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“I don’t’ think it’s a send up at all,” says executive producer Robert Harling. “I like to consider it a love letter. 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.”
Inspired by the novel by Kim Gaitlin, Good Christian Bitches, the series focuses on Amanda (Leslie Bibb) who returns to her tightknit Dallas community after years away to find that her old classmates still remember her as the mean popular girl that made high school terrible for them.
“High school’s awful,” Bibb defends her character. “It’s an awful time when you’re inb high school, youre just trying to keep your head above water. As an adult at 36 looking back, she keeps getting smacked with ‘You’re awful” and reminders of who she used to be.”
Yet a few reporters from the Dallas area lobbed questions at the panel about its portrayal of these women as bitchy, dramatic, and wondered if it had to be specifically based in Dallas. “Don’t these kinds of groups of women exist everywhere?” asked the reporter.
“I haven’t lived everywhere,” Harling responds. “Of course, there’s communities of women everywhere. But, I know Houston and Austin very well. And they’re not the Dallas women and you know that.”
To which the reporter seemed to agree. “Fair enough,” she says.
“The thing about Bobby Harling, the genius of him is that he brings such great depth to the characters,” David James Elliott, who plays husband Ripp. “When I went there and I saw it, I could have easily wrote an article on their stereotypical generalities. If you take the journey with us, you’ll see they’re real people. Robert has a wonderful sense of humanity.”
Aside from the portrayal of Dallas women, the issues of religion also came up during the session. And Harling says that the show has close ties with Christian leaders who consult it on faith-based issues. He also says that religion is treated with the utmost respect in the series.
“You have to be aware and respectful of faith systems,” Harling says. “And the fun of it is the characters trying to live within the rules.”
The series also stars Annie Potts, Jennifer Aspen, Kristin Chenoweth, Marisa Nichols, and Miriam Shor. GCB premieres March 4 at 10 p.m. on ABC.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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