Trading Spouses 2/2 Recap: The Lane – Chase Trade, Part 1
After last week’s ultimate let-down and dearth of exciting god warrior clips, things can only improve with tonight’s new trade. And by improve I mean, of course, go to a scary, scary place of prejudice, rage, bitterness and insecurity that is the bread and butter of this and many other reality shows. Plus, after a long week of work, don’t you want someone to make fun of?
Affection is great, but profanity is better.
In sunny, hilly, San Diego, California we meet mom Judy Lane, who right away tells us that she believes her kids should be raised with lots of affection. We see she has two kids: the boy is 9 and called Cory and the girl, Shea, is six. They live together in their very typical suburban house with Judy’s wife/life partner, Pepper. Judy tells us that she has known Pepper for about twenty years, but she was married to a man when they first met. She and her ex were more friends than anything, and they ultimately divorced and Judy confessed her attraction to Pepper and they’ve been together ever since. They’ve had a wedding ceremony and have a domestic partnership. The kids are fine with having two moms, and everyone seems happy and loving.
Over in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, things are anything but loving. We first meet mom Julie Chase commanding a bug to die, then bitching out some customer service person on the phone. She declares that she is the high empress of the family, rule the roost and is hypercritical. She also hates smokers, fatties, homeless people and illegal immigrants. For some reason, she seems to think all people of a Hispanic heritage are illegal Mexicans. Apparently Julie is also an idiot. She’s been married to Charlie for twenty years, and they have two daughters, Kaci, 17, and Cyndi, 15. Charlie knows that Julie runs the show and just sucks it up and deals when she gets on a roll. The girls are into sports and their dad is involved. And we learn—through more bleeps than an episode of The Osbournes—the Chases are anything but kind to each other. They pick on, harass, and bully one another, and all with a deep-seated sense of malice. Good times, no doubt.
It’s time for Judy and Julie to get going. Judy is going to miss Pepper and the kids, and gets a bit emotional before the cab finally pulls away. Julie, on the other hand, doesn’t really care and says she thought she may cry but she just didn’t. Her kids don’t care, and neither does Charlie all that much.
Later on, at the airport, Pepper knows that the new mom is likely going to expect a man. Julie wanders around the lobby of the airport, making loud, derogatory comments about every man that walks by and genuinely becomes alarmed when a man of possibly non-white heritage steps a bit close. She actually tells the guy to back off, despite the fact she was blocking the door and he was trying to get out. Eventually Pepper finds Julie, and Pepper explains that she is the partner of the swapped mom. Walking to the car, Julie continues to freak out over Pepper’s use of the term “wife” and “partner” and declares that there are no lesbians where she comes from. On the drive to the house, Julie tells Pepper that she comes from a very small town in southern Oregon, and, while there may be no gays or lesbians, there are a ton of illegal Mexicans and she just cannot take it because the Mexicans are ruining everything. Pepper is continually more and more amazed at the hate and vitriol spewing from Julie.
Pepper and Julie finally get to the house, and Julie starts blurting out inappropriate language that would land her in some kind of rehab if she were on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Pepper asks her to refrain from speaking in that manner around the kids. They go in and meet the kids, and Cody is a bit standoffish around Julie, probably because he’s no fool. Cody is a bit overweight undoubtedly will catch the wrath of this psycho at some point, since she’s expressed her hatred of people who are not thin.
Up in LGBT-free Oregon, Charlie is waiting for Judy with his fly undone. Who knows if it’s on purpose—one can only speculate. Maybe that’s just how they roll in Grant’s Pass. Judy and Charlie find each other at the airport, and Judy thinks that Charlie is a good guy. She knows that she’s got to let him feel strong and important because of his fragile male ego. During the ride to the house, Judy tells Charlie that she’s got a wife/partner, not a husband and Charlie responds with a mere, “Cool.” They then begin talking about what sports their kids play.
When Charlie and Judy arrive at the house, the girls barely get off the couch to greet her. They sit around in awkward silence for some time, and Charlie goad the girls to ask what Judy’s husband does. This goes on for some time, carrying on into the kitchen for dinner prep. Judy has an amazing amount of restraint and does not go all “Hothead Paisan” on his ass, and eventually does her “I’m a lesbian” speech in a calm manner, probably for having done it so many times. The girls’ response: a hesitant “Cool.” They look a bit off-put and say that being a lesbian is “different” in a way that does not celebrate diversity.
$50,000 may not be enough.
It’s day two, and Julie decides to get to know Pepper to find out about gay people. She doesn’t know anyone who is openly gay and has a ton of questions. Her first question is, “How does being gay work?” In a manner that can only be described as one with saintly patience, Pepper tries to explain her relationship with Judy. Julie becomes worried that Pepper thinks she is gay too, but Pepper is quick to dismiss that notion.
