Celebrity Wife Swap: Flavor Flav vs. the Hyperactive Housewife

The Wife Swap franchise has traditionally mined for precious, precious conflict by matching families whose wives play opposite roles in their respective households. But as we learned in last night’s episode of Celebrity Wife Swap, there is no need to contrive conflict in the celebrity version. It will come as surely as the winter wind blows and the sun comes up in the morning.

This week, Dee Snider’s wife, Suzette, traded places with Flavor Flav’s fiancee, Liz. Suzette is a domestic overachiever who invests every waking minute in being with her kids and keeping her giant house perfect. Liz, meanwhile, sends her 4-year-old child to chill with her ghastly mom so she can crochet and read self-help books. (Has she read SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR EFFING KIDS, LADY?)

Liz’s life as she portrayed it did seem pretty wasteful. If you are one of the few parents in this world who has the opportunity to share every day with your kids, it seems very sad to skip that on a whim. (Rich housemoms, PLEASE WEIGH IN!)

So the arc was embedded in the introductions: Suzette would roll up her sleeves and impress the Flav family, and the Sniders would appreciate how much their mom contributes. (Not that they didn’t seem greatly appreciative already.)

The Sniders cheerfully embraced Liz, making the week a light-hearted opportunity to give the Osbournes a run for their money and advertise for Dee’s "House of Hair" radio show. Suzette, however, approached her role with a reformative zeal that included judging her new town as soon as her limo rolled into Vegas. (Although, to be fair, and no offense to Las Vegans, your entire town looks like a mall parking lot.)

I can easily see how the qualities that go far toward making someone a legendary hype man would make the same person almost unbearable at close quarters. (The constant screaming, the maddening ticking of giant clocks.)

Flavor Flav, while initially very welcoming, seemed to dismiss the basic premise of the show pretty lightly. (Like, the idea that at one point Suzette would call the shots/have access to his house.) They went for a family bungee jump and played around on what must have been a sizzling trampoline, and then Flavor was off to conduct his business. To be fair, Flav’s longevity has a lot to do with shrewd, constant image cultivation. Liz was infuriated that he disappeared for a couple hours each morning without telling her, but I suspect he was making birthday party appearances / selling oranges on street corners / whatever is necessary to keep his throwback empire afloat.

Because of Flav’s continued insistence on using his phone (which I think is fair) and the fact he sent baby Kharma to grandma’s after Suzette specifically decreed that the baby would stay at home, I really felt for her.

So Suzette ended the swap three days in and checked into a hotel. This is another concrete example of how the celebrity version of Wife Swap loses the substance of the original. I don’t blame Suzette for taking off, but there’s something to be said for being too poor to buy your way out of an awkward situation. It forces you to grow and be more self-reflexive to deal with people at their worst, and the very wealthy never have to do that. (RICH HOUSEWIVES: Discuss!)

When the couples met up, it was clear they had basically spent time on two very different shows. Liz was glowing from her week with the jolly Sniders, and Suzette broke down in a histrionic screaming fit at Flavor Flav. It seemed like both Dee and Liz were kind of dismayed that Suzette had taken things so seriously.

Ultimately, the central issue was the damning nature of becoming famous for very specific behaviors. Both Dee and Flav won fame and fortune by capturing a suspended adolescence, and now that they’re family men, their transitions into maturity are not shown in a flattering contrast. This show is most interesting when the celebrity couples relate to each other on a “celebrity-only” level. (“When we go to restaurants, people yell stuff at us!” “You need to chill on the autographs!”), and hopefully it will stop trying to approach the celebrities as normal families and have them deal more with the unique problems of being celebrities. If you’re going to go to the trouble of making another celebrity zoo, don’t dress up your tigers like squirrels.


Questions...

… Again: Why can’t it be Spouse Swap?

… Are you going to read Flav’s book that was discreetly all over the place?

… Does Suzette “have it all” because she has a beautiful body, heart, and family?

… Is crocheting Liz's placeholder for experiencing emotion? (Self-help book authors, WEIGH IN!)

… Does Gibran say to himself every day “The second I turn 18 I am so out of here”?

… Where do you think Suzette spent the rest of her week: Bellagio, Luxor, Planet Hollywood or Wynn?

Comments (6)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
LOL! Loved this recap...and I agree. Liz was nothing short of despicable. When she moaned about how she sometimes needs a break I couldn't help but ask "a break from what?" Plus...who reads Self-help books if they aren't going to actually attempt to put them into practice. I'm just sayin'.



I want to become a Snider though. There family seems like so much fun...and I honestly didn't see anything wrong on that side of the tracks. Her kids appreciate her, they're just a close knit family, and Suzette isn't forced or expected to do the stuff she does...she just happens to like doing it. She annoyed me on her insistance that Flav cut himself off from work. Her husband is collecting royalty checks by the dozens every week...Flav isn't so lucky, so he literally can't afford to not put himself out there. The guy isn't exactly living the life of luxury...like Dee is, so a difference in level of celebrity should be taken into consideration before implementing such rules.
Reply
Flag
Excuse me but wasn't it less than 8 years ago that Flav did the Flavor of Love and was looking for Mrs. Flavor Flav? I use to like him but now I don't anymore. He's had a fiancee for the last how many years? What the hell? I don't get it. His fiancee seems like a nice person but he has showed his ass with Bridgette N, Ms. New York and the other hard up ladies looking to get with him. Flav doesn't deserve a nice person like Liz. How do you let someone play you like that Liz? Oh, must be the money.
1
Reply
Flag
last night our cable was out but you could still see the show listings. When we looked up and saw "Celebrity Wife Swap: Flavor Flav/Dee Snider" we just laughed for five minutes and then I had to explain to her who Flavor Flav is and we laughed some more. I'm 100% certain that just seeing that listing was more entertaining than the show could have been. Sorry you had to watch it.

btw, I seriously agree with the Spouse Swap thing. Not as sexist as Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire but still pretty bad. Remember that pre-Bachelor show?
Reply
Flag
Staff
Wanda Sykes had a succinct joke about Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. She said it should have been called "Bitches Love Money"
Reply
Flag
I dont usually watch this particular one but I just had to. The Snider's are a great family (from what was shown), very genuine. Flav's "family" was exactly what I expected, not really a family. Liz's poor mother. Liz and Flav should be ashamed. Yeah Suzette is a bit high strung and does a trenendous amount for her family, but it seems like she does it because she wants to, like it comes from a place of love. I mean come on, she doesnt have to power wash the deck and do home repairs like the rest of us but she does. I think she is an awesome woman and I would have walked out too. Flav signed up for this and should have participated. Liz did. She tried to cook, do hair and house work. I give it to her for trying and following the rules. However I dont think she is all that great. Definately not motivated to do anything but what she wants to, just like FLav. Guess thats why they work. I dont know why I even care so much about this to even post, I guess it just pissed me off that Suzette was disrespected so badly. She is an awesome woman and I think for a celebrity family the Sniders are pretty grounded and have it right. Dee is definately the superior spouse. When he s with the family hes there, all in. (atleast thats what was portrayed) GREAT JOB SUZETTE and SNIDER CLAN, and GOOD JOB Liz for giving it a try!
More+
Reply
Flag
Staff
It's weird that ABC has started allowing VH1 to program its primetime schedule. That being said, these recaps are so gooood.
1
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook