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Wife Swap Australia – Montford’s Versus The Barry’s

Wife Swap Australia kicked off tonight, with the Montford wife swapping with the Barry’s.

The wives were swapped into each other lives for a week and it is not as confronting or as full of conflict as some epsiodes (next week is a humdinger) , however there were some interesting moments.

On the US version they are swapped for two weeks, and to be honest they should have done that here. This would really push the families to breaking point and also ensure they gain that self awareness which is one of the outcomes most people get when on this show.

The Montfords are well off or as I like to say nouveau riche (money off the mining boom?) and the Barry’s who are very working class and appear to live from week to week.

Previously I have written about why this show is reality TV gold so will just concentrate more on what occurred this episode.

One issue it does raise is whether class divide is based on money or education. In this episode even though Stephanie would appear to have the same educational background as Nicola she thinks she is superior because her greater bank account balance.

However if you removed the money and the tattoos they both appeared pretty similar.

The other difference is their philosophy on housework. Stephanie is a clean freak and Nicola well not so much.

Thoughts on the episode:

  • Can’t help being judgemental about booze and ciggies budget being higher than the food budget;
  • If your food budget is between $100 and $120 there is no way you could shop at Coles, but also how do you spend $500 on a weekly food budget?
  • Also Nicola came across much more motivated once she was in the new house, as previously she had slept in and sent her young kids to school without breakfast;
  • Alex the teen daughter will be totally embarrassed how she came across, particularly the scene in St Vinnies – she is a super brat;
  • Thankfully she was shown at the end getting a job to ensure she wasn’t going to be totally vilified
  • Conversely eldest son Josh seems like a sweetie;
  • Considering Stephanie spent a lot of money on clothes she didn’t look like money;
  • Simon seemed nice but was a workaholic and the change instigated where he picked up the kids from school was a good one;
  • Also Stephanie cleaning the house did them a huge favour it appeared to energise the Barry’s;

It was a nice ending to an episode and it was nice to see the show has had some long term positive impacts on both families.

What did you think?


1 SEDI { 01.09.12 at 10:46 pm }

Does anyone know whether this show is/will be placed online?

2 Izobel2 { 01.09.12 at 11:06 pm }

I enjoyed the show. I’ve seen a lot of Wife Swap and it was as good as them I thought. I like how the Barry’s kept the changed rules. My most shocked moment was the fact that the kids went to school with no breakfast. Was also shocked the dad spent $100 on grog each week, so there’s no way they weren’t having breakky because they couldn’t afford it. More like the mum couldn’t be bothered getting out of bed in time. I thought the Montford mum spent the whole episode bragging about her cash which was really rude to the Barry dad… Her daughter was a shocker. Bring on next week.

3 bella vita { 01.09.12 at 11:43 pm }

Enjoyed the first episode and so nice to see the families both take something positive away from the experience.

4 Gillian { 01.10.12 at 7:43 am }

I’ve just copied and pasted my post from the initial one you did but I wanted to add that I do think if you don’t have much money you need to rethink indulgences such as alcohol and smoking which are not condusive to a healthy lifestyle.

I really liked this episode and the editing for both families. I think if it continues along these lines, it will be a great series. Reading RR’s recap though, I think they took it easy on the families.

I’m a sucker for the shows where the two families get along, they are respectful and learn something from each other. It stands to reason that if they were 100% happy with their lives, they wouldn’t be participating in the program.

5 Culinary Boner { 01.10.12 at 11:20 am }

Thought this was a good 1st episode.
I haven’t watched this format for a while and much prefer the US version over the UK’s (which gets boring because it’s generally about that perennial boil on the butt of Britain – class).
Based on last night’s offering the Aussie version could hit somewhere between the other versions.
Gerry Harvey would’ve cracked a rock-hard one whilst watching the Montford mum and daughter – all new money and no real hobbies or interests other than buying shit at the local mall.

