Trading Spouses



Cringingly funny reality show for tweens and up.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While the end message is that families can learn from those who live their lives differently, many judgments are passed along the way, some of which may not be easily filtered by kids.


No gunfights or outright brawls, but plenty of yelling and slammed doors.


Nothing explicit, but participants refer to it off-handedly.


Runs the gamut from gentle to explosive, depending on how angry families become.


Depends on the families; the shopping-crazy ones reel off brand names, while others hardly pay attention to labels. And of course, the swap happens so families can get $50,000 in the end.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some family members drink or smoke.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the show's laughs -- and there are plenty -- come at the expense of the moms who trade places, sometimes uncomfortably. A deeply religious woman seriously looks like she's gone nuts; a crunchy mom's job as a hypnotherapist is mined for humor. Though the participants may deserve the lobs thrown at them, the cringe factor often supersedes the entertainment value.

What's the story?

In each episode of TRADING SPOUSES, two women from opposite walks of life are plucked from their daily routines and transplanted into each other's homes, where they must find a way to adjust, get along, and get to know their \"new\" relatives. In the end, they get $50,000 for their families. At the end of their stay, both moms sit down and write letters to each other outlining how they think the $50,000 should be spent. Then they bid their temporary clans adieu, meet up for what's often an awkward, but heartfelt, encounter, and finally get to return to their families, which have sometimes been made better by the presence of a stranger.

Is it any good?


Watching the women open their eyes, sometimes in horror, sometimes with joy, at the lives they must lead for the week is an irresistible sociological stunt. But enjoying the series' premise sometimes feels like rubber-necking at the site of an accident, since several of these women find themselves in serious emotional meltdowns. It's guilty pleasure that's heavy on the guilt, and that's not always so fun.

But the homecomings are what make watching the show worth it, with the kids overjoyed to see their moms back in the fold and the husbands relieved. Perhaps it's true: There's no place like home.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about first impressions and how they form when the participants meet for the first time. Are they often right? Or do they make it more difficult to get to know people? And what happens when the families realize that their "new mom" is much different from their real mom? Ultimately, what's the payoff -- aside from the money -- for the moms who agree to the swap and the families who let virtual strangers into their homes?

TV details

Cast:Judy Hornaday, Marguerite Perrin
Networks:CMT, Fox
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Trading Spouses was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Modern-day Poppins is more for parents than kids.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

a good tv show

a good tv show that every kid should get the prvilige of watchin
Teen, 16 years old Written bysillygoose77 April 4, 2013

Spouses vs. Wife Swap

Though about on par with its rival, this show is not as good. Positive messages: Basically, this conveys a message about how the grass isn't always greener Positive Role Models: Not many. Some wives persecute and walk out on their own families, making them seem like glorified divas rather than actual people. The viewers never see how the swap affected that week's families. (Mainly due to the swap being seperated into 2 parts, but still...). One wife who is supposedly "christian" acts like a complete nut job Violence: Only slighty worse than the other show.Though violence doesn't occur when the wives meet, like what roundtable meetings sometimes devolve to, the families still fight, and dads/husbands are only a fractio of the angry people shown. One wife resorted to ripping up the grand prize and kicking the crew out of her house near the end of the first time she appeared(that's right, for some reason, they let her return) Sexual content: Nothing explicit, but some talk about dating and virginity Language: Some horrid words are spoken, but the worse ones are censored Consumerism: Worse than the other show by a long shot. Brand names and celebrities are shamelessly blurted out at times. The grand prize is a certain amount of money given to each household that the wives determine how to spend, needlessly adding to the drama Alcohol: Not much of an issue, but the wives are shown drinking at bars sometimes Also unlike the rival, the wives are only asked to fill the role of the person their swapping with, and aren't asked to change the rules. As mentioned earlier, roundtable is replaced with a meeting where the wives talk about their experience and swap prizes. Overall, it's an okay time that certainly needs a lttle improvement
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Adult Written bytrnapart June 17, 2009

I have a serious family issue I'd like to share.

I haven't done this before.. But if there is a website or a mailing address/email address I can tell my story.. please let me know.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass