A television show is pushing the right buttons if it distracts a presidential candidate from his campaign, as GCB–previously Good Christian Belles, and before that, Good Christian Bitches, based on the novel by Kim Gaitlin—has done with Newt Gingrich.
At a rally last Friday in Mississippi, Gingrich attacked the show, a Bible Belt satire set in a tony neighborhood in Dallas, for its anti-Christian bigotry, Beth Fouhy of the Associated Press reported. “The former House speaker says no network would run a show with such a title if the word ‘Muslim’ were used in place of ‘Christian,'” Fouhy wrote.
Gingrich is among many who have been rubbed the wrong way by the show. Alan Peppard of the Dallas Morning News criticized its pronunciation of the word “javelina“–one character’s nickname for ugly girls. TMZ reported that Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese is pulling ads from the show because of customer complaints. And Fox News‘s Penny Young Nance wasn’t happy with liberal Hollywood’s take on Christian women:
We Christians should be able to have a good laugh at our own quirky tendencies; shucks, we put the ‘fun’ in ‘fundamentalism. The main problem lies in the fact that Hollywood’s writers, producers, and actors do not take the time to get to know us well enough before they portray us and, therefore, parody Christians based on preconceived notions. […] Unfortunately, GCB is just a big-haired version of Desperate Housewives and misses the opportunity to be relevant.
The irony here is rampant. For one, Kristin Chenoweth, one of the show’s protagonists, is an avowed Christian. “It’s not my job to decide whether someone is ‘a sinner’ for doing something or being something or saying something,” Chenoweth told the Wrap. “My grandma said, ‘Oh, Kris, I read the Bible like I eat fish. I eat the meat that serves me well, but I don’t choke on a bone.’ I loved that, and I’ve never forgotten it.”
Moreover, Robert Harling, the show’s executive producer, is from Dallas and employs stereotypes because he knows his brethren can take it. “I like to consider [the show] a love letter,” Harling told the Hollywood Reporter. “This is where I live. I love this people. The best thing about Texas people and Dallas is they get the joke and they know they’re larger than life.”
This strategy by some Christians to condemn other Christians for the way they portray their Christianity has proved to be a losing one. Ratings for GCB are on the rise, especially among viewers ages eighteen to 49, David Hinckley of the New York Daily News reported. In fact, Hinckley wrote, “GCB just might be a h-i-t.”