Pictured left is the promotional ad that ABC is using for it's new series GCB with Kristen Chenowith in a very short choir robe, high heals, diamond studded lettering of the shows title (with a cross charm) and the tag line "Love Thy Neighbor." GCB is a midseason TV replacement that seems to be the Dallas, Texas version of Desperate Housewives.
ABC has certainly taken a risk with this show with a title that is in itself quite offensive, and so it abbreviates the title of the book by Kim Gatlin for which it is based.
The show which premieres in the United States tonight, has played up the Christian imagery that would appear to be central to it's theme and storyline.
Depending on what part of the country (or world you live in) you may have a context for the characters portrayed in this film. The general portrayal seems to be the suburban woman from southern United States (in this case Dallas, Texas) who's faith provides the cultural structure for their life that makes their religion more in line with a country club then a faith community based on Biblical teaching.
This person exist. And I can accept a TV show, movie, or book that portrays a believable type of person.
That being said, to me, this type of person is not an attractive/entertaining/valuable addition to my regularly scheduled entertainment. The comedy-drama element Robert Harling (Steele Magnolis) is putting in play here, instead seems either a combination of offensive and sad. And certainly, not redeeming.
To see a group of ladies say with their mouths that they believe one thing, and act contrary to that is hardly laudable, and to me is defaming to people who try to live in a way that aligns their belief with actions.
I think that most would agree. A recent example of a the strong Southern Christian woman can be seen in the character of Leanne Tuohy as portrayed by Sandra Bullock in the 2009 film The Blind Side.
Sandra Bullock was portraying a woman in a similar set up as a suburban southern woman (in this case from Tennessee) who had a little bit of fire in that certainly had it's own southern flavor, which might have some similarities to what could be portrayed in the characters of GCB.
The difference that I imagine will be established between the central female characters of GCB and Sandra Bullock's role is that Bullock's characters faith led to action. And it is this "faith with action" built into this character-type that led the film to have a very successful box office, matched with a critical response and awards for the film, including an Oscar for Sandra Bullock and a best picture nomination for the film.
Some new shows thrive, and some fail, and obviously the model established by a film like Desperate Housewives certainly gained a significant following and multi-season success, but there is a part of me that hopes that ABC will have to pull out another mid-season replacement for this show that uses Biblical tenants (like "Love Thy Neighbor") as comedy instead of life transforming truth.