". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


There's a new show on ABC called GCB. It's named after the book on which the show is based: Good Christian B*****s. As I understand it, for a while the show was going to be called Good Christian Belles but then it became simply GCB. I'm not sure why since very few people these days seem to have any problem with the "b" word (for the record, I do).

One of the stars is Kristen Chenoweth (Glinda from the original Broadway production of Wicked), who actually plays the main antagonist. According to what I have read, the show is set in Highland Park, Dallas, and follows the lives of some women who attended high school together. The protagonist is a newly widowed woman with two children who moves back home only to discover that the girls she used to torment in high school are still around and hungry for revenge.

Here's a trailer for the show. Warning: some adult dialogue/situations.

Obviously much of the humor in the show is going to arise from the over-the-top character played by Chenoweth (I have to admit I smiled at a few of her lines--can't imagine anyone else delivering them quite like that). Because her character gives lip service to Christianity while behaving in consistently un-Christian ways, the series has already received some negative press and calls for boycotts. Personally, I think they're probably making a mountain out of a molehill. (Where are the calls for boycotts from Texans, who are also depicted poorly? I'm from Texas, and I didn't know people like that, but then again, I didn't grow up in Highland Park.)

The show strikes me as farce--satire. It's a soap opera, and we all know how realistic soap operas are, right? They aren't to be taken seriously. Real life isn't like that. I also don't have a problem with Christians being depicted as sinners. We are, aren't we? Christians can and do behave in mean, nasty, and despicable ways, all while claiming the name of Christ. The difference between Christians behaving badly and others behaving badly is that a believing Christian acknowledges the existence of sin and its hold on him and knows his need for a Saviour. His sin grieves him. I doubt that we will get any of that in this show because ultimately that's not what the series is about. The church setting could be changed to something else and the show's premise would still be intact: grownup women behaving like the worst high school stereotypes you can imagine.

And that ultimately is why I don't plan to watch GCB (not that I have time for another TV show--it's all I can do to keep up with the two I am currently enjoying): not because it depicts some Christians in a negative light but because it appears from the trailer that the show is not going to offer any thoughtful commentary on life but rather a non-stop exercise in sex jokes and vulgarity. The occasional laugh is not worth the ick factor.

And, oh yeah, did I mention that I have a problem with a show that has "b****" in the title?


Susan said...

I think (and am still thinking and not settled on what I'm about to say) that there's a difference between the world pointing fingers at the Church, and the Church herself confessing her sin. It is one thing to say, "I, a poor miserable sinner" while at the same time confessing that Christ is my righteousness and my justification and my holiness. It is altogether another thing for someone who believes in works-righteousness (which all the world does!) and say, "See what sinners they are! They say that holiness is important, and yet this is how they act. They are hypocrites of the first degree, and therefore we can disregard everything they say."

It's not the same thing as a brother who calls his sister names and picks on her, but then gets in a fight with the kid at school who treats his sister the exact same way. It's more about the credibility of the message that the Church preaches. If you believe in works, then our sin tarnishes what we say. But we don't believe in works. But the world cannot understand that.

Cheryl said...

Susan, yes. Great observation. The world believes in works. And so do many Christians. In our heart of hearts we do, too, but at least we recognize the folly of it, whereas in a lot of Christian churches it is taught as Truth. And I think that's why I don't share the anger at the show that some Christians do. They are angry because the show makes Christians look bad and so they are threatened by it because they believe in works. Supposedly Christians don't act that way. Well, I know Christians do act that way. Now it would be wonderful if we had a show that depicted Christians behaving badly and then grappling with the consequences of their sin--the shame and guilt and hopelessness--and seeking redemption where it is to be found. But I don't expect Hollywood to make a show like that. It doesn't sell. So when I stumble on something like this I just shrug and say "whatever" and move on. I don't expect a TV show to reflect good doctrine.

So again, what bothers me about this show is what bothers me about many shows on the air these days. They include situations and dialogue and language that a generation ago would not have made it to the airwaves. Our culture has become so hardened, and that makes me sad.

Cheryl said...

I was going to add that another thing that bothers me more than a show like this is when people who claim Christ and who are recognized by the world as doing so go on TV and say stupid things about what Christianity is all about. Bill O'Reilly comes to mind. He says ridiculous things and people who don't know any better get the idea that's what Christianity is all about.

Suzanne said...

Hey! Now I know what I was "accidentally" watching on vacay when Michael was trying to set up the VCR. I saw enough of it to know that, yes, they are women behaving like the worst stereotype of b****y teens. Not something I'm going to make an effort to watch.