Army Wives' Season One was a "surprise" hit only to those who assumed there was a narrow, limited audience for a nighttime soap opera of sorts about middle-class women enduring Iraq war sacrifices.
Instead, the show has hit home on a number of levels.
It presents familiar faces, like NYPD Blue's Kim Delaney and JAG's Catherine Bell, as newly vulnerable women with cores of strength — role models for Lifetime's demographic and beyond.
And, in a way, the cramped, refreshingly untidy Army base houses of some of these wives serve as a metaphor for the economic hard times of many current civilians in the U.S.A. as well.
But in Season 2, Army Wives is exploring new themes, according to a recent column in Entertainment Weekly.
The show has rolled out a story line about the joys of returning spouses (Sally Pressman's irrepressible Roxy tried orally pleasuring her wounded hubby even before he was discharged from the base hospital).
Another Army Wives subplot concerns the numbing grief felt by Kim Delaney's Claudia Joy over the death of her daughter, who died in Season One's dramatic, bar-explosion cliff-hanger.
Creator-writer Katherine Fugate knows that some clichés persist because they contain truth, even when a character says something like, "Life goes on, as cliché as that sounds."
This is the way people talk, and Army Wives captures these women in anger, despair, and the giddiness that comes from the red wine they all regularly gather to guzzle their troubles away with — momentarily.
Sure, it's melodramatic, but Army Wives (already renewed for Season 3) is pretty addictive.