6 Dottie { 01.10.12 at 11:50 am }

I really enjoyed this episode last night, and loved that at the end the two families were respectful to each other and weren’t abusive. As for the 15-year old Montford girl, I don’t have a problem with her not being happy with Vinnies. Girls that age are very brand-conscious, and also, I think it was disgusting her being exposed to possible skin infections from wearing cast-off clothes, maybe from dead people. But admired her mum for trying to budget more; and good on the Barry dad for remodelling the little boy’s room. The remarks at the end about the personal trainer made me laugh heaps!

7 PinkPatentMaryJanes { 01.10.12 at 12:51 pm }

Loved it, loved it, loved it. All my favourite things about the series in the one show. I got all teary – and not just at the end. Bring on next week! Loved the editing too, very respectful of both families yet still maintained the interest we needed. Good work.

8 IMB { 01.10.12 at 2:04 pm }

Dottie, you said “also, I think it was disgusting her being exposed to possible skin infections from wearing cast-off clothes, maybe from dead people.”
Are you serious ?

9 Culinary Boner { 01.10.12 at 2:40 pm }

*scratches* bloody Vinnies undies…FFS! Is that a crab?

10 Injera { 01.10.12 at 4:04 pm }

Loved it. Was nervous that Stephanie was going to be too aggressive at the final meeting but agree with the others that it was respectful and seemed to be a positive experience for both families.

11 Kate { 01.10.12 at 7:18 pm }

Dottie…..what are you talking about regarding the Vinnie clothes? Don’t you own a washing machine or something?

I found the show to be very slow. But enjoyed it apart from the Barry’s who are covered in expensive tattoos saying how they only spend $120 a week on groceries. Maybe that was OK five years ago, but no way can you eat decent meals on that today. But I suppose Mrs Barry doesn’t buy cleaning products and they are expensive. LOL.

12 Dottie { 01.11.12 at 12:12 pm }

Guys, LOL my comment on the Vinnies was implying that might have been how the 15-year old girl felt. BTW I do most of my shopping at Lifeline.

13 suziwong66 { 01.31.12 at 2:16 am }

RR good question about whether class is divided by money or education. Historically Education has been the prime indicator of the middle class and this hasn’t really changed much. Money (usually inherited), historically was also an indicator of middle or ruling class (other indicators for ruling class though). In more recent times, money is less of a middle class indicator (the term ‘cashed up bogan’ is relevant here); there are a number of factors for this; mining boom; booms in other practical/trade occupations and interestingly, credit. The credit factor is interesting because once upon a time when credit wasn’t so readily available one’s material possessions were some of the class indicators eg home, car, tv, etc But now through easily accessed credit, most classes of people can own an iPhone, wide screen tv, clothes that ‘look the part’ (the trend of stores like Target giving the average girl the opportunity to buy a Stella McCartney outfit contributes to this- how to look middle class when you’re not really middle class type behaviour) etc. That combined with the advent of mass production, prices and products are more readily available to the masses; again Target etc and magazines are responsible for aspirational marketing ploys like pictorially showing an expensive outfit and then showing cheaper versions to get the same look. Thus once upon a time materialistic class indicators have become less of a class indicator. Strangely enough, research indicates that people are relatively class unconscious about the class that they sit in; more specifically they are unable to accurately indicate what class they are in. They typically pick a class above what they actually sit in; and this may be due to aspirational marketing which encourages people to ‘be’ a certain way and in our society this is middle class as it’s the class group that controls our societal superstructure in terms of social mores and behaviours.
Education still remains as one of the last bastions of middle class indicators and we know this because contemporary and historical data indicates that enrolment and retention in university level tertiary education is still dominated by the middle classes. The vast majority of uni students have in the past and continue to have 1) educated parents, 2) live in middle class socioeconomic geographic locations and 3) a certain level of income.
One is still in middle class when highly educated but without a large income but one is not middle class when one has a large income but no education attainment.
Throwing a spanner into all that is what is now referred to as middle management white collar workers who are not educated. There is some argument that they can be either upper working class of lower middle class, however if one keeps to the traditional indicator that education is a factor of middle class then one can say upper working class.
Class is an interesting topic (well to me it is; i studied it for years LOL).
as always an interesting post.