‘Army Wives’ Deal with Loneliness

August 6, 2007

The only problem with a cool summer show is that sometimes all the summer fun gets in the way of watching it.  I really like Army Wives, but because of activities with the family I’m about three episodes behind.  I finally got a chance to start watching again so bear with me for being a weeks late in my recaps.

Roxy and PamelaIn “Only the Lonely,” Army Wives tackles the subject of loneliness.  Honestly, I’m surprised that the issue has come up sooner, but thought that this episode was really a good place to explore it.

Although Roland (Sterling K. Brown) has been separate from Joan (Wendy Davis) many times, including two years most recently, he admitted in the last episode that this current separation while Joan is in the PTSD program has been the hardest.  Apparently the constant distance from his wife is starting to take its toll.  Add that to the fact that he doesn’t quite fit in on the post — being the civilian spouse — and it’s easy to see while his was flattered by the attention lavished by interviewer Vanessa Kelsing (Sherri Saum), who is dealing with her only loneliness issues.  Unfortunately, both gave in to the temptation.  He’s going to regret that later.  And I can guarantee that Joan will not take it well when she finds out.  And we all know that she’s going to find out.

Meanwhile, Pamela (Brigid Brannagh) was dealing with a temptation of her own.  Not only is she apart from her husband, but she’s missing her partner in parenting.  I know personally that when my husband travels it’s tough playing the single parent.  So when Scott Decker (Josh Casaubon), another single parent whom she shares a past with, comes along, it’s easy to let her guard down..  But I guess it’s a good thing that she has a friend like Roxy (Sally Pressman) to talk it through.  Never under estimate the power of friendship.

So it was no surprise that Amanda (Kim Allen) bonded with Denise (Catherine Bell) as both deal with Jeremy’s departure (Richard Bryant).  Amanda’s pain causes Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) and Michael Holden (Brian McNamara) to deal with their own separation — a daughter who is growing up and making decisions for herself.

Meanwhile, Denise heads back to school, a step towards finding herself.

The hardest story of loneliness was Roxy’s new friend.  She had to deal with the kind of loneliness that comes when you lose your husband.  Luckily she Roxy and the others help her learn to move on.

Not the most powerful episode, but still a good effort.  I’m looking forward to the next one where we learn about Claudia Joy’s big secret.


‘Army Wives’ discover the trials of family in ‘Hail & Farewell’

July 18, 2007

The latest episode of Army Wives is entitled “Hail & Farewell,” but the episode is all about rifts — rifts between the friendships and rifts between the families.  And a game of “I’m Pissed” reveals a lot about the friends’ inner battles.

In the forefront is the saga surrounding Jeremy Sherwood (Richard Bryant).  His actions and the subsequent actions of his father have a spiraling effect on the Sherwood and Holden households and friendship.

Amanda & JeremyOf course, Denise (Catherine Bell) and Frank (Terry Serpico) are barely speaking.  He’s angry with her for keeping the news from him and she’s upset at him for throwing Jeremy out.  But Frank’s visit to the father of a fallen comrade, Kevin, might have taught him a little about understanding and tolerance, if not forgiveness.

Meanwhile, the tension between Denise and Jeremy is on the mend when she finally tracks him down through Amanda (Kim Allen) and the two have a heart to heart.  But the damage to Jeremy’s relationship with his dad is going to take a bit longer to heal.

Side note here — does anyone else think that Jeremy’s enlistment is cowardly?  Rather than face his parents and deal with the consequences of his actions, he’s joins the Army.  He says he can’t stand the idea of everyone on the post knowing what he did.  Tough.  Think about how his mom must have felt when he hit her or his dad who trusted him.  Not to mention the fact that he’s still not getting any help for his anger management issues.  I think the Holdens have concern to worry about their daughter’s blossoming romance with Jeremy.

Unfortunately the Holdens’ concern has backfired — both with their daughter and their friendship with the Sherwoods.  Amanda blames her dad (Brian McNamara) for driving Jeremy off and sentencing her to the same military life as her mother.  She obviously has a lot more issues with the Colonel and life on post than has been let on.

While Michael is dealing with his daughter’s secret rendezvous with Jeremy (who has been what . . . living in a gazebo on post for the last couple of days? Where are the MPs?), Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) must deal with the consequences on her friendship with Denise.

Sure, Claudia Joy could have handled it a bit better.  But Denise is naive if she thinks that Jeremy affinity for hitting won’t affect Amanda.  I think it’s great that Denise wants to rebuild her relationship with her son, but if he doesn’t get help, it does no one any good.  I wouldn’t want my daughter dating Jeremy.

Meanwhile Roxy (Sally Pressman) is having family troubles of her own.  Marda (Gigi Rice) might be bonding with her grandsons and Trevor (Drew Fuller) with very visual reenactments of Poe poems and games of crochet in three-inch heels, but Roxy is hesitant to trust the alcoholic mother who has let her down so many times in the past.

