Executive producer chooses favorite episodes
SEPT. 29, 2004The U.S. series premiere that pitted New York City millionaire heiress Jodi Spolansky against rural New Jersey woodcraftsman Lynn Bradley was “emblematic of how much bigger the show could be in the U.S. than its British counterpart,” Gamson says. SEPT. 12, 2005 Etiquette teacher Lydia Allison swaps roles with Maureen Hagerty, mom to a brood of naughty little boys, and winds up successfully schooling them in how to ask politely, “Can you please pass the butter?” OCT. 31, 2005 Dairy farmer Christy Baker trades with Audrey Donahoe, a Southern belle partial to pink bows who bravely embraces the hardscrabble life on the farm, including waking up at 3 a.m. to milk the cows. NOV. 7, 2006 Emotions run high in this tradeoff between uber-strict New Jersey mom Grace Rivera — “Alcatraz would have been a holiday,” Gamson quips — and Robin Rowland, blue-collar mom to three wild teenage girls. MAY 28, 2007 Florida psychic Sheree Silver (who will return in episode 100), shocks the family of Ashley Pitney, a doting wife and mother, when she declares that one of the Pitney sons is an extraterrestrial. FEB. 13, 2008 One of the only episodes with a downer ending, the husband of strict evangelical Christian Lee-Ann Child admits to working mom Kim Beckman-Haskett that he is “proudly brainwashing (his children) in the name of the Lord.” FEB. 27, 2008 Samantha Myers, a ghost hunter who claims to have special powers and a shaman son, swaps families with Karen Sutton, whose husband, a down-to-earth Kentucky coal miner, refers to her as “the maid.” SEPT. 25, 2008 “Wife Swap” literally “saved the marriage” of the Boyds, professional competitive cheerleaders who swapped spouses with the Miloreys, a videogaming family. OCT. 3, 2008 Cautious Karen Martel, who runs a child safety business, steps in for slightly reckless Mayumi Heene, mom of a storm-chasing family (also returning for the 100th episode). OCT. 10, 2008 “There’s never a dry eye,” says Gamson of the audience reaction to this poignant pairing between the McCaslins, a brood of powerlifters, and the Deekens, a Southern tea party family. “The McCaslins were one of the most wonderful, touching families we’ve had on the show. They were all about giving to other people, including a wonderful tea party tribute to Donna (Deeken).”
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