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Say the Magic Words: Wife Swap

January 23, 2008 10:14 PM by Jennifer_Brown

Wife-Swap-Logo-Courtesy-ABCFor Ohio mom, Melissa Martin-Portala, keeping a hubby and two children happy is all a bunch of hocus-pocus. Literally.

Tonight’s episode of Wife Swap featured a magical family — the Martin-Portalas — whose lives literally revolve around the business of magic. Melissa, who quit her job several years ago to do marketing work for Houdini Hubby, Andrew’s magic business, is all about the alakazam. “We eat, sleep, and breathe magic. It’s our work and it’s our play,” she says. Even Melissa’s son, Ely, is a magician, having begun at18 months, his first paid gig at age 4.

With all this magicking going around, there’s just not a lot of time for other stuff, such as chores. “Cleaning is our lowest priority,” Melissa says.

Sounds like a good time to bring in completely non-magical (in fact, the real trick with this one would be to get her to smile) Jennifer Galvan, super-mommy career woman with most excellent hygiene skillz. “No one can clean as well as I can,” she brags. Jennifer’s so into cleaning, she micromanages her children’s chores, hovering above them while they vacuum and timing their tooth-brushing. She cleans the bathroom as soon as someone’s done using it, and has no qualms about spot-checking the fam before they leave the house to make sure nobody’s leaving with a (*gasp!*) bad hair day. “We’re a beautiful family and I want to make sure we stay beautiful,” she says.

The wives swap and while Melissa (who Jennifer’s husband, Richard thinks is “plain”) seems to hit it off quite naturally with Jennifer’s family, Jennifer looks uncomfortable and squirmy on the Martin-Portala couch with all its icky confetti and nasty happiness and joy. Jennifer snarks that Andy’s job as a magician is “a career for people who have nothing better to do with their time,” but Andy has plans to “magically loosen up” Jennifer.

Really there aren’t any major temper tantrums tonight, as it’s difficult to take Andy’s grief seriously when he’s expressing it via balloon hearts and eyeballs. Plus, Richard doesn’t seem to be too bugged by Melissa, despite her attempts to let his children play outside unaccompanied by an adult.

But the wives bring it on Rule Change day. “Your career’s a magical joke,” Jennifer snarls at Andy, and adds that everything magic will be thrown into a pit and padlocked. “This house is on lock-down,” she says.

“You’re all a bunch of prisoners in a no-fun zone,” Melissa says during her rule change. She just wants the kids to get a chance to play.

Meanwhile, back at the Martin-Portala house, Andy’s not so keen on Jennifer’s rule changes. He grabs his magic case and leaves the Rule Change Ceremony behind. Later, when he returns, Jennifer makes him go for a job interview at a law firm. He doesn’t get the job, but he gets a gig for the interviewer’s 8-year old daughter’s next birthday party.

At the Galvan house, the kids have some difficulty letting go of their rigid standards of cleanliness. But eventually Melissa breaks them down and they all begin to work together to create a magic show with a vividly-painted backdrop designed by quiet daughter Elena.

Just as things are quieting down at Jennifer’s real house, life is ramping up at her new one. Andy sneaks down to The Forbidden Basement of Magic Tricks and gets caught by Jennifer, who insists that he go get a real job. Instead he goes out to his car and rams the nice, orderly fence she’s had erected in his front yard, tearing it down. “Get your crap and leave,” he says. “You’re immature, you’re childish, and you’re stupid,” she screams. “Thanks for wasting my time. Screw you, Andrew!” Seems the magician made the pretty lady disappear…to a local hotel room.

Cooling her heels in the hotel, Jennifer realizes that maybe she’s a bit too hard onher kids. “Sometimes our goals take over everything,” she sobs.

The couples reunite, and at first blush it looks like it’s going to be a feisty one. Meek Melissa gets rankled when she finds that Jennifer made Andy go on a job interview. “How disrespectful is that?!” she says, and then tells Jennifer that she lives her life in a cage.

Jumpingon the R-E-S-P-E-C-T bandwagon, Richard decides to get all up in arms when he finds out that Jennifer was sent packing by Andy. “You disrespected my wife?!” he booms. “You don’t know how to be a man?!” But even Richard has to laugh when he hears about the fence’s demise, and he gently tells Jen to lay off the chores already. Jennifer breaks down, thanking Richard for all that he does and telling him that she loves him. Hugs for everyone!

Since the Swap…

Jennifer has lightened up and backed off the chores. Rickie has gotten some freedom, and Elena gets more Mom Time.

Melissa and Andy watch the children more closely and Andy is cleaning more. And, yes, he’s still doing magic (*Poof!* I’m outa here!).

Photo Courtesy: ABC

Topics: Wife Swap |

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