March 5th, 2012
05:06 PM ET
With “Desperate Housewives” coming to an end this year, ABC has been searching for a new series that will take its place as a go-to guilty pleasure show. The latest contender for that title is “GCB.”
The show centers on Amanda (Leslie Bibb), a former high school mean girl who’s forced to move back home to Dallas with her teenage kids after her husband dies amidst personal and financial scandal.
While Amanda has spent the past 18 years growing into a better person, some of her high school classmates have gone in the opposite direction, ruling over Dallas society as a group of, well, GCBs. (We’ll get to that title in a minute.)
The leader of the pack is Carlene (Kristin Chenoweth), who is sure that Amanda has come back to town to retake her mantle as queen "B" and is determined to make Amanda rue every action she made as a teenager.
The idea that a group of adults would refuse to recognize that someone can mature post-high school is silly at best, with the overdone hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness of Carlene and her crew being sadly predictable. And the fact that it’s all wrapped around religion is at turns insulting, offensive and exasperating.
And that's where the title comes in: “GCB” is based on the book “Good Christian B*****s," a name ABC originally used. After changing it to “Good Christian Belles” last spring, the network finally landed on “GCB.” (And yet, the word is used in the show itself.)
The Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan is no fan of the title herself, a sentiment that also applies to the series. "GCB" is "chock-full of stereotypes," she writes, adding that what's "most annoying" is that the show actually does have potential, and instead opts to offer "a tedious array of shrieky moments, dumb stereotypes and unearned sentiment."
And while Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker respects "all the talent that's both on screen and behind it," he found it "next to impossible...to become interested in any of the characters."
I felt much the same way, finding that, title issues aside, “GCB” really doesn’t bring much to the table. Leslie Bibb does a good job being shocked both at the society she finds herself coming back to, and the awful role she used to play in it.
But nearly every other character is written so stereotypically and played so over-the-top that it’s hard to view this as anything but a caricature.
What'd you think?
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