A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that GCB is a comedy/soap opera intended for a mature audience, as evidenced by frequent sexual content (mostly implied or in discussions, though there are some instances of physical contact), strong language, and conniving behavior on the part of self-proclaimed Christian women. Manipulation and abuse of social standing is common among so-called friends, extramarital affairs (between both heterosexual and homosexual couples) are fair game, and there's a surprising amount of casual drinking. That said, there are some positive themes to be gleaned from the main character's efforts to rebuild her life after tragedy and scandal, and the admissions to past wrongdoings she must make to do so. If your teens are mature enough to differentiate between parody and the reality presented in this show, then take the opportunity to reinforce the statements it makes about the effects of bullying.
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What's the story?
Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) is a recently widowed mother of two who's coping with the fallout from her philandering husband's financial scandal and unexpected death. With few options and no money, she reluctantly moves her two teens from their Southern California life back to her hometown of Dallas -- and in with her wealthy and domineering mother, Gigi (Annie Potts). A lot has changed in the nearly two decades since Amanda left town, but what hasn't changed are the bruised egos of her former classmates, whom Amanda terrorized while she reigned as the town's mean girl during high school. Now that she's back and the social standing is reversed, these "proper" Southern ladies have their sights set on revenge, and, as Amanda will soon learn, few dangers compare to holy Christian women with an axe to grind.
Is it any good?
Based on the hit book Good Christian Bitches by Kim Gatlin, GCB (a.k.a. Good Christian Belles) is an expertly cast, cleverly written, deliciously naughty show that turns the characters' bad behavior into highly entertaining fare. Kristin Chenoweth is a comedic marvel as Bible-quoting society queen Carlene Cockburn, as she and Amanda's other former favorite targets team up to dish out some payback. The give-and-take between the sides brings old emotions to the surface and opens a surprisingly honest window into the aftermath of bullying and peer pressure. Granted, the show is rife with stereotypes and really isn't out to take a serious stand on this or any other issue, but it's an interesting byproduct nonetheless and speaks to the long-lasting effects of peer-inflicted emotional trauma.
It should be stressed that parents need to take care in giving their teens the go-ahead in watching this show. Strong language is common ("bitch," "hell," "ass"), there's lots of drinking, and sexual implications (references to the act, slang terms like "MILF," and physical contact that implies lovemaking is imminent) are the norm. Mature teens will see the humor in the social caste system and the women's cattiness, though, so if you deem yours ready for the adult content, this might be a fun choice for you to chuckle at together. If you do, be sure to point out the positive messages that surround Amanda's efforts to make amends for her past and change her life in a positive way, including her devoted sobriety.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the adults in GCB. Are any of them worthy role models? Which of their actions makes them so? Can their bad behavior be excused in any way? Why do we see so many women being mean to each other on TV?
How does bullying affect its victims? How can it impact someone's self-image? Do you think it's possible to truly overcome the ghosts of your past? How does life experience change the way we view ourselves and other people?
Have you ever had to overcome tragedy? How did it affect you? Did it change your priorities? Is there ever an up side to bad circumstances?
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