Mixing Old Fashioneds
11/3 Trading Spouses Recap: Weissmyer – Kahn-Robson Swap, Part 1
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It’s swapping time again on Fox, now that baseball is finally over. Tonight we get a family from the Boston area swapping with a family from
South Park Boulder, all for the $50,000 and a chance to be on national television. The last episode had two equally, but in different ways, odd families. Tonight’s episode is much more lop-sided, and you’ll soon see which way that balance tips.
The Weissmeyer Family
One of the moms to be swapped this week is Laura Weissmeyer, a hard working woman from Weymouth, Massachusetts, a town outside of Boston. Unlike our last near-Bostonians, Laura is an outdoorsy woman who helps her husband, Ed, in his lobsterman business by working on the boat, bagging bait and cleaning up. She also works part time cleaning houses to help make ends meet. Laura and Ed have three kids, Eric, 13; Lauren, 11; and Kurt, 8. Ed is a big, burly guy and generally seems like a nice fellow, calling Laura his soul mate and best friend. Laura says Ed is a simple man but a good father and provider. They live in a modest but really cute house in a neighborhood Laura describes as blue-collar.
The Kahn-Robson Family
Wendy Kahn is the other mom that is going to be swapped for this pair of episodes. She and her second husband, Michael Robson, live with her two daughters (Natalie, 13 and Vanessa, 11) in Boulder, Colorado, where she is a realtor. Wendy so much as admits that, while married to Tom, the girls’ father, she whored around with Michael and ditched her wealthy, albeit rotund husband for Michael. (Not even Wendy’s mother approves of this union; she says she told Wendy just to have a fling and get it out of her system.) Michael is from Australia and ten years younger than Wendy, but has the maturity level of a hyperactive five year old. He ostensibly is a professional bike rider (as in bicycle, not motorcycle), but given that he’s got a beer gut reminiscent of Val Kilmer at the end of The Doors, I doubt he hauls in all that much cash. It’s clear from the outset that the daughters, particularly Vanessa, have issues with Michael, and I can’t say I blame them, since, among other things, Michael and Wendy announce to the kids (in front of the camera as well) that they’re going to indulge in a little afternoon delight. Their house in Boulder is nice, but the lawn is ratty, and I’d expect someone who professes to be a great realtor to have a much better abode.
Two Words: You Are Stupid
It’s departure day, and Laura is getting ready to meet her cab. She says “bye” to all of her kids and asks Ed to make sure the new mom is nice to them. Meanwhile, in Boulder, Wendy gets up and says goodbye to Michael, but completely forgets she has kids until she is in the cab. Upon arrival at their respective airports, both women and both men wander aimlessly to find the person they are supposed to be meeting. Why Fox wastes time on this every trade is beyond logic.
Wendy plays that she’s a chameleon, and can get along with everyone, a skill she develops and uses in her real estate job. You know the type—someone who thinks they can talk to anyone but usually ends up making an ass out of themselves constantly. This is Wendy. She tells the camera, after having met Ed, that her “first impression was that he is a human being, so I was relieved. Two words: I was relieved!” Perhaps Wendy was under the impression she was going to spend time with a manatee family under the ocean. And how she escaped kindergarten with such counting skills is unfathomable. She’s also never met a lobsterman, which is understandable, as she lives in a land-locked state, but when she likens him to Forrest Gump, it’s cringe worthy. How could anyone forget that Gump not only was mentally challenged but was a shrimper? There are no lobsters in Bayou La Batre, Alabama and Ed isn’t slow at all.
The moment when the light bulb went off over Laura’s head.
Laura and Michael also had a fairly awkward ride back to the Kahn-Robson house. Laura is surprised at how young Michael is. He goes on a bit about how awful the kids are, and then says he’s not their father and is Wendy’s second husband. Laura then has an expression of “Aha!” on her face, as it all falls into place: Michael is just a trophy husband.
Meanwhile, Wendy has arrived at the Weissmeyer house, and proclaims it “cute” and “nice” and “real”. Lauren, the eleven year old daughter, pegs Wendy as a “fancy” person, all the while holding the cutest bunny rabbit. The rabbit is kind of out of place, but he was so cute, he needed a mention in the recap. Wendy proclaims she can do anything for a week, then asks Ed if they have West Nile in Massachusetts.
Someone needs to inform Wendy she isn’t all that and a bag of chips.
On the second day, Laura wakes up at six. She’s used to getting up early and getting on the lobster boat, so it’s force of habit. No one else is awake, so she just sits at the kitchen table with her purse. Maybe she’s contemplating an escape.
Wendy also wakes up early, at 5:15 a.m. She goes to the kitchen in her nighty where she makes herself a cup of green tea and does “seductive” stretches in front of Ed, who watches with amusement. If she really needed to stretch, she didn’t really need an audience. She then dons a “fishing” outfit, consisting of shorts, a tank top, and big rubber boots, and dances around the kitchen like a gorilla. Why, no one knows, and it is not cute.
Given the choice, fish guts are preferable.
Finally, Michael and the kids wake up and Laura asks what they are going to be doing that day. Michael says that Laura and the girls are heading over to Wendy’s friend’s house for a get-together with the “Girlfriend Mafia”, the ho-bags Wendy calls her friends. OK, Michael doesn’t quite describe them that way. Laura is a bit nervous about fitting in; she has a group of girlfriends back home, but they are all down-to-earth folks. Laura and the girls arrive and Wendy’s friend’s house (hereinafter referred to as “WF” as a generic term for one of the several overly-processed friends of Wendy), where the friends are gathered around an outside table by a pool. The girls go for a swim, while Laura sits drinking wine with the WFs.
