Swapping Wives

Rush is back on the left’s radar again for commenting again on women. I guess he made some comment about the current episode of this “Wife Swap” TV show that has been on ABC since 2004. I haven’t watchEd TV since 1996, so I have a huge blind spot here.

In the unlikely event you’re the last person in the world to find out, the premise of the reality show is that two women trade families for two weeks. They don’t know ahead of time where they will be going. When they arrive, they get a list of rules for the house that they have to follow for a few days. Then they get to change the house to their rules and the real fun starts. After the two families adapt and the two weeks are over, the two couples sit around a table and discuss what they learned.

The show in question involved one couple being tea party Christians and the other being the opposite. The tea party folks were so totally disgusted that they refused to do the final “what we learned” segment.

So to the detriment of my sleep, I poked around and discovered that ABC has an iPad app that lets you watch entire episodes for free. I fired it up and saw this current show listed, but was more intrigued by the prior week’s episode.

The episode clip said one woman was a Las Vegas party girl with a six year old son and a live in gay male housekeeper raising her son. Her husband is a nerdy guy who doesn’t care that his wife goes out bar hopping every night with her “gay” housekeeper. He provides the money and she parties without him. She has extremely large breasts and dresses extremely tacky – she’s a whore and doesn’t want you to not notice.

The other couple lives in Michigan on a farm “off the grid”. 6 children, no electricity, deeply religious and living off the land (the future America). They used to live in a large nice house, but gave that up to be closer to God.

So I get it – it’s a setup to make fun of the Christians and make them look like right wing nut jobs not living in the real world.

Despite their best efforts, it turned out exactly the opposite.

Mrs Vegas Slut realizes she is headed to a farm – she’s dressed with her boobs hanging out and high heels. She walks in and sees no lights, no refrigerator, a wood burning stove. She needs to make dinner, which is over in the chicken coop. She needs to cut its head off and then milk the goats. You get the picture. The kids have their chores to do to get ready for dinner. We all sit down at the table, thank God and eat together as a family. She wants to discuss if the children know she has a gay male friend that lives with her. The kids understand the “G” word, but she has zero chance the kids are going to approve.

Mrs Mom Farmer arrives in Vegas and sizes things up and quickly has a plan. The son is out of control. Mom runs the house and never says No. The child desperately wants rules and structure. His “mom” is a gay man and his “father” is a party girl, and that other man stares at his computer and is not Dad. (maybe even literally). So she plays by the rules – goes to a bar, refuses to drink. Goes to a sushi restaurant with a female friend and refuses to drink saki. She does relent and goes to a spa and enjoys that – but otherwise sticks to her principles.

Now the rules change. Mrs Farmer tells the Nerdy Vegas Dad he has to stop his son from talking back and having tantrums. Dad resists at first. Dinner is not going to be people throwing something in the microwave as they pass each other in the kitchen. They’re going to sit down together as a family (how quaint). The son starts responding, dad takes his head out of the computer and starts liking being a man and Dad to his son. The gay housekeeper is not happy with the change. She fires him, but quickly realizes that is the setup and backs away. He doesn’t have to leave but he also isn’t going to be doing much. They visit a petting farm and the son acts up, but ultimately dad makes him apologize to the woman running the place. The kid “gets it”. Boundaries are how parents express love. He now is well behaved and Dad also gets it. Mrs Farmer is a great teacher.

Back at the farm, Mrs Slut tries to becone Dad and turn Mr Farmer into her gay housekeeper. The kids have no chores and stop being his slaves. She goes with the kids on a shopping spree buying them whatever they want. The youngest is the most pliable, but Mrs Slut has an aha! Moment – that buying stuff for your kids isn’t what love is about – it is spending time together, teaching your children, looking out for each other and having structure and expectations. It hits her like a ton of bricks how empty her life as a Vegas party girl is and what being a mother is really about. Dad sucks it up and is doing all the chores himself, but not yielding to her demands. The kids tune out playing video games.

The best “shot” the producers get is Mrs Slut saying “has anyone ever called you a bigot”? Mr farmer answers “Nope” and you know he’s thinking “so you think I actually care what you think of me?”.

So they have the final back and forth sniping at each other and go home. The farmers toss out the microwave, the kids get to play video games 10 minutes a day and Mom is going to take 20 minutes a day of alone time. That’s the extent of their change.

The change in Vegas is not discussed beyond the detail that the gay housekeeper left six weeks later.

So that taught me that Christians have nothing to fear if they’re living by their beliefs. Despite ABC’s best attempt, they didn’t make the Christians look foolish and didn’t make the slut look virtuous. I suspect the staff learned quite a lot along the way.

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17 Responses to Swapping Wives

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    I’ve seen a few of those shows over the years. The TV show rewards both families for the work being on the show and each family is usually glad when it was over and learned a few new things from the other than they incorporate into their own lives.

    I didn’t realize that it had been on almost 10 years but it is an interesting concept and I have learned a few things myself from the few shows that I had seen.

