GCB: Girl Power, Conundrums, and BBQ

GCB S01E9: "Adam & Eve's Rib"

Are we still watching this show? Texas by way of Burbank? Dallas by way of Loony Toons? Please don’t shriek at me. I know some of you absolutely cannot get enough of GCB and think it's relevant and irreverent and fun. I think you’re wrong, but I respect that you can have your own opinions, and while I loathe this show and its jokes always fill my living room with a deafening silence, I really despise the act of hate-watching a TV show. So I am going to try to be as positive as I possibly can. Here is what was wonderful about the episode!!!

1. Jesús from True Blood showed up! Wow, way to bring a gun to a knife fight, casting director, because Kevin Alejandro is OBSCENELY talented and genuinely one of the best actors working on the small screen today. (I dream of seeing him and Brian Cranston in a dramatic series.) And it looks like he and the Realtor might actually get a couple episodes together!

2. Amanda’s son is still alive! He appeared briefly in church, so he hasn’t collapsed in a whippet coma in Gigi’s walk-in belt closet or whatever.

3. Gigi is turning into an Absolutely Fabulous character. Between the beehive and the ever-present cocktail, isn't she totally an homage to the outrageous Patsy!? I love Patsy so much that if she were a real person I’d sneak into her house and steal her dirty sheets (and I’d net at least $5 in half-burnt cigarettes). Annie Potts' warmth on top of that kind of sneering hedonism is lovely.

4. I love Cricket. Well, I love the actress who plays Cricket, the brilliant Miriam Shor. And I love the way she says her Texas-accented W-words. “Hwhy?” “Hwhere?!” “Hwhat in the world?” Just like this guy!

She’s the funniest person on this show, and she expresses more with one tremulous crystalline gaze than the writers have laboriously manufactured in clunky dialogue over the last five episodes. I don’t understand why she’s resisting the stud-owning Mason or Maverick or whatever his name is considering she regularly has affairs with other guys (there are literally 50 catalog models introduced EVERY EPISODE and they all blend together into a handsome vanilla blur, so please don’t ask me to remember names because life is SHORT babies it is SHORT), but I suspect it has to do with emotional loyalty. Also, how did I not recognize her from Hedwig and the Angry Inch?! She played Yitzhak!

5. I liked the overall message of "Adam & Eve's Rib." Girl power! Be independent! We can make brisket! I liked this week's version of Amanda’s “darkest moment”/"tip us into a magic ride home"/"break into the third act" emotional speech, which she gives like clockwork in every episode. She just wanted to set a good example for her daughter of how to be independent! Another good way to do that would be not volunteering to slow-cook brisket and instead focusing on your actual problems, picking up an extra shift, and using the money to pay for a condo or whatever. But let’s stay positive: Good intentions pave this road (to hell)!

6. Now this is getting hard. I think that’s it. I actually had a number of problems with this episode, none of which are easy to explain, plus the only people who will agree with me are people who have stopped watching the show. I’m trying to stay truthful here. I still really don’t like Carlene’s Christian-only condominium thing. So she’s a hateful bigot? I guess we balance that representation against the “interfaith BBQ”, right? Slapping the word “interfaith” on the BBQ makes it okay for Carlene to be a crazy hateful hypocrite who, with no explanation, fits in effortlessly with a loving and open-minded congregation that celebrates with mosques and synagogues over a basket of BBQ? She’s the HBIC, yet we are not supposed to confuse her social dominance and prominent role in the church with the silly notion that her ideas represent the community? Okay fine, she’s a backward standalone villain, is that your point, GCB? Then why do you keep asking us to sympathize with her? Why are we supposed to root for her marriage and feel bad for her when she reminisces about Amanda bullying her in high school?

And I love Kristin Chenoweth, but seeing her mugging around like a Jerri Blank impersonator in a Bridget Bardot wig is painful and weird. GCB volleys between unearned dramatic moments and cartoonish physical comedy. I watched last night's episode with a friend who’d never seen it before and she got genuinely confused. After we sat watching it silently together (were both the ideal demographic target: blue state, socially progressive ladies in our late 20s), she finally asked me, “Is this supposed to be a comedy or a drama?” If you can’t tell, then it's neither, is what I say.


– A full-on Absolutely Fabulous reboot: sacrilege, or a great idea for replacing GCB?

Miriam Shor: the best thing about this series?

– Is GCB a comedy or a drama or both or neither?

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