Based on the Book: First Reactions to GCB

I knew that ABC’s GCB couldn’t be as good as the book, but I was hoping for more. In order to make a series, of course Kim Gatlin’s book is going to be butchered, but there were some major liberties taken in the pilot episode.

Let’s start with the obvious — Leslie Bibb as Amanda is just too tall for this cast! Being around petite actresses like Annie Potts and Kristen Chenoweth makes her look like a freakish giant, and she’s always having to look down at the rest of the women, which even on a beautiful woman can result in ugly chin and neck wrinkles. What were they thinking?

Then there’s the whole plotline of the Secret Admirer gifts. What a letdown to give up on the original plotline where a real Texas hunk is sending the gifts, not one of the tacky neighborhood husbands. Gigi didn’t buy her that stuff in the book and I thought it was a cop-out to let that story go in the first episode. Annie Potts is, however, playing her role with sass and the appropriate amount of sexy-grandma spring in her step. She’s pitch-perfect.

Kristen Chenoweth is such an amazing actress; do we always have to have her do the freakshow over-the-top cartoon character? She got tiresome in Glee and I’m already chafing at her role in GCB. They can’t redeem her, so I hope they soften her up a little to give us back the charm and selective innocence of Glinda the good/bad girl witch.

I had high hopes for GCB; I’m not so sure after tonight’s episode, but I’m not giving up yet. I’m staying tuned for at least another week. What about you?

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Book Club: Good Christian Bitches

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If it’s got Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, Glee) in it, it’s got my attention. That’s why I was initially attracted to the new television show premiering on March 4 on ABC. Then I found out it was based on a book and I dialed up my public library to get on the list to check it out.

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La divine Chenoweth stars as Carlene Cockburn (in a compilation of characters from the novel), a society maven of one of Dallas’s ritzy neighborhoods, Highland Park Hillside Park. Since I haven’t seen the television show yet, I don’t know how the show will play this change in characterization, but it’s sure to be delightfully naughty.

In the book, the heroine of the piece, Amanda Vaughn, returns to the familiarity and safety of her hometown neighborhood after a nasty separation and impending divorce from her philandering husband. Her two children, not really understanding their mother’s plight, are none too thrilled to be plucked out of their ocean-side home in Newport Beach, California. She is asked to chair the Cattle Baron’s Longhorn Ball after its fundraising efforts for pediatric care have been discredited by the previous chair. Her “good friends” from high school propose this obvious fiasco as a way to drown her failed-marriage sorrows in good works, but their motives are less than charitable — and from thence comes the title. And then there’s the mysterious rich guy…

Apparently the book is a thinly disguised accounting of author Kim Gatlin’s own experience. Only the names have been changed. You should really click into this link and see the discussion, including replies from Kim AND her mother about the book! It’s hysterical.

Although it has garnered lots of controversial press in the Bible Belt, which resulted in a change in the name of the television show from Good Christian Bitches to Good Christian Belles and finally to the sanitized GCB, I’m looking forward to watching the premiere. The book was funny and well-written and in any other socio-political climate would be called the ultimate beach read.

In the comedic hands of Kristin Chenoweth and Annie Potts, who plays Amanda’s mother Gigi, the show has a good chance of being successful. I suggest that you read its inspiration and play the Book 2 Movie game along with me.

I leave you with the best quote I’ve heard this week which my sources tell me comes from Carlene: “Cleavage makes your cross hang straight.”

I hope that Jenners at Life With Books will forgive me for copying her format. It’s so absolutely fabulous that I knew I needed to change my concept — and they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. She reads much more important books than I do, so go over there and check her out.

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