October 10, 2008 09:11 PM by Lisa Stauber
Wife Swap features the Queen of the Gym and the Queen of the Teaparty. Sandy McCaslin lives in a converted gym so the family can workout all the time, and she benchpresses 341 pounds. Donna Deekens loves Southern gentility, serving tea, and all things feminine. Sandy has two daughters, who can out bench the football team, and they do everything as a family. Meanwhile, ultra-girlie girl Donna teaches etiquette, has one son and works as a traveling teaparty hostess for little girls’ parties. She loves to dress up in lace, hats, and flowers. Her husband tolerates it but won’t get involved.
Donna is meticulous and pays close attention to every detail, including setting a proper table with lots of special forks. Sandy doesn’t care if the family eats off of paper plates and feeds the cat off the nice dishes, if that’s what is handy. Donna plans to teach her new family manners, and Sandy plans to teach her new family to “grab the bull by the horns and ride the hell out of it!”
Meeting the New Families
Donna’s surprised at the schoolhouse/gym. “It looks like squatters,” she says. “It should probably be condemned.” Sandy loves the Deekens lovely green lawn. A culture clash is bound to happen. First, the wives live by the other family’s rules, then they get to lay down the law.
“Sending this frail woman into my world,” Zane McCaslin says. “I was afraid if I sneezed she’d blow away.” Donna hits the gym, with 1 lb. weights. Donna wonders how the girls could possibly become good wives and mothers if they don’t help out with chores. “You suck!” he says. He doesn’t think pushing a broom is going to teach his girls to be a proper wife.
“I’m disturbed she chose that outfit to meet us in,” husband Bill Deekens says. He finds her some new clothes. Greg McCaslin, the son, thinks she needs to work on her hair. “It’s a work in progress.” The guys clean up in the kitchen, while Sandy spends time alone in the living room. She already misses her kids, and wonders about this new family who never talk to each other.
Sandy’s trying to wear jewelry and makeup, and spends the day alone doing housework. “I am so used to having life around me,” Sandy says. “I’m sad for Donna if this is what her life is about.” After cleaning, she has to prepare for a teaparty. “It’s a huge escape for Donna,” Sandy realizes, and goes shopping alone for tiaras. “I’m heartbroken for her, that Bill doesn’t share this thing she is so passionate about.” Sandy knows that her husband would come with her and talk to her while she shopped.
Meanwhile, the McCaslins plan to play some practical jokes on Donna with a whoopee cushion. Donna has to take the girls to a powerlift meet. “I truly can’t imagine how Kari and Sarah can learn how to be a lady in this environment,” she says. She’s sad the girls never have the chance to wear girlie dresses and bloom into flowers.
Sandy’s trying her best to be a tea party fairy, but she doesn’t have a perky enough attitude. “This one seems like a morgue,” Greg says, trying to get Sandy to be more feminine and fun. Donna is making the McCaslin girls cry, telling them weight lifting is worthless and too masculine. “I don’t think Donna cared that she made my girls cry. I don’t think she’ll ever see them as I see them,” Zane says.
Sandy is bored out of her mind, and when the menfolk arrive home, they go off on their own. “Donna, I feel a lot of emptiness for your life,” Sandy says. “I don’t believe you can be truly happy in this house.” She decides to pump herself up and confront Bill about the isolation. Bill insists Donna is happy to be left alone. “I think Sandy is a very emotional person, and I feel sorry for her,” Bill says.
Donna decides Kari and Sarah need to be more ladylike. She closes the gym and orders etiquette lesson. “I’m going to help you all look your very best,” Donna says, “I worry about your ability to attract a nice young man.”
Sandy changes the rules to require family support and connection. Bill has to host a teaparty so he can understand his wife’s dream. “Our family motto is ‘Whatever it takes’, and I want you to come up with a family motto,” she tells them. She’s going to work out with the guys and is making them workout and compete with other guys at the gym. She confiscates the polo shirts and makes them wear sweats.
Donna has decked out the girls in floral dresses and headbands. “I feel like a carbon copy of Donna,” Kari says. “I’m having loads of fun right now!” Donna says. The girls have to wear a dress to school and they are embarrassed. While they’re gone, Donna decides to teach Zane how to waltz.
Sandy couldn’t wait for the guys to leave and pranks the house with practical jokes. Greg broke the rules, though, and changed into nice clothes so he wouldn’t have to wear sweat pants to school. He finds out she’s greased his doorknob as a joke and he’s angry. “You’re a child! Laugh a little,” Sandy tells him.
Donna is teaching the girls to do chores, starting with the kitty litter box. “It’s nice that they are learning to clean up,” he says, but wishes Donna would stop nagging. She takes the girls shopping to choose a centerpiece for their tea party.
Greg is still mad, but Sandy insists that they come up with a motto. “Together, moving forward,” Bill says and Sandy wants them to make a banner and display it downstairs in the open. “It’s rule change, you can’t control me!” she tells the guys when they refuse. “I’ve never had a woman talk to me like that,” Bill says.
Sandy tells Bill to wear a dress at the tea party, but Bill disagrees. “This shouldn’t be a circus,” he says. He realizes how important it is to his wife, and doesn’t want to make a mockery of it. He is planning an elegant, fancy affair. He dresses in a tux and invites small girls in for a fancy tea party. He’s a wonderful gentlemen. “The next time Donna has a tea party, I’m going to be thinking about what she’s doing a whole lot more,” Bill says. He thinks the tea party was a good idea.
Donna is so excited she’s jumping up and down. She’s happy to have help. Zane decides to make it extra special. “She doesn’t know what it feels like to have something done for her,” the girls say, and they decide to throw a party for her. Zane invites some friends and secretly orders flowers while Donna puts makeup on the girls.
Greg is at the gym and he’s worried he won’t be able to perform. Bill tries to encourage him and he does well. “I don’t think I could have done this without my dad,” he says. “I’m proud of you!” Bill tells his son. Donna is thrilled with her special party and is queen for a day.
The wives talk about their experiences. “I despised your son for a good part of the swap,” Sandy says, but tells Donna how proud she was of Bill and Greg at the weightlifting event. “It probably was one of the happiest days of my life,” Donna says of her teaparty at the McCaslins. Bill had a good experience, and has realized how much he loves his wife.
Photos courtesy ABC.