According to ABC, the killer of two daytime soap operas in the past year (All My Children and One Life to Live), the preview of the pilot episode of "GCB" is "the soap returns to Dallas." Lose a soap or two in daytime, bombard primetime with them. Interesting. Anyway, ABC goes on to share that "GCB" is a deliciously fun, wicked new drama that shows that you can go home again...but only if you're ready to face the sins of your past."
In premise, it does sound like fun, but we are a bit worried that the show, and the performances are over the top. I went to college in the south, not the deep south, but it was southern enough. I found those southern accents to be charming and endearing. However, my fear with "GCB" is that all those sugary-sweet "y'alls" and "yes mams" are eventually going to get on the viewers' nerves, but I could be wrong. Time will tell. Additionally, the backstabbing is far too obvious for my taste, and the antagonism and machinations too spot on to be intriguing, far more cartoony than ABC primetime's other successful continuing drama, "Revenge."
In "GCB," Kristin Chenoweth (Carlene) is dynamite as she sings in church on Sunday, but her vendettas against her former high school foe (Leslie Bibb, Amanda) are still too "high school" for someone of her current age and stature in the community. Her circle of friends is "Mean Girls" all growed up. David James Elliot (Ripp, Charlene's gorgeous hubby) is charming as can be as he tries to reign in his wife, but it's difficult for him to succeed.
ABC is desperate for a new primetime soap on Sunday, as "Desperate Housewives" ends its run this season. Is "GCB" the ticket? One thing is certain. The gals of "GCB" will put the women of Wisteria Lane to shame in their devilish dealings. But is that necessarily a good thing?
Our reservations not withstanding, we thought we get you up to speed on what's going on in town…
Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb), once the ultimate high school "mean girl," is forced to return home in disgrace after her marriage ends in scandal. Reluctant but desperate, Amanda has no choice but to turn to her mother, Gigi (Annie Potts), for help. Gigi, the quintessential proper Dallas socialite, wants nothing more than to have Amanda back and to give Amanda's two teenage kids a good southern upbringing. The problem is that Amanda is nothing like the girl she was 20 years ago and is hesitant about re-entering this world of opulence, status and salacious rumor mills. She is hopeful for a new start, but soon finds it's not that easy to escape your past in this tight-knit community.
The women of Dallas are none too happy to see Amanda back in town. Carlene Cockburn (Kristin Chenoweth), once the ugly duckling, was tortured by Amanda in high school but has made quite the "assisted" transformation since. Now she has a picture-perfect, lavish life with a gorgeous husband, yet she still can't seem to let go of old grudges. Then there's Cricket Caruth-Reilly (Miriam Shor) whose boyfriend Amanda stole and later married. Cricket is now a tough-as-nails, successful businesswoman with a perfect marriage - at least so it appears from the outside. Sharon Peacham (Jennifer Aspen), the fallen beauty queen whose chance at the Miss Teen Dallas crown was snatched away by a malicious rumor Amanda started, hasn't really been the same since. Finally, there's Heather Cruz (Marisol Nichols), a bit of an outsider back in high school who has now become fully inducted into this twisted little social clique of affluent, sugary, God-fearing, steely women whose bark is as bad as their bite. You know what they say about payback, Amanda, it's a b....
"GCB" stars Leslie Bibb ("Iron Man") as Amanda Vaughn, Kristin Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies") as Carlene Cockburn, Annie Potts ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Joan of Arcadia") as Gigi Stopper, Jennifer Aspen ("Rodney") as Sharon Peacham, Miriam Shor ("Swingtown," "Damages") as Cricket Caruth-Reilly, Marisol Nichols ("24") as Heather Cruz, Mark Deklin ("Lone Star") as Blake Reilly, David James Elliott ("JAG") as Ripp Cockburn and Brad Beyer ("Jericho") as Zack Peacham. Oh and of note to daytime soap fans, General Hospital's Greg Vaughan (ex Lucky) plays Amanda's wayward husband, who gets his comuppence early on in the series.
Based on Kim Gatlin's hit book, Good Christian Bitches, "GCB" is executive-produced by Robert Harling ("Steel Magnolias"), Darren Star ("Sex and the City"), Aaron Kaplan ("Terra Nova"), Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts ("Pushing Daisies") and Victor Nelli, Jr. ("Ugly Betty"). The pilot is written by Harling and executive-produced and directed by Alan Poul. ("Six Feet Under"). "GCB" is produced by ABC Studios.
Sneak Peek for episode two:
In the next episode, airing Sunday, March 11 called, "Hell Hath No Fury," get ready for the gals of Dallas to really heat things up. Amanda becomes concerned that Laura will be branded a "Javelina" or not-so cute-girl -- a name that Amanda coined herself in high school -- while Gigi decides to throw Amanda a luncheon in her honor in an effort to reintroduce her to society. Meanwhile a devastated Carlene rallies from her embarrassment in church and plots to get back at Amanda, Blake and Cricket disagree over his priorities, and Sharon worries about Zach's fidelity, all as Carlene dons her choir robes and belts out a Broadway-style hymn at Sunday service. Who says "bitches" ain't lord-fearing, or are they?
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