RECAP: Gary Busey & Ted Haggard On 'Celebrity Wife Swap'
The premiere of Celebrity Wife Swap aired Tuesday on ABC — and boy, what a pair of "celebrities"!
Oscar-nominated actor / Nick Nolte lookalike Gary Busey swapped wives with disgraced Colorado Springs pastor Ted Haggard in what promised to be a collision of two vastly different planets but turned out to be — rather disappointingly, for those tuning in for the sh*t show — a mushy, gushy, back-patting lovefest filled with undeserved self-pity and D-list platitudes served lukewarm.
Haggard, who was a fire-breathing evangelical in America's heartland before he was caught buying sex and meth from a male prostitute in 2006, is still married to his wife, Gayle. Aww, isn't Gayle a bang-up wife truly dedicated to her husband and bajillion children? (Or maybe she really loves that Tammy Wynette song?) Either way, Gayle is by far the most annoying of the four spouses: she's not a looker like her husband but she's just as long-winded. Not judging, though: we'd never stop tallking either if we were hopped up on the best antidepressants royalties from a bestelling book could buy.
Busey, who — c'mon, now — really needs to stop appearing on "celebrity" editions of reality shows and should just start sending in audtion tapes like the rest of us, is married to Steffanie Sampson, who shares his vaguely Buddhist views on reincarnation and the afterlife and all that jazz, despite the fact that Busey was brought up Christian and Sampson Jewish. Yes, apparently the pair are in their, like, 28th life together, having already met at Constantinople and as Native Americans several times. (Not kidding, FYI: They actually believe this.) Best quote of the night, from Sampson, when she's reunited with Busey after her week-long stint at the Haggards' crazy house: "I astral-projected over to you one night." Riiiight....
It's too bad Celebrity Wife Swap isn't also a competition. Something along the lines of "Who's a hotter mess?" could've played out a lot like the Santorum vs. Romney battle for Iowa Republican voters, with Haggard & Co. probably edging out over the Buseys due to the dust cloud of dramatic irony they drudge up with their born-again rhetoric. Poor Busey, he's been through a near-fatal car accident and years — DECADES! — of bad press; he just wants to do his part and cash his check, and he comes off as politely tolerant of Haggard's repeated self-comparisons to the resurrected Christ (there were at least three before I stopped counting). Excuse me, Pastor, but, um, didn't Jesus suffer crucifixion for claiming to be the son of God? You were roasted by the press because you were a closet case par excellence who consistently lied about your identity while preaching a different story to your thousands of followers. And this is your resurrection, is it? Going on Celebrity Wife Swap?! Can't get more holy than that...
By the end of the episode, Sampson definitely comes out on top. Despite all that mumbo jumbo about astral-projection, she seemed fair-minded and wise. Busey's lucky to have her — and his brother from another mother, Indian Bob.
Watch a clip from Tuesday's episode here:
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