Monday, August 17, 2009

'Army Wives' Monday: Operation Tango

*Warning: Spoilers ahead from the recent episode of Army Wives.*

Roxy got Finn into private school, even though she doesn't play tennis or speak French. Emily Gilmore went on a bender at Fort Marshall. Pamela's 10-year-old daughter wanted to dress like Britney Spears. And Roland continued being awesome.

Roxy's Son is Goin' Private

In my other line of work, where I write about parenting, I've read a great deal about how hard some parents have to work to get their kids into private schools. One book on the admissions process in New York City painted a portrait of a treacherous process where everything about not only the potential student, but the student's parents comes under intense scrutiny. It's ruthless.

Which is why I loved the story about Roxy, the low-cut dress-wearing bar owner who was trying to get her brilliant son Finn into what seemed to be a snooty private school. The admissions officer, Mrs. Decker, told Roxy that she needed to determine whether "Finn and Fordham Academy are the right fit." Then she added, "We don't just accept the child, we accept the family."

This immediately put Roxy on the defensive as she attempted to employ euphemisms to avoid admitting that she owned a bar. Not just a bar, but one named, "The Hump Bar." When she could no longer skirt the issue and decided to come clean, Mrs. Decker looked taken aback and said, "I don't think we've ever had a mother who ran a bar before."

This led to one of the better monologues Roxy's been given lately, where she said she may not speak French or play tennis "like other moms" whose kids attended the school. She said, "I may not be anything special, but I know that my son is, and I just want a fair shake for him."

When Finn was eventually accepted on a "full" scholarship, I appreciated the fact that the writers mentioned that Finn's scholarship didn't cover a whole host of fees which can be cumbersome and sometimes unworkable for working families on tight budgets. Though Trevor brushed off the potential financial difficulties of paying the private school fees, Roxy wasn't too sure.

The culture clashes between Roxy and Fordham Academy could provide good material in the future, potentially better than Lorelai Gilmore meets Chilton Academy.

Emily Gilmore on a Fort Marshall Rampage

Speaking of Lorelai Gilmore . . . her mother Emily (actress Kelly Bishop) made Claudia Joy and Denise nuts by cavorting around Fort Marshall -- hitching rides in Humvees and sitting on a soldier's lap, sneaking out to the Hump Bar to drink and dance -- instead of attending to her wifely duties as the widow of a U.S. senator, to whom a soldier support center on base was going to be dedicated. I loved that Bishop's character, Jean Calhoun, didn't want to smile stiffly at stuffy, boring events and instead wanted to jump out of an airplane and blow things up for fun. Calhoun was a kick.

Pamela's Daughter Coveted Britney Spears' Style

As the mother of a 10-year-old girl, this storyline hit me between the eyes. Pamela's 10-year-old daughter Katie not only thought she was fat, but said she wanted to be sexy, wear bras, high heels and make-up so she could be popular at school. In one scene, Pamela walked by Katie's room and found the girl dressed like a mini-Britney Spears during her "Hit Me Baby One More Time" phase. Pamela tried to give Katie a heart-felt, sincere lecture about how superficial qualities are unimportant to who you are as a person, but I don't think Katie bought it.

Roland Continued Being Awesome

I think that the writers should just put a shiny halo over Roland's head and be done with it. They always have him doing these great things for Joan even when Joan's lashing out at him like a lion. His gift to her of a tiny videocamera, which Joan could easily take to Iraq and upload videos of herself to show to her baby, as well as a matching one for Roland to record Sarah Elizabeth's exploits and upload each night, was practical and kind . . . as was Joan's videotaped response which ended with Joan ordering Roland upstairs. Too sweet.

Now I, obviously, did not even mention the big haps at the conclusion of the episode. I'm not a big fans of cliffhanger twists like this, however I'll have to reserve my judgment until I see where it's going. There's been a whole mess o'speculation online, dissecting the tidbits of conversation in the previews, but I'm not entering this speculative fray, particularly after that bad call I made regarding Haneen.

What'd you think of this episode?

Image credit: Lifetime.


Donna said...

I am really really excited for the next episode. I can not wait to see what happens next.

Meredith said...

Me too Donna. I'm intrigued.

It could be well played and interesting.

Or it could be a poorly written let-down of a segue to another storyline.

Let's hope it's the first one.