Mixing Old Fashioneds
Trading Spouses 2/16 Recap: Andrews – Nelson Trade
Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! I’m excited—it’s a long weekend, I’m getting ready to go out of town, and the last thing I need to do before leaving is watch Trading Spouses. Well, the last thing I likely will do before leaving is lock the house, so no one bother trying to rob the joint while I’m gone. So where are we on the Trading Spouses ride? Two weeks back it was race issues. The last trade was about gays versus bigoted freaks with large nostrils, and now we’re up to good, old fashioned male chauvinist sports nuts versus free spirited musicians. It’s kind of a relief to be away from the heavy handed political issues for the holiday weekend, isn’t it? So let us begin….
Music & Martyrs
First up in Boston, Mom Doreen Andrews does everything for her lazy family—she cooks, she cleans, she does their laundry, and her kids don’t help a bit. Her husband Stephen, she says, is a good guy and the provider, so naturally that means he’s entitled to a free ride vis a vis household matters. He lies on the couch every day when he gets home from work, and her two older kids aren’t any better. In fact they are worse because, Gina, 22, and Melissa, 21, stay out all night and sleep all day and are minimally employed and not in school. Her son Vinnie is 15, and he goes to school, so at least he’s occupied during the day and has something of an excuse. We know we’re in for a bumpy ride, because Doreen breaks down in tears in her introductory interview upon reflecting on her family life and realizing she is unappreciated by her family.
Across the country in Washington state, we meet one of the original punk rock girls, Terry Nelson, and her equally rock’n’roll husband, Mark. Terry has bright red hair and sings in a band—think something approximating Debbie Harry. Mark plays guitar and obviously has been honing his Keith Richards-like look for years. They have an amazingly non-punk looking daughter, Rachel, who is home schooled and wants to be a ballet dancer. Terry and Mark make all manner of sacrifices so their daughter can have expensive ballet lessons. They live in a house now, but have never really been into material things, living from bar to van, all for the music.
Early on the morning of the first day of the swap, Terry is ready for anything. She says that since she’s lived in vans and in bars, one week away can’t be all that bad. Doreen’s kids are dead to the world and don’t care that their mom is leaving. Truth be told, they probably just rolled in from their night out. With that, off the moms go to swap families, with fifty thousand dreams dancing in their head.
As usual, the moms and dads wander the airports looking for the right person. When Stephen meets Terry, he first notices her shockingly bright hair and wonders what he got himself into. You’d think a guy who has a room decked out all in red because he’s such a Red Sox fan would love a woman with crazy bright red hair. The ride home is fairly quiet, as Stephen doesn’t have a whole lot to say, beyond asking Terry what she does and pointing out good bread bakeries. When they get to the house, the kids greet Terry warmly with hugs all around. Terry says she’s a good feeling about the trade. Geez, you’d think she never saw this show before.
Doreen and Mark finally meet outside the airport and she immediately pegs his Richards-wannabe look as pretty rock’n’roll. She too wonders what she got herself into, which makes you wonder what Doreen and Stephen have against musicians. It’s not like musicians are known for drowning puppies. On the ride to the house, Mark goes on about playing music and acts he loves—Ozzy, Areosmith—and is overly excited about everything related to music. Doreen thinks this is a bit crazy coming from a guy his age, which could be 50 or 70 from outward appearances. They finally get home and Doreen meets Rachel and is even more shocked that the girl looks like every teenage girl in America. Mark takes Doreen right away out to his studio/rehearsal space and plays the guitar for her. Doreen is not impressed, and decides it’s going to be a long week.
Scotch: Breakfast of Champions
The next morning, Doreen wakes up and Mark is still playing the guitar—continuing the jam session from the night before. He’s out in his studio, drinking scotch and soda with his pal Mark Burnett. Somehow, I doubt it’s that Mark Burnett, so there will be no Survivor or Apprentice spoilers here. Doreen is just aghast that Mark is drinking before breakfast, hasn’t slept, and is smoking like a maniac. She thinks he needs to grow up; I think I need to learn stamina like that.
In Boston, where everyone speaks with the classic Boston accent, Terry wakes up at about 6 a.m. Vinnie tells her he’s off to school, and she goes to the kitchen for coffee. Stephen is getting ready to go to work and admonishes Terry that she needs to make the house clean and neat while he’s gone: make the beds, do the laundry, wash the dishes, and everything else a scullery and chambermaid would do. She is tempted to tell him to shove it up his backside, but since it’s the first full day of the trade, she won’t put up too much a fuss. So Terry sets about cleaning and dusting and vacuuming, all the while the two adult daughters sleep until 3:30 p.m. Terry is amazed these girls are so damn lazy, and says it would not fly in her house.
