Kristin Chenoweth: ‘GCB’ Shows the Fun Side of Faith

by | March 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM | GCB, Interviews

Kristin Chenoweth in GCB (ABC)

The promos for “GCB” (premiering Sunday, March 4 at 10/9c) coyly hint at what the initials stand for: the ABC comedic soap’s original title, Good Christian Bitches. The name was seemingly shortened to prevent possible controversy. But what exactly is a GCB?  Leslie Bibb, who plays Amanda, a former Mean Girl who is now the most hated woman in Dallas explains, “Somebody who says one thing and does another, goes to church every Sunday, judges something too quickly, and maybe doesn’t practice what has been preached to them on Sunday.” Amanda’s chief rival is Carlene, the neighborhood’s Queen Bee, who was bullied by her in high school. Now the tables have turned.  Kristin Chenoweth, who plays Carlene, revealed why Christians should love “GCB,” how she will use her amazing singing voice on the show, and why Carlene is so determined to wreck Amanda’s life.

How do you define a GCB?
The title is Good Christian Belles, but they all have their moments where they can’t really take one another. What I love is that they battle within themselves their faith and what they’re supposed to do as opposed to how they are. That’s what makes them fun and funny. I think we’ll see Carlene for sure have the angel and the devil within her. I love, too, that she really is a person of God but she gets in her own way sometimes. That makes the comedy.

This is one of the few shows about religious people. How would you describe the way “GCB” portrays church and faith? Some people who haven’t seen the show think it’s a negative portrayal.
People who haven’t seen it should watch it and not judge a book. They’ve got to practice what they preach, give our show a look see because really it is about people who truly believe in God and it humanizes them. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, and I’m a Christian, oh my gosh, life’s too short. There’s also a big difference between making fun of something and having fun with it, and we do the latter. I wouldn’t do it if it made fun of my God. But it definitely humanizes Christianity in a way that I think is fun.

It’s no surprise that everyone goes to church every Sunday since you are the soloist in the choir. You sing Jesus Takes the Wheel in the second episode. What other songs will Carlene tackle?
I do think Carlene gives herself the solos. You’ll hear music from all eras, actually. I can’t give it away, but it’s always done very tongue in cheek and very fun. I think other people will sing too, and that probably doesn’t sit too well with Carlene.

Carlene is the Queen Bee now, but in high school she was bullied by Amanda. When she looks in the mirror does she still see the person she used to be before she had surgery and transformed herself?
I think she didn’t see that person until Amanda came back home. You know how there’s always one person who makes you feel insecure? Well, Amanda is Carlene’s person. Carlene’s worked very hard at getting herself to the top of the pyramid. Here comes the woman that made her feel so low and so unattractive. Carlene was the ugly duckling and here comes Amanda back to remind her of those days. In her own way, like many of us do. You kind of understand over the ten episodes why Carlene sometimes doesn’t make the right choice and that makes her human. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to play her.

How will Carlene’s relationship with her shady businessman husband  Ripp evolve?
Carlene very much believes the bible, in that she comes from his rib. So she wants to keep him happy because that’s her duty. I also think Carlene enjoys the intimacy she has with her husband and that’s refreshing to see on TV. There is a problem that arises that people will see that threatens to challenge their happiness.

The season finale turns the whole show on its ear. Can you give us a hint about what happens?
Let’s just say that Carlene and Ripp (David James Elliot) are put to the test. Hopefully they will rely on their faith and prayer and working it out. But it’s pretty crazy what goes on. But I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. Just because you’re Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes. That’s the thing I like about the show. Because I, too, am a Christian. But I make mistakes. But the good news is we believe we can be forgiven. The show shows that as well. It might take time, but that aspect is definitely there.

Will Carlene ever forgive Amanda?
I do think Carlene forgives Amanda because she’s called to do that. She’s a Christian. But Amanda still has that effect of poking her a little bit. So you see them go back and forth throughout the season. You see them band together too, which is fun. You can see rivals be together. I like that, too. Yeah, there will be some forgiveness, for sure. Just not too much.

Dallas is a big part of the show. How is it different from other big cities?
I think Texans believe that they’re the best, that they should have a state line going around their state. I think that they do things better. That makes them fun. They are so confident in themselves. It is a love letter to Dallas. I hope people in Dallas are thrilled with the way we portray their people and also just showing their city.