A WIFE WHO GAVE UP EVERYTHING TO INDULGE HER HUSBAND'S FANTASY OF FAMILY LIVING BY TRAVELING CROSS COUNTRY IN A BUS TRADES LIVES WITH A SPUNKY, HOME-CENTRIC WIFE WHOSE WORKAHOLIC MORTICIAN HUSBAND SPENDS MORE TIME WITH THE DEAD THAN THE LIVING, ON ABC'S "WIFE SWAP"
"Episode No. 116"-This week in "Pyke/Smith," a mother who gave up everything to indulge her husband's fantasy of living by traveling as a family in a cramped, converted bus trades lives with a spunky, home-centric mother of three whose workaholic mortician husband spends more time with the dead than the living. "Wife Swap," the acclaimed unscripted reality show that takes us into the intimate heart of the American family home to reveal the extraordinarily different ways families live their lives - airs WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Each week, from across the country, two families with very different values are chosen to take part. In a two-week-long challenge, the wives from these two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it's like to walk a mile in another mother's pumps. It's a mind-blowing experiment that often times ends up changing their lives forever.
Lynn Smith (43) and her husband, Andre (43), have spent the past 2-1/2 years living in a converted Greyhound bus, traveling across the country with daughters Gillian (14) and Talia (12). At Andre's insistence, Lynn quit her job as a successful real estate broker; they sold the family home in Florida and took the kids out of school, so that the entire family could follow along on his midlife crisis-fantasy of living a mortgage-free existence without ties or obligations. Lynn has carved an efficient, tidy home out of just 280 square feet. But showering can only be accomplished while sitting on the toilet in the sliver of a bathroom, and the girls are allowed only one drawer each for all their clothes and worldly possessions. Because of the limited space, the foursome must do most everything in sync, from getting up to going to bed. The family is close, but the bus is Andre's mistress, and in order to support it everyone must scrimp and economize on everything -- from food to school books. Lynn hasn't spent a cent on herself in two years. She also upholds Andre's directive to keep Gillian and Talia away from normal, everyday teenage life, which Dad considers bad. So Lynn home-schools-or rather, bus-schools-the girls, who have no opportunities to make friends or socialize with other kids in their emotionally-confined life.
Lynn travels to suburban Indiana, to the spacious, five-bedroom home of Michelle Pyke (35) and her husband, Rick (37). Spunky stay-at-home mom Michelle presides over a messy and fun-filled house where she believes in indulging sons Bradley (14), Hunter (11) and Oakley (4) and celebrating their childhoods. Workaholic Rick owns and operates the town's only funeral parlor and crematorium and is on call 24/7, forcing Michelle to shoulder all the parenting responsibilities. She consoles herself by shopping and getting pampered at the local salon and spa, and enjoys constant visits from friends and family in her happily chaotic home. She allows the boys to eat whatever they want, including unlimited junk food. The family wishes Rick were around more, but he seems to prefer corpses and coffins to kids and family. "Quality time with Dad" for the children is visiting him at the funeral home.
In the first week of the swap, Lynn is shocked by the Pyke boys' freedom and is forced to confront her deep-seated fears of death when she works at the mortuary, surrounded by cadavers. Meanwhile, pampered Michelle chokes on the claustrophobic bus life when she witnesses the isolated lifestyle of the Smith girls and gags even more when Andre directs her to help him clean out the septic tank. But in the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Lynn throws out the Pyke boys' junk food and cracks down on absentee-father Rick, forcing him to embrace life and cut back on death. But it's plucky Michelle who pulls off one of the most dramatic "Wife Swap" rule changes ever when she forces selfish Andre to park the (bus).