March 19, 2008 08:47 PM by Jennifer_Brown
Grunt and flex, people! On the heels of last week’s Wife Swap, which featured a teen bodybuilder, we have us another athlete — this time,a wrestler.
For the Ketchum family, everything revolves around the wrestling career of son Cade, who’s won 200-300 wrestling trophies and medals. Life is all about the almighty wrestling schedule and “making weight.” The Ketchums keep a scale in the pantry and a lock on the refrigerator door, lest Cade eat too much and mess up his chances on the mat.
Teresa Ketchum will be swapping lives tonight with Donna Sheron, an artist and musician who believes that everything should come second to artistic freedom (and by everything, she means housekeeping). Donna hasfollowed herdream of owning a coffee shop that boasts “screamo” bands, and the whole family works hard to keep the dream alive.
Donnaisn’t afraid to voice her opinion, and she starts doing that right off, protesting when she has to carefully measure out Cade’s food and get him up before the crack of dawn for a warm-up run. Later, when she takes over Teresa’s chores, she moans, “If this was my life I would cry,” and is further disillusioned when Cade mentions that his mom’s life is full and complete just by virtue of him being in it.Donna and Gary butt heads repeatedly, having showdowns over Cade’s secretguitar-playing desires and Donna’s distaste of Gary’s sideline coaching during a wrestling match. “She’sraising a bunch of wimps and sissies,” Gary sneers.
Over at the Sheron house, Teresa is faring no better, appalled by the punk look of Donna’s son CJ, who wears nail polish and girls’ jeans. Teresa is not impressed with the screamo bands at the coffee shop and spends her time confronting Donna’s husband Dan about the lack of sports in their children’s lives, and confronting CJ about his too-feminine style. “I don’t think that Dan’s being a good role model,” Teresa accuses. Dan calls a family meeting to try to help Teresa understand the Sheron Family way of living, but gets emotional, saying, “Until you understand why it’s okay for them to draw on the walls, you won’t understand us.”
After a week of living like the “old wives,” Donna and Teresa get a chance to change the rules. “This week there will be no more wrestling!” Donna proclaims, ripping up the wrestling schedule and instead scheduling a plethora of artsy endeavors, such as guitar lessons, performance art, and choir performances. “You have slipped out of gear,” Gary says.
“You’re just lazy and unmotivated,” Teresa declares at the Sheron rule change ceremony. Teresa’s got a lineup of sports stuff to do, including soccer games, wrestling for the Sheron men-to-be, early morning runs, and daughter Courtney’s return to the high school color guard.
Right away Teresa makes CJ remove his nail polish and tries to “man him up” a little. Then it’s off for a morning training run and wrestling practice for the guys. The guys just aren’t feeling it. “Rolling around with guys does not make me feel like a man,” CJ says. Dan takes them out of practice, saying, “It’s a waste of time to force people to do things they don’t want to do!” He tries to make an anti-sports stand, but Teresa isn’t hearing it. Dan relents and goes to Courtney’s color guard performance and gets choked up thinking about how muchhe’s missed out on by not supportinghis kids in sports. He allows the younger children to participate in a soccer game and he comes to watch. Surprise! They all love it!
Donna’s not having as easy a time over at the Ketchum house. Cade is just not into the performance art thing, saying he feels dirty, and Gary, who Donna tries to force into drawing a nude man in a class, storms out, refusing to participate. Cade’s not into the alternative clothes, either, and is embarrassed about giving a screamo performance. He does it, though, and surprisingly enjoys himself. He also enjoys his guitar lesson and hopes to take more of them. Gary, too, is surprised to find that the choir he’s singing in is full of “manly men,” and not the bunch of “sissies” he’d been expecting.
After their two weeks are up, the couples reunite. Donna comes to the table full of ‘tude, yelling at the Ketchums, “You are control freaks!” She and Gary have a brief screaming match that culminates in Donna proclaiming that Dan could beat up Gary, despite the fact that he’s a “sissy artist.” Teresa tells Donna, “I think while you’re living your dream your kids are getting lost in your dream.” But Gary concedes that art isn’t quite as sissy as he’d thought it was, and Dan concedes that letting the kids do sports could be fun.
Since the Swap, Cade has been getting regular guitar lessons and has made a few changes in clothes and friends, boasting a couple punk friends now as well as jock friends. Likewise, his parents have taken the lock off the refrigerator and let him decide what to eat for himself.
The Sheron family kids are focusing more on being healthy, thanks to Teresa’s early-morning jogs. The younger children have joined an indoor soccer league, and Donna has hired some staff to help out at the coffee shop so she can be there for her kids. But…”I don’t like to be called a soccer mom, still,” she says.
Photo Courtesy: ABC