October 09, 2005 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
This week in "Yonts/Jan-Turan," the pageant-obsessed mother of a five-year-old beauty queen who believes looks are everything swaps places with a mom who shuns makeup and believes the key to beauty lies within, on ABC’s "Wife Swap" — the critically-acclaimed unscripted reality show that takes us into the intimate heart of the American family home, revealing the extraordinarily different ways families live their lives – MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Each week, from across the country, two families with very different values are chosen to take part in "Wife Swap." In a two-week challenge, the wives from these two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it’s like to live a very different woman’s life. It’s a mind-blowing experiment that often ends up changing their lives forever.
Kimberly Yonts (29) is a stay-at-home mom from Kentucky devoted to child beauty pageants and her family — five-year-old Hannah, three-year-old Maddie and husband Michael (29), who works at a local aluminum mill. Beautiful, blonde Hannah has won dozens of crowns and trophies in the more than 60 pageants her parents have entered her in since she was three months old. The Yonts’ family life revolves around Hannah’s competitions. Mom makes most of Hannah’s costumes and spends hours lacquering her hair and applying makeup and tanning cream before each competition. Dad labors alongside Mom, coaching their little star on her smile and runway walk from the stage he built in the girls’ playroom. Three-year-old Maddie hasn’t succeeded on the pageant circuit like Hannah, but is constantly reminded of her sister’s success. The family’s diet consists of fast food and microwave meals eaten in front of their numerous TVs. Kimberly does all the household chores and takes great pride in keeping her home — and family — neat and clean. Appearances are extremely important to her, and no one is allowed to leave the house unless their hair is perfect and their clothes are matching. The couple describes their marriage as very happy.
Kimberly travels to the Pennsylvania home of Ramona Jan (48), a free-spirited artist who embraces creativity, buys only thrift-store clothes and shuns makeup. Ramona and husband Andre Turan — a 38-year-old fitness trainer — encourage their ten-year-old daughter, Lucy, to pursue music, puppets and dancing. Ramona has banned competition and TV and supported Lucy’s decision to quit school at age nine and be home-schooled by a tutor. The family focuses on leading creative, healthy lives and eats only organic meals which Ramona prepares from scratch. Cooking, however, is Ramona’s only real domestic contribution; Andre does most of the chores in the family’s cluttered house. The couple agrees that their relationship is "terrible."
In week one of the swap, Ramona is forced to wear makeup and fix her hair while Kimberly struggles with living an unadorned life and is shocked when she watches Andre do so much housework. But in the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules, Ramona bans TV, junk food and pageants while Kimberly transforms sheltered Lucy into a young beauty queen. At the end of the swap, when the couples are reunited, will their new insights help them change their relationships or are their differences too great to overcome?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Lambert, Jenny Crowther, Wendy Roth of RDF Media ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and Michael Davies of Embassy Row ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Stef Wagstaffe is the co-executive producer.