Chenowith. That is my defense when people ask me why. The most important question on most minds out there is what does GCB even mean? This new television show is based on a series of books entitled "Good Christian Bitches." Why the name change, well ABC got cold feet and first decided to change the name to Good Christian Belles, but then decided to split the difference and go with abbreviated title makes them look like an even bigger sell out. Gotta love the Disney machine. This is the reason quality programming is escaping the grasps of the major networks. If you are going to do something you have to do it right!
On to the show itself. GCB centers on Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) who moves back to Dallas after her ponzi scheming husband dies in a car crash while Amanda's best friend is giving him road head. Amanda's assets are tied up because of her husbands money swindling so she is forced to back to Dallas with her two children and live with wonderfully witty Christian mother Gigi Stopper played by the biggest breath of fresh air to this show Annie Potts. Amanda's homecoming is not a welcome one; she has returned as the former mean girl in high school to find out that her title has been usurped and four women she made fun of in high school have become the queen bees of her neighborhood, church, and Dallas.
This terrible foursome is made up of Sharon Peachum (Jennifer Aspen) a housewife who overeats to deal with her stress; she is married to a man that Amanda would never give the time of day, but he still carries a torch for her. Heather Cruz (Marisol Nichols) is a real estate magnate and is the only potential ally Amanda has in the group; she quickly saw that Amanda was a changed person so quick if you blinked you would have missed her evil stares at the beginning. Cricket Caruth-Reilly (Miriam Schor) works with her husband who owns a cattle ranch; she is pulling the strings to get Amanda black balled, but does not see that she has a husband who would rather spend time with the ranch hand, if you catch my drift. Then there is Carleen Cockburn (Kristin Chenowith) who is the new queen bee, married to an oil magnate, sings the in the church choir, and climbs on her step stool to see things in the neighborhood through her giant telescope. Carleen hates Amanda most and is poised to be her bitter rival throughout the run of this show.
GCB is Desperate Housewives in the South, but does not have as strong a start as its Housewives. I have a feeling this show will anger most of the southern evangelical crowd because it pokes fun at them a bit, and the joke is somewhat amusing, but not funny enough. I did not care about any of the characters, nothing pulled me into the plot. I thought I was going to be thrown off by the location of the show and the way the show used the good ole Dallas ways, but that was fun. Annie Potts is by far the best part of the show; she has the wit and charm that will keep me watching for one or two more weeks to give this show a few more chances. While i like Bibb in her former show Popular, I can't help but think this just is not the strongest character, or it may be the way she is playing Amanda that does not work. The supporting players sans Chenowith (and Potts) are incredibly forgettable. The only reason Chenowith manages from saved from this is because of her talent as an actress. With a lackluster cast, the shows only hope is that the writing improves.
GCB was created by Robert Harling. Harling not only created the show, but he wrote most of the first few episodes of the series. Harling also wrote Steel Magnolias, Soapdish, and The First Wives Club. These are three of my biggest guilt pleasure films, I love them. These films are filled with a lot of wit, which could help GCB out as it grows, but bless his heart I think Harling could be in for a world of hurting. The show may start out strong with the ratings, but I can't see it having a lasting appeal beyond the novelty of being more than a lesser version of Desperate Housewives that will be leaving the air this May.