September 17, 2006 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
In the season opener of ABC’s hit reality show, "Wife Swap," a high maintenance former beauty pageant winner who insists on perfection in her palatial home and spoiled daughters swaps places with a junk-collecting, blue collar mom who believes that grooming and primping are a total waste of time. The episode, "Jeffrey/Greiner," airs MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 (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 their lives forever.
Former beauty queen Shannon Jeffrey (37), husband Wayne (41) and their three girls — Jesstine (15), Alyssa (11) and Trinity (9) — believe that a perfect appearance is everything. Shannon spends $36,000 a year keeping their luxurious Tennessee home decorated like a furniture showroom, is constantly plucking her daughters’ eyebrows, and grounds them if they have chipped nail polish. Dutiful daughter Jesstine wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to straighten her hair the way Shannon likes it. When nagging perfectionist Wayne isn’t flying commercial jets as a pilot, he’s obsessively cleaning the house and complaining loudly about it. Wayne spoils his wife and daughters, doling out money instead of spending time with them. When he bought Jesstine a red sportscar for her birthday, she complained that she wanted a pink car and told him to get it repainted. While the girls enjoy being spoiled, they wish their Dad would spend more time hanging out with them and less time nagging them.
Shannon heads to the Pennsylvania home of the blue collar Greiner family, where mom Belinda (43) and her husband, George (42), live with their two children, Madison (10) and Seth (9). The Greiners live in a loving but cluttered den filled with animals and their junkshop finds. What the family can’t get for free, they find in the trash or buy at thrift stores. They live in sweats and jeans, and Belinda has bought daughter Madison new clothes only twice in her entire life. Belinda cares more about spending time with her animals and her children than she does about cleaning up after them. She spends every waking hour of her day with her kids, even home-schooling them so she can have more time with them. In order for Belinda to stay home with the kids, George must work 16 hours days as a carpenter to support them. He spends so much time fixing other people’s houses that he has no time to work on the countless unfinished projects in his own house.
In the first week of the swap, Shannon is forced to live without makeup or fancy clothes in a house full of unfinished projects, pet hair and mounds of clutter. In the Jeffrey home, Belinda can’t believe the lengths that the family will go to in order to maintain perfection, and breaks down when Wayne’s incessant nagging turns into confrontation and yelling.
In the second week of the swap, the wives change the rules and turn the tables. Shannon pretties up the kids and packs them off to their first day at a real school. She hires a professional cleaning crew, finishes the many unfinished home projects, and moves the pets to the basement to lessen the odor and dust.
Meanwhile at the Jeffrey house, Wayne lashes out at Belinda when she tries to home-school the girls. Belinda, tired of Wayne’s yelling and nagging, brings in a communications expert to teach Wayne how to express himself better with both her and his daughters, which results in some eye-opening discoveries for them all.
At the end of the swap when the couples are reunited, will Shannon end her quest for perfection and adopt the Greiners’ no frills lifestyle? And will Belinda do a clean sweep of her home and leave thepets in the basement?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF USA production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Wendy Roth and Stephen Lambert of RDF Media ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and Michael Davies of Embassy Row ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Cristin Cricco, Stephanie Schwam Adams and Stef Wagstaffe are the co-executive producers.