October 31, 2008 07:48 PM by Lisa Stauber
Wife Swap follows two families with different financial strategies and styles of discipline tonight. Janna Vallone is the mother of four children, who lets them decide what to do each day. She and her husband wear dreadlocks and if they run out of food or money, depend on others to fill their bellies. Katrina Martin is the disciplined mother of four daughters. They use spreadsheets to schedule their daughters chores.
Janna is a Rastafarian, a religion that believes the former governor of an African nation is a god named Ja. They don’t ever cut their hair, and the woman does all of the, well, woman’s work. “Regimen and structure? Yuck.” She homeschools the kids in their single wide trailer. Jana picks things out of the trash and Jason plays in a reggae band.
Katrina loves structure. She’s the spreadsheet queen and color codes them for the members of the family. “Total chaos would ensue if I lost my spreadsheet,” she says. Husband Troy is a former Marine and helps keep everyone in line with military precision. The girls, even 16 year old Allyson, get a sticker for completing their chores. Allyson also fights with her dad who is way too strict. “There’s no bond,” she says. The Martins budget everything to the penny and pay cash for big expenses.
Meeting the New Families
Katrina picks at the furniture and the size of the house, and wonders if the family is demonic when she sees the Rasta flag. Janna sees that the Martins have big tvs, big rooms, and perfect housekeeping. She finds out that Allyson is singled out by Troy, since she’s not as used to the structured lifestyle, makes her cry.
The Martin girls love Janna’s dreadlocks, and then Troy goes over the spreadsheet and punishments. Next, she’s required to check the girl’s cell phones to see who they call and what texts they’ve received. Allyson isn’t allowed to even pick out what she eats for breakfast.
“He tolerates a lot,” Katrina says as the kids chatter and play. She has to make dinner but there are hardly any groceries in the house. “I think Jason needs to find a 9 to 5 job,” she says. Jason heads off to play with his band while Katrina is supposed to clean the house and tend the children. He sleeps in the next morning, and Katrina has to find out what the kids want to do. She doesn’t get the Vallone’s laid back unschooling method. “Ja will provide,” is Jason’s mantra and he repeats it over and over. Katrina’s convinced his band will never make it big and tells him to get a job.
Janna has to go to work because she’s following Katrina’s rules. She’s floored that Troy is getting ready to spend $8,000 on a home theater instead of giving it to charity. He likes the kids to fear him, and says he’s just not a nurturing person. Allyson opens up to Janna about her relationship. “He sees me as a project to be fixed,” she says, “He’s my daddy, I want him to love me how I am!”
Katrina declares that Jason will go to work to earn some money selling real estate. She’s bringing in bunk beds for the children, who currently share a mattress. All of the money he earns will go into a jar. The children will go to school, except for the toddler but Jason refuses to let Katrina look after her.
Janna lets the Martin girls decide what they want to do. She throws out the schedule and dumps the chore chart. The girls also will choose five things to donate to a thrift store and Troy has to donate some of his entertainment room money to charity. She assigns him to spend designated time with Allyson to heal their relationship. Oh, and Troy has to write and perform a reggae song.
Jason doesn’t want to work on anything at all. He puts on a white shirt but still insisted Ja will provide, and takes money out of his jar to buy beer. He’s not happy that his kids are being thrown to the wolves and sent to school, but he hates his job as an administrative assistant to a real estate agent more. Katrina wants the kids to have a bedtime, so they are able to get up for school. Jason starts yelling and cursing at her. “I can’t be around him anymore,” she says, and spends the night at a hotel. Meanwhile, Troy’s trying to write a song.
Troy thinks the chores will be a piece of cake, and the girls inspect his work and give him a sticker. Allyson tries to tell her dad that he’s too strict. He’s barred them from baking because they get crumbs on the floor, but he doesn’t think that’s unreasonable. Troy decides to go through the girl’s rooms and chooses their most prized possessions to give away, instead of letting them choose for themselves. He decides to donate just $10 of his entertainment room money to charity. Janna’s upset, and the girls raid their piggy banks to donate something. The Martins have a party and Troy actually sings a song to his girls with a hired reggae band.
Jason doesn’t want Katrina in the house, but he’ll let her drive by and say good bye to the kids in the yard. She gives them all a hug in the driveway, except two year old Sasha who is too shy. ‘
The couples meet, and Troy’s not happy to hear that Jason cussed at his wife. “I defend my family,” Jason says. “We definitely had a different experience,” Janna says. Katrina’s happy to hear that Troy and Allyson have made up and grown closer.
Photos courtesy ABC.