Friday, October 16, 2009

On Swapping Wives

I promised myself yesterday that I would withhold any and all opinions on the story that unfolded in northern Colorado. It appeared to be a tragedy averted by the timidity of a little boy who couldn’t accept being “yelled at” by his father. Better that he hang out for a few hours hiding from his family than being trapped in a helium balloon flying high over the plains of Colorado.

Then in discussing the affair with others today, I became aware of something that I didn’t know about because I eschew any and all reality TV shows.

Well I did watch one episode of Dancing With The Stars recently because I needed to see Hot Tub Tom dance the Cha-cha.

Wife Swap, the reality TV show, they told me, the reality TV show that featured the Heene family last year, involves the swapping of wives between two “dysfunctional families.”

Well, that’s not exactly the wording they use on their website, but I believe that “dysfunctional” is a word used appropriately here.

Here is what they say about Wife Swap at

“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”
Get that? “Very different values.”

Take for example their description of women who have swapped families for the a couple of recent episodes:

“The episodes include a variety of spousal swaps: a wife who caters to her beauty pageant teenage daughter's every whim -- and even does her homework -- swaps lives with a super feminist wife whose children can change a flat tire; a drill sergeant wife who disciplines her children by making them do push ups in the front yard swaps lives with a prankster mom whose only rule is to have fun.”
These aren’t people with “very different values.” These are people who, given the right set of circumstances, find their names in the news.

So should it come as a surprise that a father who takes his young kids on tornado hunts, a father who builds a helium balloon big enough for his children to ride in, a father who calls the FAA, then a the news office at a local TV station and THEN 911 when he learns that his 6-year old son is aboard a free-flying helium balloon, a father who lets his son projectile vomit on national TV while being interviewed by Diane Sawyer, that father, is in the news?

The only questions I have are these:

How did this guy stay out of the news for so long?

When can this family please fade back into obscurity?

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