Apparently, Roxy’s caution was not unfounded.  While she and Trevor are out to dinner for her birthday, Marda leaves the boys alone to “run to the store” when you gets bad financial news.  It was heartbreaking when the oldest grandson begs Marda, “don’t do it Grandma.”

MardaMarda’s abrupt departure put a damper on Roxy’s surprise birthday party causing her to enlist her friends into a round of the drinking game “I’m Pissed.”

Through the game we learn a little about the hardship sthe “wives” bear as part of the military family, like Pamela (Brigid Brannagh) not knowing where her husband is during his deployment. 

But it was Roland (Sterling K. Brown) who revealed the most when he took three consecutive turns.  The Belgrad incident, his wife’s PTSD and the constant separation are taking their toll on him.  It looks like it might come to a head next week as the previews show a little temptation in store for both him and Pamela.

But when it comes time for Roxy’s turn, Marda shows up with a final goodbye and one last gift — a picture of Marda and Roxy as a child together.

‘Army Wives’ Enlisted for a Second Season

July 14, 2007

The 3.6 million fans of Army Wives, which debuted last month, have made the drama the #1 show in Lifetime’s history.  For this, the fans are being rewarded with a second season.

Army WivesLifetime just announced that it has ordered another 13 episodes of the hit drama for its second season to begin airing Spring 2008.  I don’t know about other fans, but that’s a long time to wait for more Army Wives, but it’s good if it means we have more quality TV to watch over the summer when the pickings are slim.

Army Wives is a show about how spouses (there’s one husband) of members of the Army deal with being married to a soldier.  From the producer’s of Grey’s Anatomy, the drama stars TV veterans Kim Delaney, Catherine Bell and Brigid Brannagh and features newcomer Sally Pressman. 

While most real army wives will probably say that the series isn’t an accurate portrayal of life on post, Army Wives does have a sense of realism and is based on Tanya Biank’s book “Under the Sabers:  The Unwritten Code of Army Wives.”

If you haven’t had a chance to catch an episode of Army Wives, I highly recommend you do.  I would’ve expected to find a drama of this quality on one of the networks so don’t let the fact that it’s on Lifetime prevent you from watching it.  You can catch reruns during the week on Lifetime or online at Lifetime.com and new episodes on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. EST.

For ‘Army Wives’ and their spouses, the Army defines ‘Who We Are’

July 12, 2007

This week on Army Wives we learn that being a part of the military — either directly or by association — is more than a career (no this isn’t a commercial), it’s a way a life.  For the soldiers, the Army is their identity. And in “Who We Are” we learn that for many of the spouses, it’s the only life they’ve known.

But for Roxy (Sally Pressman), a new Army wife, the adjustment is still hard.  For example, she’s having trouble preparing for Trevor’s (Drew Fuller) upcoming deployment.  But Roxy’s prayers might have been answered when Trevor hurts his knee while spending quality time with the boys at the pool.  Looks like he did enough serious damage to keep him from deploying and possibly ground him to a desk job.  Roxy’s elated.  Trevor’s not and she doesn’t understand why.

Pamela (Brigid Brannagh), whose husband left last week on a mission with no notice, explains a soldier’s priorities — Army, unit then family — to Roxy who can’t understand why the husbands are so eager to deploy even when they fear being apart from their loved ones and worry about their children forgetting them while they are gone.  It’s their job and they believe they can help. 

Frank’s Welcome HomeWe get another peek at life on post with the discussion about retreat and Trevor teaching the boys about its importance.  Growing up on a military base, I remember retreat time.  I don’t actually remember being taught what to do during this time, I just remember knowing.  And it never crossed my mind to not follow these procedures, even as a civilian.

The big news this episode was that Frank (Terry Serpico), looking a little worse for wear, came home and received a warm welcome upon his return.  But the happy reunion was short lived when he found out how well Jeremy (Richard Bryant) has been taking care of his mother in his absence.  The news that Jeremy wants to pursue studies in architechture instead of attending West Point seems to be a moot point now that Frank has disowned his son and is barely speaking to Denise (Catherine Bell) whom he thinks betrayed his trust by not being completely honest. 

Yes, I think Frank’s reactions were rash and a little extreme, but knowing a lot of military men, I’d say that Jeremy was lucky his dad didn’t do worse.  But I do want to point out that it was awfully kind of Frank to pack a couple bags for Jeremy, something I would’ve expected a mother to do.  I think that it shows that Frank still cares about his son and that there is hope for mending the relationship in the future.

In the meantime, Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) learns about Amanda (Kim Allen) and Jeremy’s relationship and tells Michael (Brian McNamara) who suggests “chaining her to the radiator.”  I’m glad my husband didn’t hear that.  It’d give him ideas about our daughter.

