. As dancers, they spend 4-5 hours a night practicing while Kerry looks on. Both girls are expected to bring home A’s and B’s, even if it means staying up late to complete their homework. With the girls constantly on the go, Police Lieutenant Dad Mark (46) spends most nights eating dinner alone. The little free time the girls have to spend with their father usually turns into Mark’ patrolling and scolding them. He feels rules, chores and organization are necessary to keep the girls out of trouble.

In the first week, Heather leaves her family and freedom behind for a taste of conformity. Upon arrival, she realizes her quirky wardrobe of homemade shirts won’t cut it while living Kerry’s picture perfect life. She is also amazed at how little time the Jones family spends together. After shuffling the girls to and from their dance rehearsals and observing Mark’s brief yet tough interaction with the girls, she feels the family could really benefit from spending quality time together without any pressure. Meanwhile, in California, Kerry is bewildered by the family’s empty schedule and by Heather’s “fun-schooling” teaching methods. She is shocked to discover the boys are not performing at their grade level and confronts Lee about the boys’ untraditional education.

In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Heather attempts to bring her radical ideas on education to the family. She takes the Jones to a theme park for some “fun-schooling,” to the disbelief of Mark and the girls. To help Mark understand the pressure his girls are under to succeed, Heather rules that he go through their rigorous singing and dancing schedule. Across the mountains in Colorado, Kerry tries to bring structure and traditional curriculum into the Martinson home by sending both the boys and Lee back to school. Dressed in a new wardrobe, the boys are reluctant to join their peers, and Lee continues to question the validity of traditional education. After two weeks in another home, can Heather Martinson convince the Jones’ that a day at an amusement park is the best way to educate? And can Kerry Jones help the Martinsons understand the importance of a good education and a structured environment?

Did ABC get more than they bargained for with the Fowler/Stephens Swap?

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Our thanks to guest blogger Elizabeth Prata:

Stephen Fowler will live in Wife Swap infamy as the most boorish and abusive of husbands ever to host a swapped wife. The day after this infamous episode the internet is howling. Why? Let me count the ways.

 Liberal, upper crust, environmentally conscious, highly educated, weight appropriate San Franciscans were to swap wives with the Missouri small town ATV riding, paintball playing, overweight Middle Americans in the January 30th episode. The show in and of itself pairs couples that hold diametrically opposing views on just about everything from religion to politics to fish sticks; a recipe for conflict and emotional challenge in any situation. Nothing new there. However, the pairing on January 30th for the first time, added abuse to the mix. And that crossed line has gotten the audience into a stark raving tizzy.

 Regular watchers know that most husbands on the show hold dearly to their viewpoints. Occasionally they are bombastic about it, but usually the audience member by the show’s conclusion is treated to a release, in that each pair learned something and all’s well that ends well.

 In the case of the Fowler-Long swap, husband Stephen Fowler, a Briton, immediately trumpeted his education and intelligence as a license to demean all others he estimates as below him. “I never answer a question that has been asked of me twice.” And to him, just about everyone is below him. He bragged about his wealth, his degrees, his position in the world, his maid, his trophy children. And that was just the intro.

When Gayla Long arrived she was respectful and eager, at least as far as one could tell from the editing. However almost immediately Mr Fowler called her obese and uneducated, which shortly devolved into just calling her fat and stupid and mercilessly mocked her vocabulary. “Oh, you used the word agenda, that’s a big word for you,” Mr Fowler said at one point in front of his children. In another moment, he pointed to Mrs. Long and said to his children, “This is what happens if you don’t get your education.” Humiliated, Mrs. Long cried in the back yard, yet Mr. Fowler continued his attacks. Worse, he looked like he enjoyed them. The verbal abuse continued throughout the show, but Mrs. Long was restrained and to her credit kept trying to reach him, mostly for his children’s sakes.

 When it came time for Mrs. Long to lay down her rules, Mr.  Fowler reared up and exhibited even more deliberate cruelty than ever before seen on the five year history of the show. But wait, there’s more.

 Mr Fowler stopped the taping. He insisted on a meeting with the producers because he deemed Mrs. Long’s rules unnecessary and as a result refused to go along with them. The show had never seen participant out and out renege on their show obligations, but there you have it. Subsequently, Mr Fowler then ordered his children not to talk with Mrs Long, and to ignore her completely. They would pass her in the hall and never look back as she tried to covnerse with them. Mr Fowler did the same, at one point ordering her out of his room and slamming the door in her face as she was talking. Crushed, she packed and went to a hotel. It must have been a long, lonely night for her.

 Mr Fowler’s derision of our military, of small-town America, of those with a different educational path, of overweight people, were all grating in the extreme and were enough in themselves to galvanize an audience to ire. Mr Fowler’s intentionally negative and cruel focus on Mrs Long’s weight is an ultimate irony: Mr Fowler’s own wife is a weight coach for obese people and is associated with Weight Watchers.

 There has not been a person so cruel, so pompous, so arrogant, so infuriating on Wife Swap in its five-year history. Still, why the severe outrage?

 A moral line has been crossed. A show participant was needlessly and constantly cruel. There was no intervention from show producers. Other show participants have had their displays of temper but there is an enormous difference between being challenged to stretch your worldview and becoming irritated because of it, and what happened on the Fowler-Long episode. Mrs Long was purposely debased, Mr Fowler reneged on his obligations, and yet ABC continued with the pairing. Allowing cruelty for the sake of ratings is unconscionable, and the ABC audience viewing the mess that was last night’s episode is heartbroken and outraged over it.

Elizabeth Prata is a writer living in Georgia. She is the author of  “The Quiet Life” blog.

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