Wendy and Ed spend the day on the lobster boat, where Wendy has to do all manner of unpleasant, yet necessary, tasks like bagging the bait (which is dead fish parts), moving live lobsters that they catch into the cooler, and cleaning the fish guts from the deck. After that last task, she can’t take it any more and wretches over the side of the deck. She tells the camera that she does not like creepy crawly things….
….Upon which Fox cuts us to a shot of an old woman with scary teeth arriving at the WFs gathering. She’s apparently the mother of the hostess of the party, and she begins to grill Laura about her life. Laura tells them that her husband is a commercial lobsterman, and she helps out on the boat, to which the old woman replies, “This is a riot!” Then one of the WFs asks Laura if she’s into yoga or pilates. Laura isn’t, but I imagine she gets plenty of exercise on that lobster boat. The WF says that Boulder is all about fitness, eating right, and taking care of yourself; while she says this, she crosses her arms in the classic defensive motion. Meanwhile, the old woman lights up another cigarette. So, Boulder is all about hypocrisy?
Family Outings: A good one, and one providing a reason to call CPS.
Ed decides to take Wendy out to their beach front property up in Hull, Mass. He said they bought a little piece of property up there some years back, and it’s a nice little escape for the weekend. Wendy is excited to go because she wants to know how much the real estate costs. She claims she wants to test her knowledge as a realtor, but really she must be very insecure to worry about how much money she has, and suspects that Ed and Laura do better than she does, monetarily speaking. Ed flat-out refuses to answer her as to the price he paid or what it would sell for now, which spurs her on more and more to constantly guess: $250,000? $750,000? $1,000,000? If I were Ed, I’d have told her $14 million just to shut her yap. To get away from her constant guessing, Ed and the kids go for a swim, and I can only imagine how cold that water is. I can still remember the summer time freezing water of the Jersey shore from when I was a kid. *shiver*
Over in Colorado, Michael decides to take Laura and the girls on a six hour bike ride, which, amazingly, Laura isn’t too enthused about. I can’t say I blame her: out in the open, rattle-snake infested Colorado country side with no cell service, accompanied by a crazy guy with a penchant for long bike rides off of beaten paths. Sounds like a plot line for 48 Hours Mystery. But the production cameras are there, so there can’t be too much of a risk…for Laura at any rate. All the while on the bike ride, Michael berates Vanessa and Natalie for not keeping up, for being whiners, for not being tomboys, and for generally not wanting to be around him. About an hour before the ride ends, they stop at a lake and Michael strips off his shirt and dives in. He tries to get the girls to come in the water, and while Natalie goes in, Vanessa doesn’t because she’s wearing a white shirt that will become see-through. Michael won’t take no for an answer, chases her around, manhandles her, throws her down, and declares that since she is partially wet now she may as well come in the water. In other words, Michael is an ass, bordering on abuse. Laura is pained throughout the entire scene, but doesn’t really take any action at that time. I’d like to think she would have stepped in (or the producers would have stepped in) had it gotten any further.
The part where things turn ugly.
The morning after the bike riding day, Vanessa is still quite mad at Michael. Laura suggests that Michael talk to her and work things out. Michael takes this to mean, “Tell Vanessa to grow up and get over it.” which he does, adding “don’t act like a baby.” Michael clearly was a child psychology major. Vanessa comes back in the house from the talk and is visibly upset. Laura tries to comfort her, and is really bothered by the immaturity that Michael displays. He handles the confrontation well by going outside to cut wood on a sweet looking table saw. Right now, I want to make the suggestion for the $50,000: get a children’s rights attorney on retainer for the girls so that the girls can fight to get out of their mother’s house. Clearly she is unfit to care for anyone but her 30-something boy-toy, and he can barely take care of himself.
As further evidence to Wendy’s incompetence to think of anyone but herself, we see her starting to prepare dinner at about 7 p.m. Folks who get up at 5:15 in the morning don’t generally like to eat dinner that late, I’d imagine. Somewhere around 7:30, Kasey, Laura’s friend from across the street, comes over to invite Wendy over for drinks and a meet-and-greet. Wendy leaves without putting the fish in the oven. Wendy, again professing her ability to get along with anyone, goes over and blathers about her life in Colorado and her lovely new husband who is so “energetic” in bed. Thanks for the nightmares, Wendy. Laura’s friends are pretty loud and crazy, and one even flashes her boobs to the camera. Who knew it was Mardi Gras? Or maybe it was the tequila. While all this fun is going on, Ed and the kids are starving. Time ticks by, and it’s 10 p.m., and finally Lauren is sent over to find out how to cook the fish that’s been sitting on the counter for three hours. Laura’s friends were all under the impression the kids had eaten already, so they send Wendy back over to fix the dinner. Wendy is completely put out, and doesn’t understand how things are so messed up in the Weissmeyer household, but she finishes making dinner anyway and can’t understand why Ed and the kids are mad at her. “Responsibility,” Wendy, look into it.
Thus ends the first half of this swap. Fox promises us the “Wrath of Kahn” next week, and Laura may reach her limit with the man-child.
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