New York City Councilman and Catholic church member Peter Vallone is calling ABC TV's new prime time program "GCB" an attack on Christianity.
Last Sunday night, ABC debuted the new mid-season replacement show titled." The prime time soap opera is based on a Kim Gatlin's book, "Good Christian Bitches" and shows a group of shallow, fiery Texas women and their machinations with and against their rivals. (Think "Desperate Housewives" with bigger hair, bigger houses, and alleged Texas accents.)
Many people who saw the pilot on Sunday night were offended by the show's obvious slams to people of faith. Councilman Vallone is the first elected official to speak out against the show. Mr. Vallone would like the title changed and if ABC will not comply, he has called for a boycott of the network. The lifelong Catholic and member of Immaculate Conception parish in Astoria, Queens was not happy about the show's title:
“I can’t imagine that they would consider using that language against any other faith.”
The title of the show has already gone through some changes. It was initially called "Good Christian Bitches" and then ABC reportedly sensed there might be problems with that combination and switched Bitches to Belles. "Good Christian Belles" may not have had the marketing punch that the network wanted and "GCB." emerged as the title.
Vallone is not alone in his displeasure with "GCB," others are voicing their opinions.
Conservative groups like One Million Moms (OMM) have asked their members to let ABC hear from them on the subject. The OMM site is advising members to send emails to ABC:
Please send an email letter to the sponsors for the premiere of "GCB" asking that they pull their support immediately. This week's national sponsors were: Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Kraft), Target, Mentos (Perfetti Van Melle), Chef Boyardee (ConAgra), and Hellmann's (Unilever).
And one advertiser has already pulled its support. TMZ is reporting that Kraft has pulled all commercials for its Philadelphia Cream Cheese from the show, citing complaints from consumers.
Some are wondering why ABC would create, produce and heavily promote a prime time program that so obviously mocks Christianity?
Reverend Ted Pike's National Prayer Network (NPN) is not pleased about the show. Their website is instructing members on how to tell ABC-Disney of their displeasure:
It's vital now that you call Disney/ABC at (818) 460-7477 or email at http://abc.go.com/site/contact-us.
Tell them: "Your "GCB" is an insult to Christian America. I demand that you cancel it. Otherwise, I and my friends will boycott any Disney movies and (insert the name of the Disney theme park in your region)."
NPN also includes a list of the Disney theme parks, water parks, and other properties around the country. His suggestion is to be specific about which ABC Disney-owned park you would boycott.
However, not all people of faith are that worked up about "GCB."
Karen Swallow Prior is an assistant professor of English at Liberty University and also writes for Think Christian.net. Karen's review of the show is titled, "Why it's not worth getting worked up about GCB." Ms. Prior seems to take a free market approach to the show. She believes there is no need to protest the show. The lack of quality and purpose will keep audiences away from it and, according to her thinking, a second season is unlikely.
Unless the show improves drastically, I predict that the program originally titled Good Christian Bitches (based on Kim Gatlin’s semi-auto-biographical, ghost-written novel of the same title) won’t last more than one season.
And then there are the critics of the critics. Atheist blogger Dianna Narcisco thinks it's fine for ABC (or anyone) to attack Christianity. But, that's only because Christians are in the majority in America. Narcisco's take on the show, "GCB: It's Funny Because It's True" was printed in the Orlando Examiner:
It's not nice to make fun of minorities. And it's not nice to make fun of things that aren't funny. Trying to satire bigotry against gays, Muslims, or atheists, for example, would be meanspirited, because those groups are not dominant (despite what conservative Christians might say) and are fighting for their place at the table.
But Christianity and its conservative element? Open season. When Christians are a minority, fighting to put a church somewhere in New York City, or protesting the phrase "in no gods we trust" on US currency, well, then we'll talk.
Ms. Narcisco makes a curious argument. She seems to be saying that it is alright to denigrate, belittle, mock, and smear someone when they are in the majority. Only when that person or group is not dominant, do they deserve the same protections as everyone else?
More than one Facebook review of the show had a problem with the overall treatment of women. Their concerns were not with the religious depictions, but more with the way women are made to look foolish.
It's also worth noting that "GCB" stars Emmy-winner Kristin Chenoweth, whose 2005 album was a Christian-themed project entitled "As I Am."
Chenoweth has also described herself as a "non-judgmental, liberal Christian."
Where do you stand on the subject?
Is it OK for a network to produce and air a show about religion like "G.C.B." or is this an attack on Christianity?