Though Christian groups are up in arms over the arrival of the new drama GCB, series star Annie Potts sees little to offend in the church-set drama.
“I don’t think we’re going to burn in hell for this,” says Potts (Ghostbusters, Designing Women).
“On the contrary, I think the angels will be applauding that someone has found a new way to deliver a Sunday school lesson. It’s a lot more palatable than someone giving you a finger-shaking.”
Based loosely on the book Good Christian Bitches – changed to Good Christian Belles for TV – GCB follows former “mean girl” Amanda (Leslie Bibb) as she returns to her Dallas home after a very public scandal. Unfortunately, she finds her church-centered community anything but welcoming or forgiving, setting up a confrontation with her high school rival Carlene (Emmy-winning Kristin Chenoweth).
Potts plays Gigi, Amanda’s overbearing, gun-toting mother. Gigi wants to reshape Amanda and her children in her own, hard-drinking, church-going image.
“She (Gigi) is a very straight forward, plain-spoken woman. Very much what you see is what you get. She’s right out there,” says Potts. “But she welcomes her beautiful daughter back with open arms, which – among other things – is the Christian thing to do.”
The actress says she was attracted to the role by the opportunity to work again with writer/creator Robert Harling (Steel Magnolias).
“I saw the title, saw that Bobby had written it, and immediately said I think there might be something in there for me.”
For Harling, who also wrote such women-centered movies as Soapdish and First Wives Club, GCB marks his first foray into television.
“I’m Christian myself,” says Harling.
“And I thought it would be a fascinating arena to build a show around a church. And I think the network (ABC) has been very brave and supportive. They really wanted something different; something they’d never seen before, which is like fuel to a writer.
“Even though it’s set among some of the richest people in the world, I think it reflects society today in America. People will find a lot to identify with.”