GCB: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
June 15, 2012 by Dennis Amith
“GCB” may have pushed the button on how much sexual humor can be featured on a comedy drama TV series, and with its wonderful, crazy ensemble cast and hilarious episodes, “GCB: The Complete First Season” is definitely recommended! Fans of the series will also love the many special features included on this DVD release, especially the cool and fun audio commentary!
© 2012 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: GCB: The Complete First Season
DURATION: 10 Episodes (430 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Color, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Television, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish
COMPANY: ABC Studios
RATED: TV PG DLS
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2012
Directed by Victor Nelli Jr.
Written by Adam D’Andrea, Kim Gatlin, Robert Harling, Robert Sudduth, Henry Alonso Myers
Producer: Andy Reaser
Co-Producer: Cathy M. Frank, Charles Pugliese, Suzanne Geiger, Jordon Nardino
Executive Producer: Robert Harling, Aaron Kaplan, Darren Star, Gretchen J. Berg, Sarah Caplan, Aaron Harberts, Victor Nelli Jr.
Co-Executive Producer: Henry Alonso Myers
Music by Jeff Beal
Cinemtography by: Michael Mayers
Edited by John Axness, Scott Gamzon, Heather MacDougall
Casting by Lisa Soltau
Series Production by Denny Dugally
Art Direction: David Ensly
Set Decoration by Bryan Venegas
Costume Design by Robert Blackman
Leslie Bibb as Amada Vaughn
Jennifer Aspen as Sharon Peacham
Marisol Nichols as Heather Cruz
Miriam Shor as Cricket Caruth-Reilly
David James Elliott as Ripp Cockburn
Mark Deklin as Blake Reilly
Brad Beyer as Zach Peacham
Annie Potts as Gigi Stopper
Kristin Chenoweth as Carlene Cockburn
Tyler Jacob Moore as Pastor John Tudor
Eric Winter as Luke Lourd
Lauran Irion as Laura Vaughn
Back in high school, original mean girl Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) mercilessly tormented her less attractive classmates. Twenty years later, after her hubby is busted for a Ponzi scheme – and meets his maker in a particularly scandalous way – a disgraced Amanda is back in Dallas to start life anew under her mother’s (Annie Potts) palatial roof. But will the good women of her hometown welcome her with open arms or dole out some kick‐ass karmic payback? Let’s just say, hell hath no fury like the cosmetically enhanced!
From Robert Harling (“Steel Magnolias”, “Laws of Attraction”, “The First Wives Club”) and producer Darren Star (“Sex and the City”, “Miss Match”, “90210″) comes the comedy drama series “GCB” (short for “Good Christian Bitches” later changed to “Good Christian Belles”).
The series was an ABC midseason replacement for “Pan Am” and made its debut in March 2012. With ten episodes having aired on ABC and its season finale drawing in 5.6 million viewers, unfortunately ABC canceled the series. And as fans have taken to the Internet on a campaign to save the series, for now, fans can enjoy “GCB: The Complete First Season” on DVD in June 2012.
“GCB” revolves around Amanda Vaughn (as portrayed by Leslie Bibb, “Law Abiding Citizen”, “Iron Man” films, “Popular”), a widower with two children, now having to move back with her mother in Highland Park, Texas.
Amanda’s husband died while stealing billions from investors and as he was escaping with his mistress, during a sexual interlude in the car while driving, both plunged off the freeway to their deaths. Once wealthy, Amanda has lost everything but most importantly, she wants to make sure that her children are taken care of.
For now, she must move back with her mother, Gigi Stopper (as portrayed by Annie Potts, “Designing Women”, “Ghostbusters” films), who is a prude, self-righteous but one of the most well known socialites in Dallas.
But life is not going to be that kind for Amanda as her reputation back in high school was not only the star cheerleader but the ultimate “bitch” in high school that treated people badly.
Despite being a mother and having changed a lot since high school, former friends and enemies are not too thrilled about her moving back.
