IT'S A BATTLE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS WHEN A LIBERAL CHRISTIAN CAREER MOM
WHOSE STAY-AT-HOME HUSBAND COOKS AND CLEANS SWAPS LIVES WITH
A CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN HOUSEWIFE WHO OBEYS HER HUSBAND'S
EVERY COMMAND, ON ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
This week on "Beckman-Heskett/Childs," a theologically liberal high powered corporate executive mother with a stay-at-home husband swaps lives with a born again Christian mom who believes women are created to be men's help-mates, on "Wife Swap," WEDNESDAY, JULY 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Rebroadcast. OAD 2/13/08)
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.
Kim Beckman-Heskett (42) of Colorado is one of only three female vice presidents in her company. She works while her husband, Randall, stays at home and takes care of all of the chores, cooking and cleaning. A former preacher, Randall is now a self-professed modern Renaissance man, artist, poet and mystic who speaks 12 languages and possesses masters and PhD degrees in religion and theology. He is still a man of faith, but is skeptical of others he calls "bible thumpers" after 30 years of preaching and witnessing religious fundamentalism. Both Kim and Randall are devout Christians, but strongly disagree with literal interpretations of the Bible. They have a liberal approach to their faith, and Randall often incorporates humor in his beliefs and prayer. Kim doesn't believe that women should stay at home, "barefoot and pregnant," and encourages daughter Allison (12) and stepdaughter Hannah (12) to follow in her footsteps. The girls aren't required to do chores and are exposed to dating.
Kim travels to Rhode Island, where the Childs are born-again Christians who interpret the bible literally and use it as a guide for life. In the Childs' family constitution, God comes first, husband Christopher comes second. The family have to serve God at all times with a cheerful heart, and they follow the words of scripture to the letter. Lee-Ann is a stay-at-home mom who home schools her children, Laurie (18), Chrissy (18), Coburn (16), Columbia (12), Daisy (10) and Cambria (2). Christopher is an ultra traditionalist father who is head of his household and calls himself the "gatekeeper," setting the rules, enforcing discipline and expecting cheerful obedience. The children all must do a five-minute power clean before Christopher gets home from work. Mom is molding Coburn to be the man of the house so he can provide for a wife and family. As for the girls, she's training them to be stay-at-home moms who will live out God's calling in marriage and motherhood. Dating is not allowed for any of the children. Instead they pray daily for God to send them a spouse when the time is right. Lee-Ann is happy to be her husband's "help-mate," and says that women are the weaker link. The children feel it's ok to be at home as they feel safe, sheltered from the corrupting influences of the outside world.
In the first week of the swap, Kim turns into a stay-at-home Mom and must lead the kids in a cheerful power clean. Taking on home schooling, she learns that daughter Columbia doesn't exactly fit the mold of the Childs household and has her own ideas about her future -- she dreams of becoming a doctor. When Kim confronts Christopher and he admits that he's brainwashing the children, a tense family meeting takes place and Christopher has to explain his "brainwashing" comment to his children. Meanwhile, in the Childs household, Randall is frustrated by Lee-Ann's ideology when she complains about his satirical humor, his approach to prayer and his opinions about the abuses in religion. She is appalled by the girls' lack of chores and is shocked to discover that the girls have friends who have been dating since the fifth grade.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Kim tries to teach the girls to think for themselves and encourages Chrissy and Laurie to try speed dating. The domestic roles are reversed and Christopher and Coburn find themselves with all the women's work. Kim has a heart to heart with Columbia and assures her that she can go for her dreams, even if it includes putting a career first. Outraged by Kim's rules and worried that Columbia is being corrupted by Kim's ideas, Chris removes the girls from the home until she agrees not to expose Columbia to any new ideas. Meanwhile, Lee-Ann asks the girls to write vows that they will protect the purity of their hearts and bodies until they are married, and preaches that a woman's role is to be her husband's help-mate. When she asks Randall to work as a carpenter, he rejects the idea and butts heads with her on very different interpretations of the bible. It all becomes too much for Randall, who has a breakdown over what he sees as Lee-Ann's unreasonable religious demands.
At the end of the swap, when the couples are reunited, will Kim enforce stricter discipline on her children and take a more conservative approach towards the running of her household? Will Lee-Ann stand up to Christopher and allow her children to be exposed to new ideas and free thinking?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF Media production. It was created by Stephen Lambert ("Faking It" and "Junkyard Wars") and is executive-produced by Stef Wagstaffe and Michael Davies ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Mike Gamson, Jonathon Grosskopf and Stephen Pettinger 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.