January 30, 2009 10:36 PM by Lisa Stauber
WifeSwap airs on ABC tonight, pitting small town all-American consumers against eco-chic city folk. The Long family has 4 boys and $15,000 worth of paintball equipment, and have a great time shooting each other. Meanwhile, the Stephens family enjoys their cultured lifestyle with an emphasis on education.
Meet the Families
Gayla and Alan Long family lives on adrenaline. They get their exercise riding ATVs, and son Clayton wants to become a professional paintballer. The kids hate veggies and love anything fried. “That’s the American way,” Gayla says, even though 15 year old Cody weighs 280 lbs. Alan is the mayor of their small town, and he shows up to work in tank tops. He also gets to run the city lawnmower. Gayla doesn’t plan to force the kids to go to college, and Alan likes his traditional family. He calls house work “skirt work” and won’t clean a toilet.
The Stephens-Fellow family loves culture, and spend $40,000 a year to send their children to an elite French school. Renee Stephen’s goal in life is to wipe out obesity in America’s youth. “We are a fit, achieving, international family,” Renee says. “That’s not going to happen sitting on the couch watching TV all day.” Children Juliet and James take music lessons in addition to two hours or more of homework. “I play piano because my dad forces me to,” James says. Stephen is British, and he develops biodiesel. The family exercises together, eat organic, and Renee is a hypnotherapist, specializing in weight loss – but she doesn’t like spending too much time with her kids. Nobody does housework, as they have a maid.
Meet the New Wives
“I’m guessing they don’t have a cleaning lady,” Renee says, as she enters her new home. She’s surprised to find out that there are professional paintball players, but wait until she finds out about “skirt work”! Alan meets Renee and immediately gets her suited up to shoot a paintball gun.
Gayla can’t believe the Fellows family eats organic cereal and has never seen a bidet. “I’m not quite sure what organic means, but it doesn’t sound good,” she says. She thinks Stephen’s accent is annoying, and Juliette can’t tell her what she does for fun, because she doesn’t have time for it. It’s bedtime, and Stephen finds out James isn’t done with his homework and wakes him up to finish. “Why can’t they be kids,” Gayla says.
Renee doesn’t know how to do housework or laundry, and she’s struggling. “He doesn’t see women as whole beings, on par with men,” she says. Renee thinks the amount of fossil fuel used by the ATV is shocking, and pulls Alan aside to talk about Cody’s weight. “We eat meat, not things animals would eat,” one of the kids says. Renee ends up breaking down because she wants to help Cody so badly. Alan’s annoyed with her because she keeps questioning their family values. “You’re not really the proud American,” Alan says. “No, I’m not,” Renee says.
Gayla has to work out while Stephen gets the kids ready, because Renee doesn’t like spending time with the kids. Stephen blows her off when she tries to make small talk. She has to go to work. “I think Renee spends more time with her clients than with her family.” Stephen thinks the worst thing that could ever happen to his children would be for them to move to the Midwest, and he’s mean about it, too. “You are undereducated, overopinionated, and overweight,” Stephen says, dismissing her feelings. So far, both wives have cried and it’s not even the end of the first week! He mocks her at the dinner table, saying it’s easy to put her down.
Renee bans paintball for the next week, and Clayton starts crying. They’ll be eating healthy and getting fit, and Alan will be doing all of the skirt work, in a skirt. The whole family will take French lessons, too, because Renee doesn’t think that they take education seriously enough. “You burn fossil fuel instead of calories,” she says, and she’s going to make them sell the vehicles for a week.
Stephen will be required to sing the National Anthem and use a more simple vocabulary. “I didn’t know you could read,” he says, making fun of Gayle again. She’s locking up the exercise equipment and forcing the kids to ride go-karts and play paintball. “You’re so funny,” Stephen sneers. “You stupid, so shut up,” Gayla replies. Stephen’s office will be turned into a playroom. “Oh, ‘agenda’,” he says. “That’s a very big word for you, considering your two languages are poor English and Redneck.”
Stephen is pouting now, and is going to quit the swap. He vents to a producer and Gayla goes to stay at a hotel. “He won’t even change for a week,” she says. Stephen objects to having to sing the National Anthem, and brags that his IQ is 198. He refuses to use smaller words, because he’s simply too smart for that.
Alan has to make breakfast, and Renee is trying to teach him to eat a vegetable. “That’s just stupid,” he says. “If a snack cake is going to kill him tomorrow, will he die happy?” he says about his boys. It’s time for Alan’s skirt work, and he thinks Renee is too proud. The kids take a hike along their old ATV route, and Alan is mad that the boys are unhappy. He complains the whole way, and doesn’t think Renee is patriotic.
Gayla calls Stephen from the hotel, but he won’t take her call. She heads back to the house to try to talk to him. He’s left, so she decides to decorate the playroom and lock up the exercise equipment while he’s gone. When the kids get home from school, she takes the kids for a go-kart ride. “I could do an environmentally friendly go-kart,” Stephen says. Gayla asks him if he had fun, and Stephen says, “Shut up, you dumb redneck.”
Gayla returns home, and finds out that Stephen has told the kids not to talk to her at all. “I don’t respond to anyone who asks me the same question more than once,” Stephen says, when Gayla asks him why he would do that. “There’s going to be a lot of silence on my part.” James is still looking forward to playing paintball with his friends, though. Stephen complains that it is a lower-class pasttime, and says it’s good for those families who might want to be in the military because they don’t have any options.
Renee tries a last ditch intervention effort, and finds out that Cody really does want to lose weight and get fit. Everyone goes to the doctor for a health check. “If we can do something simple and easy, that fits with our lifestyle,” Alan says, “I can see us doing something.” They agree to make small changes.
James and Juliet have their friends over to play in the new playroom, while Renee heads off to French lessons. “My kids are soaking it up,” Alan says. “That was a totally enjoyable experience!” Because the kids aren’t allowed to talk to Gayla, so she spends the last day scrapbooking by herself. “Stephen is a snooty, pompous ass,” she says. Meanwhile, Renee is making Alan and the kids clean up for Gayla’s return.
Renee talks about the lack of exercise, but Stephen butts in to make fun of Gayla. Renee just hangs her head in silence, then brings things back to Cody, the fat kid. Alan learned that the boys run over Gayla and he’ll put them in check. “Okay, have a nice life,” Stephen says. Wife Swap catches up with the Longs, and the boys are vacuuming while Gayla makes grilled chicken. They’ve continues the French lessons, too. Stephen and Renee did not keep a single one of Gayla’s rules. “She wasn’t the smartest person,” little Juliette says.