A WIFE WHO WORSHIPS HER MOTOCROSS RACING-CHAMPION SON SWAPS LIVES
WITH A WIFE WHO WORSHIPS MOTHER EARTH, ON ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
This week in "Starling/Sweany-Ernst," a mom who plans her whole family's lives around her thirteen-year-old son's motocross obsession swaps lives with a mom who worships Mother Earth and talks to fairies, on "Wife Swap," MONDAY, JULY 16 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 2/5/07)
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 just what it's like to live another woman's life. It's a mind-blowing experiment that often ends up changing their lives forever.
For Florida mom Stephanie (51), her husband, John (46), and their kids, Samantha (14) and Justin (13), the primary reason to get out of bed every morning is to push Justin closer to his dream of being a professional motocross champion. The entire family devotes all of their time to him, while daughter Samantha gets dragged along for the ride. In the Starling family, scars are for boys, studying is for girls and the double standard begins there. While Mom is cleaning Justin's goggles and Dad is prepping Justin's bikes, Justin himself is allowed to lay around and watch TV while poor Samantha must help cook, clean and build her schedule around Justin's races. Samantha wishes that her parents would put her in the spotlight from time to time, instead of making her sit on the sidelines watching her brother, but her parents are too caught up in Justin's life to notice.
Stephanie travels to the Washington state home of the Sweany-Ernst family, where Laura (42) her husband, Carol (54), and their three boys, Sterling (14), Dane (11) and Cameron (8), perform pagan rituals, talk to vegetables and trees and pride themselves on treading lightly on Mother Earth. Laura's spiritual life as a "green witch" inspires every decision she makes, from consulting her oracle cards to asking for guidance from the "fairy realm." She believes that corporate sponsored sports are evil and parents who live their dreams through their kids are lost. In the Sweany-Ernst home, there are no traditional male or female roles. Carol helps to cook and clean and the boys follow his lead. The boys all take part in Laura and Carol's rituals, including meditating at their altars and invoking the Goddess, but they'd rather be playing sports and fitting in better with their classmates. Unfortunately, Laura and Carol are too busy examining their own "inner lives" and have not paid enough attention to their kids' outer lives.
In the first week of the swap, Laura Sweany is horrified by how the Starling family thinks nothing of desecrating the earth with motocross and how Samantha and her dreams are being left behind while Justin is waited on hand and foot. When she confronts Dad, John, about their wasteful and unconscious habits, he shouts at her about how the Starlings like "to go big" and then, in retaliation, invites a dozen kids over for her to serve. Meanwhile, Stephanie gets thrown into the deep end of the pagan pool by having to bake muffins for trees, sing to vegetables and learn to use rabbit droppings to make compost.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Laura has the family build personal altars, meditate and take part in a ceremony to apologize to Mother Earth for all of the violence that motocross has afflicted on her. Justin throws a fit while figuring out how to use the washer and dryer, while John realizes that he's been a careless parent by spoiling Justin and neglecting Samantha .
Meanwhile, Stephanie makes Carol move out of his meditation room and give it to their oldest son, Sterling. The family is asked to talk less to the trees and more to each other by giving up their alternative ways and adopting a way of life that is more focused on the children.
At the end of the swap, when the families are reunited, will Stephanie put the brakes on Justin's all-motor-cross-racing-all-the-time schedule and pay more attention to Samantha? Will Laura put away the pagan god statues and let the boys play sports?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF USA production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Wendy Roth and Stephen Lambert of RDF Media ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and Michael Davies of Embassy Row ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Cristin Cricco, Stephanie Schwam Adams and Mike Gamson are the co-executive producers.
"Wife Swap" is broadcast with Spanish subtitles via secondary closed captioning. This program carries a TV-PG,L parental guideline.