GCB Misses the Real Modern Texas
Last Sunday ABC premiered a new show set in Dallas called GCB, about a group of archetypal white, Protestant, new-money Texans and their backstabbing ways. The show, originally titled Good Christian Bitches, then Good Christian Belles, and finally GCB, is based on a book with the same, original naughty title and did not impress me out of the gate. That’s not because it disparages Texans. I’m no Rick Perry who denies tax incentives to producers who make Texas look bad. No, my issue with GCB is that it centers on the same tiny fraction of the state that most media does, while ignoring the multitudes of other interesting stories to be told.
In December 2010, I wrote a story for the Observer about this very topic. When you think of Texas, you think of millionaire oil barons and ranchers and the big-haired blondes who accompany them, yet almost no one who lives here fits that mold. This is because films like Giant and John Wayne’s Alamo helped cement in the world’s mind a Texas that hasn’t existed for ages.
The truth is, there’s a whole diverse, modern state out there that’s getting missed. Dallas has a Latina sheriff and Houston has a Lesbian mayor. The county judge in Bastrop is a black Democrat who fancies bowties. The majority of Texans are non-Anglos and have little resemblance to the Good Christian Bitches of well-to-do Dallas. Yet, at a time when the top 1 percent has been vilified across the country, ABC chooses to focus on J.R. Ewing’s Texas.
This is bugging me because I’m being forced to live it in a far more serious arena: politics. Texas earned four new congressional seats this year due to minority growth and, yet, somehow, no new political power was given to those minority groups. That was thanks to redistricting maps that look curvier than the surgically enhanced patrons of GCB’s Hillside Park Memorial Church.
Perhaps it’s because the show is from the creators of Sex and the City and Steel Magnolias, that it’s so out of touch with contemporary reality. What was fun about Sex and the City in the late ’90s is excessive in today’s economy and the old world South of Steel Magnolias is not something Texas has ever particularly cottoned to. After all, who ever heard of a Texas Belle?