January 09, 2009 10:35 PM by Lisa Stauber
ABC brings back WifeSwap with a bang tonight, swapping the ultra-competitive, traditional Dusseau family from Colorado against the laissez-faire Dr. Esther Smith-Snider and her househusband, Eric. Crystal Dusseau believes her babies are the prettiest around, and enters them into pageants before they can sit up. After her 6 year old son Kyle retired from the pageant world with over 50 trophies, she insisted that he take up wrestling so he’d still have a way to compete and prove he’s the best. Esther Smith works over 100 hours a week as an ER doctor, while her husband Eric keeps the house and homeschools -er, unschools their two girls. Will opposites attract, or will the families butt heads?
Meet the Families
Crystal Dusseau thrives on perfection. She wears high heels while cleaning the house and insists that everyone in the family give their all to whatever they are doing. She is never without makeup and won’t let a hair get out of place. Her children are pageant champions and Crystal makes sure they are ready to win every contest, even though Kyle just wants to play with his friends. Baby Kaylee has already racked up several tiaras, including taking the swimwear category, and she’s barely one year old. She puts makeup on her baby and wants to get highlights for the tot’s hair.
Willow and Rowan Smith-Snider have a lot of freedom. They are unschooled, which means they get to decide what they learn. Their dad was once an accomplished pottery artist, but he’s given up his life to tend to the girls. Mom Esther Smith-Snider works in an Emergency Room, and lets off steam by rolling other ladies over at the skating rink.
“My wife has to look hot. That’s why I’m with her,” Tim Dusseau says. He insists that the family look perfect at all times. “I think second place is the first loser.” Kyle hates homeschooling and insists Kyle will go to college, because he has no other choice. She wants to teach her new family how to be the best that they can be and look good doing it.
Esther is an ultra feminist, but admits that her girls wish she was home more. After working, she goes to play at the skating rink and hang out with friends while her family stays at home. Eric is the girl’s teacher, and he lets them learn what they want to learn. They don’t give out grades because they don’t want them to compete with anyone. They also let their girls dress themselves and be individuals.
It’s time for the WifeSwap, and the ladies see their new homes for the first time.
Dr. Smith-Snider already hates Crystals neighborhood, because all of the houses are the same. She can’t believe that the kids’ rooms are full of trophies and tiaras. Tim Dusseau gives Esther some hooker boots to wear and insists that she pretty herself up. “I want other people to say man, what a pretty family,” he says.
Meanwhile, Crystal is shocked by the eclectic furniture and garage sale clothes. “Is this guy neutered?” she wonders about Eric. Crystal meets the girls and complains that their hair isn’t done. She bravely straps on a pair of rollerskates, even though she’d rather be getting to know the Smith-Sniders a little better.
Living Under the Rules
Next Esther has to cheer on Kyle at a wrestling meet, and she’s sad to see some of the little kids crying over losing. “These parents are so scared of their children failing, that anything less than first place is a tragedy,” she says. Tim watches Esther scrub the floor and mentions he’s just like a caveman. “When’s the last time you took down a mastodon?” Esther asks him. Then Tim insists that Esther workout because he doesn’t like fat people. He also doesn’t care about skin cancer and insists that his wife maintain her tan.
Crystal is supposed to get ready in five minutes, but decides to spend as long as it takes to look perfect. “I don’t care if I’m late for work. The patients can wait,” she says. The girls don’t participate in sports, and Crystal thinks that’s because Eric’s too lazy to get out of the house. She thinks Eric is a social outcast.
Esther must get Kaylee ready for a beauty pageant. “It’s really like a dog show,” Esther says as Tim shows her how to primp the baby and use concealer to even out her skin tone. Kaylee loses, and Tim starts to cry. Kyle cries too. “Second place is not good. It’s important to be the best,” the little boy sobs. “Everything in my wiring does not value baby pageants,” Esther tells him.
Crystal is upset to be at work, and argues with Tim about how much time Esther stays away from the girls. “You left your baby,” he says, and Crystal starts to cry.
Esther shows up to the rule change ceremony wearing her roller derby clothes. “Tim, I’ve had enough of cleaning up the house around you,” she says, and tells him he will be learning how to be a stay at home dad. “Isn’t cleaning for females?” he says. Esther insists that all trophies will have to leave the home.
Crystal quits her job to be the mother that Rowan and Willow need. She is determined to have the girls tested to see what educational level they are at. She tells the girls their faces might be symmetrical and she’s entering them into a pageant. Eric tells Willow she doesn’t have to it, though. Crystal unveils a penalty box for Eric, and is going to have the girls join a sport, too.
Crystal gives the girl a makeover, curling their hair. “All she cares about is what her children will look like. That’s as deep as it goes,” Eric says. Crystal is taking the girls to be evaluated, but Eric tells her it’s not happening. He doesn’t care what reading level they are at, he just wants them to have a love of learning.
Tim is mad that all of the trophies are being put away, and insists that Kyle must be crying on the inside. Kyle says he doesn’t care and just wants to play, but Tim insists that the children must have a minimum of one trophy in their room. He doesn’t care if he’s being shallow, and hates that Kaylee isn’t groomed properly. He compares his wife to a purse. “You’re on my arm,” he says. “I think Kaylee will be someone’s accessory,” he says. “You have to look good.”
Crystal interrupts the girls’ math lesson to teach them how to be in a pageant. “He’s the stupidest person I’ve ever met,” she says. “He’s weird.” The girls give their interviews, and it goes smoothly, and the girls love getting dressed up with nail polish. The girls don’t win the pagaent, but Crystal tells the girls she’s still proud of them. Crystal decides that Eric needs a day away from the kids. He joins a game of flag football and has a blast. Hanging out with the girls has made Crystal contemplate how much pressure she puts herself under. She regrets getting mad at her son when he doesn’t win.
Esther decides that Tim must clean the house looking hot, wearing the hooker boots. “I don’t know how she does it,” he says. “It’s tough.” He’s realized that his wife needs more respect for what she does. Esther also makes the Dusseaus write messages to their mom, but they’re not allowed to mention appearance. Then, Tim must roller skate, non-competitively, with Kyle. Kyle has a meltdown about lack of playtime. “We always have football practice,wrestling practice.” Esther decides to have Kyle paint a picture about how he feels when he wrestles. Then she has Tim talk to his son about it. He doesn’t want to wrestle anymore, and Tim says that maybe they need to talk about letting him quit.
The families are reunited, and head off to the couple’s meeting. Esther says she was uncomfortable with putting makeup on a baby, and Crystal says that Esther’s girls have stinky feet. Crystal brings up the girls’ unschooling, and thinks Eric was mean to bring up Crystal leaving her baby. “That’s the one moment I regret. I owe Crystal an apology,” Eric says. Esther says that the pageants feel superficial. “I’m a superficial person,” Crystal says.
The families part as friends, but no one really seems changed by the experience. Esther is throwing an inner beauty pageant for their friends to express themselves, and everybody wins. Eric is getting out of the house more and joined a gym. Crystal does apologize to Kyle for yelling at him for losing, and Crystal sometimes wears socks – not high heels- to clean.