GCB - Pilot: 1, 01 (2012)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Last night, I did something unusual. I actually watched the pilot of a new show… on television. (This isn’t a series that has promise of using discretion.) Touted as a copycat of Desperate Housewives (ummm… yeah, like I said, not promising) as well as having the creator of HBO’s former (crass) Sex and the City sitting in an executive producer chair, this is one show that does not have a lot of things going for it. 

After her husband’s ponzi-like scheme goes south and Bill dies in a car wreck literally running from the scandal (with his mistress in tow, no less), Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) is left in disgrace. Having left her hometown roots following high school with her then high-school sweetheart, Amanda has very few options left and is certainly unable to continue living her California lifestyle. Seeing her only option as moving back to the affluent Dallas-area, Amanda packs up her two teenage kids, moves back in with her mother (Annie Potts) whom she hasn’t spoken to in years and sets about living a simpler life. Before they’ve been back even a week, Amanda starts receiving gifts from an anonymous admirer and her mother tries to change her kids for the worse. Needless to say, Amanda needs to find a job – fast! Living in her mother’s house means that certain rules must be followed one of which is going to church, something Amanda is not in a frame of mind to easily accept.

It is at those Sunday services where Amanda again meets up with her high school peers. The resident “mean girl” from those days, it would be understating the fact that concealed beneath their “good” Christian welcome is enough hostility to make anyone shudder. There is Sharon (Jennifer Aspen) who used to have a body anyone would be jealous of, but is now a binge eater and she is a wreck over her husband still crushing on Amanda. Then there is Cricket (Miriam Shor), the woman Amanda stole Bill from. Now a successful business woman, Cricket isn’t about to let history repeat itself. Carlene (Kristin Chenoweth) was not an attractive young girl but she has since had “work” done and is a grown woman with a teenage son and is married to a highly successful oil man (David James Elliott). Finally there is the still-single Heather (Marisol Nichols). A real estate agent, Heather is the only one who was “friends” with Amanda in high school and although their beginning was rocky, the two of them form a kind-of friendship. Little does Amanda know that just facing these women again is the least of her problems.

I won’t lie – I laughed a lot during these sixty minutes. It seemed like the show had some good writing despite being made up of mainly novice scripter’s; Robert Harling is among them which some may recognize from the “classic” Steel Magnolias (he also wrote one of my favorite rom-coms). Having said that though, I don’t think the laughs will be enough to sustain this series where critics (whose reviews seem mixed at best) and ratings (7.6 million, making it the second in the timeslot) are concerned. It is very important to make those of us who are Christians aware that this series does not honor God's Word. It pokes fun at it and is full of characters who laughingly quote scripture but live the complete opposite of what they “preach.” Fortunately, its main protagonist, Amanda claims no religion and in fact says that she has raised her kids to be “free,” to believe in whatever they are most passionate about.

For the most part, the “pilot” episode is relatively tame. There aren’t a lot of back-stabbing antics; something which I was thankful for but am sure will only escalate if the show is given its chances. I was really excited to see two of its cast members in something again; Kristin Chenoweth is adorable and having watched the entire 10-season run of JAG, I was most curious about seeing David in something drastically different (ironically, the two are married on the show). For once I actually felt like he broke free of his persona as a cocky fighter pilot. His adopted southern accent wasn’t too bad and he seemed “comfortable” in this role. I laughed so hard at casting directors pairing him and the short-statured Chenoweth together; there could have been someone better suited to them respectively, but they do play off each other tolerably well.

Some of you may have seen the endless promo spots for this mid-season filler (especially if you watch ABC) and if not then you may have read about the controversy surrounding its name. The novel uses profanity in the title which, I am sad to say seems more appropriate than not for how the show plays out. The studio cut that and changed it to Good Christian Belles in the hopes of gaining a wider audience, before finally cutting it to simple initials GCB. Unfortunately I think I must echo the thoughts of another critic; it reads more like a new television station with that title. The show has a kind of You Again vibe to it in the sense of a woman having to confront her past in the form of her high school days but where that was sweet as sugar, this show has more "bite" to it. Bottom line really comes down to the blatant disregard of Christianity in a show that plays like it is a “good” show because of that. That being said, it won't affect how I view Christianity because I wasn't raised to "believe" something a TV show touts. I don't see Christianity as something to be mocked but I also am able to recognize that GCB is probably not going to change anyone's beliefs. Sure, it is “funny,” and I may even watch the 10 episode first season upon its arrival to DVD but sadly the premise and material is always PC, and I don’t have the expectation that this one will get better… only worse.

