A CALIFORNIA FAMILY OF "FREE SCHOOLERS" WHO BELIEVE AMUSEMENT PARKS
ARE MORE EDUCATIONAL THAN CLASSROOMS SWAP LIVES WITH AN OVERSCHEDULED FAMILY FROM COLORADO WHO PUSH THEIR KIDS TO BE HIGH-ACHEVING
GO-GETTERS, ON ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
"Jones/Martinson" � A nonconformist California family who have radical views on mainstream society and traditional education swap lives with a busy Colorado family whose focus is grooming their children to become successful, model adults, on "Wife Swap," FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Each week two very contradictory families from across the country participate in a two-week-long challenge: The wives exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover daily life in another woman's shoes. This astonishing experiment repeatedly changes lives and redefines families.
The free-spirited Martinson family from California choose to go against the grain when it comes to educating their children. Instead of public schools, Mom Heather (39) "fun-schools" her children using amusement parks and a homemade time machine. She encourages her three boys, Nick (18), Riley (10) and Harrison (7), to question everything, including the theory of gravity. Self-employed, aspiring author Dad Lee (50) shares Heather's perspectives and feels that schools are "socialist, anti-family rat holes." Both parents pride themselves in the chaotic environment they have created in their home; they feel less structure gives kids higher self-esteem. As a result, the boys have no chores or responsibilities. Without any restrictions on their appearance, they often choose to wear mismatched outfits, but it's all in the name of self expression.
Meanwhile, the Jones family from Colorado are the ideal image of time management and structure. Speech pathologist and former beauty queen Mom Kerry (46) believes formal education is the key to success and devotes her time to handling daughters Krista (17) and Brooke's (14) jam-packed schedule. As dancers, they spend 4-5 hours a night practicing while Kerry looks on. Both girls are expected to bring home A's and B's, even if it means staying up late to complete their homework. With the girls constantly on the go, Police Lieutenant Dad Mark (46) spends most nights eating dinner alone. The little free time the girls have to spend with their father usually turns into Mark' patrolling and scolding them. He feels rules, chores and organization are necessary to keep the girls out of trouble.
In the first week, Heather leaves her family and freedom behind for a taste of conformity. Upon arrival, she realizes her quirky wardrobe of homemade shirts won't cut it while living Kerry's picture perfect life. She is also amazed at how little time the Jones family spends together. After shuffling the girls to and from their dance rehearsals and observing Mark's brief yet tough interaction with the girls, she feels the family could really benefit from spending quality time together without any pressure. Meanwhile, in California, Kerry is bewildered by the family's empty schedule and by Heather's "fun-schooling" teaching methods. She is shocked to discover the boys are not performing at their grade level and confronts Lee about the boys' untraditional education.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Heather attempts to bring her radical ideas on education to the family. She takes the Jones to a theme park for some "fun-schooling," to the disbelief of Mark and the girls. To help Mark understand the pressure his girls are under to succeed, Heather rules that he go through their rigorous singing and dancing schedule. Across the mountains in Colorado, Kerry tries to bring structure and traditional curriculum into the Martinson home by sending both the boys and Lee back to school. Dressed in a new wardrobe, the boys are reluctant to join their peers, and Lee continues to question the validity of traditional education. After two weeks in another home, can Heather Martinson convince the Jones' that a day at an amusement park is the best way to educate? And can Kerry Jones help the Martinsons understand the importance of a good education and a structured environment?
"Wife Swap" is an RDF USA production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Mike Gamson, Stef Wagstaffe and Michael Davies of Embassy Row ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire"). Stephen Pettinger, Neil Regan, Julie Cooper and Will Nothacker are co-executive producers. "Wife Swap" is broadcast with Spanish subtitles via secondary closed captioning. This program carries a TV-G parental guideline.