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Army Wives Blog

"Army Wives" Author Tanya Biank Dishes the Behind-the-Scenes Dirt

By CaitlinBergmann Thu., Jun. 12, 2008 ,12:09 pm EDT

"Army Wives" author and real-life Army wife Tanya Biank will graciously be guest blogging every now and again, giving us the inner circle scoop straight from the set of "Army Wives." I'm especially excited to announce her debut post here on the blog today!

If you ever wanted to know the real deal about TV couple Sally Pressman and Drew Fuller off-set and Sterling K. Brown's reaction to his character Roland's cheating ways, read on! Tanya will be sharing all-new gossip and insider news, so keep checking back for more!

June 12, 2008

This past year I’ve done quite a bit of traveling talking to "Army Wives" fans about the show and my book, which the series is based on. The one question I’m asked over and over: “How could Roland do that to Joan?”

“That,” of course, refers to Roland’s Season 1 hot-n-heavy bed romp with the hottie magazine writer. But we weren’t the only ones shocked by his conduct — so was Wendy Davis, the actress who plays his wife, Joan. “When I learned about that scene,” she told me, “I looked at Sterling with disgust and said, ‘How could you cheat on Joan?’”

Poor Sterling K. Brown. Not only is he a fabulous actor and a newlywed to boot, but he’s a man of faith and integrity, who has been known to lead his fellow cast members in prayer. When I saw him at an Army event in Washington, DC last fall, the poor guy might as well have had a big fat scarlet “A” on his chest. I stood next to him at the microphone as he eloquently thanked military families for their service and sacrifice. A friend later told me that as he spoke, an Army colonel called his wife on his cell phone and said, “Hey, the guy who cheated on Joan is here ...”

I don’t know what’s more hilarious, the colonel’s remarks, or the fact that the ol’ guy watches the show. The truth is many military members from generals to privates watch "Army Wives" with their wives. How do I know? Their wives tell me. One Army wife told me she mails copies of the show to her husband in Iraq with the instructions: “Watch this!” And we all know by now presidential candidate and war hero John McCain watches because Cindy makes him.

But back to Roland...like he did in the Season 2 premiere, Roland will continue to exonerate himself, not just within his marriage but in other ways on post where his actions will come down to principle.

How the heck do I know? I’m no psychic. I get my poop as a military consultant for "Army Wives", which means I answer the writers’ and producers’ questions and help with ideas, outlines and scripts. The beauty of Season 2 is that while we were introduced to the gang last season we’ll now get to see more layers and texture to their personalities and relationships. Real life can get messy and our little band of Army spouses at Fort Marshall will deal with their share of drama in Season 2.

Take goody-two-shoes Denise Sherwood, played by the lovely Catherine Bell, for instance. At the end of Season 1, when Denise goes back to work as a nurse, we get an inkling she’s coming into her own. All I can say is “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet folks.” My jaw literally dropped with the last script I read on Denise. Ooooh mama! Wish I could dish more on that, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

Roxy, too, will grow as a person. She and hubby Trevor will be tested in ways that could impact their marriage. Incidentally, Sally Pressman, who plays Roxy, told me there is nothing going on between her and Drew Fuller off the set. Sally has a serious boyfriend whom she recently bought a house with in L.A. “We literally live under the Hollywood sign,” she told me. She says she and Drew are more like siblings — squabbling siblings, that is. But so far this season both have been on model behavior, Sally reports. And wasn’t that video clip message Trevor taped for Roxy in the premiere incredible??! Yowsza.

Before I go, I’ve got to spill the beans on Brian McNamara, who plays serious and steadfast Brig. Gen. Michael Holden. The first time I met Brian on set I complimented him on his spot-on portrayal of a senior Army officer. Brian responded with: “Really? I’m such a goofball!”

Indeed, he is. By the end of Season 1 the show had enough gag reel of Brian alone. Oh and give that man a tissue and he’ll soak it up with tears. Remember the Fourth of July episode last season where Claudia Joy gave that amazing tribute to military families in her backyard? The scene was shot over Brian’s shoulder. Had we actually seen his face, we’d have seen his shirt soaked with tears. At the start of Season 2, someone placed a sign on his trailer that read: “The General.”

It was quickly replaced with a new one. “Cryin’ Brian.” It’s all in good fun. Behind-the-scenes camaraderie is the chemistry that makes the show work.

By Tanya Biank

"Army Wives" by Tanya Biank is available online and at your favorite bookseller now.

Anything else you want to know from Tanya about what really happened on the set? Ask away! Post your questions and we'll post her responses here on the blog.


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