Reality Bites: Celebrity Wife Swap

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It's either a sign of how far we've advanced as a civilization or yet another harbinger of society's inevitable collapse that the expression "wife swapping" now has a humorous context.

Far from the brazen sleazery of Raising Arizona's Glen and Dot or the key parties of the swinging '70s, the term now mostly brings to mind the ABC show, wherein C-list (and lower) celebrities platonically exchange partners to give us insight into both how "down to earth" they claim to be and how hilariously detached from reality they truly are.

It's hardly sporting to make jokes at Andy Dick's expense given the narrative arc created by his own actions, which render anything I could write inferior by comparison. And it isn't just the exposed genitals, multiple counts of sexual battery, and revolving door stints in rehab that sound like a Mr. Show sketch, although that's pretty hard to beat. No, I'm talking about Dick's actual living situation, wherein he resides in a trailer in the driveway of his ex-girlfriend Lena's house ... with his current girlfriend Jennifer (she'll show up later). His three daughters (with Lena)? They live in the house, too. Man, this must be the family values crowd's favorite show. I mean, if the decline of two-parent households is what's wrong with America, then a house with *three* parents must be preferable, right?

And then there's Lorenzo Lamas, a true traditional family man on his fifth traditional marriage to Shawna Craig, who works at ... an egg donor agency? Did I hear that right? She also does "bottle service." For those not up on current predatory beverage practices, bottle service is when a bar charges you approximately 5,000 percent the cost for a fifth of alcohol so an attractive woman can serve it to you in an area separated from the lumpenproletariat. I only know this because I witnessed it when I was accidentally (and briefly) admitted to Rain nightclub in the Palms Casino during CineVegas one year. This before being ejected for loudly wondering why I was being charged $15 for a goddamned beer.

Vegas, baby.

Anyway, the drama generated by the wives leaving puts you military folks to shame. These couples are separated for *a whole week,* people. And forced (for a few days, anyway) to live by strange rules and swap out one infantile narcissist for another. The first conflicts arise from Shawna chafing at having to drive allegedly grown man Andy Dick to his various "appointments" like a pre-teen (he doesn't like driving in Los Angeles). Meanwhile Lena unhappy with the prominent status the microwave has in the Lamas household, because it "alters the molecular structure" of the food. That's right: it turns your previously benign popcorn into inflated magnesium or something.

Against my better judgment, and even after years of exposure to Falcon Crest and Renegade, I kind of like Lorenzo Lamas. More to the point, I like Shawna, who reminds me of a curvier Martika (fun fact: Shawna was two years old when "Toy Soldiers" was released). Lena is also taken with the big lug, who spirits her around on a motorcycle and in his helicopter. She certainly gets a better deal than Shawna, who has to prepare Dick's "raw" menu as well as deal with trailer girlfriend Jennifer, who looks like she just came from a Hedwig and the Angry Inch cosplay convention.

The second half is given over to the displaced wives changing up the rules of the house, and Lena's removal of the Lamas daughters' cell phones actually seems less traumatic than Shawna getting rid of Andy's love trailer. No really, I'm sure your daughters aren't absorbing any lasting negative side effects from watching their father treat Lena like an indentured servant before leaving to bone a pre-op transsexual in the front yard. Not shown: what the hell happened to Jennifer. Is the Airstream her genie bottle? Will she be forced to reside there indefinitely, until another bisexual drug addict frees her? Someone get Billie Joe Armstrong on the horn.

Though I will say this, as much as I "respect" Shawna, and as much as I realize your 20's are a time of experimentation and finding the real "you," you've got to stop dressing like you're interviewing for lead hula hoop instructor at Hooters Beverly Hills (edit: the closest Hooters is actually on Hollywood Boulevard). I realize agreeing to marry someone as with Lorenzo Lamas' ... pedigree probably required a great deal of soul searching, but minidresses are probably not appropriate breakfast prep wear.

In the end, Lena convinces the Lamas family to get rid of the microwave, while Shawna encourages Andy to spend more time with his kids. When the couples finally meet, the confab degenerates into red carpet strategy (Lorenzo and Shawna get photographed separately while Andy and Lena don't, which asks the audience to buy the proposition that Andy Dick gets invited to red carpet events anymore). Then Lorenzo starts ... crying? What the fuck? Turn in your Harley, Renegade. And then Andy cries, which may or may not be an honest reaction to the dawning realization you've spent the last two decades acting like a PG-13 G.G. Allin while ignoring the existence of your children. Then Lena cries. Shawna, the youngest person present by at least 20 years, is the only one who holds it together. Enjoy this life you've chosen, kid.

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