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The Telefile
<I>GCB</I>: Terrible Title, Watchable Show

Those of us who are paid to follow the TV industry news know that this show was originally called Good Christian Bitches and then changed to Good Christian Belles and then changed to GCB. But honestly, if you were just tuning into this show for the first time, or saw a commercial on TV or spotted it in your listings, would you have a freaking clue what GCB stood for? It's making Cougar Town look like an inspired title by comparison. If the show doesn't make it, place the blame on the name.

Or on Kristin Chenoweth, because while I find her largely adorable (as do many others, though she's admittedly a polarizing personality), she might be a showkiller. Her sitcom Kristin lasted only a few episodes, she was on The West Wing at the end of its run, starred on our beloved-but-brief Pushing Daisies, voiced a character on the quickly canceled Fox animated series Sit Down, Shut Up and was the basis of a main character on the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (though that's more of a showkiller by association, since she wasn't actually on that series). The only thing she's done that's still going strong (by which I mean: still on the air) is Glee, and she only guested there. And if you dislike her, there's nothing in GCB that's going to change your mind.

Anyway, if the show flops, it'll because one or both of those factors, as the series itself is actually quite entertaining, in that soapy, old spiteful neighbor sort of way that Desperate Housewives used to capture. It's brightly colored, features lots of trash talking (mostly about people being poor and/or having had plastic surgery) and it is filled with gossip about its upper class Dallas neighborhood. It leans to the campy side of the dramedy world, but I'm okay with that so long as there's a bit of ridiculousness to keep me interested. It's essentially a scripted version of the Real Housewives.

It begins when Amanda (Leslie Bibb) is stuck returning from her wealthy Southern Californian life to her hometown of Dallas after her philandering husband is killed in a car accident while in a compromising position. The problem is that while her lush of a mother (played by Annie Potts) is thrilled to have her prodigal child home, Amanda's old school chums are less than pleased to see her. See, Amanda was, according to her own mother, "a bitch with teeth" back in the day. She ruled high school, stole boyfriends left and right and even spread a rumor that one girl, Cricket (Miriam Shor), had herpes.

Current queen bee Carlene (Chenoweth) purports to have a Christian lifestyle and isn't happy about Amanda's Ponzi-scheming husband, or the fact that all of the married men in Dallas have flocked to the still attractive Amanda, so she has her minion Sharon (a poor former skinny girl who just eats all the time, played by Jennifer Aspen) investigate the identity of Amanda's secret admirer -- the one that is sending her cars and clothes. Carlene is even less pleased that Amanda is working at a sinful Hooters-esque joint called Boobylicious, even though her self-righteousness turns out to be rather hypocritical by the end of the pilot.

There's a bunch of snooping, Sharon's mostly a caricature played for comic relief, Cricket is oblivious to her gay husband and we're treated to plenty of over-the-top outfits, some with rhinestones. Of course there's a lovely church choir, presumably shoehorned in so Cheno can show off her voice. In general, GCB seems to go for the silly, excepting the very realistic moments between Amanda and her two teenage kids, but based on the premiere, it appears that'll be a good companion to the craziness that Desperate Housewives is offering up during its last episodes. But while there's a lot of neighborhood insanity, much like on Wisteria Lane, there are also some genuinely funny moments... and no one is entangled in a stupid murder plot (at least not yet). And I'll never stop chuckling at the fact that this show would like us to believe that Bibb and Chenoweth are the same age.

Our vloggers praise the TV gods that unlikable women from land-locked communities got a show to rival their shallow East and West Coast rivals:

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