So, I just watched the first two episodes of “GCB” on my Hulu+. I gave it a chance because I loved the original title of “Good Christian Bitches”. I spent most of my pre-teen and teenage years in a small Southern Baptist church where piety was not as important as the perception of piety. I saw and heard a lot of people who didn’t exactly “live the word”, but were very quick to judge anyone who was different. After I went to college, I never really lost my spiritual side, but I did slough off chruch-going and church people because I was left with such a bad feeling about those who step into God’s House on Sundays.
It was with these feelings, and my healthy love of soap operas and camp, led me to decide to watch “GCB”. I was wary because a television critic I respect, Alan Sepinwall, who labeled the show as “shrill camp”. And to that I say, I WISH. I wish this show had the courage to be a big blast of Southern Gothic camp on national TV. But, it is actually a lot closer to “Desperate Housewives” in its idea of “edgy”. The show wants to have these satirical and funny moments, but spends much of its time trying to be a soap opera. If it figures out how to balance all its aspects, it could become a “Dynasty” style guilty pleasure. Beyond that I think the acting is uniformly good. Annie Potts is so good and gets to have lines like, “This is a little too light. More of a breakfast wine,” and sell them without going for the rafters. I know Kristen Chenowith can be divisive with people, but I actually enjoy her in most things I see her in (Broadway, film, or TV) and think this role is a perfect fit for her talents. David James Elliot, from “JAG” of all places, is actually funny and charming as Cheno’s husband.
Probably the most interesting aspect of the show is the way it handles the marriage between Cricket and her gay husband. She is not deluded. She knows he’s gay. But, he’s her best friend and they have a mutual friendship. They have a daughter and appear to have a happy marriage. This might be the most subversive aspect of the show. There is a bravery in not making her a fool or naive. They show how two people might find this contract livable and positive. Each person gets to to have what they see as the best of both worlds along with financial success and friendship. They also show how this is also a bargain that when entered into can lead to each side compromising many things that most of don’t have to when we are in a relationship (gay or straight).
So, this is kind of a non-review. I don’t recommend the show to everyone. In fact, many people will either find it too mean or not mean enough. I hope it gets some sea legs and then swings for the fences. I need more than pithy commentary on the church signs as characters pass. But, I will watch it while I’m doing other things and let it try to work out the kinks.
If “GCB” had the courage to really go for it, you might see men in drag as the lead characters for Halloween. But, for right now, it is trying a little to hard to entertain my mom.