Okay, I’m guessing many of you got teary when Joan’s doctor removed her bandages and she saw Roland standing at the end of the hospital bed, but don’t you think she should have at least lost one of her eyes?

I know, I know – this is entertainment, not reality. No one wants reality. But even M*A*S*H had sobering moments. Visitors to that mobile hospital would walk away without one of their legs, or would have to deal with some other tragic element of war – something that would keep a hold on viewers long after the credits rolled. When too many characters overcome war’s effects – Joan regains all vision (and will, I predict, regain perfect skin with – maybe – the trace of a scar within four episodes), Jeremy is hunky-dorey after a very short struggle with PTSD – viewers who don’t know anyone in the military (a large part of the  audience) just might start thinking war’s not such a big deal, after all.

I’m just saying.

(Also, I have to say that prior to his visit to see Joan, Roland’s reaction to the idea that she may not regain all of her vision is a little dramatic. This conflict in the Middle East has been going on for close to a decade, and people are coming back limbless, missing their sanity, or dead – things could have been worse, no? Some perspective.)

While we’re on the subject of reality…”Army Wives” does such a splendid job with Roxy and Trevor. Their home scenes are so breezily natural that I almost feel like a voyeur when I watch them. Take this episode, for example, and the scene with Roxy and Trevor discussing the new baby and their lack of money (which leads to Trevor’s decision to take a second job as a pizza delivery boy, a job he finds in under a few days – the recession must not have hit the Fort Marshall area): You have a sleepy dog on the bed. Roxy hanging out next to the dog.

Trevor shirtless with his unbuckled belt hanging down.

“Army Wives” needs more shirtless men.

For realism, I mean.

Anyway. Trevor eventually puts on his pea-green-brown shirt,  followed that evening by the uniform he wears to deliver a pizza to the daughter of the General’s wife. This is embarrassing to Roxy, who the following day expresses that embarrassment to Claudia Joy when she says, “Well, think about it. You’re the General’s wife, and I’m the pizza guy’s wife” (as if being someone’s wife is a job title or an accomplishment unto itself). This inspires the push to get the Hump bar restriction removed so Roxy can work and Trevor won’t have to.

This storyline inspired two funnies:

1. Claudia Joy gets in mild trouble over drinks when her General hubby is confronted by Lenore and her husband after Lenore busts Claudia Joy gathering research that would help lift the Hump bar ban. General hubby handles it expertly, makes up some BS that makes it sound like the idea was his, and says to Claudia Joy – after Lenore and her husband walk away – “What was that all about?”

Claudia Joy shrinks down, says, “Sorry?” and then explains.

General hubby says very simply, “Well, you have 18 hours to make your case.”

His professionalism during the encounter, and his gentle discipline, of sorts, of Claudia, made me think of Ian (my husband), whose military professionalism and self-control I found devastatingly sexy one day. A few months before we were to leave for Florida to get married, I visited his office on Fort Campbell, KY for lunch. We got in some tiny argument or other about absolutely nothing, and I flipped out. (I blame it on my pre-wedding nerves.)

“If we’re going to be like this, all argue-y and weird, I don’t even know why we’re getting married!” I said like some strange, psycho chick. I said it loud enough, I know, to be heard outside his open office door.

He calmly pushed back his chair, came around his desk, held my arm, and said, “Let’s go outside.” We walked out through the desks of the soldiers under his command (sigh…yes), left the building, and got into his car to discuss my psychosis in private.

Is that not coolness under pressure? *Swoon.*

Funny moment #2: General hubby and Lenore’s husband watch a power-point presentation all military would no doubt appreciate (they’re big into power-point presentations) about the many ways the Hump bar would refine its policies. This includes a free shuttle from the bar to the front gate for drunk soldiers. (Note: Okay, so they needed a reason to bring in Roxy’s Bunnies, or whatever the short-shorts shuttle drivers are called, but soldiers would not be embarrassed to be dropped off at the front gate by a shuttle. Especially not when a DUI could result in an Article 15 that may include restriction to barracks, loss of rank, and docking of one to two months pay. Again – I’m just saying.)

General hubby decides to lift the ban on his wife’s friend’s bar.

Ian is awake by this point and sitting next to me on the couch, watching General hubby issue his decree.

“What’s with the two dudes standing behind the General at parade rest?” he says. And then, in deep man-voice, “The General always has an audience when he makes a decision.”

It’s so fun to watch the show with someone who knows the ins and outs of the military’s little things…

Speaking of the little things, PTSD isn’t one of them. If they wanted to give Denise a reason to freak out about Jeremy going back to active duty after his failed suicide attempt, it wouldn’t have been too political, or even a stretch, to focus her worry on whether he’d received enough psychological care than on her fear that he’d die after being returned to his unit (and her desire to have him get a medical discharge so he’d be safe). Not enough soldiers are getting the psych care they need, and if Jeremy did have PTSD, a medical discharge might keep him from being killed in the Middle East, but it wouldn’t fix him. If handled right, “Army Wives” could have addressed a very real issue without too much drama and without being political.

What say you? (Not just about that last paragraph, but about the show. Say anything!)

Until next week…

[Read the review for episode 1 of season 4 here.]

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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Hey, I had to pop in and say how much I like your blog. I agree with a lot of what you said, especially about the way they ended things with Jeremy and Joan. I was almost certain Jeremy would have offed himself. It didn’t make sense to me that he just randomly fired a shot in the room.
    I was pretty sure Joan wouldn’t be killed off. She’s a major character, and if they’d killed her it would mean Roland would have to leave the show too, right? I’m sure she’ll regain perfect vision and not have any unsightly war scars either. You’re right. The’good guy’ always seems to win on this show, which isn’t realistic. I’m betting CJ ‘wins’ during the next epi by gaining some personal triumph over Lenore.
    I also do recaps of the show. Here are the links to the first two episodes of this season:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2873404/army_wives_kicks_off_season_four_on.html?cat=2

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2907820/stars_and_stripes_a_recap_of_army_wives.html?cat=2

    Reply
  2. […] Episode 2 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Turns out I was completely wrong about “Army Wives” […]

    Reply

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About Kris Tsetsi

Kristen J. Tsetsi is the author of the novels "Pretty Much True..." and "The Year of Dan Palace" and the short fiction collection "20 Short Stories," all published under the name Chris Jane. Website: http://kristenjtsetsi.com

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