February 12, 2007 12:01 AM by Joe Reality
This week in "Meeks/Hoover," a religious, conservative mom who shuns
alcohol and is raising her three daughters to be proper and modest
swaps lives with a punk rock mom who believes freedom of expression and
partying are most important in life, on "Wife Swap," MONDAY, FEBRUARY
12 (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.
For Missouri minister’s daughter Kristen Hoover (34), her chimney-sweep husband, Stephen (38), and their three daughters, Emily (7), Grace (5) and Alivia (3), religion and old-fashioned values are ways of life. Although Stephen left his Mennonite family to be able to drive more than a horse and buggy, he still believes in the traditions he was raised with. Anti-feminist Kristen gave up her career as a pediatric nurse in order to raise her children the way she thinks they should be raised — to be good wives, good mothers and modest women. She takes care of all of the domestic duties in her household and home-schools her daughters with a religion-based curriculum. Kristen and her three daughters shun makeup and jewelry, and wear their hair and their skirts long. Stephen wears the pants in this family
– literally — Kristen and Stephen believe that it’s not appropriate for women to wear pants at all. Stephen feels that men these days have lost sight of what a man is supposed to be. He believes that, as a man, it’s his duty to provide for his family and Kristen’s job to care for the family. Kristen says that she has her hands full with three girls, but Stephen wants to have more children and keeps a handmade cradle in their bedroom to remind her of it daily.
Kristen travels to the Texas home of the Meeks, where Tish (35), her husband, Tony (47), and their two kids, Benji (6) and Hannah (4), think freedom of expression is the rule of the house. Tish and Tony cashed in their 401K to chase their dream of being rock stars, and devote all their time to promoting, practicing, performing and partying with their band. The Meeks believe in expressing themselves with racy lyrics and encourage their kids to express themselves too. Benji and Hannah can wear whatever they want and say whatever they want — even curse whenever they want. Partying is a priority in the house; in fact the Meeks even converted a fridge into a "kegorator" to always have cold beer on tap, and Tony built a bar in the garage that’s open to anybody who drops by. Tony and Tish don’t worry about money or saving for the future. Tony believes that life is for the living, because you could be dead tomorrow.
In the first week of the swap, strict teetotal Kristen has to party like a rock star at the Meeks keg parties, and has to get up and front a punk band with racy lyrics at a crowded bar. Tish has her hands full in the Hoover house, home-schooling three kids, serving Stephen, and tending to the home and hearth like a traditional housewife, without a beer or a guitar in sight.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Kristen bans all alcohol from the house, sending the kegorator off on a tow truck and bringing her old-fashioned values of family time and religion back into the house. At the Hoover house, Tish bans home school and starts rock school, teaching the girls Head Banging 101, while Stephen is forced to take over all domestic duties. The family makes a music video and has a screening for the neighbors, which goes haywire when Tish brings a keg into the house.
At the end of the swap, when the families are reunited, will Kristen throw out her apron and demand more hep around her house? Will Tish and Tony curb their partying and put their punk rock energies towards parenting?
"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 Mike Gamson are the co-executive producers.