Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ol' Swap-A-Roo

On Wednesday afternoon, our "Wife Swap" episode reran on the Lifetime Channel. Every time it airs, it's a bit strange and funny to us. Strange, because it's odd to see yourself on television and it's also so atypical to have people peering into your home life and routines. Truth be told, I did not watch it myself on Wednesday; as I had lugged the TV out of my office, when I made my vow to "turn off," but I know that it ran, as it was scheduled on Lifetime's website and hundreds of friends (and new acquaintances who are now friends after watching the show) emailed and commented me on myspace that evening, letting me know that they had caught the dramatic ride of wackiness.

Whenever we remember back to the twelve days that we lived in a whirlwind-of-a-filming-frenzy, it is a bit surreal to think that we even participated in such a bizarre social experiment. It all started when talent scouts from "Wife Swap" as well as the show "Trading Spouses" (on Fox) found me through myspazzz and inquired about our interest with doing their shows. At first, I said, "No way - I could never handle such an adventure." But they have their ways of reassuring you that it is so much easier and less invasive that you could imagine. They guaranteed that our work schedule could remain near-normal; a promise that did NOT end up being kept and caused extreme distress to our business and to Steve, who was trying to film from 6 am to 11 pm; and THEN catch up on work in the wee hours of the night. But that's a whole different story and I'm not here to complain about the excessive list of issues we had with the show; as I could write volumes-upon-volumes that would become quite dull, I am sure.

A better way to reflect on it, I suppose, is to remember what we gained from the show. Approximately two weeks after the filming wrapped, a producer called from the network to discuss lessons that they hoped were learned from the show, so that when they came back to film the "follow-up" segment that they could focus on these newfound epiphanies. I must admit, some of the questions she asked were INCREDIBLY ridiculous; like, "So now that you were exposed to life with a Christian family, do you go to church? And do you believe in God now?" WOAH ... really? "Ummm, no, we don't," I told her. "Are you living by the "Man Law" now? Have you changed the roles and chores at all in your home?," she asked. "Nope, not a chance." After five or six of these absurd inquiries, she frustratedly asked, "Well, what did you learn then?" I didn't even hesitate. I said, "We learned that we REALLY, REALLY, REALLY appreciate each other and our lives, just the way they are."

And that's the TRUTH!!
If you are ever looking for a jolt of awareness - followed by gratefulness - for the people surrounding you, the knowledge you are privy to and the autonomy in your life, try living for two weeks with people that get their direction in life from a literal interpretation of an archaic book; in a house
where men are kings and women are slaves; Halloween is considered evil and the kids get to celebrate "God Bless You Day" INSIDE the house instead; children think that they can pray for school grades and that demons will float out of their TV screens if they accidentally turn it to MTV; and where decorating your skin with tattoos or having friends that are gay means that you should, by default, not be allowed to procreate. I know that sounds dramatic and extreme; but it's true and it's just a small sample of the beliefs and ideas that our swap family exposed us to. So given this ... YES, I came home with a renewed appreciation for my husband, children, friends, job, mind, viewpoints, free thoughts ... and so much more! And when the "follow-up" film crew showed up for their supplementary story, we reiterated this gratitude and appreciation as clearly as we knew how to.

Looking back on the whole experience, I am glad that we participated. It brought me in contact with SO MANY incredible people that located me online after watching the episode. As crazy as some people still think we are, there were also many that initially saw our exterior appearance and judged a book by its cover; yet, by the end of the show, realized that just because you look different that you can still have a great family, a great marriage and a successful life. It brought some fun opportunities our way and exposed us to great people all over the world (the show has aired in all corners of the world and I continue to get emails from the most obscure places on a weekly basis). It was challenging and at times, emotionally draining; but when all was said and done, it was an interesting and unique learning experience. Even if what we learned from it was just to APPRECIATE LIFE. Really, what better lesson is there, eh?

Favorite Lines From The Show:

- "Big Momma is F**ing Nuts." - Steve

- "If you don't put on the Devil costume, then we will T.P. the church." - Shea

- "Ooooh, getting a little attitude, huh?" - Brynn

- "Freethinking is good... freethinking is great ...think for yourself ... this ain't no debate." - Brynn, Aidan, Shea together

- "My kids are atheists and they don't pray; and they get great grades." - me

- "The pole was not made for Big Momma." - Big Momma

- "You can't make someone believe in your God. You just can't." - Steve

- "dem da rulz" - Big Momma

**This is one of the commercials that promo'd the show. Please note that it encapsulates such a small portion of what happened on the show ... and more importantly, what REALLY happened during the filming; but even given that advisory ... it's still funny =)


Steve said...

HAHAHAHAHA. I love your favorite lines from the show. Oh the good times and the hard times, what an experience. I definitely learned how much I love you and how thankful I am for you.

Love always and forever,


Jamie said...

i love ya, j-boo!

madness rivera said...

Eesh, Jinxi, you're a better woman than I to survive that so well. But yes! Appreciation and gratitude, all so valuable and priceless.

P.S. Big Momma shoulda worked the pole, mighta helped.

classy broad said...

i saw this, and thought your family was awesome! not only do you all embrace individuality and creativity, but you also had an open mind and kept your cool in big momma's house.
you seem like kick-ass parents, and your kids are lucky!


Stefikins - 23 - Photographer said...

i dont watch tv...i wish i could watch this somehow.