GCB (ABC, Sundays, 9pm CST)
I have always been a fan of satirical humor on television. It is one of the reasons The Simpsons has been a personal favorite of mine for more than 20 years. It is also why I find myself chuckling throughout each episode of ABC’s newest silly hour long, guilty pleasure comedy, GCB.
There is nothing of importance about this program revolving around Amanda (Leslie Bibb), a mother of two and former high school mean girl. The fact is Amanda was the queen of the mean girls and she ruled the social aspects of her high school, treating others she deemed beneath her as only a teen age mean girl could.
Life has not been kind to Amada of late. Her husband operated a national, Texas-sized ponzi scheme and just as he was about to get caught, he absconded with millions of dollars of ill gotten cash and Amanda’s best friend. Then dies in a fiery car crash. Amanda, penniless and in disgrace, has to crawl back to Texas to live with her mother (the always hilarious Annie Potts). The thing is, Amanda is not the same person as she was 20 years ago.
Unfortunately for Amanda, all of the girls she treated disdainfully in high school have turned their lives into something positive. They were all rich to begin with and they all marred more money. They have (surgically, in some cases) fixed whatever flaws held them back in high school and now are the social queen bees of Amanda’s world. And they want revenge for all of the ill treatment they suffered through at Amanda’s hand 20 years ago.
The cast is terrific, featuring the always perky Kristin Chenowith as Carlene, Amanda’s most tortured target from the past. Carlene went from ugly duckling to swan but she’s mean as a snake and she remembers every past transgression. Jennifer Aspen, Miriam Shor, and Marisol Nichols complete the cast of former classmates.
Each woman lives behind a hypocritical façade, especially Carlene. She hides a malicious soul behind a Christian, Bible-quoting persona. She makes every situation a religious lesson but does so with the most unchristian of intentions. The humor comes from the fact she isn’t even aware of it. She thinks she is the most devoted of people and that her Christianity is her driving force. Her close friends and partner’s in crime seem to know this about her but are willing to go along with her plans because of their long fostered hatred for Amanda.
The show is silly and really holds little redeeming value – except it makes me laugh. The irony of Carlene’s behavior being so crossways with her supposed beliefs are what lends the most humor. While I know many people of stout and true religious belief, I also know several hypocrites who can reconcile their actions Monday through Saturday because they attend church every Sunday. The hypocrisy is exaggerated for sure and so it becomes satirical in nature.
The actors relish their roles and play them to the hilt. While Bibb’s reformed Amanda is the central character, it is Potts and Chenowith who steal the show, making it a truly funny break from all the medical and law dramas that fill the network airwaves. ABC wants GCB to replace the (finally) ending Desperate Housewives. For my money, GCB is a much funnier program. Watch (and enjoy) it for it is and don’t try to make it more.
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