Leslie Bibb

About as subtle as a Texas tornado, GCB storms onto ABC with hopes of delivering Sunday-best ratings. While Desperate Housewives limps into the sunset, this gaudy, bawdy send-up of gossipy Dallas church divas has a brash, giddy energy reminiscent of happier times on Wisteria Lane.

"Broad" barely begins to describe the tone — and the characters — of an immorality tale so garish it might make the Ewings blush. The story is built around the reluctant homecoming of Texas refugee Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb), who 18 years ago was the meanest girl in her filthy-rich clique. Now a reformed mom and running from scandal, she's forced to move in with her boozy, gun-toting mom, Gigi (the hilarious Annie Potts), while facing down the unforgiving vipers she once did wrong.

With tongue wedged firmly in Botoxed cheeks, wrapping their malice in paper-thin piety, her adversaries are a hostile gaggle of helium-sucking hypocrites, led by foxy little scene-stealer Kristin Chenoweth as former ugly duckling Carlene Cockburn. "It's not appropriate to speak of such things on the phone. I'll see you in church," she cautions her snarky co-conspirators. (Her randy oilman husband, Ripp, is played by JAG's David James Elliott, revealing a flair for laid-back good humor as he seeks any opportunity to mount his trophy wife.)

The show's lip-smacking penchant for amazing gracelessness sometimes goes too far, as in the crude depiction of an over-the-hill beauty queen (Jennifer Aspen) who's forever feeding her face. But mostly, despite a title that sounds like a roofie, this is good harmless fun.

"God hates failure," declares the snoopy Carlene as she brings new meaning to "neighborhood watch." I'm not sure God will love GCB, but it's hard to imagine a show more suited to ABC's colorfully sudsy brand.

GCB premieres Sunday at 10/9c on ABC.

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