Pepper, undoubtedly prodded by the producers, decides to take Julie to dinner in the Hillcrest area of San Diego, which is apparently the gay-friendly area of town. There are some interesting looking people on the street, most notably to me a couple dressed like Lt. Dangle and possibly Trudy Wiegel from Reno 911! They go to a restaurant that looks like any other general American fare restaurant and Julie starts acting like a bigger idiot than usual. She wants to go to the bathroom and wash her hands, but she’s scared to, because of all the gays and lesbians. She calls out “gaydar!” every time she sees a gay couple through the window. You’d think she was playing punch bug. The last straw is when she questions the waiter on his sexuality, and Pepper feels compelled to apologize to him for Julie’s behavior. After dinner, Pepper says to the camera that Julie is rude and crazy and she can’t believe she’s got to put up with her for a week.
Word of the day: “Uncomfortable”
The first full day of the trade for Judy starts out by getting up and dressed and sipping coffee in the kitchen. Charlie is up and finally wakes the girls up, quite rudely, and tells them that they all need to be going to the grocery store in thirty minutes. The girls bitch and moan and fight over the bathroom, much as any two high school girls will. They all pile into the car and head to Ray’s Foods. Famous Ray? Original Ray? Who can tell.
At the grocery store, the girls and Charlie constantly bicker and snipe at each other. Judy can’t take it and wanders away for a while. We see her sipping another coffee drink, or at least a drink out of a covered coffee cup. I can only hope that there’s bourbon in the cup. Judy says she’s very uncomfortable with the way the family treats one another, and she tires to steer clear of them through most of the shopping.
After the shopping and the breakfast, it is time to take Cyndi to soccer practice. According to Charlie, Cyndi isn’t properly hyped up about practice in the car, and he calls her on that. Cyndi joins her practice team and Charlie can’t stop himself from shouting at her for everything she does wrong. And she does nothing right. Judy thinks that the family dynamic is terrible and she’s awfully uncomfortable during the entire practice. I think Charlie should have auditioned for “Sport Kids Moms and Dads.”
Compassion is overrated—suck it up!
On the next day of the swap, Pepper has allowed the cleaning lady to come, as per usual. The vacuuming wakes Julie up and she’s not happy. She’s even less happy when she finds out that the cleaning lady is *gasp* Hispanic! She says she cannot be physically close to “them” because of her issues with illegals. She tells Pepper that she hates illegal immigrants because they are terrible people who come to American and do terrible things. She simply cannot allow for the possibility that the illegal immigrants could be good people. She also seems not able to allow for legal immigration either. Pepper is astounded that Julie is so intolerant.
Pepper should not have set the bar so low for Julie’s prejudice. Later in the day, while preparing dinner, Pepper tries to steer the conversation in what she could only assume was neutral territory—she was expressing compassion at the conjoined twins who were in the news. Julie, who by now we all know is about as emotional as a deflated tire, doesn’t feel compassion or empathy toward them because she isn’t the one making fun of them, so why should she care. Somehow or another the conversation gets to the point where Julie said that she had the Down’s Syndrome test on her girls when she was pregnant and would have aborted them had they turned up with that genetic marker. This is a sensitive subject for Pepper because she has a developmentally disabled sister. Pepper says that having a birth defect is no reason why the person can’t be a good person and worthy of love. Julie then likes being gay to having a birth defect, and that really sets Pepper off, and she leaves the room to try to regain some composure. Julie comments that Pepper just needs to toughen up, and there’s nothing but the truth coming from her. I’m starting to think that a Julie – Abasi meet up would have been far better last week.
Play through the pain.
It’s another day and another sports practice up in Oregon. Both girls are going to softball practice, and either Charlie is a hanger-on at the practice or he has some kind of coaching position. He’s again hypercritical and overly competitive in a vicarious way. Judy—whom I absolutely love because of this comment—says that he’s the kind of guy that if she saw him outside the swap at a game, she’s assume he was a frustrated older guy who can’t keep up with men so he takes it out on little girls.
Cyndi is already playing with an injured ankle and, during the practice, her ankle becomes even more injured. She’s crying because of the pain, and her dumbass dad wants her to keep on moving and walk it off. The real coach has a better idea and lets her sit down and ice the injury. Father of the Year Charlie just leaves Cyndi there, sobbing, and runs out on the field to keep playing. It takes a special kind of man to want to be the star player on a teen girls’ softball team, doesn’t it? Judy, meanwhile, sits with Cyndi and tries to comfort her, but Cyndi is fairly inconsolable.
And that’s where they left it. Next week’s episode promises Julie’s emotional breakdown and the all-round displeasure at the division of the dollars. My prediction: Judy gives half the money to a charity for illegal immigrants and earmarks the other half for rage therapy for the whole family and Julie directs the money to be used to send everyone in the Lane family to a fat camp, so long as it’s run by real Americans.