Carlene Lourd Cockburn (as portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth, “Glee”, “Stranger than Fiction”, “The Pink Panther”), who was bullied through high school has now become the leader of the GCB’s. Carlene is the head singer of the church choir, addicted to plastic surgeries and is living across the street from Gigi, married to the wealthy Ripp Cockburn (as portrayed by David James Elliott).
Other GCB’s are disgusted by Amanda’s return to Highland Park.
Sharon Johnson Peacham (as portrayed by Jennifer Aspen, “Party of Five”, “The Ranch”), a former beauty queen who has since gained a lot of weight, loyally follows Carlene and is married to Zack (as portrayed by Brad Beyer). She despises Amanda because Zack has always had a thing for her and now she feels that Amanda is back in town to steal her husband.
Cricket Caruth-Reilly (as portrayed by Miriam Shor, “Bedazzled”, “The Cake Eaters”) is a fitness fanatic and is an owner of a fashionwear company which she runs with her husband Blake (as portrayed by Mark Deklin), who happens to be gay. Cricket despises Amanda for starting rumors in high school that she had herpes.
Heather Cruz (as portrayed by Marisol Nichols, “Scream 2″, “Bowfinger”) is a successful realtor and a member of GCB, but also friends with Amanda. She is conflicted because she sees how Amanda has changed for the best and doesn’t like how the GCB’s treat her.
And despite Amanda having changed her life since high school and is now the one being bullied or teased in town, she understands how karma works and Amanda won’t go down without a fight and intends to face the sins of her past.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“GCB: The Complete First Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1). For the most part, picture quality is good for DVD (especially since a lot of the scenes are shot outdoors and indoors are well-lit) but as expected for a DVD release, you can see a bit of compression but nothing that would hurt your viewing of the film and for the most part, for most viewers, this is a non-issue for a DVD release.
The drama series is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with subtitles in English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
As a drama series, audio is primarily a dialogue-driven track with some use of scenery ambiance for surround channels. For the most part, audio is very appropriate and dialogue is clear and understandable.
“GCB: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring ten deleted scenes from “GCB”.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring a hilarious and fun audio commentary for the “Pilot” with Executive Producer/Writer Robert Harling, actress Leslie Bibb and Executive Producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts. Audio commentary for “Sex is Divine!” with actress Leslie Bibb, actor Brad Beyer and Executive Producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts. The third audio commentary is for “Pride Comes Before a Fall” featuring Executive Producer/Writer Robert Harling, actress Leslie Bibb, Actor Mark Deklin and Executive Producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts.
- Living Large – (9:24) Annie Potts gives a tour of her character’s home, Jennifer Aspen gives a tour of her character’s kitchen, Denny Dugally talks about the set design and gives a tour of the church, the casts talk about the set and more.
- Bigger in Texas – (9:47) Executive Producer/Writer Robert Harling and the cast of “GCB” talk about what is “bigger” in Texas.
- Preaching to the Choir – (6:46) Executive Producer/Writer Robert Harling, the producers, Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor and the cast talks about the singing in “GCB”.
- GCB: Most Likely To… – (5:51) The cast talk about their characters and who is “Most Likely To…”.
- Bloopers – (3:34) Outtakes from “GCB”.
“GCB: The Complete First Season” comes with a slipcover case.
Sexually titillating, a comedy drama series that brought adult humor to television in hilarious moments and just all-out fun! “GCB” is a comedy drama that shouldn’t have been canceled and considering its ratings, I’m hoping it will find a new home on television.
In some way, “GCB” reminded me of how BBC’s “Coupling” surprised viewers with its adult humor and its use of sexual humor. While American censors will only allow so much, for “GCB”, the writers really tested out what they can pull off. For example, the first pilot episode, begins with Amanda’s husband embezzling money from investors and while escaping with his mistress, his mistress gives him oral sex in the car which leads him to crash and lead to both individual’s deaths.
