Friday, June 13, 2008

Army Wives on TV

I don't watch cable TV, I just rent it and read about it in the New York Times. Recently I came across what seems to be a smart show about the costs of military service on families back home. I was intrigued by Ginia Bellafante's review in NYT of the series "Army Wives" on the Lifetime channel (I have no idea if Lifetime is available in Canada - I'd be surprised in the gazillion channel universe if it wasn't.

Bellafante makes me want to catch this series as a means to understanding what goes on at home when soldiers are deployed - terrain that was briefly explored in the now defunct HBO Iraq war-based series "Over There", which was not exactly a successful recruiting tool for the US Army. Here's an excerpt from her review:

“Army Wives” depends on plenty of easy patriotic imagery — slow shots of billowing flags in front of brick buildings, all those red and blue party napkins — but at the heart of the show is a deep skepticism about the psychological impact of military culture on family life, a distaste for the brand of masculinity it breeds. The show never allows you to think that what you really want is a man in uniform. Only one of the servicemen is genuinely appealing: he reads Steinbeck, and he listens. The rest subjugate their wives and children to myriad offensive rigidities, one of them deranged enough to want to blow up a local bar out of anger over his wife’s infidelity."

A quick google lead me to an earlier NYT review from 2007, following a group of real army wives in Fort Drum, NY, watching the show.

The women generally approved of it, and one offered this wonderfully shrewd comment:

“The problems were the technical aspects. Hollywood writers writing about the military is like men writing about childbirth.” But, she said, “you notice that we keep watching, week after week. That says something.”

I'd love to hear any comments if you've caught this show on TV or in the video store.


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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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