So, I am totally not a fan of Wife Swap — the TV show that takes two very different households and has the two wives change places for two weeks. And I definitely did not see last night’s episode where Susan Heiss, who lives in an upscale neighborhood in Rhode Island in a house with nine (9!) televisions and her husband Big “Bada bada bing!” Ed, switched lives with Sienna Kestral, an eco-conscious, dreadlocked freegan from Virginia.
Therefore I cannot report on how upset I was at the first half-hour of the show, wherein Susan Heiss ridicules the environmental lifestyle (no dishwasher or other modern appliances, baking soda and water for cleaning supplies, the “if-it’s-yellow-let-it-mellow-if-it’s-brown-flush-it-down” toilet mantra, etc.) of the Kestrals. When reading the first sentence of the Kestral family manual: “We are a community-minded, left-activist, eco-oriented … radical family”; Susan responds, “I have no idea what those words mean.” Oh, we have a looong way to go, middle America.
The two families couldn’t have been more different at the outset, as demonstrated in their post-switch analysis:
Sienna: The amount of money you make in one week is the amount of money we spend in a year.
Big Ed: We. Don’t. Have. People. Like. You. In. Our. Area.
Had I seen the show, I might comment that the editing really made enviros come off as more-than-wacky — and the tie-dyed fade-ins/outs were really unnecessary. I might also suggest that the rules each wife set for the other family were a bit out there: Sienna forced Big Ed to wear a peasant skirt to work and all modern appliances were off-limits (even hair-dryers, eek!). Meanwhile, Susan sent the peace-loving hippies paintballing (because shooting is a manly, American sport, wo0t!).
But in the end, as with most Wife Swap episodes (not that I’d know!), both families ended up learning a lot (like “hmm, maybe a video-game system isn’t the devil” and “ooh, this peasant skirt is cute on me!”) and gained a whole new appreciation for their own lifestyles.
Bada bada bing.