This week in “Kinison/Czerniawski,” a mom who lies on a bed of nails and has stars tattooed all over her face swaps places with a fashion conscious ex-Miss Teen New Jersey who owns a tanning salon.
Anna Kinison (26) and her husband, Jeremy (27), of Arizona, are both freak show performers; Anna has stars tattooed on her face and Jeremy has big red claw marks on his cheeks and metal horns sprouting out of his forehead. Anna lays on a bed of nails while husband Jeremy breathes fire and lifts weights with his eyelids. Their kids, Cataya (7) and Ryan (6), have both been brought up around the freak show -- daughter Cataya is the youngest escape artist in America and can’t wait to join the show full time. Both children do well at school, and their parents are very strict about the kids’ homework. Despite their freaky appearance, the Kinisons are a very traditional family: Mom Anna does all the cooking and cleaning, and sees it as her job to have a hot meal on the table for her husband when he gets home from work. The kids don’t have their friends over very much. Instead they hang out with their parents’ friends, who are around all the time, and even go to ‘Bicker Night’ at a local restaurant, where everyone vents their feelings in public – shouting insults and drawing as much attention to themselves as possible.
Anna travels to the luxurious New Jersey home of Jamie (27) and Charles (31) Czerniawski, the youngest family in the exclusive subdivision where they reside. To Jamie and Charles, appearances are everything. Jamie never goes out without makeup and matching shoes and purse, and the same goes for daughter Alex (8). Charles spends 45 minutes in the shower and can take up to two hours to get ready before a night out. Son Mikey (6) has a cupboard full of hair products and even wears cologne when he goes out. Jamie doesn’t know how to cook anything but microwave meals, does minimal cleaning and stays in bed until 11:00 a.m., leaving Charles to pick up the slack and run between the three jobs he works in order to give his family everything they want. The Czerniawskis believe that being popular at school is more important than academic excellence. Alex is the captain of her cheerleading squad, and Mikey wins wrestling and football trophies. Both kids are popular, and their friends pop around all the time.
During the first week, Anna finds the Czerniawskis’ obsession with their appearance annoying and cannot understand why they put so much importance on being popular. The family all struggle with Anna’s outlandish appearance, and the kids comment that their mom is much prettier. Meanwhile in Arizona, Jamie is plunged into the world of the freak show and leaves the show in disgust when Jeremy starts lifting weights with his eyelids. Jamie struggles with the idea of waiting on Jeremy and his friends, and when they demand chocolate milk, she gets back at them by spiking the drinks with apple-cider.
In the second week of the swap, when the wives change the rules and turn the tables, Anna forbids the Czerniawskis from using beauty products, she covers all 15 mirrors in the house and limits Charles to only ten minutes to get ready. She teaches them sideshow skills, and the family put on their own freak show for friends and neighbors -- costumes and all. In the Kinison house, Jamie rules that Jeremy must order his friends to leave so that he can concentrate on his kids. She tells him to cover the tattoos on his face and get a job selling cars… His first day is successful, but when it comes to making a commitment to the job, Jeremy is unwilling to change his appearance.
At the end of the swap, when the couples are reunited, will they find common ground, or will they discover their differences run too deep?