Final Thoughts on ‘Army Wives: A Final Salute’

Since this is one of my most searched posts from my old blog, I figured I would move it over. Originally posted 3-17-2014.

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VIA lifetime network

Last night, the fans of “Army Wives,” which ran for seven seasons (and was unexpectedly canceled in September,) had a chance to say goodbye to their beloved characters, except for the Catherine Bell (Denise Sherwood,) in a special two hour farewell episode. I wish I could say I was satisfied with the goodbye that was “graciously given to us” by Lifetime, but I wasn’t. Of course, I cried on and off, beginning with the initial show recap, three minutes into the show. But other than that, I was left even more sad than before. Maybe, it’s because I watched all seven seasons in three years, instead of seven, but I just feel like we weren’t given the closure we deserved. The show was canceled, it didn’t end the way shows are supposed to end, and this goodbye just left a bad taste in my mouth for Lifetime.

Right before Jim left for Basic Training, exactly three years ago, he said to me, “Do not watch ‘Army Wives.'” I said, “Okay, okay,” and bought the first season the next day.  My mom and I watched the first four and a half seasons within a month, or so, to catch up to the fifth season that was being aired in 2011; we must have watched 2-3 episodes, a night, for weeks. It really was one of the few things that got me through being away from my Soldier for 10 weeks and four days.

The reason Jim didn’t want me to watch “Army Wives” was because it was more drama than informative, which was true, but I did learn about Army friendship, ranks, and how not to dress on post (thanks, Roxy!) The show was emotional for me, more often than not, but that is reality. Being in the Army family is an emotional roller coaster, no matter how you look at it. The homecomings were the hardest for me to watch, and next came the goodbyes.

army1
VIA lifetime network

The reason I didn’t like the “finale” that the network put together is due to the fact that A) Catherine Bell (Denise Sherwood) was not there. It was rumored (online) that she was working on another show but it was never addressed during the reunion. B) Only the “original” cast members were there; none of the “kid” characters were in attendance for interviews or the newer characters, introduced during season six/seven, that I had just started to accept as regulars. Some of the original cast members hadn’t been regulars for a while, heck Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) had died on the show, yet she was still there. I just think the other cast members were probably interested in being a part of the goodbye, and weren’t given the opportunity, which is a shame because they had become a part of the Army family too.

The only interesting part of the “Army Wives: A Final Salute” was hearing from Tanya Biank, the author of the book Army Wives: The Unwitten Code of Military Marriage, which the show was based on, and see her cameo appearances on the show; I have yet to read the book, but may read it now since the series is “officially” over. Confessions of a Military Wife by Mollie Gross will forever be my favorite military book; her book would make a hilarious show! What wasn’t interesting, last night, was seeing how “Army Wives” affected “real” military spouses. We know it had a huge effect on the military, especially on spouses, and I think those mini interviews wasted precious screen time that could have been given to other cast members.

In my opinion, if they were able to get almost everyone together to say goodbye, why couldn’t they just do an actual goodbye episode, instead of a recap episode? Even if it was only an hour, I feel like the producers could have tied up some loose ends in a final episode, and then had an hour “after show” interview show to have all the characters say goodbye. Unfortunately, I do not call the shots and am just one of the many disappointed fans. As an Army wife myself, I have never been too great at goodbyes, this goodbye is no different. I am bitter and sad that all good things must come to an end.

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