Wife Swap courtesy RDF Wife Swap courtesy RDF
The when: Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET, on ABC.

Why watch?: By swapping the matriarchs of two diametrically dissimilar families, this unscripted "social experiment" teaches us the importance of loving the one you're with - and learning from the one you least expect to. Families with opposing values get in the ring together as messy moms get paired with anal-retentives and free-spirits pair with straight-lacers, all while camera crews follow every squabble. Upon arrival, the mothers must get used to living their new families' lifestyles until the tables are turned and the families start living by their new mom's rules, a situation that often brings out the worst in the adults and gobs of tears from the kids. While some of these folks might have initially fantasized about what life with a different spouse would be like, the moral that most couples learn in the end is to appreciate how much their current spouse brings to the table (not to mention that living with a bit of balance, rather than the extremes they once swore by, is good for the entire family). Though the show's methods of familial enlightenment might raise a few eyebrows, don't count it out - it's still one of the best ways to check out how the rest of America's families (and maybe even your own neighbors) really live.

Who's who: Each week a pair of regular-Jane moms from around the country get pushed out of their comfort zones and into new digs with a new partner and a new set of tykes. You'll be thanking your lucky stars that you're not in it for the long haul with some of these folks. What's next: It's still a family affair as this season continues and we encounter a chill, housework-hating magician's wife switching with a micromanaging clean-freak mom, a lumberjack lady and a burlesque mama swapping lives, and a clown mom who tries to show a superstrict mom's family the lighter side of life. Say what?!: To get on the show, couples must fill out a questionnaire that includes questions such as, "What pushes your buttons?", "Do you allow junk food and soda in your home?" and "Who wears the pants and why?" What do you say? Do you think being on a show like this teaches families new lessons or plants them firmer in their own ways? Would you ever sign your family up for a reality show? - Sandra Kofler More Strike Survival guidance: " Movies-on-TV: Ken Fox's Picks for the Week of Jan. 21 " TV's Must-See New Episodes of the Week " AMC's Breaking Bad Is One Hot Meth