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Wife Swap Australia – Janine Was A Bit Delusional

Gym junkies Tracey and Russell had an interesting relationship philosophy they put each other first ahead of their children. This view came from the fact both had had previous failed marriages.  There were pros and cons to this idea, as they certainly looked very happy together.

This fit and healthy lifestyle also appeared to extend to a lot of action in the bedroom. Lucky for Janine the Wife Swap rules did not extend to the boudoir otherwise she would have been in more trouble then the early settlers.

Tracey and Russell led an extreme healthy and active lifestyle. In fact they even fed their 12 year old daughter, Aijha, protein shakes for breakfast.

Aijha was also given a lot of freedom, no helicopter mothering here, and I don’t think it was a negative thing. For some strange reason Russell and Tracey remind me of Kath Day-Knight and Kel in their to camera pieces.

Janine was the complete opposite she had eight kids and led a sedentary lifestyle. She was a bit deluded about what she fed her kids and it was amusing when she looked in Tracey’s fridge and saw the salad and said that it was similar to what she served at home.  Funnily enough a vegetable was never seen there.

Also Janine who had eight kids, thought the children should be the priority in the relationship, and Shane who looked like an exhausted sperm donor agreed. It was sad to see that even though she was looking after her kids, she did not really know what was going on in their lives, and the effect their being overweight had on them in the school yard.

Janine was upset that the kids were self sufficient. In fact Janine cried about everything  -even having to do a personal training session.

Also you would think Janine’s family was living in the Gaza strip with her attitude about how dangerous it was outside the house.

What I did find interesting was whether Tracey actually abided by Janine’s rules for the first part of the week, as it looked like she had snuck her own food as their were protein bars on her lap in some of the interviews.

When it came to rule change time, Tracey obviously changed the diet and increased the exercise. She cracks a mean whip not taking any crap from the kids and she snarled at them “No more bitching and moaning about the food” as she turfed out all the junk.

She also forced the kids to go out and exercise, and it was sad to hear that one of the little girls had not been down the waterslide at the pool before.

Janine in the other house turfed out the protein shakes and replaced it with Milo and proper food for breakfast. She also drove Aijha to school, and gave her what she thought was a healthy chocolate treat for afternoon tea. Aijha was enjoying the attention.

She also stopped Russell from going to the gym and made him take Aijha to the beach.

What was probably the saddest thing about this episode was with Janine’s supposed hands on mothering however she really had no idea how nine year old Brionna was. Brionna or Boo was extremely funny and likeable girl, but she had no friends at school because of her size. Tracey told Janine this and she appeared to take the criticism in her stride, however when she arrived home Boo was trying to say something to her but could not gain her attention. Her husband Shane was very happy with the changes. What was so great was that they appeared to stay.

Tracey’s parenting epiphany only occurred after she had arrived home and torn down Janine’s rules. Aijha started crying and said she did want to spend more time as a family. Again another fairy tale ending with Tracey spending more quality time with her youngest child.


1 PollyB { 01.24.12 at 7:00 am }

One month after and you could see how much weight Boo had lost. She has such a good personality hopefully her mother will let her out to run around the park as she wants.
Compared to the UK version this series doesn’t seem to show much. In the UK version they show more interaction and conversation, or fights, between the individuals and the new wife. There is more voice over than anything. Although, I could listen to Peter O’Brien forever!

2 Culinary Boner { 01.24.12 at 9:49 am }

Overall a better episode and more watchable swap than last week’s Dropkick Pete vs Vile Leanne episode.

I was expecting not to like the Tracey the Muscle Mum, but was won over by her firm-but-fair and respectful and caring attitude with the other kids. Clearly she is the brains in her marriage with Russell more in the mould of the marital “engine” – devoted to pumping iron and… *ahem*… love pumpin’.

Janine, while no doubt well meaning and caring, came across as a dim ‘drip’. It was really sad to see how her tabloid TV induced fear of “daily” abductions, rapes, murders and paedo-networks (complete with kid-filled dungeons on every street corner) had actually rubbed off on the elder daughter to the point where the entire family did nothing but stay indoors in their “compound”, eating, watching tele, playing video games and eating some more. If this fear went one notch further, or she was in Hicksville USA, the poor kids would’ve been home schooled – a practice pretty much up there with other forms of child abuse in my opinion.

This swap raised some interesting questions about the nature of the wife-husband relationship in a family with kids, and just what is the right balance. Both couples were somewhat out of kilter on this, with the Janine-Shane relationship the most off centre. When relationships get like this – entirely kid focussed – they are in my opinion doomed to either limp on in mutual unhappiness or, if the couple is more self-aware, split.

PollyB, you are right there is less coverage of fights or verbal interaction in this Aussie version. However, I reckon this just reflects the generally friendlier, more polite attitude that Australians have towards each other socially, compared to the more class-ridden and often aggressive English society, as well as our generally more taciturn nature.

As with the 1st episode, a nice ending.

PS. One snarky comment. Where was this intellectual wasteland?

3 Injera { 01.24.12 at 10:19 am }

I would really like to know where Janine’s fears for her kids stemmed from. Was wondering if, perhaps, there had been a highly publicised incident when the oldest daughter was young that prompted the fears – the daughter certainly seemed convinced that danger was lurking.

Enjoyed the episode and thought Tracy introduced the rule changes sensitively and chose really engaging outdoor activities to maximise the chances of the changes sticking. Agree that Boo was a great little character. It really bothered me, though, that they showed so much of her talking about her lack of popularity – made me wonder how kids who appear on these shows will feel about their parents’ decisions to involve them once they are older.

4 Mel { 01.26.12 at 5:46 pm }

Injera – They do live in Queensland so perhaps their fears are a result of the Daniel Morcombe incident.

5 Injera { 01.26.12 at 6:43 pm }

Good point, Mel.

6 Patty { 01.26.12 at 7:09 pm }

Can this show get any more boring. It was a snoozefest. Sunshine Productions are picking the wrong families if they want ratings.

And it looks like next weeks epi. is another boring one. I’m over it.

7 mizz dolly { 01.29.12 at 2:17 pm }

what i find disgusting is that janine and her husband are gym junkies yet i noticed on the new mums rules just before janine pulleed them down was 1 rule that wasnt shown on the show at all and that was the NO SMOKING rule. how can you say you care about your body and smoke?? i think the show needed to show it all not hide the fact that its obvious janines husband smokes

8 Kathleen { 01.29.12 at 4:16 pm }

miz dolly…i read that it was the elder daughter who smoked.

i also wondered where the fear of being out had come from. are they unaware that some molesters come into schools disguised? and some not disguised but as staff etc.

i do hope that janine’s bachelor of eduction she completed in 2010 is not so she can homeschool them as that would be it then!

i also think that part of boo’s issues with having friends …or not having in her case can be a by product of being part of such a large family. they did not say they had friend’s over or visited friends either. you need to teach social skills to children or at least lead by example.

i really enjoyed the episode and wish both families well.

9 mizz dolly { 01.29.12 at 8:25 pm }

i would think if it was the daughter who smoked the parents would have a spak attack i really dont think they would allow it in their house being gym junkies to the point of being fanatical about it

10 Lebay { 01.31.12 at 1:40 pm }

Its all in the editing. I know a family that was on WS this time (their show has not been on yet) and there was NO friction with the ‘new’ mother. The producers had to create it. They got along so well they now get together for barbies etc. So in this one, the health freaks had the smoking editied out, and the ‘fat’ family had the edited out. There is NO WAY you could run a family of that size without padding things out with veg etc, and yes I saw the bit when the kids said no to veg, but a) what do you expect kids to do and b) producer manipulation