'Celebrity Wife Swap' Preps for Return; Reruns with Tracie Gold & Others Air


, Blogger: Orry's Orations
It's scary to think a show like 'Celebrity Wife Swap' can be successful, but three seasons in that is exactly what this series is. That said, I tuned into an episode this week for the very first time. I ran across it by accident on the Lifetime Channel while setting my DVR for 'Under the Gunn,' the latest 'Project Runway' spinoff with male fashionista, Tim Gunn. I thought for a moment that 'Celebrity Wife Swap' was a new show. Yes, I suppose I have been out of the loop on this opportunity for B-level performers to get some PR.

Okay, I don't really like that B-level term, but the truth is that you will rarely see a current highly paid actor or actress on a show like this. What you do get are performers from the past or the second tier of TV/movie actors who often like to work no matter what it is, be it for the sake of income or keeping their name out there.

In reality, what I saw was the very first episode of 'Celebrity Wife Swap' from its first season in early 2012. Tracie Gold and Carnie Wilson swapped families for a few days. While I'm not a fan per se of either, I do know who they are. While many remember Tracie from 'Growing Pains,' I just remember years before that seeing her and sister Missy Gold at Sunset-Gower Studios. They were being dropped off for Missy to go to work on 'Benson' that day. In fact, their younger sister Brandy was with them, too. The kids were so sweet. I have always remembered that. As for Carnie, she is the Wilson Phillips singer known for battling weight while loving to cook.

I learned a few things. Tracie is well centered and has a great hubby. They are a little too organized and rigid on time (heaven forbid, their sons be late to drum practice or any such thing) and Carnie's husband is self-absorbed with his music, leaving Carnie distraught as she vies for equal time. Ultimately, Tracie taught Carnie's hubby that he needs to be better balanced between his career and family while Carnie taught Tracie's fold to loosen up a little. Of course, this was three years ago now, so I would love to know if anything has really changed or not for either family.

The show was surprisingly fun to watch. That is what surprised me most of all. I felt happy for Tracie who seemed to have such a good family life while I felt so sad for Carnie that professional success didn't equate to more happiness on the home front. Maybe that is the hook, the emotion that a person feels watching these other lives. We all make assumptions about celebrities. Here we saw that not all stars are as connected as we think.

Since watching this episode, I've checked out the episode list to see who else was on the series. To be truthful, I'm not sure I'm that intrigued. Other first year celebrities incorporated into the series were Gary Busey, Dee Snider, Tina Yothers, and Antonio Sabato Jr. In year two, Kate Gosselin, Alan Thicke, Tiffany, Joan Rivers, and Lorenzo Lamas were part of the equation.

The third season debuts on April 11 on Lifetime with the spouses of Coolio and Mark McGrath taking center stage. I doubt I'll be tuning in, but I do understand the lure.
The show died out a long time ago in Britain (where the format first became popular) but it seems to still have a way to go in the US. The more grotesque and unequal a relationship, the better for the show. They may be running out of ideas by matching up family members at random, or maybe the producers are genuinely more in tune with the changing contemporary definitions of 'marriage'. We will have to see.

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