The new ABC show GCB wastes no time in making the case that they are the worthy successor to the soon-to-be departed Desperate Housewives. 40 seconds into the pilot the first sex act occurs and a few seconds later said sex act proves deadly by forcing the car of the participants off a cliff. Let the soapy fun begin!
Amanda Vaughn’s husband Bill was in the car. So was Amanda’s best friend. And so were some of the millions of dollars that her husband had been secretly embezzling in a Ponzi scheme. With all her assets frozen, her home seized and facing a scandal, Amanda decided she and her family need a new start. She packs up her two teenagers and flees to a ritzy area of Dallas to live with her estranged mother (the always fun Annie Potts) and her mother’s two guard dogs, Tony and Romo (a throwaway line that seemed custom written for me as the owner of a cat named after the Dallas QB).
Unfortunately for Amanda, her homecoming also means confronting her past. Turns out she was, as her mother puts it, a “bitch with teeth” in high school and now must confront the women that she tormented who have certainly not forgiven her and who have become players in the community and church in her absence. Sharon, Cricket and new queen bee Carlene (Kristin Chenoweth) are determined to make Amanda’s return to the big D as miserable and unpleasant as possible. Fanning the flames of their fury is the warm welcome Amanda receives from the menfolk, including their husbands. Amanda is no longer the person she was in high school and does feel badly about how she treated people. But she also isn’t a pushover either and when her apologies fall on deaf ears, she’s not going to back down from a confrontation.
GCB is an abbreviation for “Good Christian Bitches,” the title of Kim Gatlin book that serves as the show’s inspiration. It is basically “Mean Girls” for the adult set, with a nice undertone of the hypocrisy of the syrupy sweetness of these overtly Christian women who are also plotting someone’s downfall, even using the church’s pulpit as a forum for embarrassment.
I generally enjoyed the pilot. I thought it did a good job of establishing and developing characters and the conflicts that will occur over the season. It’s definitely fun and a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The Dallas setting is played for laughs as they managed to work quite a few humorous stereotypes into the pilot – big hair, obsession with Neiman Marcus, cowboy hats and mechanical bulls. And yes – Kristin Chenoweth does sing in the pilot, as is probably contractually obligated. ABC is smart to pair it with Desperate Housewives as there should be a lot of overlap in audience and the shows are tonally similar. I’m a sucker for these night-time soapy dramedies, but my interest tends to wane after a while (I only made it through one season of DH) so I don’t know how committed I’ll be to the show long term. The pilot peaked my interest, however, so I’ll definitely tune in the next few weeks. It also doesn’t hurt that there is major character named Heather 🙂
GCB premieres Sunday March 4th at 10 pm EST on ABC