March 20, 2006 12:01 AM by Joe Blackmon
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 the 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 changes their lives forever. This week, in "Smith/Weiner," a highly competitive, workout-obsessed mother of three swaps lives with an out-of-shape, inner-focused Florida mother of two, on "Wife Swap," airing MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 11/3/04)
A 42-year-old mortgage broker, Dena Weiner is the mother of three very active, sports-minded boys: Kyle, 15, Brett, 14, and Justin, 13. She’s also a professional fitness competitor who’s at the gym every morning-usually by 6:00 a.m.-for a two-hour workout with weights, treadmill, stair master and Pilates. Dena sticks to a strict diet of lean protein, with limited complex carbs and no sugar, dairy or wheat. Along with her husband, Keith, the Weiners live and breathe fitness, sports and competition. Both Dena and Keith spend much of their time shuttling their boys to and from their various sporting events around the upscale Southern California suburb where they live. Keith and the boys are responsible for most of the household chores, but if the boys don’t complete theirs properly, neat-freak Keith rousts them from their beds at 6:30 a.m. "Winning" and "success" are part of this family’s vocabulary; "sensitivity" and "emotions" are not.
Dena travels cross-country to the Southern Florida home of the Smith family-Dawne, 40, Jeff, 46, and their sons, Shane, 13, and Jesse, 10. Dawne is a stay-at-home mom who single-handedly does everything from cleaning to childcare, while husband Jeff is away on business four days a week. Dawne prides herself on the close emotional relationship she has with her two coddled boys, who are allowed to stay up as late as they want, watch as much TV as they please and eat as much junk food as they desire. Instead of exercising and playing sports, Dawne encourages her sons to express their emotions and sensitivity. Every week the family has "circle time," in which each person says something positive about the other. The Smiths’ philosophy is to be kind and always end the day with "I love you."
In the first week of the swap, Dawne crumbles under Dena’s no pain/no gain exercise regimen and tries to sensitize the unemotional and over-orderly Keith. Meanwhile, Dena tries to stomach the Smiths’ fast food diet and keep up with Dawne’s cleaning and chore schedule. But in the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Dena throws out the junk food and tries to toughen up the Smith boys, whom she forces to work out in a new garage gym she installs. And in the Weiner home, an all-out battle ensues between Dawne and the rebellious Weiner boys. At the end of the swap, the emotional and dramatic reunion of these two families is not to be missed.
"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Lambert and Jenny Crowther of RDF Media and Michael Davies of Diplomatic. Wendy Roth is the co-executive producer.