Wife Swap

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Wife Swap TV Poster Image
Fish-out-of-water reality show -- fine for all.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

A variety of lifestyles appear; some families are more conservative, and others much less so. Kids' behavior may seem out of line to some -- burping loudly, teasing, etc. Not much racial or other diversity, though one episode features a lesbian couple.

Violence

Some minor physical violence between or by kids -- kicking, slapping.

Sex

Discussion of dating practices.

Language

Nothing major -- "stupid," "I hate you," etc.

Consumerism

Brands are generally blurred out. No other obvious commercialism.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series features families living according to others' rules. It can be mildly upsetting to watch when parents are forced to go against some of their dearly held beliefs (albeit only for a week). Arguing is common between "spouses" and sometimes with children. Otherwise, this series is very family friendly and can be enjoyed by adults, teens, and kids old enough to be interested in the concepts it tackles.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycarolyn_gazeley April 9, 2008

Worth watching together

We watch this show with our 14- and 17- year old kids. They are very interested to see how other people live, and how other parents raise their children. Th... Continue reading
Adult Written bymoviemadness September 7, 2010

Don't Waste your Time

Wife Swap is a funny, slightly trashy guilty pleasure. There is not a lot of great stuff in these shows, except for the rare one or two episodes where the fami... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 23, 2009

SMART GUY MADE THIS ONE UP!

It is a great show! My mom sayd it helps change lives for the better and teaches ppl about things. It is a very goood show! I really reccomemed it!
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
This show totally rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's the story?

The provocatively named WIFE SWAP is actually a fairly tame reality drama in which families switch wives for two weeks. During the first week, the wives live according to their new family's rules, and during the second, they introduce changes. The two families are chosen for their stark contrasts, and tension and arguments often occur when the wives' style clashes with that of their new family. In one episode, for example, a workaholic mother whose husband takes care of the house and whose kids complain about her constant cell phone use switches households with a stay-at-home mother who home-schools, won't let her teens date, and sleeps in the same room with her husband and all seven of their kids.

Is it any good?

With such extremes coming together, the part of each episode in which the wives change the house rules is always difficult. But it's fascinating to watch as the families are forced to try on new behavior. Much of it chafes, and there's plenty of minor rebellion, but ultimately the wives and their families learn that their lives aren't as perfect as they may think and that a little change can't hurt.

Overall, the show is rather simplistic and predictable, but it can still be enjoyable to watch families grow and learn from each other. Many of the familiar reality-show elements come into play -- the producers clearly accentuate the conflicts through editing choices, and the ending is always optimistic, but it's less gimmicky and confrontational than its competition, Trading Spouses, which is refreshing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to switch households. What changes do you think someone else would want you to make? What would be the most difficult thing to change about your family? What things do you wish would change? What's the best thing about your family that you would want to introduce to others?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 26, 2004
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: Streaming

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