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DVD Review: Army Wives: The Complete First Season

I had very little idea of what to expect when I first started watching Army Wives on DVD, but it wasn't very long at all before I found myself thinking that this felt very much like something that one would find on the Lifetime Network... and when I finally got to the extra features, I learned that it is indeed a television series made for and shown on the Lifetime Network. To some this would be a good thing, to others a bad thing. I'm somewhere in the middle. One thing is for sure, it will focus on women, some of the women will have men that put them down, both physically and mentally, and infidelity will rear its ugly head somewhere in there. But also, there will be strong women who don't take crap from men, and there will most likely be a timid woman who comes out of her shell to find her inner strength and do what's right for her. Not that I'm saying it's predictable or anything....

The show focus on a group of people who are married to spouses in the army, to whom we are all introduced while following Roxy, a brand new army wife who just married Private First Class Trevor LeBlanc only days ago. As she knows next to nothing about the military, she is our Dr. Watson along this journey, giving everyone else an excuse to explain things so that all of us non-military folks can know what it is all about. Even though she has two kids from different fathers and marries an army man only days after knowing him, out of all the army wives, Roxy turns out to be the one with the least amount of drama in her life.

Claudia Joy Holden, married to Col. Michael Holden, believes that he was skipped over for promotion due to her rival spreading a rumor that her husband is racist. Pamela Moran, married to special ops Chase Morgan, is heavily pregnant with twins that she's carrying as a surrogate to help relieve the debt her family is in, while her husband talks to her like she's worse than dirt and continues to buy expensive luxury items such as a hot tub and plasma television. Yep, Lifetime all right.

The only man of the group is psychiatrist Roland Burton, who is married to Lt. Col. Joan Burton. She has only just returned from two years away at Afghanistan, and it's obvious that she's distraught about something which happened over there. And finally, rounding out this group of army wives is Denise Sherwood, who is married to Maj. Frank Sherwood. We quickly learn that she is being beaten by her college-age son whenever her hubby is not around. Did I mention this was on Lifetime?

So this group of wives, most of whom are initially nothing more than casual acquaintances at best, quickly bond when as Pamela unexpectedly goes into labor at a party thrown by Claudia Joy and has to be rushed to the hospital... off base, as she plans on telling everyone that the babies died in child birth. But the hospital is too far, so they end up at Roxy's new place of employment, the Hump Bar, and she gives birth on a pool table. Add a laugh track and this might almost seem like a scene from a sitcom. At any rate, the parents of the babies are away on vacation at the moment, so now they women must pull together to keep her secret until the infants can be picked up.

And from here on out, they all become best friends and live happily ever after. Yeah, right. They do become close friends, but there is still drama all around. What I found strange, however, is how easily the men are able to just completely change their personalities. For instance, Pamela Moran's husband goes from being a complete and utter jerk to the nicest most lovable husband and father in the span of one episode. Holy crap! What kind of Jedi mind powers does that woman have?

All-in-all, it's not a bad series, and if you can past what feels like over-dramatization, the military aspect feels very real, especially when it comes down to the spouses being deployed. It's real easy to feel for these women (and the one man), trying to get by not know when or even if their spouse will come home, and some of them trying to raise children. So it was watchable, but even as I approached the end I didn't have much of a desire to catch the second season. But then of course they had to go and make a cliffhanger ending, so now I've got one more program on my TiVo's season pass.

The extra features on the DVD set are also pretty good. There are outtakes, deleted scenes, and featurette about real army wives, and a featurette where the cast and crew sit around in a room answering various questions, which was pretty interesting. I think there are also some audio commentaries, but I haven't listed to those yet.

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