Image from Girls Boarding School. Elizabeth Swartz completes her corner time after her new 'Mom' asserts her authority.
Image from Schoolgirl Spanking. Tiffany Swartz learns how to spank her 'daughter' Melinda Harris.
The ABC hit show “Wife Swap” looks for two contrasting wives to swap places for two weeks. The first week, each woman is expected to follow the routines and practices of the woman she replaces. The second week, the wives get to run their new household in the manner they feel it should be run. During the recent November sweeps period, the show featured a swap called “The Rust Belt Meets the Bible Belt.” Mrs. Tiffany Swartz of Detroit Michigan swapped places with Mrs. Emma Harris of Dothan, Alabama. The show reached an all-time viewer high when it was revealed in advertisements that Mrs. Harris was a firm believer in corporal punishment. Bared Affair met up with the producers and participants of the show to get the full, behind the scenes story.
Bared Affair met first with the Harris family from Alabama. The Harris girls, Melinda, age 17, and Ruth, age 15, were the ones who proposed that the family apply for the show. At first, Mrs. Harris was completely opposed to the idea. “I felt the show was trashy and on the edge of being immoral,” stated Mrs. Harris. “The girls managed to talk me into it when they pointed out that for one week, I could run the new household how I saw fit. Since church and Christian values are very important to me, I felt this might be a good opportunity to do some witnessing for the Lord. That’s why I agreed to do the show, albeit reluctantly.”
Melinda Harris told Bared Affair she’s the one who came up with the idea of the family applying for the show. The driving reason was her mother’s hairbrush. “Mama spanks,” Melinda said, “and I thought the show would first of all give my backside a two week break from her hair brush. Plus, if Mama had to use different parenting methods for a week, she might decide that non-spanking methods work, too.”
Ruth Harris quickly concurred with her older sister. “Even though we knew that the new ‘mother’ was supposed to run things the same way Mama would for the first week, we figured that someone who doesn’t spank probably wouldn’t spank unless we did something really major, and probably not even then. Daddy doesn’t spank us because we’re girls, so we didn’t have to worry about him spanking us in Mama’s absence. Plus,” Ruth continued, “we figured we could be good enough not to need discipline from a new mother for two weeks.”
A look at the “Wife Swap” application informed Bared Affair that family discipline is indeed an issue with the show. The application asks in more than one place how the family disciplines and how strict the family is. The show wants to know about the family rules, bedtimes, and curfews. The Harris family also knew from the application that they had to be truthful. For how the family disciplines, they wrote: “Spankings are administered by Mrs. Harris for most infractions of family rules.” Elsewhere in the application, it was made clear how important school is and how Mrs. Harris stays on top of school matters.
Jan Turner is one of the producers for “Wife Swap.” “When we saw the Harris family application, we could hardly believe it,” Ms. Turner told Bared Affair. “Here we had a family with old fashioned values. We don’t come across many families that do. With a spanking wife, we knew that we had a potential November sweeps winner if we could find the right family to swap her with.
The right family turned out to be the Swartz family from Detroit, Michigan. One similarity to the two households is that discipline is handled by the mother in both. However, Mrs. Swartz takes a completely different approach. Mrs. Swartz stated to Bared Affair that she views her role as a mother is to be the friends of her daughters, Elizabeth, age 16, and Suzanne, age 14. “When the girls do something I don’t really approve of, which doesn’t happen often,” Mrs. Swartz said, “I feel we should talk it out and see how we might make better choices. I want my girls to feel free to come to me. If I were to punish them for mistakes or lapses in judgment, they might be afraid to come to me when it’s important.” Mrs. Swartz did admit that her two girls’ academic record could be better, but then, she didn’t do much better in school than they, “and look where I ended up,” she said. “I managed to go to college, find Dean, get married, and life has been wonderful.”
Both weeks of the swap are filled with tension. The first week places the tension on the new wife trying to fill the routine of the old wife. Each woman leaves detailed instructions on how the household is to be run. In the case of Mrs. Harris, it also meant leaving behind a spanking hairbrush and instructions on when and how to use it.
“I was aghast, quite frankly,” Mrs. Swartz stated, “when I saw that hairbrush and instruction sheet. Spanking seems so barbaric, especially in this day and age. I had never spanked either of my girls, and I had no intention of spanking the Harris girls. I sat Melinda and Ruth down to discuss this and ask that they not give me a reason to have to follow their mother’s instructions. Fortunately, both girls were very agreeable to my request.”
On the other hand, Mrs. Harris found it incredulous that the Swartz girls were given virtually no guidance or structure. “I might be willing to accept talking about an infraction the first time, but if it happens again, there simply must be a consequence,” Mrs. Harris explained. “No wonder the girls weren’t doing well in school and were less than helpful around the house. They had no incentive to do better. My own girls might not like doing well in school or doing chores at home, but I can guarantee you that they like spankings even less.”
During the first week, it was clear that Mrs. Harris was having the more difficult time. The Swartz girls’ saucy attitudes were causing their new mother to do a slow burn. “It seemed that every five minutes we had to have a talk,” Mrs. Harris began. “If my own girls had acted that way, one sound bare bottomed spanking would cure that problem for a lot longer than one of these ‘talks’ ever did with the Swartz girls.
