April 30, 2006 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
It’s grit versus glamour this week in "Ridgely/Corrao," as rodeo barrel racer "Cowgirl Jen" trades families with luxury-living hair stylist Kim on "Wife Swap," MONDAY, MAY 1 (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 just what it’s like to live another woman’s life. It’s a mind-blowing experiment that often ends up changing lives forever.
Jen Ridgely (36) and her husband, Randy (38), a professional bull rider and steer wrestler, keep tight reins on their children, Peyton (7) and Rylee (3), who were born into a rough-edged lifestyle and do chores around the ranch when not in school, practicing their cowhand skills or attending the rodeo. No whining’s allowed in this Delaware family, where rugged independence, hard work, competitiveness and frugality take precedence over romance and leisure time.
Traveling to the suburban Ohio home of hair stylist Kim Corrao (42) and her husband, Louis (41), "Cowgirl Jen" encounters a family bred on "la dolce vita" (the sweet life). The Corrao children, Sofia (8) and Vittorio (6), feel free to do just about anything around the house, set their own bedtimes and even write on the walls. They think their party-girl mom shops too much and wears too much makeup. Husband Louis relishes the good life and the passion in his marriage, and believes his children should have fun, not chores.
In the first week of the swap, hairdresser Kim has to buckle down to the endless manual work on the Ridgelys’ Delaware ranch. She shovels horse manure morning, noon and night, feeds their 42 animals and, at the end of the working day, spends hours on the phone taking bookings. Meanwhile in Ohio, "Cowgirl Jen" changes into revealing clothes and high, high heels to become mom in the Corrao house, where a hard day’s work means chatting at the salon, going out for cocktails and coming home after the family have eaten. Jen is appalled by the lax discipline and structure in the Corrao house, and she and son Vittorio and clash when she refuses to indulge his every whim.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, "Cowboy Randy" has to do all the ranch work without anyone’s help, while Kim indulges his daughters with candy, makeovers and no bedtimes. Randy starts breaking Kim’s rules immediately and things go downhill from there. In Ohio the Corraos get a short, sharp shock when "Cowgirl Jen" saddles up and brings in structure, discipline and the rodeo.
In the most explosive table meeting ever captured on the show, things get ugly when the fists fly as the reunion ignites an angry shouting match, preventing any sensible discussion of their two-week swap experience from going any further.
Once the dust settles, will glamorous Kim have influenced the rough and tumble Ridgely family, and will "Cowgirl Jen" have lassoed the Corrao lifestyle?
"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 Embasy Row ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Stef Wagstaffe and Stephanie Schwam are the co-executive producers.