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Review 'GCB': Loving Jesus, Gucci and payback

Kristin Chenoweth stars in the new ABC Studios

Kristin Chenoweth stars in the new ABC Studios series, "GCB," that is based on Kim Gatlin's hit book and premiering in Feb. 2012. Credit: ABC


WHEN | WHERE Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC/7

REASON TO WATCH Much-talked-about show with the once-scandalous title arrives.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Back in the good ol' days, Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) was the mean queen bee at her high school in Dallas -- an alpha female who left her hometown in the dust for points further west with her quarterback husband who later made billions, then stole billions. He's killed in an auto accident and a contrite, humiliated and now-nice Amanda and her two kids are forced to return to opulent Hillside Park in Dallas.

They move in with socialite mom Gigi (Annie Potts), and Amanda confronts her past, as well as former friends/victims from high-school days. They include Gigi's neighbor Carlene Cockburn (Kristin Chenoweth), once tortured by Amanda and now intent on revenge; Cricket Caruth-Reilly (Miriam Shor); Sharon Peacham (Jennifer Aspen); and Heather Cruz (Marisol Nichols).

They're all God-fearing Christians, sort of, based on Kim Gatlin's 2008 book on similar backbiters, "Good Christian Bitches."

MY SAY From the same title as the book to "Good Christian Belles," to finally "GCB," this show has officially run out of titles. The current acronym means little -- I kept confusing it with CBGB's -- and leaves one to wonder that if ABC ran away from the original title, how far did it run away from Gatlin's bestseller, about ladies who "knew that it was tough to square their desire to air each other's dirty laundry with their desire to remain true to their Christian witness?"

"GCB" is certainly a satire on Bible-thumpers accessorized in Guccis and Marc Jacobs fuchsia blouses -- but it's one that's only intermittently sharp or funny. Potts' Gigi gets the best lines and steals every scene that she's in like an accomplished thief. (Why leave Dallas for Southern California? she asks Amanda. "We've got the same weather without the liberals.") There's just nothing much left for anyone else.

BOTTOM LINE Not so much scandalous as scandalously dull. If this intends to replace the vastly superior "Desperate Housewives" -- and that's the plan -- work remains to be done.


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