January 30, 2008 08:37 PM by DA Southern
So, you know the drill. Two rather dull wives swap families and live peacefully in hopeful expectation of the two weeks they will be enjoying in their new environment. Well, this week is very different.
You take one Washington State mom, Sarina McDonald, who is a Real Estate agent by day and a burlesque dancer by night and swap her with an upstate New York wife, Andrea Robarge, who, with her husband Wally, is a lumberjack, and you get one zany episode of fun.
Burlesque dancer Sarina doesn’t feel the need to hide her passion from her sons, Will and Tyler, and feels that since she supported husband Dan’s musical dreams, decides it’s now her turn to build her career. Lumberjack wife Andrea, on the other hand, doesn’t consider herself a girly girl and loves the sound of chainsaws and wood chopping. Andrea is even part of the USA timber drill team and participates in chainsaw competitions with her sons and her professional lumberjack husband, Wally.
Our first visit was to upstate New York to see the raw living style of the Robarge family and how Andrea essentially waits on her family hand and foot. She even waits until they are all done eating before eating herself and spends countless hours picking up after the men in the house making them completely helpless without her. The one area that she struggles with is her relationship with her son Matt who tends to come down on the artistic side alienating him from his dad and Andrea.
In Washington State we see Sarina as she readies herself for her burlesque act, leaving Dan to fend for the family and having Grandma over to assist. The kids are completely independent and fend for themselves in lieu of an absentee mom. Sarina explains that she was once morbidly obese, and that she had the surgery and since then has “rediscovered” her body and her sexuality and shared it willingly with her kids, for better or worse.
Day of the Swap: Andrea heads to Washington to become a burlesque queen and to live by the McDonald family rules for the first week. That basically means not being a slave to her family but being completely into herself. Sarina headed to New York to become a lumberjack for the first week and to completely care for the Robarge men.
The ladies both read the manual for the first week and learned the rules. Sarina was concerned that there was no mention of sex or sexuality in front of the kids and Andrea was concerned about being, well, a girl, by doing burlesque and dressing up pretty.
The introductions proceeded with Sarina and Andrea meeting the families. Andrea was really sketchy about the whole burlesque aspect of Sarina’s life and Sarina just got right into telling the Robarge family about burlesque making Andrea’s husband, Wally, very uncomfortable. Sarina’s mother was telling Andrea that she had better get used to showing some skin as we met Andrea heading to the dance studio to learn the basics of burlesque.
Back in New York, Sarina was immediately thrust into the family chore cycle as she cooked and cleaned for Wally and the boys. Sarina was funny as she noticed that Andrea did not even have a place at the table and questioned the boys as to why they were so messy, which had the bright boys telling Sarina that their mom did everything for them, and that they liked that.
Andrea was off to burlesque class and felt very bad about leaving Dan to do everything in the home. We had our first glimpse of Andrea as she was putting on her costume and watched as she cried because she was so uncomfortable wearing the costume that actually was not revealing at all. I fully expected Stacy and Clinton from TLC’s “What Not to Wear” to jump out and convince Andrea to get a new wardrobe because she had such a hard time being a lady.
Back in New York, Sarina was trying to connect to Matt, the outcast artistic soul of the Robarge family but then was whisked off to do lumberjack stuff with Wally. In the quiet moments, Wally does finally open up to Sarina about Matt and asks how he could build that bridge with him.
Andrea was doing her first burlesque show and actually did a fairly good job at doing the routine. After the show, Andrea was seen saying that she was proud of herself for going outside of her comfort zone, even though she looked like a prostitute.
2nd Week Rules Change: The wives announced the rules change and, of course, Wally being of the dominant male persuasion, said “no” to most of the rule changes. Dan, on the other hand, seemed to be respectful but the kids, not so much, from either family. Andrea announced that there would be no more burlesque and that the kids were not to be so self-sufficient and that the family would have to spend quality time together.
Sarina said that burlesque would reign in the home for the week and that Wally would have to arrange a burlesque show for her and that he would have to MC the show. Wally said “no”, but you had a sense that he would probably relent. The one thing Wally did not give on, however, was Sarina’s insistence that Wally talk about sex with the boys and gave him a book on sex to help him with the task. Wally, in a typical open-minded way, burned the book and refused Sarina’s wishes.
Andrea ran into her own refusal when Dan stood up to her when she said that she was going to sell all of the burlesque stuff at a flea market. Dan, first cried then said “no” and that he was not going to do it. Andrea was surprised that he stood up to her and hoped that he would stand up to Sarina when it came time to talk about being with the family on a more consistent basis.
In New York, Sarina outlawed all lumberjack activities and started making the children do chores as well as Wally. Sarina also insisted that Wally build a studio in Wally’s shed for Matt, so they would have a chance to bond. Wally said “no” once again and Sarina seemed slightly frustrated with him. Uh, ya think? Andrea, on the other hand, seemed to be currying favor by actually being a mom to Dan and the boys, but this time, she actually had a seat at the table with the family.
The burlesque show was taking place in New York and Dan was actually wearing a tux for the event and he looked decent dressed up like a big boy. After the show, Wally had a heart-to-heart with Sarina about her being so selfish by not being a mom to her family. Sarina actually took it fairly well and agreed to reevaluate her schedule. Wally even had a change of heart as he actually constructed a studio for Matt and was seen drawing with him when the studio was completed.
In a touching scene, Wally was seen hugging Matt and telling him that he was proud of him and his artistic skills. Back in Washington, Andrea eventually took the family to a lumberjack competition where the kids and Dan enjoyed the family time with Andrea. The kids all got involved in the competition and older son, Will, really took to the whole axe-throwing event.
The final day showed the ladies packing and the reuniting with their respective husbands. At the judgment table, Andrea was concerned how much sexuality was being displayed to the kids and how much the family was missing their mother and the time spent together in family activities. Sarina was concerned that about the amount of time Andrea spent being a maid to the family and how important it was for the kids to step up, as well as Wally, and graciously help around the house.
In a look at family life after the families were reunited, Wally and the boys had indeed stepped up and willingly helped out with chores more and Andrea was actually getting to eat with the family. She still was not going to do burlesque dancing, except for Wally, but admitted that she was much more relaxed with her boys.
As far as Sarina, she was still doing burlesque shows, but had cut back on her Real Estate, so she could spend more time with her family. There must be some good money in the burlesque biz. Sarina became more of a mom to the children and Dan appreciated his wife’s additional time spent with the family. Son, Will, even got into axe throwing and was signed up to participate in events in the future.
Stay with RealityTVMagazine.com next week when two different women try to have an impact on each others family on ABC’s Wife Swap.
Photo Courtesy of ABC