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Wife Swap: Keeping Up With the Joneses

February 06, 2009 09:28 PM by Lisa Stauber


ABC‘s Wife Swap features a the achieving Jones family from Colorado switching with the homeschooling Martinson family in California. The Jones have two daughters, the Martinsons have three sons… it’s boys against girls!

Heather Martinson is a fan of “Fun Schooling”, and loves hands on learning. She takes her boys to the amusement park to experience physics in action, and her husband Lee works from home as a writer. He thinks public schools are socialist. They embrace chaos and feel the children do better without rigid structures, routines, or chores holding them back. The boys pick out their own clothes, too, so they look just as chaotic as they behave.

Kerry Jones is a speech pathologist who works for the public school system and believes formal education is the key to success. Her two daughters practice dancing for hours each night, and everything is disciplined and orderly. The girls are always gone to some activity or another, so policeman Mark Jones usually eats alone in an empty house. The Jone’s don’t like spending time together, anyway, but love looking good. Heather insists that her daughters wear makeup, so they’ll look healthy and pretty.

Meeting the New Families
Heather doesn’t like Kerry’s plastic fruit decor. She is going to have drive for two hours to take the girls to a prestigious dance academy. “My family homeschools,” she tells Mark Jones. “She’s a little more plain,” Brooke says. Heather’s not going to be allowed to wear the clothes she brought while following the Jone’s family rules.


Kerry is surprised that the calendar is blank. “They never do anything!” she says. Lee can’t really coherently explain why the family homeschools. “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Kerry asks 7 year old Harrison. “Do? I’m only seven!” he answers. “I want to be a cheetah!” Kerry is quick to stomp on his wish. “That is an impossible dream!” she tells him.

Following the Family Rules
Heather now must get up before 6 am to make sure the girls get their chores done and drive them to school while Mark sleeps. Later, she shuttles them from practice to practice. The girls tell her that they don’t like hanging with their dad because he always gets them in trouble and criticizes them. Heather’s bored stiff waiting for the girls for hours. They get home, and Mark’s already asleep while the girls get right to their homework. Later, Mark drives Krista to tears talking about homecoming plans.

The Martinson’s have a homemade time machine, and Kerry has to try to teach them. “Heather and Lee are lazy and selfish,” she says. She’s not interested in Lee’s work, but thinks he needs to focus on the kids. The ten year old doesn’t retain much information, and Kerry gives him a writing test. He doesn’t do well, and Kerry thinks that’s proof that homeschooling doesn’t work. “Figure out how to homeschool well,” she tells Lee.


Rule Change
“Your approach to learning is an excuse to be lazy,” Kerry tells the Martinsons. Harrison and Riley are going to real school with a real teacher. Lee, a college dropout, has to take an accounting class at the community college to show how wrong it is to avoid college. Also, they’ve got to declutter and clean the house.

“Jones family, I don’t see a family here,” Heather says. “From now on, we’re going to slow down.” Mark has to live the girl’s lives for a day, going to all of their activities. “Girls, we’re going to put away all of your designer clothes,” Heather says. She wants them to stop conforming. She’s also going to have them teach themselves. “It stresses me out a lot,” Krista says. Mark calls their teachers and makes sure she’s going to be able to make up the tests she’ll miss.

“You’re an overcritical nag,” Lee tells Kerry. The kids aren’t very excited about going to school. “It’s boring and a waste of time,” Riley says. The boys can’t keep up with the academics. Lee has to be more involved in the boys’ activities, and he has to take them to gymnastics. Lee skips class, and Kerry confronts him. “Don’t raise your voice,” he warns her. “I can’t imagine that Lee knows so much that he can’t go to class and learn something,” she says.

Heather admits that she can’t teach calculus, and her son never learned it. She throws the fancy clothes off the balconey, but Brooke thinks it’s pointless because people do judge you by appearances. She tries to give the girls a homeschool lesson on English royalty, and Mark can’t believe that his girls missed a physics test for that. Mark thinks following the girl’s schedule is a waste of time. “I know they live a busy schedule,” he says.


