We've seen the pilot of GCB, the soapy new ABC drama that premieres this weekend. But is it worth your time? We've jotted down some answers to the questions you might have about the show to help you decide whether to tune in or not.
The best lines go to Kristin Chenoweth (April Rhodes from Glee, and the originator of the role of Glinda in Wicked) and Annie Potts (channeling a vibe straight out of Designing Women) but there's a strong cast of supporting ladies and the protagonist is played by the very lovely and likable Leslie Bibb.
Show creator Robert Harling is known for Steel Magnolias, and GCB is definitely a thematic antecedent of that. It's produced by Darren Starr, who created Melrose Place and a little show called Sex and the City. The vibe is soapy, the vibe is southern, but there are practiced hands at the reins.
In high school, Amanda Vaughn was bitchy, manipulative, and cruel. She grew up, left home, had kids, and then lost everything when she was widowed and publicly disgraced after her husband drove off the Malibu coast during a tryst. When the show begins, Amanda is moving back home to her mother's palatial Dallas estate, where she's at the mercy of her overbearing, flamboyant mom (Potts), plus the girls she made life miserable for in high school (lead by Chenoweth) are in the perfect position to return the favor.
The show is very fun. It's got its tongue firmly in its cheek, and the snappy dialogue is great in tandem with the warmth and likability of Annie Potts. Kristin Chenoweth reminds me of nothing so much as a singing Amy Sedaris, and this role gives her a lot to play with. If you have firsthand experience with high-class Texan ladies or gossiping church cliques, you'll find a world not normally televised painted in candy bright colors, with the promise of soapy drama reminiscent of Desperate Housewives.
The comfortably irreverent, and those who know (or think they know) about Texas will enjoy the winking, but never too naughty, tone of the show. Its soapiness and firmly female cast should endear it to the same kind of audiences drawn to Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives.
The show has taken a lot of flack for its original title of Good Christian B-tches; Christian groups were worried, with some justification, that the show was out to lampoon them. However, the pilot doesn't target Christianity; instead it skewers characters who use church more as a social function or obliviously overlook its greatest tenets (like "judge not, lest ye be judged") to justify their own ends. It's not about making fun of Christians, it's about making fun of hypocrites.
In a word, yes. The show is still finding its feet stylistically, and the cast still developing its tone. But watching the pilot gave me a sense of getting in on the ground floor of a very fun series with plenty of potential. It's definitely worth a try, and that goes triple of you like Potts or Chenoweth or large floral prints because WOW. The clothes are insane.
To me, Texas means chips and salsa, but Potts does mention sweet tea and churros at one point and darned if I can't get them out of my mind now. Watch it with a bunch of close girlfriends and you'll feel very superior to the insecure frenemies on the show.
Check back after Sunday's premiere for a full review!