This is the second, experimental installment of A Guy Recaps Lady TV in which Noah Garfinkel-- a guy who mostly watches CNN and the History Channel -- watches a lone episode of a television program geared toward women and recaps it. Here, Noah takes in a random episode of the Lifetime drama, "Army Wives.""Army Wives," from the very beginning, seemed like a strange idea for a show to me.
I imagine the initial pitch meeting went like this: "You're interested in people in the army, right? Well let's have a show about people who are married to those people!" It seems sort of like having a new "CSI" spinoff where we just focus on the investigators' nephews.
Nonetheless, I chose season five, episode eight, at random. The title of this episode is "Supporting Arms." Let's do this. (Quick Note To The Reader: This recap, weirdly enough, contains a spoiler for the first season of "Veronica Mars.")
The episode begins with a "previously-on" montage in which we learn that anything that could have ever possibly happened on "Army Wives" has happened previously on "Army Wives." We'll go through them one by one:
1. A woman who sort of looks like an aristocratic version of Lisa Leslie from the WNBA discuses having another baby with her husband.
2. A red-haired woman says to a blond woman "Finn's dad is your contractor, he's living in your parking lot, and Trevor's cool with this?"
3. A woman who almost looks like Julianna Margulies from "The Good Wife" and the guy who murdered Amanda Seyfried on "Veronica Mars" tell a soldier's wife that she is an illegal immigrant and might be deported.
4. Almost-Julianna-Margulies goes to the doctor and finds out that the pain she's been having in her side is a "mass."
Jesus Christ! The episode hasn't even officially started yet, and already we're dealing with baby-making decisions, potential infidelity, inadequacies in our immigration laws and health issues. This is going to be a rough one.
As the previously-on montage ends, we fade into Almost-Julianna-Margulies misty eyed and talking to Amanda-Seyfried-Murder-Guy about how she has a CT scan the next day to check on her mass. He asks if she's told her husband yet, and she says she hasn't because she doesn't want to burden him with worrying about it. Then the show logo pops up for three seconds in lieu of opening credits.
Hahaha, we have so much further to go!
We are then at a construction site where Previously-On Blonde Lady is with her son, Finn, and a guy named Witt who we can assume, based on the previously-on montage, is Finn's father.
Witt, it seems, is building a truck stop for Previously-On Blonde Lady. Sure. That's fine. There is a clear sexual tension between the two, and it appears that Finn is unaware that Witt is his father. Also, Witt calls Finn "Bubba," which is a nickname that should really be reserved for abusive yet somehow charismatic alcoholics.
Next, we're in a kitchen where a classically attractive woman with bangs is crying while talking to her husband. The show is now two for three when it comes to scenes with crying in them.
We can tell from context clues that their son has passed away. Her husband comforts her in a very tender way and agrees to go with her to a support group, which is surprising because he has total insensitive-alpha-douche-face:
Insensitive Alpha Douche Face is going to share his feelings and be male at the same time. Very impressive.
Next, Almost Julianna Margulies and Amanda Seyfried Murder Guy are discussing the case of the illegal immigrant army wife who might get deported. We learn from this scene that Illegal Immigrant Army Wife's husband is serving under Almost Julianna Margulies's husband overseas.
We then cut to Aristocratic Lisa Leslie who is explaining to her husband that a doctor said she has scarring on her uterine wall from her first pregnancy, and that another pregnancy might be high risk. Jesus Christ again!
Her husband seems very concerned, but Aristocratic Lisa Leslie still wants to have another child even if it's difficult. "I battled through my TBI, didn't I?" she says. "What is TBI?" you might ask. I asked that too. Turns out it's "traumatic brain injury." HAS ANYTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE ON THIS SHOW?!?!
Classic Bangs and Insensitive Alpha Douche Face are then at their support group. There are more crying people.
Another woman in the group expresses sadness and frustration that her husband died in what she feels is a "meaningless war." Insensitive Alpha Douche Face immediately gets PISSED and begins yelling at her in disgust.
He storms out. "She is stepping on the flag,"he says. He will NOT be in the same room with her. Way to live up to your face, Insensitive Alpha Douche Face! We knew you could do it!
We return to Aristocratic Lisa Leslie and her husband. He is upset because he just talked to the doctor and found out Aristocratic Lisa Leslie was drastically understating the dangers of her having another child. "So, he told you about the chances of miscarriage and uterine rupture," she laments.
WHAT THE FUCK!? We aren't even half way through the episode! This show should be called Never Ending Disaster Barrage. Her husband vetoes having another baby. You know, because of the miscarriaging and uterine rupturing.
We then cut to Almost Julianna Margulies in an office where a doctor who might be Jim Cramer from CNBC's "Mad Money" says the CT scan revealed a tumor on her right ovary.
FUCKING JESUS CHRIST AGAIN!! CAN WE GET A BREATHER FOR EVEN 10 SECONDS?!?! Just to review, these are the things that have been dealt with in the first 28 minutes of this episode: deciding to have a child, potential infidelity, inadequacies in our immigration laws, death of a son, death of a husband, whether or not Iraq was worth it, uterine wall scars, miscarriages, traumatic brain injuries, and ovarian tumors.
Let's quickly plow through the next 15 minutes or else we'll all lose our minds.
• Classic Bangs apologizes to the woman who Insensitive Alpha Douche Face yelled at when he was being an insensitive alpha douche. • Red Hair confronts Witt over interfering with Previously-On Blonde Lady life while her husband is away. • Almost Julianna Margulies gets her ovarian tumor taken out to be biopsied. • Amanda Seyfried Murder Guy and Julianna Margulies's husband decide to go to the press about the woman getting deported. • Aristocratic Lisa Leslie and her husband decide to look into adoption. (Yeah, great, let's throw another issue on the pile.) • Insensitive Alpha Douche Face also apologizes to the woman he yelled at.
Alright, you guys still with me? No? Neither am I!
But let's continue on with this mess. Previously-On Blonde Lady finds out that Red Hair confronted Witt. She is UNHAPPY and lets Red Hair know alllllll about it.
Then Red Hair says, "Since Jeremy died, you've been acting like Trevor's gone too, and he's not! He's alive and he's still your husband!" Oh snaaaaaap! I think. I mean, I don't really know what that means, but it sure sounded like a snap. It's not the snap I would have made though. My snap would have been about her blue zebra shirt.
As Almost Julianna Margulies is leaving the hospital, we see on her TV that the to-be-deported woman's husband is being interviewed in a news story. The publicity worked! By the next scene she is no longer going to be deported! THIS IS THE FIRST GOOD THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE WHOLE EPISODE! Then, Almost Julianna Margulies gets a phone call. It's the doctor calling to say her mass wasn't cancerous. MORE GOOD NEWS! Thank god.
She tells Amanda Seyfried Murder guy, and he is ecstatic. Things are finally looking up... Right up until Amanda Seyfriend Murder Guy tries to kiss her and she's like, "Goo!!!!"
Even the reference books behind them are like, "Dude, what are you DOING?!" Almost Julianna Margulies pushes him back, hurries away, and goes home. She arrives at her house to a ringing phone. It's her husband. He's coming home! "This is the best news I've heard all day," she says, forgetting that she just found out she's not dying of cancer. Then, finally, the ending credits roll.
So, yeah. Wow. Do they call the channel Lifetime because all their shows feel like they're 80 years long? It's like they are trying to slam you over the head with drama at every turn, but after five minutes, you're already emotionally punch drunk, and it becomes ineffective. The actors all did a good job with the acting, but the whole thing was just too exhausting. If this show was my army wife, we would be in desperate need of army counseling.
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