Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ABC Takes a Chance on 'GCB'


From left, Miriam Shor, Kristin Chenoweth, and Jennifer Aspen 
are shown in a scene from "GCB". (ABC)

The latest controversial show of 2012 just aired its first episode Sunday night, March 4. Kristen Chenoweth’s new show, “GCB,” (short for “Good Christian Belles” or “Good Christian…rhymes with witches”) and is already ruffling feathers. Chenoweth herself told ABCNews.com: "The Bible tells us that we're not supposed to judge, and people shouldn't judge before seeing the show. I'm a Christian, I think that's pretty well known, and I would never do anything that I think crossed the line." Some may wonder which line she is referring to.

After watching “GCB” myself, I can appreciate both sides. In some ways, it is sort of a modern version of the old Barbara Eden sitcom, “Harper Valley PTA.” In that show, poor Barbara was judged regularly by members of the local school’s PTA. Thinking that she was an unfit mother, the PTA was usually the one that ended up looking bad in the end. In “GCB,” Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bigg) is in a similar situation. First, the widow discovers that her rich husband was not only having an affair, but that he was a criminal as well leaving her and her kids penniless with nowhere to go except to move in with her rich mother, Gigi Stopper (Annie Potts) back in Dallas, Texas - smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt.

This is the last place that Amanda wants to be. She had burned a lot of bridges when she left and now she has to eat crow with her former and now judgmental school “friends.” When Amanda was in high school, she was the “mean girl” and the others are not ready to forgive her. Ironically, they all go to the same church.

Amanda has changed over the 18 years. After bottoming out with a rotten marriage, she is now sober, conservative and wants the best for her children. But her former classmates aren’t willing to give up their bitterness just yet.

GCB is a classic case judgmental Christians at their worst. They know their bible verses, they would never miss a day of church and they always say the “right” things, but none of them are really living the Christian life. The leader of the group is Carlene Cockburn (Kristen Chenoweth) who appears to have a solid marriage, sings in the church choir makes the other women do her dirty work for her. Cricket, a corporate CEO (Miriam Shor) is married to Blake (Mark Deklin) who is a closeted homosexual. Sharon (Jennifer Aspen) used to be skinny but now struggles with her weight and is constantly eating. Her husband, Zack is an active cheater. Heather (Marisol Nichols) is a single real estate agent and seems to regret being angry with Amanda, but is under the “reign” of Carlene. The four of them make life miserable for Amanda even going so far as to keep the local townspeople from hiring her. The only job Amanda can find is a “Hooters-inspired” restaurant.

It will be interesting to see where this show goes from here. If the storylines can bring some of the characters to true repentance, then I think the show may have some merit. If its goal is to only trash Christians, then it isn’t worth much. But I don’t think that is what the writers have in mind. Hopefully, the program can show the difference between being a hypocrite and being a true Christian. As of right now though, it is racy and bound to make a lot of church-goers squirm in their seats. That isn’t necessarily bad though. As Christians, we need to re-think our faith and truly question “what would Jesus do” on a regular basis. Perhaps this show is the slap in the behind that we need.

If you missed the episode, watch the video clip. It will give you an idea on how far the rivals will go to find dirt on Amanda and you can see how Amanda tries to run from any appearance of evil.

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