According to ABC OTUS News, republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently labeled "GCB" as "anti-Christian bigotry" thanks, in part, to the bawdy title. ABC promos referenced different versions of the title, including Kim Gatlin's explicit book title and "Good Christian Belles," before settling on the ill-suited acronym.
After watching both available episodes, "GCB" has much more going for it than the unfortunate title conveys. The first episode feels like the beginning of a movie or miniseries as it somewhat clumsily establishes the cliquey community. The second episode has more substance, adding humanity and vulnerability to the seemingly one-dimensional characters.
The show combines the drama, silliness and over-the-top characters of "Desperate Housewives" with the idyllic bedroom community and social dynamics of "Suburgatory." The religious aspect is more in line with Dana Carvey's infamous Church Lady on "Saturday Night Live" than a condemnation of Christians or Christianity as a whole.
"Cougar Town" Redux
The divisive title is similar to ABC's quirky "Cougar Town." The show began with a divorcee on the prowl, but never fit the somewhat skeevy title. In 2010, executive producer Bill Lawrence said potential viewers who decided not to watch because of the title actually enjoyed the show when they screened an episode. Three seasons in, Lawrence periodically mentions changing the show's name, but has yet to find a fitting replacement worthy of jeopardizing the show's established brand and name recognition. The title woes are now a running gag on the show.
Emphasis on the "B"
The "GCB" description belongs to a small group of woman on the show, namely Kristin Chenoweth as Carlene Cockburn. Although portions of the show take place in church and during church functions, other members of the congregation seem unaware of the mean-girl feuding and thinly veiled insults flowing between the show's core characters. Religion is not the villain, scapegoat, or motivation for bad behavior. Like the beautiful homes, flashy clothes, overwhelming jewelry, and impeccable hairstyles, Christianity is merely another attractive shield covering the hatred and ugly secrets these perfectly imperfect characters harbor.
When asking others about this new show, no one knew the title's meaning. Some people thought it was the date rape drug, GHB, often seen on TV crime shows. Jimmy Kimmel searched online and found it is a chicken sandwich available in Malaysian McDonald's restaurants. Overall, the silly acronym confuses the uninitiated and does nothing to soften the blow to those, like Gingrich, who find the book title and its derivatives offensive.
"Bless Your Heart, Heifer"
"GCB" carries a double whammy by disparaging religion and women in three little letters. While a flashy cover and shocking title may grab attention in a bookstore, TV viewers deftly use the clicker to flee unsavory shows. The show needs to keep the edgy spirit of "GCB," but choose an appropriate title.
Bob Lovell of Dallas-based HMS famously lampoons the phrase "bless your heart" in his commercials. The seemingly-sweet sentiment is sometimes used as a decidedly Southern insult or subtle way to frame an insult, usually delivered to someone's face. Calling someone a heifer is highly offensive but downright genteel in comparison to calling a woman a female dog. "Bless Your Heart, Heifer" is a milder alternative to "GCB" and better suited to a misguided creature like Carlene.
With "Desperate Housewives" coming to an end, Sunday nights are ready for a worthy replacement. Will "GCB" rise to the challenge?
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