‘Wife Swap’: Is the Reality Show Fake?

Growing up, did you ever look at your friends’ moms as they baked cookies or let their kids stay up past nine and wish that you could switch them out with your mom?

Well, now you can, sort of. Wife Swap, a reality tv show which originally aired on American television from 2004 to 2010, is back. The show pairs two families and has one of the parents switch places with another parent for two weeks to see how other families live. Seems wholesome enough, right?

Not exactly. For some reason, these swaps always end in animosity, misunderstandings, and the occasional screaming match. But is any of the drama actually real?

Is Wife Swap fake?

Reality television shows as a whole aren’t known for being very…real. Producers are always swaying the contestants to get the most drama and the most interesting scenes. Wife Swap is apparently no different.

According to former Wife Swap families, the show edits episodes to take out anything that goes against the stories they are trying to tell.

Many contestants have said that they were completely misrepresented during the show.

Kate Martinez, who appeared on the show in one of the later seasons of its original run, wrote a blog post about how the show was edited to make her seem like a bad parent.

“On the show, they made a big deal about me formerly being an animal trainer, and likening it to parenting,” she wrote on The Truth About Wife Swap blog. “They left out the only reason why I compared the two in their interview. I used the example that in animal training we only used what is called “positive reinforcement”, where you reward everything good, and you never ever use punishment… however they didn’t mention that, they just left it at me likening children to animals which is vague, very easily misconstrued, and an absolutely absurd notion if taken out of context.”

“The only way I compared the two was by trying to get across that I believe that people should be rewarded when they do something good- however, they conveniently left that point out.”

When does the show film?

Martinez claimed that production did more than just edit out certain scenes.

“They rearrange your house to make your family come across a certain way, they ‘black out’ windows to ‘shoot a night scene’ or bring huge lights outside if its night and they need to shoot a ‘day scene.'”

She also claimed that the show was really only shot over the course of one week instead of the advertised two.

Is the show fake?

At the start of each show, the moms are asked to write a manual about their daily lives for the swapping mom to read. At the one week mark, the new moms are given the opportunity to write new rules that the family has to follow.

According to Martinez, all of this is fake, as well.

They come to your house with props, a SCRIPT, a list of SCENES to shoot, THEY WRITE the manuals, THEY WRITE the ‘rule changes,'” she wrote. “The families depicted on the show are more like puppets asked to do and say whatever the production demands and if they don’t, ultimately they will be sued for 5 MILLION DOLLARS. 

So, while the reality show might not be as real we had hoped, it sure is interesting to watch.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!