Jeremy and ColonelI’m guessing the Holdens are glad they decided not to talk to the Sherwoods about the relationship just now.  But will being kicked out by his father push Jeremy and Amanda even more together?  From the previews for next week, I’d say oh yeah.  Will Frank’s conversation with the Colonel about his son change Michael’s opinion of Jeremy?  Maybe, but if the relationship with Amanda continues . . . well let’s just say it’s a good thing if Jeremy does enlist.  But he better hope he’s sent to another post and not under the Colonel’s command.

However, the Sherwood and Holden households aren’t the only one heating up.  Roxy gets more that a little aggravated when her newly sober mom, Marda (Gigi Rice) pays a surprise visit in the middle of the night and then proceeds to spoil Roxy’s boys while telling Roxy how to live.  However, when Roxy learns that Marda has lost her house and hair salon, she’s a little more sympathetic, at least until she finds the pills in Marda’s purse.  Is Marda using?  Or is she sick?

Meanwhile Pamela is dealing with the consequences of being a single mother while her husband is deployed including sleeping alone, fixing the kitchen sink and consoling her children about their father’s absence.

Also flying solo is Roland (Sterling K. Brown), whose wife is off post for 30 days for PTSD treatment.  All the girls keep checking up on him, but he ignores their efforts.  Not sure what’s going on here.  Is he just missing his wife or is he upset that she will be staying in the Army after all?  Or is it something else?

And finally, Marilyn (Katie Kneeland) accuses Roxy of telling her husband George about the affair.  When Roxy tells her that she only told Pamela, Marilyn confronts Pamela only to reveals a little about herself.

Another great episode.  I can’t get enough of this series.  I was on vacation when this episode aired on Sunday and it’s killed me to wait until I had a chance to watch it.  I’m looking forward to next week’s episode.

(Photos courtesy of Lifetime)

Back from Vacation

July 10, 2007

I just got back from a nice, relaxing vacation.  I’ll get back to blogging just as soon as I get unpacked and back to my normal routine.

By the way, I’m dying to watch the latest episode of Army Wives, but my cable is broken.  I’ll get my post on it up as soon as I can watch it.

‘Army Wives’ celebrate ‘Independence Day’

July 2, 2007

Claudia Joy’s annual Fourth of July picnic was the center of “Independence Day,” but this episode of Army Wives was more about rite of passages than independence.

Trevor and Roxy at PicnicAs newlyweds Roxy (Sally Pressman) and Trevor (Drew Fuller) count down their final days until their first separation, they both learn a few lessons of from veteran couple Chase (Jeremy Davidson) and Pamela (Brigid Brannagh) who are dealing with a potential separation themselves. 

Roxy learns about the Army wives’ code when she has dirt on Marilyn (Kate Kneeland), one of the busybodies always pestering her and Pamela.  And I think she’s glad she didn’t blab when Marilyn confesses to her about the nature of the affair and when Roxy meets Marilyn’s husband.

ChaseMeanwhile, Trevor seeks advice from Chase about surviving his first deployment.  Chase’s response — “don’t hurt your girl.”  Man, Chase is really starting to grow on me.  I thought he was a heel at first.  But I think he’s learned from his mistakes and is starting to really appreciate his wife.  It nearly broke my heart to see him leave the picnic for Delta Force duty, blowing Pamela a kiss on his way out.

And although we are guessing that Chase is headed to Iraq, we know it’s not to find Frank (Terry Serpico).  Denise (Catherine Bell) and Jeremy (Richard Bryant) received the news that Frank is safe and on his way home.

But the experience of waiting and wondering seems to have been a turning point in Denise and Jeremy’s relationship.  First, she shared precious memories with him of how she first met Frank.  Then Jeremy finally apologizes to his mother for hitting her and tells her that he admires her.  Things seemed to finally be back on track for Denise and Jeremy — at least until Frank returns and finds out his son has been beating Denise in fits of anger.

Another relationship that has reached a turning point is that of Joan (Wendy Davis) and Roland (Sterling K. Brown).  The hostage situation — or a career in jeopardy — seems to have been the trigger for Joan to realize she has a problem.  Not only does she recognize her drinking problem, but she enrolls herself in a 30-day treatment program for PTSD.  She and Roland never seemed happier together than during the picnic.

In the end, Joan doesn’t lose her career.  I’m not sure if it was Roland’s visit to Col. Holden (Brian McNamara) to plead his wife’s case or Joan’s recognition of her problem that saved it.  I actually think it has more to do with Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney).

I think it was Claudia Joy who had the biggest rite of passage this episode.  A career military wife, she has been through a lot, but for the first time the hostage situation made her deal with death up close and personal.  She not only witnessed Belgrad’s death, but she met his wife and learned the repercussions of the situation for the family.

As a result she pleads the widow’s case to her husband who initially rejects her request, but in the end changes his mind.

