Big hair, big bling, and big controversy! Of course, it’s a show set in Dallas. Kim Gatlin may have struck oil on the shelf with her much talked about book Good Christian Bitches. The title alone has risen more than a few eyebrows. But that certainly didn’t stop it from flying off the shelves and into the hands of the ABC network.
With an abbreviated title and dynamite cast that includes TV veteran Annie Potts and Broadway star Kristen Chenoweth, GCB (as it is now known) debuted on March 4th to blockbuster ratings and blockbuster controversy. Conservative groups have asked viewers to boycott the show, one advertiser pulled out (although they said it had nothing to do with the show’s content), and at least two elected officials have called the show flat out “Un-Christian” despite the colorful title. Neither one of them are from Texas.
GCB centers on Amanda Vaughn, a former “mean girl” who returns home to Dallas after a humiliating divorce, and worse than that – broke. Once home she’s welcomed by her sassy mom, Gigi, and a group of catty “old friends” who are still not ready to turn the other cheek.
I spent some time with Kim Gatlin and we discussed some of the reaction. “Overall the response has been warm and supportive,” says Gatlin. “I think it’s interesting that the people criticizing the show probably have not seen it!”
Gatlin, a Dallas native who still lives here, has strong roots in the community. A graduate of Highland Park High School, her father was an executive at Neiman Marcus. Her cousin, actress Angie Harmon, is also from Dallas. So for her to base the book in her own backyard (literally) was risky to say the least. The affluent Dallas community in the book and TV series is Hillside Park. The similarities instantly piqued the curiosity of the locals. Was this our Peyton Place? There are some similarities between Gatlin and the show’s lead character, Amanda Vaughn. Both have a son and a daughter (Gatlin is the former wife of country music star Rudy Gatlin). After the two divorced, Gatlin says that she was the subject of countless rumors and whispers. So she began to journal her thoughts as a way of coping.
Gatlin assures that it is far more fiction than fact. “I had my ghost writer give the characters their names. For example, the character of Gigi [played by Potts] is nothing like my mother in real life. So they are really not based on any actual people.” That should ease the minds of a lot of neighbors.
And let the city say, Amen.
Check out The Nicole Barrett Show on KLIF 570 AM every Saturday night at 8pm.