Last night was the season premiere of Army Wives and, being an Army wife myself, I fell in love with that show in the first season. However, I must say, I was slightly disappointed with the premiere.
To bring you up to speed on the two areas I’m talking about, let me do a quick recap of last season (very quick, I promise).
In the last season, Army brat turned soldier, Jeremy, went on his first tour in Iraq. While he was there, his best friend was killed in a bad luck situation. His friend was in a Hummer where Jeremy had been moments before, but since his friend was limping offered to switch places. Jeremy had a hard time dealing with this. In the last scene of the season finale, you see Jeremy’s parents walking up the driveway of their home (where Jeremy is staying temporarily after returning from Iraq). They hear a gunshot and his dad takes off toward the front door.
In the second scene, Joan is a new mother who was deployed to Iraq not long after giving birth to her daughter. In her last scene, Joan’s convoy is attacked and you see her pulling a wounded soldier behind a military vehicle. Seconds later, a bomb explodes underneath the car.
Both season endings were perfect. It left you clawing for the next season (which, thankfully, they didn’t make us wait until June again). You had to know what happened to both of them. I wanted to hunt down the writers just to find out. Obviously, they really knew what they were doing—how to make the viewers come back.
So, last night, I sat down with some strawberry shortcake, a box of tissues, and a eager spirit as the first scenes of Army Wives flashed across the screen. And my first disappointment hit.
Jeremy’s father rushed into the house to find his son standing at the end of the hall, tears in his eyes, gun in hand. While a slight deluge of relief rushed through my body, it seemed almost unrealistic that he merely shot his picture. It wasn’t until much later in the show that we find out why he probably didn’t kill himself.
The show moves on and gets to a point where it shows Joan’s husband at his desk at work when the phone rings. My first immediate thought is that the military does not call you to tell you your spouse was killed. They send two soldiers to your door—a scene every military spouse dreads. But, it’s not someone on the other line to deliver bad news, it’s Joan herself. What? She didn’t die either? No, she tells her husband that they were attacked and she was getting some stitches but would be fine. She loved him and would call him in a few days. As the scene fades out, they showed a side view of her and we can tell it’s a little more than stitches.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not exactly rooting for death and dismay for these characters. But the lead up and execution of the cliffhangers left the audience with certain expectations. And while the new developments in the premiere still set us up for an interesting season, it wasn’t what we expected. In some ways, it was almost unrealistic. That was particularly frustrating. I can explain away the shows choices in my mind, but that doesn’t rid me of my initial reactions.
What about you? Have you read a novel or seen a show that left you disappointed? Were you able to pick apart why the writers chose to go the way they did? Did it make any more sense?
Later this week, we'll discuss more in depth how to avoid this in our own writing.