I’m Melting! I’m Melting...

Fox concluded its two-part Trading Spouses premiere last week with the long-promised “meltdown of biblical proportions” from obese housewife Marguerite Perrin of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. And yes, her scary, maniacal-eyed, leave-my-house rant about being “God’s warrior” was something to behold in its untethered fury. The trigger? A stay as temporary wife and mother with the astrology-minded Flishers of Boxborough, Massachusetts, that all too easily chipped away at her comfort zone with unbelievers, even highly tolerant and sweet New Agers like the Flishers. While it’s always amusing when Rupert Murdoch’s empire shamelessly demonizes the religious for ratings — and Marguerite did herself and Christianity no favors in cracking up so apocalyptically for the cameras — I nevertheless wondered how I could view this raging, ark-size Jesus cheerleader as a victim. I decided to imagine Marguerite as the star of a cheap, B-movie devil-possession chiller, the innocent trapped in ungodly surroundings: “What are those bizarre symbols on the wall? What is that horrific smell — out of nowhere! — making me puke in the garden, while the children stare and laugh? Why is everyone at this party dancing under the moon? And when I talk about church to the Flisher kids, why do they develop cold gazes? And then I come back to my home and find that their dark-sided mom has hypnotized my daughter? Nobody messes with my family!” And yet, judging from the frightened reactions of her own husband and children, the only person whose head threatened to do a 360 was Marguerite’s.

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