(Rated TVPG for a barrage of sexual innuendos including references to sexual acts and one brief scene where a husband asks his wife if she wants to “do it” on the desk [we see them on top the desk before the scene cuts away]. A teen girl is dressed suggestively by her grandma [something which her mother disapproves of]; elsewhere there are countless immodest clothes and a woman takes a job at a Hooter-like restaurant. Women are concerned that Amanda will steal their husbands [she is not interested in relationships]. We learn that one character is homosexual. Sh*t and da*n is basically the extent of profanity.)


  1. I saw an ad for this show on TV last night. It looked like something I'd avoid, but I was still curious what it was about. Thanks for reviewing it! :)

  2. Believe it or not, I did find this a fun way to spend part of the evening, Lauren. I mean, was it flawless? Ummm, no! But the concept is no different than You Again or Mean Girls 2, only this time around, it has a more adult spin ti it.

    The biggest turn-off will be the blatant disregard of Christianity. Someone like me isn't going to be "offended" by it in terms of it being a detriment to my faith but there are some viewers who may see this that will only feel more "justified" in their belief that all Christians are hypocrites.

  3. The previews made a huge deal of trashing Christian women, so I chose to avoid it. I'll put up with a lot, but not that. Hopefully, it'll have lousy ratings an get canceled.

  4. I'm so glad you reviewed this. I'd been hoping to read a Christian perspective of this one. Sounds like I should try this one.

  5. Charity - that is an accurate conclusion... but, it is very obvious to a viewer like me (who is watching it from a moral, Christian standpoint) that these characters ARE NOT Christians.

    The ratings weren't great, so I am doubtful it will be renewed after its ten episodes but then some critics actually predict it will be around for a while so we'll see...

    Juju - awww, thanks! I appreciate that. I went back and forth as to whether or not I should review this one. Glad you found it helpful.

    Despite it's disregard of Christianity and what it stands for, GCB is a fun hour. That being said, I haven't a clue what ensuing episodes will be like: They could be "cute" or be trashy - only time will tell. =D

  6. (Sorry to repost. For some reason, Blogger keeps eating words!)

    You and I would know that they are not born-again believers, but the rest of the world would not. This show is intentionally depicting Christians in a negative manner. Maybe that IS how the rest of the world sees us, but I don't think we should "tolerate" it. I'm sure if it were any other faith, they would not have aired it. Haven't seen any "all Muslims are terrorists" programs recently. =P

  7. I completely agree with you, Charity. As a matter of fact, I had that thought when writing this review yesterday morning and never did expand on it in the review. There are people who do feel that Christianity is "bad" and that all Christians are hypocrites but those kind of people believed that whether this show was on or not.

    "Haven't seen any 'all Muslims are terrorists' programs recently. =P"

    Goodness, no! You'll never see THAT on network television. ;D

    Oh, dear!? Is Blogger giving you trouble again!? The very nerve! =D

  8. Blogger hates me. It keeps taking the first letter off of words. Or the last one. Either way, it is messing with me today.

    I cannot POSSIBLY be that bad a typist... or maybe I am. =D

  9. Do you really think so!? LOL! =D I know it has given you such trouble at different times...

    Sometimes my keyboard doesn't work properly - I "know" that I hit the letter key and still it won't type. Ah, the joys of technology.

  10. Kudos to you for watching this one and reviewing it. I haven't watched it yet. It does look funny.

  11. *YAY! Jen is back!* =)

    Thanks, Jen. If you can look past the whole "poking fun at Christianity," then, this is WAY fun. I did enjoy it minus its "content."

  12. lol It's good to be back. My power cord to my computer was not working for over a week.

    I watched an episode last night and I thought it was pretty funny. Sometimes you just need to laugh at yourself. I do not like the name Good Christian B***** though. They should have started with another name.

  13. Don't you just hate it when technology messes us up like that!? And, it is supposed to be SO great. Whatever!

    That is basically how I took this show. Sure, I didn't like the mocking (or the title as you say) but it was entertaining. Right or wrong, it tickled my funny bone - the show definitely had its moments.


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