As for its storyline, you often see stories on television or film of the protagonist getting bullied, getting their revenge. But “GCB” was interesting because Amanda Vaughn is the bully, the queen GCB of Highland Park, Texas who has changed her life since marriage and having children, but now forced to live with her mother and move from California to Texas to live her life. But those she tormented during high school are not exactly forgiving.
And while most of the time, we don’t feel pity for the bully, in the case of Amanda, Leslie Bibb does a tremendous job of playing the character. Showing that the character has a lot of remorse of what she did in her past and is willing to face the consequences. Add in other characters such as the socialite mother, children who are exploring their teenage life (which Amanda was hoping not to deal with so quickly) and then you have the three GCB’s that make this story worthwile.
Kristin Chenoweth does a great job playing Amanda’s rival, Carlene Cockburn, always righteous, thinking she is a great Christian but deep inside, a true hatred towards Amanda. And with a husband who’s money was stolen by Amanda’s husband and now wonders if Amanda has knowledge of where the money is. And in terms of Kristin Chenoweth’s involvement, she is great playing the perky, choir singing, head GCB.
Jennifer Aspen is the surprise character because she is the neurotic Sharon Peacham who loves food and is scared that Amanda may take her jock husband, Zach. Aspen does a wonderful job of a wife full of crocodile tears and how she tries to get her husband sexually aroused by using food to entice him. So, you see odd placements of food on her body or just being weirded out by her actions. Especially, her naivety when it comes to her husband’s porn addiction and her son’s sexual exploration.
Miriam Shor does an amazing job playing the business savvy Cricket Caruth-Reilly. Strong-willed and also another woman who despises Amanda. But her is a woman who is business savvy, but is married to a homosexual man. And it’s interesting how this relationship is explored. Especially as her husband Blake owes her a lot of gratitude for his career but also being there as a best friend. But as Cricket wants to have another child, can he be there sexually for her? It’s interesting how the series explores that.
And you have Marisol Nicols as Heather Cruz, friends to the GCB and Amanda, but possibly the one person who is not featured as crazy. She is business savvy when it comes to real estate but she is more of a person who wants to prove that she is better or can be better than the other women.
And there are so many other characters explored throughout the series, “GCB” was becoming more and more fun and crazy to watch. And the crazy tactics that Carlene and Miriam tend to work on, in getting their revenge on Amanda to the crazy antics from all cast members, it was a storyline that is crazy but fun. And once again, this series has so much fun in experimenting what is allowed in raunchy humor for a primetime TV drama series.
So, it’s a disappointment that in 2012, ABC did a lot of canceling of popular drama series and televisions shows and may it be “Cougar Town”, “The River”, “Missing”…these are series that I was getting into, enjoyed and just surprised that they were canceled. I understand if ratings were involved but even the “GCB” finale did good for its season finale and I can only hope that the fans who are campaigning for ABC to give it another chance, succeed. Or at least another network will pick it up.
As for the DVD release, for canceled DVD releases from ABC, “GCB: The Complete First Season” is one of the best. While the video and audio quality are good and as expected on DVD, what was not expected was the many special features included with this release. Audio commentary, featurettes, etc. And just listening to the audio commentary, you can tell how much fun the cast and crew had in making “GCB”.
While “GCB” was wild and crazy, I often wondered if what led to the cancellation was because of the series trying to push the button on sexual humor on ABC or was it too expensive for the network? Whatever the reason of why “GCB” was canceled, I can sympathize with a lot of fans of the series because I had a lot of fun watching “GCB”. And just watching the season finale, there was no doubt that the writers had a plan for a sizzling storyline for the second season.
Overall, I recommend “GCB” for those who are wanting a comedy drama series with plenty of sexual humor and crazy, fun characters. “GCB” has a wonderful ensemble cast and the writers do a good job in focusing on character development and making a fun storyline that doesn’t drag or get boring at all. It’s one of those crazy comedy dramas that you just want to sit back, watch and enjoy because it’s so much fun.
“GCB: The Complete First Season” is recommended!
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