March 06, 2006 12:02 AM by Joe Blackmon
This week in "Thompson/Askam-Schwartz," a Wiccan High Priestess whose husband worships the mystical ground she walks on swaps places with a traditional, stay-at-home wife and mother of two whose husband expects his wife to do everything for him, on "Wife Swap," MONDAY, MARCH 6 (8:00-9:00pm, 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 just what it’s like to live another woman’s life. It’s a mind-blowing experiment that often ends up changing their lives forever.
Bella Thompson (40), her husband, Kenny (37), and their three children, Luaxanna (11), Tatiana (10) and Ramsey (6), all practice Wicca. The Thompsons love the magical world they live in, where they talk to fairies, go on broom rides to China and are protected by a huge invisible dragon that lives on their roof! The family’s home in Georgia doubles as a Wiccan church, where Bella teaches the members of her coven how to cast spells, make potions, do healing and read Tarot cards. The coven are always around the house, mixing potions and performing rituals. They help out by cooking and cleaning, but that leaves the Thompsons hardly any family time to themselves. Any work that the coven members don’t do is taken care of by Poppy, the house elf, an invisible being conjured up by Bella. Kenny is a tattoo artist who works long hours away from home, and the few hours that he is home are devoted to worshipping his Goddess Bella.
Bella travels to the Iowa home of the traditional Askam-Schwartz family, where mother Alison (28) is a stay-at-home wife and mom who worships the ground her husband, Kyle (37), walks on. Kyle is in charge of the household and, when he’s not home, that duty falls to sons Austin (11), then to Keifer (1), and finally to the pet dog. Alison believes her relationship is perfect. She happily cleans all day and cooks for her three men. She even does the yard work and massages Kyle’s feet when he comes home from a hard day at work. All the family’s money is controlled by Kyle, and all family decisions are made by him as well.
In the first week of the swap, Alison attempts to be a Wiccan Goddess by being thrown into spooky rituals and summoning Poppy "the elf" to clean the house – a job she is more attuned to doing herself. As the coven members come and go, Alison realizes the Thompson parents are too busy with their own lives to attend to their children. Frustrated by the dirty house, lack of structure and total chaos of the environment, she breaks down. Meanwhile in the Askam-Schwartz home, Bella is shocked by Alison’s lonely existence – especially when she is forced to serve Kyle and his poker buddies -and finds herself cleaning and catering to Kyle all day.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Bella bewitches the Askam-Schwartz household with her magic and makes Kyle experience Alison’s life of drudgery first-hand. She teaches the boys how to respect women, and Kyle struggles with having to ask Bella for money when he buys his wife her own dress.
Meanwhile at the Thompson household, Alison brings structure, cleanliness and traditional values to the Thompsons. She rules that they remove all of their Wicca artifacts, takes the girls to cheerleading and insists that they learn to cook for and serve the Thompson men. Alison also mandates that Kenny come home to a family dinner every night to reconnect with his kids — and without the coven. By the end of the week, Kenny has a dramatic realization about his family, his religion and the coven.
At the end of the swap, when the couples are reunited, will they find common ground, or will they discover their differences run too deep?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media prduction. 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 Wagstafffe is the co-executive producer.