A HIGHLY EDUCATED, COMPULSIVELY ORGANIZED UPPER MIDDLE CLASS MOTHER
TRADES PLACES AND FAMILIES WITH A WORKING CLASS WAITRESS MOTHER WHO GIVES
IN TO HER "INCREDIBLY LAZY" DAUGHTERS' EVERY DEMAND, ON ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
"Episode No. 109" -- This week in "Parsons/Bramhall," a highly educated, compulsively organized, mother trades lives with a single, working class waitress mother who struggles to control her three wayward daughters, on "Wife Swap" -- the acclaimed unscripted reality show that takes us into the intimate heart of the American family home to reveal the extraordinarily different ways families live their lives - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Each week, from across the country, two families with very different values are chosen to take part. In a two-week-long challenge, the wives from these two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it's like to walk a mile in another mother's pumps. It's a mind-blowing experiment that oftentimes ends up changing their lives forever.
Elaine (36) and Jacques "Moose" Bramhall IV (36) run a very tightly regimented household and are determined that their two children, Jacques (9) and Emily (7), should be raised as "model citizens." The Bramhall family live in an upper middle class suburb in New Jersey in a spotless, expensively decorated home. Elaine keeps the household extremely organized, mapping out a schedule for every fifteen minutes of their lives, including "fun time" for her two children. Moose's obsessive compulsive cleanliness (he has a three-tier sponge system for the kitchen and a super elaborate technique for ironing his pants) restricts him from interacting with his kids, who are prone to get dirty, as young children do. Elaine has an elaborate cleaning system involving her housekeeper and an au pair who helps with the children and the cleaning duties. Elaine and Moose attended Princeton University, and the Bramhall parents have very high standards for their children and encourage them to explore their interests through educational projects. Elaine supports them, spending time researching their current interests.
Elaine travels to Michigan and swaps places with Michelle Parsons, a divorced 35-year-old single mom. Michelle lives with her three daughters, Jennifer (17), Julie (14) and Jodi (9), in a working class suburb in the same house that she grew up in. She does all the cleaning in their tiny, rundown home, while the girls allow their mom to pick up after them as if she were their own personal maid. Michelle works full time as a waitress in the local diner, while the older girls are unemployed. Michelle tries very hard to befriend her daughters, and they are very quick to take full advantage of her. They have friends over constantly, smoke in the house, party all night long and sleep all day. Michelle receives calls from the kids while she is at work, demanding that she run their errands and buy them treats. She believes the only way to keep them from running away or getting into trouble is to let the girls do as they please.
In the first week of the swap, Elaine is horrified to find out that she is a single parent with rebellious children "with big mouths who are incredibly lazy" and who seem to have no respect for their mom. She has to do all the household chores without the help of paid staff, and to work as a waitress. For her part, Michelle has to take on Elaine's fitness regime and discovers that her new husband doesn't enjoy childish activities and won't even cook, as it's too messy.
In the second week of the swap, Michelle is determined to "see Moose get loose" and become more spontaneous and fun loving. She insists he spend time with his children and the strict schedules are banned. Meanwhile, Elaine tries to bring some discipline to the chaotic Parsons house with a fitness regime, a no-smoking rand no-cursing rule, a new healthy diet and a job for Jennifer.
Will the Parson girls push Elaine over the edge or, will they discover that - amazingly -- they have something in common? Will Michelle persuade Moose that everything dosn't have to be perfect, and can he learn something from her laid back parenting techniques? Or will they all discover that the differences run too deep?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Lambert and Jenny Crowther of RDF Media ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and Michael Davies of Diplomatic ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Wendy Roth is the co-executive producer.
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