'GCB' Star Kristin Chenoweth Talks Carlene: 'The Bullied Become the Bully'

The Tony winner tells THR how her character has dealt with being the ugly duckling and why she was nervous about singing on the show.

As ABC’s new series GCB progresses with its season, we’ll learn more about the deeply rooted issues between Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) and the Dallas women who didn’t exactly welcome her back home with open arms. And while Carlene Cockburn is the current leader of the mean girls, the actress who plays her says that many viewers will find that they have something in common with her.

VIDEO: 'GCB's' Leslie Bibb on Playing a Reformed Mean Girl: 'There's Still a Little GCB Up in Her'

“I’m in love with my part, so I have to take up for it a little bit,” Kristin Chenoweth tells The Hollywood Reporter about viewers' first impressions of her character. “They’re saying she’s the delicious villain. Well, yeah. But, why is she that way? Because, she was tormented. So, I know a lot of people who will be able to understand that.”

THR spoke to the Tony award winner about the beef between her character and Amanda and how the show puts her singing talent to good use.

On the premiere episode, Amanda Vaughn returns and it totally throws Carlene for a loop.
Kristin Chenoweth: Well, I mean Carlene was definitely the ugly duckling. She was bullied big time by Amanda. I think when Amanda goes away Carlene probably sees the problem going away, where she’s free to do the overhaul and marry the man of her dreams. Then 15 years later, here comes this woman back that was so mean and awful to her and that bullied her.

Now, often times, the bullied become the bully. I think that Carlene is not happy when Amanda comes back. She’s not going to take it lying down. I think that she struggles with it herself and gets in her own way, because she is a Christian and she does believe in the Bible. But, this one person derails her big time.

VIDEO: 'GCB's' Miriam Shore and Marisa Nichols Discuss Their Characters

The premiere doesn’t really get into how bad Amanda treated you all back in high school. Just how bad was she?
Chenoweth: She was pretty awful. I can’t exactly say how, but we show it. I think the sad part is so often times people don’t remember how awful they were. I think we have no trouble in reminding her how awful she is and was. So, you also have to give people second chances. I don’t think Carlene really wants to do that, but she does try.

You get a chance to show off your spectacular voice as the choir soloist. How often will we get that treat?
Chenoweth: Yeah, I love that [creator Robert Harling] does that. He’s so smart. I was a little nervous, because I didn’t want it to seem like, ‘Oh, now she’s going to sing.’ But we kept it very authentic with just the organ, how we would do it in church. It’s not overproduced. I think that we’ll get to hear other people sing in the show. That probably doesn’t set well with Carlene either. We have a lot of musically inclined people in our show. Church lends itself well to that, so wisely Bobby put it in and he should. 

Watch a preview below.

GCB airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC. For more info, visit the show's site.

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro