TWO INTERRACIAL FAMILIES -- A BLACK MOM WITH A WHITE HUSBAND,
AND A WHITE MOM WITH A BLACK HUSBAND-- PUSH RACIAL STEREOTYPES TO THE LIMIT AND EVENTUALLY SHATTER THEM, IN A GROUNDBREAKING EPISODE OF ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
This week, in "Flummerfelt/Bray," an assertive, African-American wife of an inter-racial, suburban Michigan couple trades lives with a subservient, stay-at-home wife of a very different interracial couple from urban Maryland, on "Wife Swap" -- the critically acclaimed, unscripted reality show that takes us into the intimate heart of the American family home, revealing the extraordinarily different ways families live their lives - WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23 (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 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 often ends up changing their lives forever.
Doreen Flummerfelt (37) has two sons, two ex's and one current husband. An African-American woman who works as a sales/marketing representative, she met and married husband Guy (46) when she placed a personals ad specifically seeking a "white male" after two failed marriages to black men. The Flummerfelts' comfortable house is also home to Doreen's two sons from her previous relationships, Marques (16) and Rashad (12). Doreen has trained Guy and her sons to treat her like a queen. Guy does the cooking while the boys are responsible for all the cleaning, as well as waiting on Mom hand and foot. Doreen admits she doesn't like raising children, and instead retreats to her bed at 5:00 each evening after work, watching soap operas and yelling for the boys to bring her dinner and snacks so she doesn't have to get up. Mom refers to son Rashad as "my gopher." When not serving Queen Doreen, Guy and the boys hole up in three separate rooms, each watching television and playing video games alone. Doreen believes the scant 15 minutes the family spends together each day is sufficient and feels no need to consult her husband on anything. In the Flummerfelt house, it's Doreen's way or the highway, and her philosophy is simple: "Do what I say and everyone else will be happy."
Doreen gets a different view of interracial marriage when she travels to the urban Maryland home of the Bray family. Stay-at-home mother LaShelle Bray (27) married husband Eric (34) -- after secretly dating in high school against the wishes of her conservative Southern father -- because she believes African-American men treat Caucasian women better than Caucasian men do. The couple has five children, Kyra (9), Kiana (7), Kalea (5), Eric (3) and Mia (2). LaShelle believes that a wife's place is at home and a husband's place is at work. So Eric the breadwinner/telecommunications tech never helps her with housework, cooking or childcare. He occasionally plays with the kids after work, but devotes most of his free time to playing soccer and watching football on TV. In addition to raising five kids, LaShelle home-schools them. The only routine time she spends away from the children is when she's in labor in the hospital. Despite admitting to being overwhelmed at times, LaShelle relishes her roles of wife, mother and homemaker, and is eagerly teaching her daughters to follow in her footsteps.
In the first week of the swap, domestically-challenged Eric and bed-prone Doreen clash when Doreen calls Eric a male chauvinist pig and ignites an argument about black spouses vs. white spouses. Meanwhile, LaShelle must go to a full-time job out of the house for the first time in her life, and is so unfamiliar with the royal treatment of having meals served to her in bed that she breaks the rules, gets up and confronts Guy about his wife-pampering ways. In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules, Eric is forced to wait hand and foot on demanding Doreen, serving her wine and meals in bed and juggling childcare and chores. And it's no more "Mr. Nice Guy" when uy is insulted by LaShelle's claim that he's not a strong enough role model as man of the house, causing him to reject her rule changes and leave her in tears in the kitchen.
The heated confrontations continue when the couples are reunited and one wife lays into the other for treating her son "like a slave." At the end of the swap, will Doreen give up her bed to spend more time with her children? And will either father reassess his position on the role of men and women in the family and in the home?
"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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