    ABC, I believe, used to have their shows on Hulu.com for free, but I don’t know if they still do. I watch very little TV myself….. radio on the other hand? no comment. 😉

  2. Art Stone says:

    Well! This has a radio connection. The Tea Party Wife wasn’t just some random person – it was Dr Gina Louden, who was a talk show host on KOGO-AM in San Diego and also appears on Cable TV. Her husband was a State Senator from Missouri (Rush’s home state).

    The other family – apolitical (meaning leftist hence no obvious politics to an ABC producer) is a husband who works as a pro wrestler when he’s not working in a warehouse. He has a wife, but also had a second female partner. They’re “poly amorous”. The children are from prior relations including a biracial girl. The loudens have children – their 17 year old daughter is very political. Mrs Louden “always wanted to adopt a child with Down’s syndrome,

    It took about five minutes for it to become obvious where it was headed. Mrs Louden was overwhelmed with the complexity of cooking hamburger helper. Mr Louden launched right into exploring what polyamorous was all about. Everyone was about as subtle as a freight train.

    • Art Stone says:

      Mr Loudon is a grade A posterior bodily orifice.

      His loaner wife made a real effort to engage the children in constructive activities and build a relationship. Even after she made it clear she wasn’t going to talk with him about religion or politics, he just couldn’t put down the Bible and stop saying that she was evil for being a wife with a man who has a second woman living with them.

      He kept coming back to men shouldn’t sleep with men – apparently dense that one man having two wives is not male homosexuality. It takes very little reading of the bible to see that polygamy was the norm in the Okd Testament. Monogamy isn’t part of “God’s law”. It is probably a good idea,but not because of the Bible.

      Mrs Loudon was only slightly less dense. I don’t care at all for the other family, but if this is the idea how the “TEA Party” plans to “take back America”, I’m not even slightly on your side.

      In the end, the Loudons called each other on the cell phones breaking the rules, and then called their attorney and refused to participate in the lessons learned.

      Now that I’ve seen the show, I have no sympathy for Rush’s point of view.

      It would never make it past the call screener, but I would like a caller to ask Rush to pick up the Bible he keeps in his studio – then ask him to turn to the 10 commandments, read the first one and explain how the 10 commandments are not religious, but just secular common sense… And ask how he gets in going to church when he is attends NFL games on Sundays. He says he can’t believe that Barack Obama could sit in a church and not hear his pastor for 20 years. At least Obama was in the building. Rush gives lip service to the second amendment, but shows no hint of experience with guns or wanting to own one (unlike Glenn Beck who does)

  3. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    You can see why the show has been on almost 10 years. You can learn a lot about people by watching, including what works and what doesn’t, and as a result, perhaps make fewer mistakes of your own. The title sounds superficial, but as you can see, the shows often inspire deep thought and insight.

    • Art Stone says:

      The main reaction I had – but because I don’t have the attention span of a gnat – is I want hours more of watching them (not the loudons). Between all the commercials, there was little more than a few snippets. I want to see the chicken’s head cut off, and how you take that chicken and take the feathers off and cook it. How you cook using a wood stove. What other foods do they have? Do they have a root cellar? Do they can? Do they have neighbors that share their views?

      Was there some event that triggered their desire to go off the grid? Are there grandparents in this story? Conversely, how did the woman in Vegas get to this point? What motivated a man to “marry” her?

  4. popsmayhem says:

    Hey Art, what’s a bodily orifice???

  5. Art Stone says:

    A few random thoughts, from a never married person…

    The premise of the show relies on the idea that the “rules of the house” are determined solely by the woman – that the other woman can unilaterally create rules on the man because that’s what wives do. The reality is (at least I hope so) marriages are a partnership and rules are agreements negotiated over time, the more important ones being agreed to before they say “I do”. I may be naive.

    To make the point, what if the premise of the show was reversed? Being a logical computer type person, I like symmetry. Change the show so it is the man who swaps families – now the nerdy passive man from Vegas goes to Michigan and is living with 6 children and a wife who expects him to chop wood and be the alpha male. The authoritarian “off the grid” farmer goes to Vegas to stay with the party girl on her turf and the gay housekeeper.

    So what happens now when the man gets to make all the rules and the woman has no say?

    That makes it clear the premise is seriously flawed, or maybe is a symptom that we now have a matriarchal society full of pussy whipped men. It helps to explain why Art Bell is living now in the Phillipines

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      You raise some interesting points. I think the real issue is different than what you describe – I think most men would not take kindly to a new man moving into his house while he was away, taking charge and bossing his wife and kids around. As it is, the approach they take sometimes results in angry families like the episode you described.

      I think it is really more a partnership and usually a couple decides to go on this show because the need the money that the show will give them, and they are generally curious about how other people live- what goes in within the walls of the other homes they see. It is not a new show, participants have surely seen the show before and know it is an opportunity to try things a new way for a week or two and see whether they find a better way to do something.

      The overriding contrast I have seen if flexibility versus rigidness. The people that are more flexible and not trying to “force” others to change usually gain the most from the experience. In most of the shows, the families decide to keep in touch and are glad to have made new friends, even if they have differing views on things. The feuds are the most interesting TV and the most thought provoking…. but then again, I learn things from watching The Simpsons.

