DVD Review: GCB (The Complete First Season)

Networks used to live in fear of upsetting their Southern affiliates. They would edit out moments that would offend delicate sensibilities like saying the word “damn” or minorities kissing. The network expected them to preempted specials that could be perceived as immoral such as Playboy’s Rollerdisco and Pajama Party. Thus it was quite a shock when ABC announced would adapt the book Good Christian Bitches into a series. ABC is a Disney operated network and not some struggling cable channel looking to make a major splash. Why would they dare to make a show with that title about Southern women? The network quickly did damage control by renaming the show Good Christian Belles. The conservative media weren’t happy with the name change. The network finally they went for GCB. Why take such a potential hot property? Turns out there was a lot of prime talent on the show. Sex and the City and Melrose Place creator Darren Star signed up to be an executive producer. Steel Magnolias‘s writer Robert Harling was developing. The evil vixen was going to be played by Kristen Chenoweth. The Tony Award winner had raised her profile with time on Glee. GCB was looked ready to take over for Desperate Housewives which was entering its final season. The controversy seemed like great publicity for getting eyeballs to see what’s going on deep in the heart of Texas. However GCB: The Complete First Season contains the entire series which only made it to the 10 episode mark.

“The Pilot” returns Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) and her kids to her mother’s house in Texas. Turns out her rich husband was stealing money from clients. She’s saved the ugliness of a trial when he dies in a prime time soap opera accident. The trip back isn’t good since it turned out that Vaughn was the head Mean Girl at her high school. She treated others like dirt. She’s changed a bit, but her classmates want to kick her while she’s down. They want to shame her until she moves to Oklahoma. The good news is that her mom (Designing Women‘s Annie Potts) is loaded with a big house so she’s not sharing a doublewide. The bad news is ought to be Washington Redskins as nobody wants to hire her. She finally gets a job at Hooter’s knock-off as a waitress. She might have been a little bit humbled, but she hasn’t completely lost her cat claws. She quickly rattles off the major dirty on her three “best friends” in a very public forum. She’s not going the be destroyed by Sharon Peacham (Jennifer Aspen), Cricket Caruth-Reilly (Miriam Shor) and the wicked Carlene Cockburn (Kristin Chenoweth). This trio of terror think Jesus is on their side as they spy, lie and deny on Amanda.

The show had all the necessary elements of a prime time soap opera. The tawdry nature of “sweet” ladies was being exposed. The talent on the screen was there. Leslie Bibb had made a space as Ricky Bobby’s wife in Talladega Nights. Chenoweth was up for taking Joan Collins’ dastardly title. But the show’s name buzz was too much for the network to give it a renewal. Shor knows something about this since she had been a star on Swingtown which also was ripped apart by conservative commentators based on the cover page and not the script. GCB: The Complete First Season should have been the start of great Southern hypocrisy.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers make things look extra big in Texas. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. The levels do fine mixing the back biting with the tongue bathing. The subtitles are in English, Spanish and French.

Living Large (9:24) gives a tour of the huge interior sets.

Bigger in Texas (9:47) pumps up the huge nature of the show’s drama thanks to the Lone Star State. The hair must be as high as your heels.

Preaching to the Choir
(6:46) focuses on the singing element of the show.

GCB: Most Likely To…
(5:52) has the cast doing Yearbook titles for each other and their characters.

Audio Commentary on three episodes. “The Pilot” features executive producer/writer Robert Harling, actress Leslie Bibb along with executive producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts. “Pride Comes Before the Fall” also includes Mark Deklin. “Sex Is Divine!” switches actor Brad Beyer into the mix. These were done while the show was still in production since nobody speaks in past tense about the series.

Bloopers (3:34) are all those times when lines don’t come to mind and props plop.

Deleted Scenes (4:56) has 5 snipped moments including the the line “Braise the Lord” and Annie Potts in a Little Red Riding Hood outfit.

GCB: The Complete First Season had all the markings of a hit except way too many people were upset at the name. It’s a shame cause it’s a tawdry guilty pleasure set in the heart of Texas. The 10 episodes are worth watching if you missed it.

ABC Studios presents GCB: The Complete First Season Starring: Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor and Annie Potts. Boxset Contents: 10 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: June 12, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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