I usually get bored and switch off when reality TV shows come on. Because I don't watch much television in the first place I don't like to waste my time on anything that's just not worth watching; usually it takes a show of the calibre of Lost or Joan of Arcadia to capture any serious interest, although The OC and Gilmore Girls have both made the list at various points.
So I was very surprised when the show Wife Swap, which I had previously decided lacked any value what-so-ever, caught and held my attention... TWICE! The show is based around the concept of two families exchanging wives/mothers for a fortnight as a means of gathering another perspective and experience of family life. Naturally the families are always each others polar opposite and the tensions and drama's that arise are played upon by the camera.
This episodes guinea pigs- Bill and Wendy + Allan and Christina. Bill and Wendy are ultra conservative Baptists from South Carolina, and their kids Brittany- labeled the problem child- and Dustin, the good child. Allan and Christina from Texas live in a world of Rock+Roll and have a friendship and communication based relationship with their three kids. You might be getting a bit of a picture of how the families are paired for the show at this point.
For the first week the mum's must follow the normal rules of the house so Christina was cooking and cleaning and Wendy attended her first Rock+Roll gig. Christina, and her whole family in fact, throughout the experience was far more open minded than Wendy but it was Bill's closed dictators mind that was the most shocking. The second week the wives get to change the rules and give the families a taste of their worlds but practically every change Christina tried to make to give Brittany and Dustin a new experience Bill headed off at the pass. Wendy was more co-operative and gained a new perspective on her relationship with her daughter, and on Allan and the kids who she initially labelled Devil Worshippers but later discovered were christian's.
It was great to see how much both families took out of the experience even though initially it looked like one family wasn't going to learn much at all. The best part was the change in Wendy's attitude towards Brittany; at the start she had said, "there's a part of me that wants so much to be her friend, but I can't be her mother and her friend." but by the end she was making an effort to get to know her.
I really loved the Texan's, who kind of reminded me of the Kara Clan, and how much they loved and valued each other, made me think about what I prize in my own life and where my values lie and how much I love my own family.