What does fly in her house, however, is Mark’s famous diarrhea story. Let’s just say it wasn’t all that pleasant, and it ended with the image of scarecrow-thin Mark naked in a public bathroom full of sailors. Trust me, that was the best part. Doreen isn’t happy with this “poo poo” story, and implies that perhaps a “pee pee” story would have been better. She refers to Mark as worse than a teenager, but by her vocab, she’s stuck in first grade.
Lotto: Financial planner to the video store clerk crowd.
Melissa, Doreen’s middle daughter, asks Terry to run her down to her job to pick up her check at the video store. Terry wants to know why, at 21, Melissa doesn’t drive. Melissa says she doesn’t have the $80 to get her license and she owes tons of money—to her mom, to the credit card company, to the phone company. In fact, had her mom been there, she would have taken the check right from her. She keeps hoping to pay it all off by winning a scratch off ticket. Riiiiight. Terry also learns that Melissa is “taking a semester off” from acting school. Given her propensity to sleep till 4 p.m., I wonder how voluntary the sabbatical is. Terry thinks it’s time for Melissa to grow up, which is emerging as the theme for tonight’s show.
Discipline and self-motivation: weird traits in the teenager crowd.
Doreen takes a morning to hang out with Rachel. Since she’s home schooled, she gets up early and does her lessons. She then hangs out at the house until it is time for ballet. Doreen doesn’t know what to do all day, there’re no kids to wake up, no angry manly man demanding she do housework, nada. So she ruminates about how weird it is that Rachel is home schooled and how she doesn’t go out to hang out with friends. Eventually it is time to go to ballet practice, which Doreen really enjoys, although she thinks Rachel is not a normal girl and is isolated.
I’ll tell you where you can plug that vacuum!
After a couple of days of cleaning the house, Terry has had it. She is tired of the girls sleeping all day, doing nothing to help, and Stephen’s disrespectful demands. Stephen says the place is so dusty that he can write words on the table tops and the vacuuming must be done immediately. Frankly I find it difficult to believe that the place is that dusty, since it’s been like 24 hours since it was last dusted. Plus, who dusts every day? People with OCD and people with nothing else to do. There must be some mommy issues with Stephen. Stephen goes on and on, demanding Terry clean the house and she won’t on principle—the girls need to help out, and she shouldn’t be talked to like something lower than the dust he wants cleaned up. Stephen says that Terry must clean because she’s the wife and that’s what wives do. And people wonder why there are more single women nowadays. All this dude’s missing is a club and a Fred Flintstone outfit. Terry is outdone that Doreen has been taken advantage of for so long.
Mmmmm, English muffins.
Doreen is fed up with Mark’s music. It’s constant and she can’t take it any more, so she decides to have a sit-down with Mark over breakfast. I’m kind of surprised Mark actually eats solid foods, given that he is so damn skinny, but he does sit down to some eggs and an English muffin. I get distracted by the thought of English muffins, and drift off to thinking about getting a king cake for the weekend. Focus, self, focus! So Doreen asks Mark if he ever does anything without music. He doesn’t even comprehend doing something without music—there’s absolutely no point to it. Then Doreen gets to talking about Rachel: why is she so isolated, why doesn’t she hang out with kids her own age, why doesn’t she say much…blah blah blah. Doreen’s kids did all that normal kid stuff, and they’re layabouts, so you wonder where she’s going with all of this. Plus, maybe Rachel has seen this show and realized that they can’t edit words into your mouth if you say nothing, so she’s protecting herself. If it were me, that’s the route I’d go. Doreen has really hit a nerve, challenging the way Mark and Terry are bringing up Rachel, as likely would be for any parent. Voices get louder, there are some bleeps, and Mark finally storms off to go smoke on the front steps.
With that, the first half of this trade ends. Fox airs its obligatory “oh-no-you-di-nt” reactions to the disbursement letters, but we all know that is a fake out better than half the time. So tune in next week to see if Doreen gives Mark the $50K outright if he can stop playing music for 48 hours and if Terry gives the $50K to Doreen to hire a maid.
Excellent recap, phonegrrrl!
Thanks for the recap, PhoneGrrrl. I missed this episode, but regardless of all of Fox's trickery, I will tune in for the next.
Just Forting Around
PG, I haven't watched this show in a long time, but happened to catch this episode. Mark is a piece of work, and I thought it was particularly funny that when his daughter rebels, she becomes more straight-laced. Your recap was such a fun read, and I love your subtitles, especially the breakfast of champions. Hope you're having a great time on your weekend away.
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