      • Art Stone says:

        So we need one family of libertarians and a family of police officers

        In my oblique way, I was pointing out that male/female isn’t symmetrical. Our sex role motivations are hard wired and they’re different. At one point, Mrs Louden asked the guy with two wives “so would it be okay if one of your wives decided she wanted a second man, and if not, why not?” – but he was already so far on the warpath and on the defensive, that question wasn’t going to sink in. It’s a really important question in the gay marriage discussion.

        Polygamy is “natural” in many of our closer mammal brethren, and you don’t have to think very hard to figure out it would have survival value. If the strongest, best looking, most productive males had more children with more wives, and the weak had no wives, beneficial traits would evolve faster.

        There are a few downsides to polygamy though. One is excessive inbreeding. The chances of a recessive genetic defect showing up goes up with close relatives. Another is that if a man with many wives dies, the widows and the offspring have a larger void.

        Another issue is with lots of men with no wives, they’ll fight with each other – that’s why old men send young men off to die in pointless wars and reduce the competition.

        But probably what pushed Europeans in particular to monogamy is that as civilization advanced and we started to specialize our genetics, just being the man with the biggest muscles wasn’t good enough. Merchants and bankers became attractive due to their wealth, not their ability to kill or intimidate other men. Laws replaced force. Craftsman, doctors, teachers, computer programmers needed to have children without being the strongest man in the village. Monogamy was the group consensus that it was better that each man have a wife than the “best” man have as many as he can support.

        Roy Masters has interesting ideas about women. One of his central themes is women want to be controlled. If you cater to what they want, or give in to their demands, they grow to hate you because they want to feel protected and safe – and if they can dominate you, so will others.

        Not exactly mainstream thinking, but I’m not ruling out that he may be right.

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          My experience is that is is really tough to generalize. I know at different levels probably 10s of thousands of people. Each is unique and different from each other. In database terms, they have unique attributes that change over time and even from situation to situation in unique ways.

          Now take any two and put them together and you will get a unique and sometimes hard to predict reaction in their (again in database terms) relationship to one another.

          Sure, society needs to regulate that relationship on some levels. Do not kill, steal, etc, but down to what level?

          I don’t think society has the same Biblical concerns about extinction due to lack of reproduction, instead, society is more focused on rules to provide for the young that can not provide for themselves.

          Many religions and societies have different answers. From the President of Iran saying there are no homosexuals in his country, to Nazi Germany sending homosexuals to concentration camps.

          I think most people believe a sick person should be able choose who his “family” is for the purpose of visiting him on his death bed in the hospital. Perhaps almost as many believe that person should decide who should get that person’s possessions when that person passes away. The more difficult issues relate to taxes and children so you had indicated.

  6. Be still my heart, Art watched TV!

  7. Nidster says:

    I did not view the “wife Swapping” show but I understand a little bit about how it is setup. Not my idea of entertainment.

    Rush raised an interesting point today using a story about a recent interview with,
    Jeremy Irons, a rock-ribbed Libertarian, who “did an interview in the Huffing and Puffington Post about gay marriage. He said that he didn’t have a strong feeling either way, but he wondered if allowing same-sex marriage would open the doors for a father to marry his son, in order to be able to transfer property without paying taxes.”

    The gist of the point was made this way by, Irons, ” lawyers are gonna have a field day with same-sex marriage. The lawyers are gonna have fun like you can’t believe.”

    Oh Lord, if this means helping the lawyers find more ways to make life more like Hell-on-Earth, then help those of us who want to live our life with Freedom, Liberty, and in the Pursuit of Happiness.

    • Art Stone says:

      http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.03/handbook-0306.html

      The “spouse” of someone who dies is entitled to widow/widower benefits based on the earning record of the person who dies. If you are responsible for taking care of their child, you can start receiving widow benefits at any age. There is no requirement that you were their spouse for any period of time. (if a divorced spouse was married for 10 years, they can also be a widow even though they were not married at time of death)

      So if I married Roger Ebert a week ago on his death bed (and DOMA is struck down), I would be his widower and eligible for benefits based on his earning record. So being an unmarried person with a terminal illness makes you a cash cow for someone else as long as you have a “ceremony”. That’s it. It has nothing to do with love.

    • Art Stone says:

      Without a doubt. We already have strange stuff like when a son has sex with his mother while she can still conceive so the father of the child is also his brother, or does that make him a half brother or a 3/4 brother?

      What if a grandfather marries his granddaughter – now he is both the father and the great grandfather.

      Once you break the one man, one woman rule and no direct lineage rules, there is no end to the permutations possible. Add in surrogacy and well…

      The government does have an interest in marriage because it is a legal contract, and it creates rights and responsibilities that people expect a judge to sort out. He/she needs rules. In addition, many government programs depend on those rules. Social Security has a widow’s benefit if the husband dies before she would be eligible for her own social security.

  8. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Here is a classic. And it is an even more complex scenario… it exists using today’s “legacy” marriage rules. The diagram explains is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlJH81dSiw

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