'Army Wives' Re-Cap: A Very Short Lesbian Engagement and a Broadway Diva Mom

'Army Wives' Re-Cap: A Very Short Lesbian Engagement and a Broadway Diva Mom
Tracy E. Gilchrist

Since Army Wives launched its lesbian storyline between the ever-likable Kellie Martin as the slightly uptight post-DADT decorated Army Captain Nicole and Ryan Michelle Bathe as her out and proud counterpart Charlie, the pair has gone through the seven stages of lesbian love at a break-neck pace. Not without tribulation Nicole has been asked and has told, they’ve U-Hauled together and they got engaged. The only thing they’ve left out thus far is a kitty adoption at the local park.

This week’s episode of Army Wives, which was on hiatus for a few weeks, returned with Broadway diva Patti LuPone playing Nicole’s not-so understanding mother, but as Army Wives appears to be in a time warp all its own one can’t really be sure how much mama Lorraine has been exposed to the idea of her Army Captain daughter as a big ole gay girl. But hold on to your Army berets because Charlie waits for no mom.

Ep. 6.15 – “Battle Scars”

The storyline really kicks off with Charlie discussing possible wedding dates while Nicole ferociously pours wine into goblets, and trust me, they’re going to need a little something to take the edge off.

Sensing Nicole’s irritation with something Charlie finally pulls it out of her that Nicole’s mom, Tony Award winning grand dame of all things showqueeny, Patti Lupone – I mean Lorraine -- will be arriving for Nicole’s upcoming Bronze star ceremony. Just as a bit of background, it’s always ratings gold to cast Patti LuPone in ANYTHING but Army Wives did a bit of stunt casting here since LuPone played Kellie Martin’s mom in the classic family show Life Goes On 20 years ago.

Back to Army Wives, the tricky thing here is that Lorraine still thinks that Nicole and Charlie are just “roomies.” To quote Karen Walker on Will & Grace circa 2000 I’ll just say, “What is she, headless?” Still, some folks catch on faster than others so I’m willing to give Lorraine the benefit of the doubt, however, Charlie is not willing to give that inch.

“Does she know we’re engaged?” Charlie pushes, but Nicole is not budging. It’s a tough call getting between mother and daughters.

“Let me do it my way,” Nicole says. “She’s my mother.”

Later, Lorraine has turned up at Charlie’s and Nicole’s love shack just as excited to see her daughter as can be. Like any good diva Lorraine excuses herself to use the little girls’ room to freshen up. Meanwhile Charlie pressures Nicole to find out if Nicole has come out and announced the engagement during what was likely a four-minute car ride over.

“It didn’t come up,” Nicole says, in what I would deem a don’t f*ck with me tone. But Charlie is apparently pushed to her edge with Nicole’s refusal to drop the bomb on her mother, so when Lorraine emerges from the bathroom fresh-faced and cheery and looking like she’s about to burst into “Anything Goes,” Charlie bursts her bubble.

“I’m not Nicole’s roommate. I’m her fiancée, and we’re getting married,” Charlie blurts as if Lorraine were Anita Bryant incarnate. Upset by either the news that her daughter’s got Sapphic tendencies or that her daughter’s girlfriend is rude and thoughtless, Lorraine turns on her tap shoe heels and exits.

“Proud of Yourself?” Nicole asks, before running after her mama. Nicole apologizes profusely for Charlie’s rude-ass behavior.

“Are you really going to marry that woman?” Lorraine queries, and still, I’m not sure which part is upsetting Lorraine more.

Back in the house Charlie defends her actions. “I had to do it,” she says. That’s when Nicole launches into her backstory. “You don’t know my mother. All you’ve done is get in her face,” Nicole says, and I have to agree, at least from what was shown in this episode. Nicole explains that since her father was not in the picture her mother raised her, that her mom is her rock, and where she gets her strength.

Still, Charlie is not buying it. “How is it you’re getting a medal for valor but you can’t find the courage to tell your mother we’re getting married?”

“She knows now and she may never recover from it!” Nicole says, and I’m thinking that bottle of wine sounds like a good idea at this point.

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The next morning, presumably, Lorraine is packing to leave before the award ceremony as Nicole, in full uni, begs her to stay.

Harking back to that old standard of confused mothers from pop culture past Lorraine asks what she did so wrong to have a lesbian daughter, and Patti, who can act rings around everyone, delivers these lines with such lackluster that it’s obvious she doesn’t even believe them. As a gay icon I’m fairly certain she cannot contractually make such stereotypical antigay statements.

Nicole explains that she can no longer hide who she is, and here’s where I’m wishing Army Wives didn’t have 17 storylines to service so that we might have at least a little more time to flesh out her story.

“The army understands. Why can’t you?” Nicole demands of her mom, alluding to DADT repeal.

Then mom and daughter have a moment together during which Lorraine shares her life-long dream of watching her daughter walk down the aisle and eventually having kids.

“All those things are still possible, just not exactly how you pictured them,” Nicole replies.

Cut to the awards’ ceremony and Lorraine is nowhere to be seen. Couldn’t they have at least asked her to show up early and belt the National Anthem?

But, as a diva always knows how to make an entrance, Lorraine turns up just as Nicole is being honored. As a side note, I know that this Patti LuPone Broadway diva thing I’m on may be getting old to some of you (she’s a multi-faceted, talented actress, blah, blah, blah), but she is always a Tony Award winning Mama Rose screaming at the audience to turn off their cell phones to me!

Nicole spies her mother off to the side and struggles not to smile as she’s in full military Parade Rest.

Following the ceremony it’s official photo-op time. Nicole and mom snap a pic together and then Nicole and Charlie snap a pic. Finally, Charlie, who just can’t let a mom get there at her own pace, says, “How about one of the three of us?”

Reluctantly, because Charlie’s so damned pushy, or possibly just taking a moment to drink in her new family, Lorraine joins them in their first official family photo. Let the awwws emanate from couches across the nation.

And that’s it for Charlie and Nicole this week. Let’s hope Lorraine sings at the wedding!

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