“Fulco/Samel-Garloff” – A hard-working family band obsessed with becoming rich and famous swaps lives with a free-thinking family of activists who believe in going against the mainstream, on “Wife Swap,” FRIDAY, MAY 28 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Each week two very contradictory families from across the country participate in a two-week-long challenge: The wives exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover daily life in another woman’s shoes. This astonishing experiment repeatedly changes lives and redefines families. (Rebroadcast: OAD: 4/23/10)
The Fulco family from Nevada believe they’re musical superstars who have yet to be discovered. With dad Joey on the drums, mom Vanessa on the keyboard, daughter Joei (12) on the guitar and vocals, son Jesse (10) on the bass, daughter Stevie (6) singing vocals, and youngest son Tyler (3) still in training on the drums, the Fulcos believe they are on the fast track to global popstar domination. The band practices three hours a day, and the family never leaves home without their “PR” bag filled with headshots and business cards ready to be handed out. When they aren’t singing, dancing or rehearsing, the kids are expected to do well in school and even become fluent in Mandarin and French for their international fans. The Fulcos believe their kids’ education will come in handy one day when they can manage their branded products like Fulco hair gel and Fulco popcorn. Dad Joey is a bundle of energy and a self-proclaimed “yellist,” who barks at his kids to keep them focused on the dream. Mom Vanessa is constantly on the go, making sure the kids have nothing to worry about except becoming the next pop sensation!
In Oregon, the Samel-Garloff family devote themselves to social causes and an alternative lifestyle. They choose to go against the grain by avoiding television shows which promote pop culture. Tattoo artist and piercer mom Mori opts to home-school her boys, Bronson (13) and Max (11), and uses unconventional techniques like teaching from her bed and letting the boys decide what they want to learn. They encourage the boys to use their voices and write speeches defying corporate globalism in hopes of reaching out to the younger generation. When they aren’t marching around town with signs and megaphones, the family like to relax with calming yoga. Dad Jon can often be found unwinding on his hammock watching the trees grow. However, the laid back, anything-goes atmosphere in the Samel-Garloff home has caused reserved Max to resent his self-assured older brother, Bronson, for always stealing the spotlight.
In the first week, vivacious Vanessa Fulco leaves behind her driven family band for the slow-paced Samel-Garloff home. Upon arrival, she accompanies Jon, Bronson and Max on a march for the environment. After observing the small turnout and Max taking a back seat to his brother, Bronson, Vanessa begins to question whether Jon and Mori are committed to actually making a difference or just like talking about it. Although she tries to embrace Mori’s leisurely lifestyle of lying around in bed all day, she finally confronts Jon about his lack of ambition and involvement in his kids’ lives. Meanwhile, in Nevada, relaxed Mori steps into the limelight and joins the Fulcos on stage for a big performance.
While she admires their passion, she begins to worry that the Fulcos are only seeking fame to better themselves instead of bettering the world. She watches the way demanding Joey snaps at his children, and becomes concerned that the kids have no identity outside of their pursuit for musical superstardom.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Vanessa Fulco attempts to help the Samel-Garloffs find their true potential. She puts away Jon’s hammock and bans home-schooling from bed. In order to put an end to the rivalry between Max and Bronson, she creates a family band, finally giving Max a chance to step into the spotlight and take the lead. Meanwhile, Mori Samel makes an effort to help the Fulco kids figure out who they truly are – outside of their pop star aspirations — by banning all things musical. In order to help Joey realize the effect his perpetual yelling has on his kids, Mori switches up the roles and gives the kids a chance to be in charge. After two weeks in another home, can Vanessa Fulco help the Samel-Garloffs put the focus back on their own home rather than the rest of the world? And can Mori Samel teach the Fulcos to use their voices to make the world a better place?
“Wife Swap” is an RDF USA production. It was created by Stephen Lambert and is executive-produced by Mike Gamson and Michael Davies of Embassy Row (“Who Wants to be a Millionaire”). Neil Regan, Julie Cooper and Will Nothacker are co-executive producers. This program carries a TV-PG parental guideline.