TV review: Army Wives

By Michele Hewitson

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How to get an Army wife: meet a girl, have wild sex for four days, return to Army base, go back to bar, say to girl, "You've got two kids to two different men ... I think you're my soul mate. Roxy, will you marry me?"

"Oh, why the hell not?" or something like that, says the girl. You can tell how well she'll go down with the other officers' wives in Army Wives (Thursday, TV2, 8.30pm).

Roxy is a bit of a slapper, but she is, you can tell from the start, a slapper with a heart of gold. Some might think she's also a bit of a gold digger, had she not gone for Trevor, the Army guy who's so low down in the pecking order that he gets the crappiest house on base.

He takes her and the kids to their new home and apologises. "This is more than we have ever had, okay?" she says. At which point I believe we were supposed to go "aw!"

In last night's first episode we saw Roxy's handsome soldier get a call to tell him he'd made the paratroopers. Roxy was in bed. "Why don't you jump in here and see if you can open my parachute?" she said. At which point I believe we were supposed to go: "Crikey!" (I just spent longer than I wanted to wondering whether this was really rude or really silly.)

Roxy has quite a turn of phrase. At an officers' dinner, she saluted Trev's major. "Well, if I didn't just serve up toe jam on an idiot cracker," she said, making things a whole lot better.

Then she spilled wine over her dress, retired to the ladies and emerged from a cubicle, to the horrified glee of some very proper wives, in a bra and thong.

Anything with "wives" in the title is going to be part sheilas being bitchy and part sheilas bonding. There is nothing that will bond girls together, apparently, like a birth. Preferably on a pool table in a bar and preferably when the woman giving birth is white, and her husband is white, and babies are black. That wasn't the twist (or not quite the twist); we already knew Pamela was a surrogacy mother: she and her horrid hubby have money worries. This was a big secret. She planned to tell people the babies died. That wasn't the twist either.

No, the twist is that one of the Army wives is a man, Roland, a psychologist married to a lieutenant-colonel recently returned from Afghanistan. His wife has seen some terrible things and got trolleyed at the bar where Roxy has taken a job. Roland has his work cut out for him.

As the girls delivered the babies they handed them to Roland. "Well, it wasn't me!" he said.

You couldn't accuse Army Wives of a slow start. We have the secrets out of the bag (although there will be more.) We know who the bag is: the bayonet-faced wife who spread rumours about her husband's rival for promotion.

Anything with "wives" in the title must mean cat fights. Anything with "Army" in the title must mean some musing on the cost of war.

But Army Wives is a soap - which means there will be more, aah, parachute-opening, and much, much more bonding and "aw" moments.

- NZ Herald

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