I’m playing catch-up again. With GCB, I have a slight excuse. I did catch it right away, but I wanted to take the time to give it a more than a quickie review. (That fell by the side.) This is a lighthearted girlfest show, like Desperate Housewives without mixing in the occasional darker overtone (yet). Set in upperclass Texas, it focuses on someone who appears to have been the one person Destructive Cool Kids clique, who now returns to her hometown after a shameful life collapse, an improved woman brought low. There, she is dealing closely with the highly-successful former victims of her high school activities. This is all broadly played, quite silly…. but done with a sense of fun. The balance is interesting; as much as we have a likable (and purty) protagonist, there is the sense that all the cheap mean things that she is now being faced with from her social circle, she actually deserves. And as much as the various characters use their church in inapprropriate ways, there is a sense for some that their Christianity is quite genuine and is used often for good intent, if often with laughable imprecision. There seems a genuine effort not to demean belief in the midst of demeaning the characters.
This is one of the shows where the casting people like me. Kristen Chenowith as the self-obsessed holier-than-thou little powerhouse? The still quite lovely Annie Potts as our protagonist’s mom (she’s had my attention since 1978′s Corvette Summer)? Throw in a little Bruce Boxleitner and Tom Everett Scott? Oh, yes! And the people who I didn’t know before this? They’re quite good too.
But it’s sloppy at times. There’s running storylines, and then there are asides for an episode that work against that (our lead is desperate, taking what most would consider a low job to make some money…. but then, for one episode they want her doing something different for a storyline, so suddenly she has a second job, a much better one. And even if it doesn’t last… doesn’t that mess with where they’re going?) So there’s a real question of whether they have anything planned… not that they need to, for this silliness, but it seems like they want to. Anyway, this seems designed to fill the Desperate Housewives hole that is opening up with the coming end to that series, and it should do well in that role.
And the other member of the B-Team, The B in Apartment 23? Expected to hate it, and failed to. This show was played as something all about how bad the bad girl is, and yes, that’s an element, but she’s the situation, not the central character, and even she’s more than what was suggested. The central character is her new roommate, who is learning that the world is rough but stepping up quickly to play her part in it. The descriptor for this show may seem quite similar to Two Broke Girls, but the texture is different, and a good bit superior. Points go to James Van Der Beek, for filling the role that Jennifer Grey pioneered in It’s Like You Know, the celebrity playing themselves as evil, slutty, and self-obsessed (and he looks good doing it.) Worth checking out, even if you wrote it off from the ads.