Star Kim Delaney says Army Wives shows an unseen side of military life, writes Erin McWhirter
IT’S easy to dismiss Army Wives as a Desperate Housewives ripoff. In a mirror image of life on Wisteria Lane, Army Wives features five female leads.
‘‘I don’t mind that (being compared to Housewives),’’ Army Wives star Kim Delaney confesses.
‘‘ Desperate Housewives is very successful and it’s a good show. Sometimes I think it’s (comparison) because we are wives and they put that in the same category. I know our show is very raw and things happen on a very real level.’’
For Delaney, whose body of TV work includes The O.C., CSI: Miami, NYPD Blue and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, it’s the rawness and mystery behind the women in Army Wives that attracted her to the role of Claudia Joy Holden.
She believes it’s those same qualities that lure millions of viewers to the show each week in the US.
‘‘We all have secrets and so does Claudia Joy,’’ Delaney, 50, says.
‘‘I liked the character and her relationship with her husband. There is a great love story there. Then you have her playing a mum and being best friends with Denise (played by Catherine Bell).
‘‘There are sides to Claudia Joy to explore. The show is very real and she is the moral centre of the show. She is human and she has flaws. Things like that are fun to play.’’
Delaney says the show is successful in showing the strain army wives endure. Delaney’s research proved how difficult these women find it to be left alone, isolated, when their husbands are sent away for combat.
‘‘There are so many incredible and heartfelt stories these women tell,’’ Delaney says.
‘‘I have such respect for them and admire them, that they can live in this unknown world from day-today. When I say that (to them), they just kind of look at me and they say, ‘Kim, that first time when they (husbands) get off the plane (return home from a mission), there is nothing like it in the world’. Their eyes just sparkle. It’s so sweet.’’
In Army Wives, we see how Roxy (Sally Pressman) must deal with the pain of her husband of 17 days heading off to Iraq. Instead of planning a honeymoon, she’s worrying about him coming into contact with explosives.
Meanwhile, Pamela (Brigid Brannagh), after giving birth to surrogate twins on a pool table, becomes distressed when her husband is more concerned about his career status than her health.
There’s Denise Sherwood (Bell). When her husband’s away their son physically abuses her. She learns a Black Hawk helicopter carrying her husband, Maj Frank Sherwood, has been shot down in Iraq.
Army Wives, shot at a fictional post called Fort Marshall, is based on the book Army Wives: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage by Tanya Biank.
On average, 3.6 million US viewers tune into Army Wives, making it the highest-rated series in cable network Lifetime’s 23-year history.
While the US Army refused to be associated with the first season of the show, it changed its tune for season two and offered producers information to help create storylines.
‘‘I think they saw we were incredibly respectful to the military, we weren’t taking a side either way. It’s not political at all. I think they wanted to help us get it as right as we could and still get entertainment,’’ Delaney says.
Battle weary: Kim Delaney (above) stars in which focuses on the women behind the men of war.