Monday, June 8, 2009

'Army Wives' Monday: Best Laid Plans (Season Premiere)

*Warning, spoilers ahead from the season three premiere of Army Wives*

Teenaged angst that almost led to teenaged matrimony. Seeing your spouse move across the globe while you stay behind, unsure of where you and your kid are going to live. Losing one's job in a scandalous manner which causes you to become socially ostracized. Almost getting scammed out of your business. That's quite a lot o'drama for one episode of Lifetime's Army Wives . . . unless it's the season premiere, which is typically front-loaded with drama. So let's dive into the melodrama of the first installment of season three:

The Holdens: Gen. Michael Holden went to Brussels to work for NATO, sans his family after showing a stunning level of cluelessness as to why his 16-year-old daughter was acting out, running away with her boyfriend just as the family was supposed to head to the airport to leave Fort Marshall permanently. Almost getting married at age 16 isn't simply a minor incident. Clearly something deeper is going on with Emmalin, but to Gen. Holden, it just seemed like an inconvenience. He headed for the plane while Claudia Joy, who refused to leave as he wished, was left to deal with the mess.

With the exception of the death of their daughter Amanda and how Claudia Joy has handled her grieving (last season's scenes of packing up of Amanda's room and visiting the cemetery were tear-jerkers), I normally find Claudia Joy one of the dullest characters on the show. In a way, she reminds me of those perfect Wisteria Lane suburbanites who -- at least surficially -- look like everything's just peachy in their picturesque homes filled with delectable eats. But to see Claudia Joy (who possesses one of the most awkward names on TV) uprooted, searching for a home for the first time since her law school days and dealing with an irascible teen is providing Kim Delaney something more meaty to do than furrow her brow. Which is a good thing.

Denise Sherwood: I genuinely felt badly for her. She'd separated from her husband -- they were even staying in separate quarters before he left for Iraq -- and she's the one who's portrayed as a modern day Scarlet O'Hara. Booted from her job for violating the code of conduct (something she should've thought about before plunging into an affair with an injured soldier to whom she tended as a nurse) and then dumped by her lover, Denise returned home to find that her so-called friends give her the cold shoulder after heartily encouraging her to evolve into her own person and pursue her own interests . . . which is what led to her marital estrangement in the first place. For Claudia Joy to simply close the door in her face, man, that was just icy, and unnecessary, particularly given how frequently Denise had been there for her friends when they've been in need. I'm wondering if the writers will explore the possibility of Denise getting booted from base housing if she and Frank remain estranged.

Roxy LeBlanc: Thankfully, Roxy is friends with an ex-cop, or else she would've been taken in by a slick con man because, from Trevor's perspective, quick money for her half of the bar is better than none at all. Of all the stories in the premiere, I thought this one was wrapped up a bit too quickly and cleanly. (I find it hard to believe that the prints would've been processed that swiftly.) It would've been more dramatic for an awkward business partnership to have been drawn out more, but I got the feeling that a decision has been made to emphasize Roxy's conflict with Trevor over having a baby and his growing distaste for her long work hours as the bigger story, not ownership of Betty's.

Roland Burton: Aside from his bad boy extra-marital fling in a previous season, Roland is consistently portrayed as the good guy who's always there for all his gal pals, his infant daughter and his wife, who's going to be deployed to Iraq in a few months. He wasn't given much to do during the premiere other than counsel Claudia Joy that Emmalin is coping with unresolved grief, but, as with Roxy, I see future conflict over his role in the Burton household being his central theme.

Pamela Moran: The fiery Pamela didn't have much to do in this episode either except for sleuthing for Roxy. I was waiting to see her cope with the abrupt loss of her radio gig at the end of season two, a job from which she literally and figuratively regained her own voice. Seeing that Pamela adored doing the show -- and was even courted by radio stations -- to not even really address it seemed like a glaring omission. I'd love to see the writers have Pamela explore the possibility of joining the Charleston police force. Could provide compelling work/life tension, and pump some much needed cash into the Moran household.

Overall, I thought the premiere set the stage for some potentially interesting stories this season, though I hope all the problems faced by the Army spouses aren't wrapped up as tidily as was the con man/Betty's plot.

That being said, what were your thoughts on the Army Wives premiere? Were you surprised to see Denise fired and Claudia Joy shut the door in her face? Be sure to read my Pop Culture column on Army Wives at the Mommy Track'd web site.

Image credit: Lifetime.

3 comments:

Sonia said...

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shinya said...

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