March 06, 2009 08:59 PM by Lisa Stauber
ABC switches more moms this week on Wife Swap. The Edwards family loves play acting. Jackie and Phil are impersonators, and their only child, 15 year old Elisa has fun dressing up too.The Chi family isn’t close, but the children are well provided for. They are martial arts masters, and run their family just like their dojo structure, discipline, discipline, and more discipline.
The Edwards run a community theater company and Jackie makes the costumes for the shows. Jackie is a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, and her husband’s known for dressing as a pirate. Her sewing area is a disaster and she thinks the mess helps inspire her creativity. Elisa doesn’t have any rules, and Jackie freestyles her parenting.
Myra and Charles Chi own two karate studios. Their two children take lessons. Meagan loves it, but Charles Lee wishes he could do something else instead. He knows that he better do what his mother wants. She has even made her own children sign a contract in order to be citizens of the family. “I don’t think things are ever clean enough for my wife,” Charles says. She hates dirt, bad smells and crumbs. Charles Lee wants to be a pirate when he grows up, and Meagan loves designer clothes. Her mother has made sure that the kids know all about luxury and the best brands, even though it means Charles must work all the time and not spend any time with the kids.
Meet the New Wives
Jackie Edwards thinks the Chi’s house looks expensive and sterile. After looking in the notebook, she can already see that Myra is controlling. She can’t believe how uppity the household seems, and is shocked that the children have to sign up to be a member of the family. Charles Chi is often referred to as a “product”. Jackie has to take the children to the studio waiting for Charles to finish work. “They sit in the office for hours doing nothing!” Jackie says, but later Charles Lee shows Jackie his attic hideout where go goes to play all by himself.
Myra Chi thinks that Jackie probably stinks and never wears makeup. She’s shocked to find a dirty pot on the stove and retches after opening the refrigerator. “I’m a neat freak,” Myra tells the Edwards. Myra needs to cook dinner, but she won’t even put her finger in the sink. She tells Phil that she refuses to spend the night at the home, and an argument breaks out. “You live like a dog!” Myra says. “You’re a failure, you lousy, fat pig!” It’s probably a good thing she’s going to a hotel.
Jackie has to clean the house just like Myra would. Charles arrives home for lunch and does a white glove inspection, and Jackie doesn’t pass. She tries to tell Charles that his obsessive compulsiveness is driving her – and his children – crazy. Later, she tries to tell Charles that making his 14 year old circle a chart each time she brushes her teeth, but Charles thinks Jackie’s the one who’s nuts. The kids get money for doing their chores – a lot of money. He doles almost $300 out to Meagan for one week’s worth of tasks. “Everything is about love,” he sneers. “I try not to be emotional.” Jackie yells at him because Meagan cries for him to spend time with her.
Myra returns to the Edwards house and performs a gig as Marilyn Monroe. “What the Chi family starts, the Chi family finishes.” Myra starts to sew some costumes, but gets distracted by the clutter. She snoops around and is shocked to find out that there is only $100 in Jackie’s checking account. She takes Phil aside to try to tell him how to make more money. “You’re a failure, Phil,” she says. “You can go back to your hotel,” he tells her. Myra also thinks Elisa isn’t setting her sights high enough, because she aspires to be an actress.
Jackie dresses up as Marilyn Monroe for the rule change ceremony. She declares that the children must give away their most prized possession, and when they do they’ll get to spend time with their dad. “Charles, you have to encourage your child’s imagination.” She’s going to make the Chis throw Charles Lee a pirate party and then they’ll perform a show for their friends. Meagan’s worried about her social life. Chores are also banned.
Myra starts the ceremony by calling Phil a loser, and an argument breaks out again. Those two can’t even be in the same room with each other without fighting like cats and dogs! “Phil, my little fat friend,” she says, “you will be taking martial arts classes.” She’s sure karate will turn Phil’s life around. Also, they have to clean the house and keep it clean. If Elisa lives up to Myra’s standards, she’ll be allowed to be a citizen of the family. “You will bow down to me,” she says.
“I think that Phil and I could learn a lot from Myra about keeping things clean,” Elisa says, but leaves the room when the adults start yelling at each other again. Myra can only call names, and Phil returns the favor, calling her an animal. “He is the lowest form of mammal on earth,” she yells as she leaves for the hotel again.
Myra calls Phil from her hotel, and they seem to come to an understanding. He agrees to live by her rules to see if causes any change. She comes over to give him a list of cleaning chores. Myra can’t even give him instructions without freaking out, and has to take a walk to cool off. She comes back to talk to Elisa. Elisa is able to make peace with Myra and Phil, and Phil tries to show goodwill by cleaning the kitchen. He apologizes and promises to try to do better at communicating. Myra admits that she has no patience, and they agree to start over.
Jackie takes the kids to a garage sale to try to spark their imagination. Charles Lee comes up with an idea, but his dad shoots it down. Charles Lee doesn’t want to give away his stuff, even if it means spending time with their dad. Meagan’s reluctant, too. Neither of them want to pick their dad over their things. “I’m a little hurt,” Charles says. “I’ve failed in communicating the value of relationships.” Charles has decided that he will spend more time with the kids, even if it means missing work.
Meagan was really affected by Charles’ choosing to do a play with the kids instead of working. She’s decided to give up something special so she can have a day with her dad. A gang of pirates shows up to celebrate Charles Lee, and Charles Sr. has a great time pretending with his son. “I really have to thank you, Jackie,” he tells her.
Phil agrees to try to start a public speaking seminar to make his acting skill pay off. Myra is happy that she was able to inspire his entrepreneurial spirit, and they work well together. Phil does a great seminar, and then goes to the dojo with Myra to punch through a few boards. “I know I can accomplish anything I want,” he says.
Myra tells Jackie that her home stank and made her puke. “I do know that we let things go, but we’re more regular folk than you realize.” She tells Myra her home was lifeless and without creativity. Myra says that she replaces Charles when he’s at work, and Charles says he wants to spend more time with the kids. “We’re short of staff,” she tells him, wanting him to work and bring home the bacon instead of spending time with the family. Jackie is proud of Phil for starting a new business. Myra and Phil are still friends, but the couples are happy to be back to normal.