I’ve watched one episode of the drama series Army Wives. No wait, I take that back. I’ve watched half an episode of Army Wives. That was about all I needed to realize how unrealistic the show is.
After that, I resigned myself to the fact that there would probably never be a television show about military spouses that was truly representative of our community, that would accurately portray the intricacies of our lives.
And then I met Rynn Randall.
Rynn Randall is one of seven Army wives chosen to participate in the new docu-series Married to the Army: Alaska, which premieres on the Oprah Winfrey Network this month. Cameras follow these military spouses stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, capturing the raw emotions that surround deployments, raising kids alone, coping with depression, homecomings, and the news of a KIA all while living far away from family in a remote location.
Here’s a sneak peak:
I had the chance to sit down and chat with Rynn at the AUSA conference in Washington DC after she spoke about her experiences on the show, particularly her decision to publicly share her struggles with depression and her ultimate choice to seek help.
“I’ve spent too much time pretending to be okay,” Rynn told me. “It was time for me to face the truth and seek help. I needed it, and I’m better off because I did that.”
Although she had her doubts about being a part of the show, she told herself that her candor might be able to help others who are struggling with the same issues. “I think that maybe there are other women going through similar situations,” she said. “So if I can help anyone feel okay, like they’re normal, they’re not strange, then it would be worth it.”
Rynn hopes that military spouses walk away from the show with the feeling that they’re not alone. But she also believes the series has a message for civilian wives as well.
“I have teenagers, and I’m trying to figure out how to raise them and how to discipline them,” she said. “I also have to face the fact that I’m getting older, and for women, that’s hard to accept because you don’t want your kids to grow up, and you don’t want time to pass. These are universal issues we go through as women.”
Rynn’s journey is just one of seven we’ll get to follow on Married to the Army: Alaska. And if the sneak peak is any indication of what the entire series will be like, I’m sure we’ll be able to relate to these women a heck of a lot more than those Hollywood actresses on Army Wives.
These are real military wives with real issues that most of us have been through at one point or another in our tenure as military spouses. I once thought there would never be a television show about military spouses that was truly representative of our community, that would accurately portray the intricacies of our lives.
I think I might be wrong.
The 8-episode series premieres on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Sunday, November 18 from 10-11 PM. Then it will move to its regular time slot from 10-11 PM on Mondays starting November 19.
Will you be watching? Would you have participated in a docu-series like this?