No matter what ABC may say in public, it couldn’t be happier about all the fuss its latest drama, GCB, is going to generate. Not only because controversy always helps ratings; it really believes this show will be the one to replace Desperate Housewives in that high-gloss caricature way that seems to create hits.

Religious groups already are upset with GCB, which was originally titled Good Christian Bitches, then Good Christian Belles. The series is a comedic soap set in Dallas, revolving around a group of petty, churchgoing women who haven’t changed much since high school. When the “queen bitch” from high school, Amanda (Leslie Bibb), returns in shame and mourning to her mother’s home in Dallas, it’s payback time.

Amanda matured into a nice, normal adult, living in California with her husband and two kids. But her husband was running a Ponzi scheme that ruined countless lives and, as the opening moments take pleasure in illustrating, was in the process of leaving his family to run off with Amanda’s best friend, who put her face in his lap on the winding ride out of town — just as he drove off the side of the road and was killed. As one of the GCBs notes later, the mistress “bit off more than she could chew.”

Yep, there’s not a whole lot of subtlety in GCB, but there isn’t supposed to be. Created and written by Robert Harling, the show mixes the Texas lifestyle, Christianity, sex, riches, envy, revenge and sass into a sprawling, larger-than-life drama.

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