Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TDT #15 - Married to the Army: Alaska

One of the ways I have always done my countdowns when my  husband is away is by counting trash days.  Most of the time it isn't as daunting a number as the estimated number of days he'll be gone.  And it helps me remember to put the trash out, or rather encourage my boys to put the trash out since it's their job.  So this will be my new weekly post, and I'll just really post whatever, no real set theme.  Please feel free to join me on this adventure of counting down the time until your loved one comes home!
Oprah has this new series on her network about Army wives.  I immediately decided that I was not going to watch it or like it.  I watched the preview and it annoyed me.  After it premiered all I heard on Facebook and Twitter was most of my Army wife friends either loving it or hating it.  I'm not going to lie...it peaked my interest.  I set up my DVR to record the episodes and I watched the first two.  The first episode really irritated me, it was so staged and the one wife that most everyone already hated made me want to scream, I almost just threw in the towel right there to not watch the show but something else drew me in.

First off, let me just say...it's TV.  Reality or not, it's TV and it's edited.  The network is still making money on the show and whether their goal is to show the rest of the world what life is like as an Army wife, it's just television.  The Military community is emotionally charged...the things we go through and endure cause us to be passionate and link some type of feeling to almost every aspect of our life.  It's just the way it is.  So there are many who felt like we didn't need any network to show us how we live our lives and certainly not some edited for drama version!  But I admit, it would be nice for the rest of America to get a glimpse of what goes on in our lives.  Though I think most of the audience is probably Military wives.

So as I said, the first episode really made me frustrated.  The one snooty wife who had to drop her husband's rank every chance she got and then she tried to reprimand, though she stated she was simply helping, the young enlisted wife, made me want to throat punch her.  There was nothing inappropriate about saying that she worked at Hooters and that is where she met her husband.  One of the things I love most about this Military life is that it is so diverse and everyone's journey is so unique.  I have met Spouses who were strippers and some who are doctors and some who worked at NASA.  Who cares where we came from.  Despite what some Spouses think (perceived status that needs a serious reality check) we are all equal.

That particular Spouse irritated a lot of people, I heard all about her on social media.  It is one of the things that made me want to watch and see what all the excitement was about.  I even laughed as I saw some people outraged, especially since THEY are "that wife".  Here's the thing...those "characters" for lack of a better term, on this show are not made up...they exist.  Maybe not all at one installation but after watching three episodes now, I can honestly tell you that I have met one of each of those wives somewhere along my Army wife journey.  

Here's the thing, despite what some people think, there is no mold when it comes to Military Spouses.  Oh, I know people think there is...that's why people say things like, "I'm not your typical Army wife" or "I'm not like the others."  No, you're not because there isn't a mold, everyone is their own person, with their own stories.  I have yet to meet, in my 16 years as an Army wife, a typical anything.  What spouses don't like to hear is all of us lumped into one and really who can blame us for that?  

So back to the girls on the show.  I think they are real and when they don't seem as real, I'm sure it's due to editing and some staging.  I wish it had been a little more diverse of a group.  Add in a junior officer spouse, male spouse and a senior enlisted spouse.  I get that they had to take what they could get and had to go through all sorts of red tape to get the show on the road to begin with, but I don't think the casting is diverse enough, but it is what it is.

What I like about the show is that the emotions are real.  I have been down their road and I find myself nodding in agreement, getting emotional and saying oh yeah...I remember that!  I love that it shows the roller coaster of emotions that you ride in this life.  The fear of the unknown.  I can relate to the young girl who's heart drops every time the doorbell rings and you haven't heard from your husband.  I have been blessed with the strong, stalwart brigade commander's wife who mentored me and helped me and other spouses through a very difficult deployment.  I appreciate the brigade commander's wife on the show because she gets it.  She is strong, yet real.  Rynn is who I relate to the most right now.  She is where I am.  I'm not going through a combat deployment, but I can relate to her trial with teenagers and separation.  I seriously want to yell AMEN when she is talking about how difficult it is raising kids on your own at this age. 

I find it amusing that people were berating the Spouses for things they said or did but I will admit I've probably done and said a lot of those things.  Picked a fight with my husband, yup.  Said inappropriate things at a get together...yup.  Nagged my husband because he didn't do things the way I think he should...oh yes.  Left my children behind while I rushed to my husband when he came home...yes..sorry boys!  I'm glad that I can say I have never had to pick up moose poop...gag me.  I will say I'm still waiting to see the spouse not so put together, wearing sweat pants, no make up and their hair looking crazy...I haven't seen that on the show and let me tell you that is reality folks!

I can't say I love the show but I will probably keep watching it.  I may do some eye rolling but so far it's because of the actions and words of some of the spouses and not all the discrepancies or absurd story lines like Army Wives.  This may be the most real it is going to get on television for the world to see and it paints a glimpse of our daily lives.  As long as people can remember it's TV and edited, I think we'll be okay.

So who else is watching Married to the Army: Alaska?  And what do you think?


Jen said...

I haven't watched it yet but I will probably start.

Diana said...

Hi! I found your blog from a google search for this topic. We're currently at JBER (where this show was filmed) and I just want to say that they had no shortage of people interviewing for this show. I wrote my own post about my reaction to the show, as we were repeatedly asked to be on it, but declined. I just hope that everyone remembers that first and foremost, it's for TV!