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Extraordinary optical transmission of light or electromagnetic waves through metal plates periodically perforated with subwavelength holes has been exhaustively analyzed in the last ten years. The study of this phenomenon has attracted the attention of many scientists working in the fields of optics and condensed matter physics. This confluence of scientists has given rise to different theories, some of them controversial. The first theoretical explanation was based on the excitation of surface plasmons along the metal-air interfaces. However, since periodically perforated dielectric (and perfect conductor) slabs also exhibit extraordinary transmission, diffraction by a periodic array of scatterers was later considered as the underlying physical phenomenon. From a microwave engineering point of view, periodic structures exhibiting extraordinary optical transmission are very closely related to frequency-selective surfaces. In this paper, we use simple concepts from the theory of frequency-selective surfaces, waveguides, and transmission lines to explain extraordinary transmission for both thin and thick periodically perforated perfect conductor screens. It will be shown that a simple transmission-line equivalent circuit satisfactorily accounts for extraordinary transmission, explaining all of the details of the observed transmission spectra, and easily gives predictions on many features of the phenomenon. Although the equivalent circuit is developed for perfect conductor screens, its extension to dielectric perforated slabs and/or penetrable conductors at optical frequencies is almost straightforward. Our circuit model also predicts extraordinary transmission in nonperiodic systems for which this phenomenon has not yet been reported.