Amanda was a ‘mean girl’ at school, but decades later she’s reformed. She is forced to return to Dallas and move in with her mother following her husband’s extremely public infidelity, embezzlement and eventual death. While Amanda has grown up and moved on, those she left behind really haven’t.
I wanted to hate this show, dismissing it as trashy rubbish. But like Desperate Housewives before it, ABC may have hit the sweet spot of creating something that is indeed, completely trashy, but also embarrassingly entertaining.
The show is based on a book which went by the much more informative and accurate title Good Christian Bitches (the show briefly went by Good Christian Belles before settling on the cryptically meaningless GCB). The girls that Amanda knew and terrorised in High School haven’t really moved on, they may be married with kids and careers but they still run in the high school gaggle and behave with the mean spirited immaturity that makes school so miserable.
All that bitchiness is accompanied by a devotion to the Church that’s slightly terrifying. Religion is always an element of American shows that I struggle to understand, it’s a part of their culture that I really have no common reference points with. But this show isn’t an in-depth cultural investigation, and religion is used here exclusively to show the hypocrisy of the characters. The comedy is just this side of silly, but only just this side. The majority of the characters are caricatures with plastic surgery, bible quotes, high heels, scandles, terrible fashions and harebrained schemes. You can tell they’re harebrained because there’s a comedy soundtrack to accompany it. Amanda and her kids feel a bit out of place because they’re they only ones that feel even vaguely normal human beings, the references to Amanda being a recovering alcoholic feel particularly out of place.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh and find myself enjoying the pilot, largely thanks to the snappy and witty dialogue, but I felt rather like I’d just enjoyed a mountain of junk food – good, but lacking in substance. GCB isn’t pretending to be anything different, but it’s not really the kind of thing I’d make any kind of commitment to.
TV Addict – Has us willing to spend a little more time deep in the heart of Texas if for no other reason than creator Robert Harling knows a thing or two about escapist entertainment
CliqueClack – Amanda’s comment about her classmates, “Nobody can stay exactly like they were in high school” and Gigi’s response that they can sums up this series. This is an adult version of Mean Girls only not nearly as entertaining… so far.
TV Fanatic – The writers are of good pedigree and if they can keep up the pace they’ve set forth in the first episode, there will be nothing they can’t accomplish. Is it a worthy successor to Desperate Housewives? Absolutely. While Housewives surprised everyone by drawing itself as a comedy, I don’t think there will be any question as to where GCB fits in.