'GCB' Review: ABC Air Bombs Flyover Country with Christian Stereotypes
I was expecting the new ABC drama “GCB” it to be offensive to me as a Christian woman, but it was almost equally offensive as a person who enjoys good writing and things that are funny.
That’s not to say the show, which airs at 10 p.m. EST Sunday nights, treats Christians with respect, because it doesn't. That's hardly the whole problem. Before I delve too deeply into this unbelievably shallow show, I will warn you that it contains some vague spoilers. I somehow doubt you will mind.
First, let’s start with the general premise, based on the book "Good Christian Bitches" by Kim Gatlin. A former high-school mean girl named Amanda (Leslie Bibb) is widowed after her husband veers off the road in the midst of an extra-marital activity (you can use your imagination, though I, unfortunately, had to see way too much). We then learn her husband was running a ponzi scheme and, after losing everything, Amanda goes back to her childhood home in Dallas to live with her mother (Annie Potts) while getting back on her feet.
The story is based around Amanda and the women she tortured in high school, including Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Jennifer Aspen and Marisol Nichols. The characters are all stock and one-dimensional, without the hint, for far, of any further depth to be explored. The Texas stereotypes cast the women are church-going gossips married to ranchers and oil men. One of the husbands is a repressed homosexual, so I look forward to some hilarious “Christians and/or republicans don’t like gays” storylines in the future. Of course, there are also a lot of crazy, gun-toting Texans.
Let’s take a look at the treatment of Christians in the show, which is also based on sweeping stereotypes. The ringleader of the GCBs has church organ music for her ringtone, spreads gossip and speaks maliciously. Christianity, Jesus, and the Church are frequently brought up only to display the hypocrisy of these women. One character gossips to another, then tells her friend that she’s horrified she told, but “the devil put that in my mouth.” Upon finding out that a character is sober, she’s told “Don’t beat yourself up, Jesus drank wine.” We also hear that “God hates failure.”
Christians are hypocrites in both word and deed. Among other things, they secretly own the “Boobylicious” restaurant (it’s like Hooters), while judging the women who work there.
This is how they behave in their day-to-day lives as “Christians,” but I was most offended by the depiction of church itself. People were aroused by the reading of scripture and shown trying to contain these urges in church. The announcements and prayers were absolutely ridiculous. They were really just a way for the women to announce gossip to the church through passive-aggressive prayer.
Our heroine (for lack of a better word), upon embracing this behavior, tell her mother “I like this church stuff.” That is certainly not like any church I’ve ever been to or heard of. That’s not to say that imperfect behavior doesn’t exist among Christians. That is, after all, why we are so grateful for Christ. I can’t see these actions being encouraged and embraced by any Christian organization, however. Had the writing and acting been better, I probably would have found it more even offensive. It is so poorly done that much of it leads to eye-rolling more than anything else. I certainly hope that nobody would take this hyperbole seriously.
I can only guess they gave the show a provocative title and showed outrageous clips in the preview to get people to watch. The series so far offers nothing else. If there were a couple of stereotypical characters, that would be one thing, but this is a whole show based around them. Mocking the "flyovers" and their beliefs will, apparently, always get ratings.
This is simply one front in the culture war in which we find ourselves. "GCB" is so terrible, though, I don’t consider it much of a threat. The fact that it exists, however, is troubling.
Will viewers think stereotypes of Dallas Christians entertaining enough to tune in again? I certainly hope not. The world shouldn’t be forced to ensure shows like this for a whole lot of reasons. It makes me wonder what was passed over for “GCB” to be green-lit. Whatever those shows were, they had to be better.