At the end of the episode, Claudia Joy gives this beautiful speech about being an Army wife and what it means, but I think she summed it up best when she tells her daughter “you don’t choose who you fall in love with” when Amanda (Kim Allen) says she’d never marry a soldier.

And finally, the sparks are really starting to fly as Amanda and Jeremy’s relationship heats up.  I bet the kiss they shared this episode is just the beginning of more to come and I can guarantee that Col. Holden isn’t going to be happy about it.

Overall, another solid episode.  I haven’t been disappointed by one yet.  No wonder this series is getting top ratings for Lifetime.  I can’t wait for next week.

For more articles on Army Wives, click here.

‘Army Wives’ lose ‘One of Our Own’

June 25, 2007

In “One of Our Own,” the fourth installment of the Lifetime hit drama Army Wives, we still do not know the fate of Denise’s (Catherine Bell) husband, the Major.  However, the fate of one of the soldiers on Fort Marshall is sealed.

Denise waits for news on FrankIn last week’s episode, we learned that Denise’s husband, Frank (Terry Serpico) was in the downed Blackhawk helicopter.  Several are dead and the rest missing.  Since the remains of the dead are difficult to ID, we still do not which group Frank is in.  I thought Denise’s reaction was very genuine.  I certainly would have wanted to jump on a plane and run to my husband’s aid too.

It was interesting to see her lash out at her son (Richard Bryant).  I’m glad that she had her showdown with him last week.  If that wasn’t a wake up call for Jeremy, this new turn of events sure is.  Looks like Jeremy will finally have to do some growing up.  I hope he’s up for the challenge.

Looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to find out Frank’s fate.  The previews show a CAO (Casualty Assistance Officer) arriving at the Sherwood home.  Does that mean Frank dead?  Not necessarily, he could just be seriously injured.  However, if he is, that begs the question of how Denise will stay on the show?  We know from her breakdown in front of her visitors that she would have to move off post within six months (BTW, I’m really glad to hear that the military doesn’t kick the families out of their homes right away in cases like this).  And technically, if Frank’s dead, Denise will no longer be an Army wife.  If I were a betting woman, I’d guess that Frank is injured — the type of injury that will change the Sherwood’s lives dramatically.

Denise and RoxyHowever, Denise’s mind was taking off her husband, at least momentarily, when Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) and Roland (Sterling K. Brown) were taken hostage by Sergeant Peter Belgrad.  Belgrad is played by guest star Jason Wiles who was Colin Robbins on Beverly Hill 90210.  It’s been about 10 years since I’ve seen this actor and he does look older (which kind of made me feel old too).

If you remember from last week, Belgrad served under Joan (Wendy Davis) during his last tour and isn’t dealing well since his return.  His wife and kids left him and he blames Joan for something that happened during the last tour.  She had him admitted for a psych evaluation.  When he learns that Roland is Joan’s husband he takes him and Claudia Joy hostage in order to get Joan to speak to him.

The story of the little girl in Afghanistan was heartbreaking.  Like Belgrad, I would have wanted to charge in and help.  But I understand Joan’s orders.  I’m not sure I could have followed them myself, let alone issue them.  It’s easy to see with decisions like that why Joan is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I guess there’s a reason for the expression war is hell.

Unfortunately, Roland is unable to help Belgrad before the sniper takes him out.  It’s a good thing that Chase (Jeremy Davidson) practiced his shooting techniques earlier than morning.  If he’d been a bit off, he might have hit Roland.

Roland and JoanHopefully, rehashing the story of the girl might help Joan.  Or maybe the fact that that Colonel Holden (Brian McNamara) questioned her actions in handling Belgrad last week will push her to get some help.  Unfortunately, I’m not seeing an end to Joan’s situation yet.  I thought it was interesting that Roland said that he was waiting for her to ask for help.  As a therapist, I agree that you can’t help someone until they are ready to be helped.  But as a husband, I think he needs to push her to get some assistance.  Let’s just hope he knows his wife better than I do or it could spell the end of his marriage.

Elsewhere, Pamela (Brigid Brannagh) must deal with the fact that her Delta Force husband could be deployed at any moment with little or no notice.  And judging from next week’s previews, Chase will do just that when he leaves a Fourth of July picnic.

Meanwhile, Roxy (Sally Pressman) continues to adjust to life on post with yet another citation — this time for letting the boys paint on the front lawn.  I’m glad that Roxy decided to let Trevor (Drew Fuller) adopt her boys.  He’ll make a good dad.

In an interesting turn of events, Amanda (Kim Allen) and Jeremy went to the movies together.  I’m not so sure that Colonel Holden would be happy about his oldest daughter dating Jeremy who he knows has anger management issues.  It’ll be fascinating to see how that relationship plays out.

For more articles on Army Wives, click here.