The Jones girls have a heart to heart with their dad. “I think it would be a nice change if my dad would take to heart the things we’ve said,” Krista says. Mark doesn’t understand that they don’t want to be nagged and criticized all of the time. Heather makes Mark create a presentation about what the girls mean to him, using photos, because the talk didn’t go so well. He realizes that they should spend more time together. All of the Jones family ends up crying. Mark teaches his girls how to ball room dance. “I wish we could do it more,” Brooke says.

Couple Confrontation
Heather tells Kerry the girls are too scheduled. “It is a busy life,” Kerry admits. She tells Heather that Lee is lazy and refused to go to class. “You could have just gone,” Heather tells him. Mark liked his assignment to remember when the girls were small. Kerry tells Heather that her boys are significantly behind in math and writing. “You are handicapping them. You need to get a grip!” she yells at Heather. “This is ridiculous.”

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Photos courtesy ABC

Topics: ABC Reality TV Shows, Wife Swap |

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9 Responses to “Wife Swap: Keeping Up With the Joneses”

  1. falbala Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 9:34 am

    From the show, it is obvious that the Martinson’s children love their parents and this love will drive them as far as they went to go. The world is open for them. Anything is possible. On the other hand, the Joneses’girls are so stressed out. They have to look perfect. The mom forces their daughter to wear makeup to look healthy. This is not a happy family. They completely forgot what matters in life. The Martison’s boys will always be happy to see their parents. What a lesson of love! This is the glimpse that Heather was able to bring to the other family. She was able to establish a true connection between the dad and the two daughters when the other was acting like a little nazi in the house.
    I have no doubt that the 3 boys will be successful in life. The two girls will have a lot to overcome. I feel sorry for them.

  2. quicksilver Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    You’ve got to be kidding!

  3. deedee Says:
    September 29th, 2011 at 3:58 am

    ha ha ha seriously with the amount of time that lazy ass family spent online, I would not be surprised if @falbala is in fact Lee trying to boost his family esteem. I cant believe there is even a town in Ca that would allow that lack of education. I love in Northern Cali, and Homeschool children still have educational standards to meet.

  4. mexecutioner Says:
    February 29th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    The boys need to go to school! Even . The . Way . They . Talked . Was . So . So . So . S. L. O. W.

  5. michelle Says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I had a hard time watching the boys. What is up with all that nose picking???? Seriously get your damn fingers out of your nose. Clearly lacking in social skills. I agree with Deede that the first poster is probably the Martinson family. Who else could think that those boys are going to succeed?

  6. Mary Says:
    October 11th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    OMG!!! I just watched the show , and the martinson family are so wrong it’s ridiculous!! Them poor boys are going to be so far behind educationally they will never make it in college! Why are these parents so blind to this??!! I think it should be considered child abuse and they should not be allowed to be parents. This show was so sad. These poor kids have NO idea how their lives will Be so limited because of the parents. Just sad :(

  7. Bridget Says:
    February 7th, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I agree with you! Those two Martinson boys were like Ralph Wiggum from “The Simpsons”! I expected one of them to say in Ralph’s singsong way, “I can turn a somersault!”. They didn’t know any of the states or countries on the map and their parents seemed too lazy to put any effort in educating them properly!

  8. Bridget Says:
    February 7th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I agree with you! The Martinson boys did not seem all that bright and they reminded me of Ralph Wiggum from “The Simpsons.”. I expected one of them to say in Ralph’s singsong way, “I can turn a somersault!”

  9. badpoodle Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    ah, the joy of reruns? do the Martinsons
    have a clue how despicable their children
    are? the kids are ignorant yet seem to
    think this is a point of pride. they are
    unable to speak intelligible thoughts, and
    I can’t help but hate their parents for
    handicapping them so horrendously.
    I don’t condemn home schooling in capable
    hands, but these parents seem to have a
    vendetta against public schooling to the
    sole end of crippling their children. I’d
    love to know how retarded these kids are today.


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