TV on DVD: GCB – The Complete First Season

Written by Television, TV on DVD

I don’t quite understand what happened with GCB. There was a ton of preseason buzz and preseason advertising, as ABC was clearly positioning it as the heir apparent to the finishing-up Desperate Housewives and its bitchy-comic soap opera crown. But then they didn’t air it in the fall, they aired it amidst a crowded, murky, midseason, then threw it on late Sunday nights and didn’t advertise it much. I like to think that the title change from the pithy, pitch-perfect, show defining Good Christian Bitches to the safer and nonsensical GCB. 

This is all a shame, because GCB won’t be returning, and it was a very entertaining show, the entirety of which is now available on DVD. Unlike the other soap-inspired dramedies of recent years, GCB is actually funny. And it’s pretty biting satire, skewering the horrible rich people, hypocrites, and women-who-backstab-other-women that seem to run the world these days.

The premise is simple, relatable, and honest: a now disgraced and widowed former high school mean girl named Amanda (Leslie Bibb) returns home to Dallas where she must deal constantly with the now vicious and powerful adult versions of the girls she savaged in high school. While some tropes are at play (the businesswoman is a ball buster with a closeted gay husband; the chubby one is insecure and won’t stop eating), the characters do get fleshed out and are flawed in believable ways. Annie Potts is particularly fun, chewing the scenery as Bibb’s sardonic Southern matriarchal mother.

GCB is light and airy, but with an undercurrent of social criticism, not unlike Big Love, which similarly explored life in a place where religious life and social life are one in the same, yet not stopping the characters from leading sinful, soapy lives. It’s great summer viewing.