Last night, fans tuned in to ABC to see CELEBRITY WIFE SWAP air its first-ever “dude” swap, as Robert Carradine and Terrell “T.O.” Owens switched lives on the Season Finale.
It was pretty clear from the beginning: There were some significant differences in Carradine and Owens. Carradine said he was having flashbacks to his “Revenge of the Nerds” series, moving in with the highly exercise-motivated Owens family. Owens was lost from the start, with luggage too big for the little boat ferrying him to the Carradine’s island home and searching for cell service to no avail.
It was easy to see why T.O.’s first instinct was to start searching for cell service; Robert said of T.O.’s family, “Everyone really keeps the phone bill up; they’re totally in their cell phone zone.” Living off the grid, life is a lot different for Robert than what he found with the Owens family. T.O. wasn’t finding his new home much more inviting. He was supposed to catch fish, like Robert does for the family, but he was less than proficient with a net. Rice and beans was not his cup of tea, and the homemade fondue was less than appetizing for his taste buds. He typically orders out, oddly eating away from the family; what was up with that, anyway? He just did not seem interested in spending time with his family, period. “The family that eats together stays together,” as Robert said.
Of course, growing up, T.O. lived with his grandmother and said that he did not realize his father lived right across the street. How does that happen? However it does, it was a sad revelation–and shed a lot of light on his point of view on family togetherness.
It was surprising, actually, how polite T.O. was with the Carradine family, given his reputation for being, well, obnoxious and arrogant. He seemed like a basically good person, just really solitary, even when he was around people, which seemed kind of lonely. His relationship with his 15-year-old son, Terique, was kinda sad, as well. It was pretty clear that it was just competitive, not really father-son, and sort of an afterthought for both of them. It is understandable that T.O. had a challenging upbringing, but it just seems he is passing on that standoffishness to his son; no reason for that. Terique said, “Basically competition in everything we do,” referring to his relationship with his dad. It was just kind of sad.
Robert, on the other hand, definitely craves family closeness. In his own way, he craves solitude, as well, away from everyone but his family. For all the time the family spends with each other, they do not really have what one would call a “social life.” But, Robert’s daughter, Marika, seemed to want something more than just seeing her family all the time, day after day. “You gotta have a balance in life,” Marika said as she talked with T.O. about off-the-grid living.
And, she has a point, as did T.O. Family is great, but everybody needs a little “me” time, as T.O. said. Marika seemed to agree. When they switched roles and T.O. took them to a hotel for a little pampering, she said, “Honestly, I think T.O.’s rules are a lot better than my mom’s rules. I could definitely get used to this.” It was hard for Robert’s wife, Edie, to just let loose and have fun, but once she did, she really did have fun. “I get it,” she said of T.O.’s efforts to chill her out a bit and live life for all the good it can offer, not just work. And, that was good to see.
It was also great to see Robert get the Owens family out and away from their cell phones. They actually had fun with the “nerd,” and Terique pronounced him “cool.” That was nice to see, but it also verified: Terique is looking for that father figure, not a friend or competitor. Hopefully this swap will help him and T.O. forge that bond–because they both seem to need it. And, actually, T.O. did seem to see that after the swap: a great thing.
Typical nerd, Robert seemed a little nervous about approaching the athlete with his comments at the meeting. But, T.O.’s comments about his life being “prehistoric” really seemed to give him some courage. “The technology rolls downhill,” he said of the kids’ addiction to cell phones. It was a tense gathering, although no one seemed to intentionally make it that way. Both sides seemed to get something, and both seemed to respect each other.
“It took me really to be on this trip to really realize now what I want out of life,” T.O. said, indicating that he would like a closer connection with his family.
And Robert is working out–but still a nerd.
It was a good swap; the first “dude” swap was a definite success.
CELEBRITY WIFE SWAP airs on the ABC Television Network.
Images: ABC via Facebook