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Catherine Bell talks about "Army Wives"

Fans of the show “Army Wives” know actress Catherine Bell as Denise Sherwood, the wife of an Army lieutenant colonel whose love life has been a bit rocky. In an interview with Stars and Stripes on Thursday, Bell said the show tries to give an accurate portrayal of military spouses.

 "Of course we take some creative license, and I think our lives are maybe more dramatic or have more drama than the average person’s life, but we get a lot of great feedback from the spouses and people in the military who really appreciate how we represent them,” Bell said during a publicity interview for her movie “The Good Witch’s Gift,” which airs Saturday in the United States on Hallmark Channel.

But one real life military spouse, whose husband and son have both deployed to Iraq, said “Army Wives” provides only a glimpse of reality.

“The tensing up and terror when you see the black staff car on your street, the ‘I won't get away from the computer, he might [e-mail]’ or the worry... that's real,” said Karen Francis in an e-mail. Francis’ husband is stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Francis said other aspects of the show are just TV, such as someone getting housing right away after making E-4, or the wives of a major general and an E-5 becoming friends, or the Family Readiness Group functioning as a tight, cohesive unit.

Bell said she doesn’t get a lot of feedback from people who point out inaccuracies in “Army Wives,” but she did hear some criticism when she was on the TV show “JAG,” on which she played a Marine lawyer.

“People would say, ‘Oh, your medals are this or that, or they’re little crooked,’ or ‘Your salute was off,’ or that kind of thing, but even that wasn’t too often,” she said. “I think we did a pretty accurate job.

"Again, it’s TV and you got to keep it exciting.”

After talking about “Army Wives,” Stars and Stripes dropped the big question: Will Catherine Bell do a USO trip downrange?

“I’ve been invited several times and I’ve always been working, around the holidays,” she said. “One of these days I will, for sure.”

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