Things ran more smoothly in the Harris household as far as Mrs. Swartz was concerned. The Harris girls didn’t really want to push their luck. The closest they came to being disciplined that first week was when they came home 10 minutes late from an outing. “All our new ‘mom’ said was ‘please don’t make me have to spank you.’” Melinda said. “If Mama had been home, we would have been spanked for sure for being that late.”
As the spanking hairbrush gathered dust in the Harris home, both girls confessed that they missed the guidance of their real mother. “I have to admit that my bottom didn’t mind two weeks’ reprieve from that hairbrush,” Ruth began, “but at the same time, it was always clear that Mama really cared about what we were doing. I could hardly believe it when my algebra teacher called to say I was talking too much in her class. All my new mom had to say was that the teacher shouldn’t be surprised that kids talk in algebra. Who wants to take algebra in the first place? If Mama had been home, I would have been spanked for sure, my attitude in the class would have changed, and I wouldn’t have made a ‘D’ on that last test.”
In the second week of the swap, the women get to run the household the way they want. Not too many changes took place in the Harris household, but the Swartz family was in for a rude awakening. “We tape the show before we air it,” Ms. Turner explained. “One advantage to that is we can tailor our advertising for each particular episode. Viewers knew that Mrs. Harris believed in spankings and had instructed Mrs. Swartz to spank. In the first week, viewers hoped that the Harris girls would give Mrs. Swartz a reason to spank them. They could also tell from the first week that Mrs. Harris was just itching to use her hairbrush on the bratty Swartz girls. We made sure that our promos for the second week contained shots of the hairbrush in Mrs. Harris’ hand and the sounds of a spanking taking place. Our ratings went through the roof on that episode,” Ms. Turner bragged.
“Wife Swap” could not be accused of false advertising. True to the promos, spankings took place in episode two, with the first happening in the first five minutes. One of Suzanne’s teachers called to inform her “mother” that Suzanne had cheated on her history test. Mrs. Harris ordered her younger “daughter” to go to Mrs. Harris’ bedroom. The camera in the room showed a defiant teenager arguing that she was not about to be spanked for the first time at age 14.
“Oh, yes you will,” retorted Mrs. Harris to Suzanne. “Your family signed a contract agreeing to do things my way the second week. My children don’t cheat in school, and if they dare to act that way, they get spanked. Now get those shorts and panties down and get over my lap if you know what’s good for you.” The forcefulness of Mrs. Harris’ statement wilted the stubbornness from the 14-year-old. As viewers saw Suzanne start to unfasten her shorts, the bedroom camera cut away to the hall camera. Even though viewers didn’t get to actually see the spanking, microphones in the bedroom clearly picked up the sounds of a sound bare bottom spanking taking place as the TV screen showed the bedroom door.
After a short commercial break, ironically for Avon hair care products, including hair brushes, the show returned with Suzanne leaving the bedroom with a tear stained face while frantically rubbing her bottom. Later in the show, viewers were treated to the sounds of Elizabeth getting her comeuppance for breaking curfew and being sassy about it. Most of the spanking, which took place in the living room, was out of the view of the cameras, although, like the first, viewers could clearly hear it. However, this spanking was followed with corner time. Mrs. Harris continued the lecture while Elizabeth stood in the corner. After failing to properly respond to one of her “mother’s” questions, Mrs. Harris prompted her with several sharp smacks of the hairbrush to the seat of Elizabeth’s skirt. Those spanks were shown to the record television audience.
At the end of the second week on “Wife Swap,” the two families meet to discuss their experiences. Viewers were surprised by the reactions of both sets of children. The Harris girls confessed that they missed their mother’s loving touch. “I hate getting spanked,” Melinda said, “especially at my age, but it’s always been really clear that Mama loves us and disciplines us for our own good. I missed her guidance and felt that Mrs. Swartz didn’t really care about what we did or how we turned out.”
Equally surprising was Elizabeth’s response, even after she had been told that her corner time spanks had been shown on national television. “I really felt that Mrs. Harris cared about us,” gushed Elizabeth. “Mom doesn’t seem to care much about us. I mean, Mrs. Harris checked our homework each night, and helped us if we needed it. I always thought I was kind of dumb, but Mrs. Harris showed me I wasn’t. And that spanking! If I knew I would be coming home to that hairbrush if I were late again, I would never be late! Even though there were only a few days left in the swap, I made sure I straightened out my ways,” Elizabeth concluded.
Both mothers were surprised by their daughters’ comments. Mrs. Swartz had the more difficult time, though. “I never realized just how much my daughters need, no, crave discipline in their lives. I thought I was being their friend with my laid back ways. It turns out that I wasn’t even much of a friend with the methods I was using.”
Much to everyone’s surprise, Mrs. Swartz even asked if she could keep the hairbrush that had been left for her use at the Harris household. Mrs. Harris quickly agreed, even offering to throw in some lessons. “From what I’ve heard,” Mrs. Harris stated, “my girls seem to be overdue at least one spanking each.” Mrs. Harris then had Mrs. Swartz take Ruth over her lap while Mrs. Harris took Melinda over her own lap. Mrs. Harris explained to Mrs. Swartz that while bare bottom brings the best results, this is network television. The program concluded with both Harris teens being given a sound spanking, under the direction of Mrs. Harris.