There are plenty of things that shock me about America. They have let Donald Trump get this close to being president. They still think guns are a good idea. They have cheese that can be sprayed out of a can.
But when a show is billed as something that “shocked America”, I’m like…myeh.
After all, it wasn’t that many years after American television banned Barbara Eden from exposing her navel for the entire run of I Dream of Jeannie that we had our “glory” years of television. Number 96, The Box and Alvin Purple, anyone? Even today, I get a giggle every time I watch an episode of Survivor and someone bends over to stoke the fire and they pixelate the bum crack. Crikey, it’s a wonder the bum crack isn’t a front-runner to be on our five dollar notes.
So, the long and the short of it is that I’m not expecting to be too shocked by a television concept that shocked America.
First up are Tim and Jackie, fitness trainers from Melbourne. Jackie’s problem with Tim is his lack of PDAs (public displays of affection). Let me tell you, I have a problem with those too. Take note, loved up couple in the front of the Woolworths bakery display the other day. While you had your tongues rammed down each other’s throats and legs wrapped around hips, I had to wait patiently to get my Vegemite scroll.
The second couple, from Brisbane are Tallena and Brad. Here was my first shocking moment; I never knew that flannelette shirts came in a sleeveless version.
Talleena has quite a few gripes about her Brad. One of these seems to be that he spent half of their wedding budget on a big screen tv. Gosh, Tallena…show some appreciation. Now you can watch Four Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, Don’t Tell the Bride, Bridezillas…
It’s not like your wedding dreams are done with, as much as your planning opportunities are enhanced.
Jason and Michelle are a little bit different in that they small children. Jason has a motorbike business which he is building as well as working at night as a web designer. He really seems quite responsible for someone who decided spacers in his ears were a good idea. I don’t mean to sound like an unhip old fogey (even if I am), but those earlobes are going to be eighty one day, Jason. Just sayin’. Thankfully, Jason ad Michelle’s kiddies are too young to be watching Seven Year Switch and by the time they are, the program will be relegated to re-runs on Channel Seven’s sixth string free-to-air channel jammed between Storage Wars: Uzbekistan and Pawn Stars: Albury-Wodonga.
The final couple are Ryan and Cassie. I do feel for this couple; there has been some tragedy in their past and Cassie has a daughter old enough for kids, who should be in bed at this hour but aren’t, to be mean and nasty about her mum.
Soon it’s time for the partners to pack for the swap. Michelle packs some sort of hideous mauve monstrosity which sends Jason into a tail spin, and Jackie sets a pile of rules for Tim which can be summarised thus: no, no, no, no, NO! “And definitely no hot tub”. That’s a deal breaker.
The couples get an opportunity to tell their friends and family that they will be making a switch for two weeks. There is a poignant moment when Jason tells his workmates that he will be separating from Michelle for a fortnight, sitting in a workroom surrounded by tyres and drinking beer.
“Who’s Michelle?” the mates seem to be thinking.
Meanwhile, back in Melbourne, Tim and Jackie are preparing for the swap. Frankly, I think both of them would be hoping for a couple of weeks in a house with a grown-up sized dining room table, at very least one they can fit their knees under. I was very shocked by this scene. Surely, in a city which prides itself on its dinner culture, fitness instructors should not be forced to live in such dining squalor?
Curiously, all of the partners seem pretty loved up as they split up. Problem solved. But no, there’s a few more episodes to fill.
Michelle decides to wear the purple monstrosity as her going away outfit (Take that, Jason) as she jumps in the car and drives about two blocks to where she will meet up with Ryan. She’s crying with guilt about leaving her eight month old baby. Oh, well. I’m sure you’ll be well compensated by New Idea: “A Reality TV Show Stole My Baby!”
Ryan is the first to notice that there is only one bed. Soon the other seven notice this as well, and yet every new accommodation seems to have about thirty-seven couches.
But we’ll have to wait until next week to see who is the first to discover the multi-functionality of living room furniture.
And that might be truly shocking, because so far, I haven’t seen a navel.