November 21, 2005 12:01 AM by Joe Blackmon
This week in "Johnson/Blackburn," a strict and regimented mother who runs her family like a military unit and starts her day at 4:30 a.m. swaps lives with a undisciplined mother whose house is chaos and whose home gym is collecting dust, on ABC’s "Wife Swap" — the critically-acclaimed, unscripted reality show that takes us into the intimate heart of the American family home to reveal the extraordinarily different ways families live their lives — MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 (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 a two-week-long 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.
Texans Jay (43) and Lin (36) Johnson are both former soldiers who own Bootcamp Fitness and train clients to be lean, mean fitness machines. Their high end clientele includes the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. The business runs with military precision, as does the Johnson household – from first call at 0430 hours right through to lights out. Fitness to the Johnsons is all-consuming; Lin even works out on her exercise bike while she watches TV. Jay finds it impossible to leave his drill sergeant hat at the door, and wife Lin and daughter Sydnie (11) both wish he could spend more time with them.
Lin travels to the Tennessee home of Rebecca Blackburn (34), her husband, Tony (33), and children Vin (3) and Shelby (10). Fitness could not be further from the Blackburn family’s mind; They live in a chaotic house with a pile of unused gym equipment in their spare room. Both Tony and Rebecca have struggled with their weight in the past – but now they’ve settled for the way they are. The family has no schedule and does housework as and when it’s needed. In the Blackburn household Rebecca wears the pants; Tony left his job as a DJ to help Rebecca with her tanning supply business, and he does most of the work around the home, including serving Rebecca’s morning cappuccino.
In the first week of the swap, Lin Johnson becomes frustrated and bored when she is forced to sleep in and watch soap operas, while Tony takes care of the kids. When Lin finds out that Tony lost his own father at the tender age of 3, she confronts him about his unhealthy lifestyle. Meanwhile, in Texas, Rebecca struggles to get up at 4:30 a.m., misses boot camp and refuses to do housework, offering nothing but excuses when Jay confronts her.
In week two of the swap, when the wives change the rules, Lin enrolls Tony in boot camp and sends him back to work as a DJ, while Rebecca bans all fitness activities, forces Jay to re-evaluate his relationship with his daughter and tries to derail the swap meet. 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.