There are many reasons to hate Dallas, and ‘GCB’ is one

I wasn’t going to write about “GCB,” the ABC spoof of our city that premiered Sunday night, presumably in an attempt to replace “Desperate Housewives,” which is in its last season. I wasn’t going to write about it until I saw this list in OC Weekly about cities that influenced Mexican cuisine in the United States. Dallas is ranked No. 3 because of El Fenix, Fritos and frozen margaritas.

The author, Gustavo Arellano, who writes the hilarious and informative syndicated column “Ask A Mexican,” says of our city: “There are many reasons to hate Dallas — but it ain’t the food.”

Dammit, Ask a Mexican! Stop hating.

Hating Dallas is a cliche based on stereotypes from the TV show “Dallas” or the movie “Dr. T and the Women,” or maybe, sometimes, it has to do with NFL football. But that’s another story.

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“GCB” costars Broadway leading lady Kristen Chenoweth, whom I adore. The historic mansions of Swiss Avenue serve as the neighborhood where the show’s main characters live and snoop on each other, “Desperate Housewives” style.

But the show itself is dangerously close to offensive. For one thing, the accents are like George W. Bush channeling Jed Clampett. The main character, Amanda, is constantly referred to as “uh-MAY-un-duh.” There is a Dallas accent, but that ain’t it.

The writing is lazy, too. In one scene, someone is “so hungry she could eat Waco.” I guess Waco is funny because it’s where the government killed those Branch Davidians? No one says they could eat Waco or Tupelo or Providence. They might say, “I’m so hungry I could eat a blue-ribbon sow,” but people don’t say they’re so hungry they could eat a city. That’s not a thing.

Waxahachie also gets a shout-out when a real-estate agent says she’s found some great little townhouses there. I get it. Waxahachie is a funny-sounding word. We’re sure they’ll reference some other town next week: “We just got bay-uck from havin’ lunch at that new place in Nacogdoches?”

“GCB” is a spoof. Maybe I’m being too sensitive about it. Is this how Italian Americans in New Jersey felt about “The Sopranos”? Once that show became a hit, many New Jersians embraced it, donning track suits, playing up their accents and pretending to be gangsters. Oh dear God. What if “GCB” becomes a hit? Thousands more blonde obnoxious reasons to hate Dallas.

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  • Ohkari11

    Sheesh, lighten up.  I doubt anyone actually thinks people who live in Dallas are like the characters in this show.  It’s an hour of mindless TV.  I lived in Seattle and the shows based from there were never confused with ALL the people who live there. 

  • Chococatl

    The show needs to intregrate.  All of the characters of color are so stereotyped, it is disgusting.  I have friends from Texas that say that the state is a bit more friendly to people of color than portrayed on the show.

  • Carol Toler

    I’m told the interior of the church was shot at Grace United Methodist.

  • MomtoWebster

     Oops…I meant to say that the program is not claiming to be Highland Park but I said Dallas.  It is claiming to represent Dallas and it is representing a small fraction of folk who happen to live here…even some who’ve lived here their entire lives!  No, we Dallasites are NOT perfect….but we are proud!

  • MomtoWebster

     Do you have lots of cobwebs in your attic too?  You incorrectly claim Larry Gatlin was married to Kim Gatlin.  Larry does NOT have an ex…he married the love of his life,  Janis Moss Gatlin.  They met and started dating when he was a senior in high school, and married when he was in college at the Univ. of Houston.  They are STILL married and inspirationally happy.  Kim was married to Larry’s younger brother Rudy and they have two wonderful children.  Like many other marriages, their marriage didn’t last,  but the results of their marriage have.  Kim is a realtor on her own…she virtually grew up in the business since she’s related to several well known Dallas realtors who have made great careers in that field,    She  chose to write a book which is very loosely based on characteristics which she’s observed in some very real people….the traits of which she evidently feels have gone astray.  She’s merely pointing out the tendencies of some who blindly choose to be more hypocritical than pure,  who use Bible verses and perfect attendance at church to try to fool those who don’t know how petty they really are.  They really do think that they are righteous.  Bless their poor misguided hearts.  NONE of the characters in her book is based on a single real person according to what Ms Gatlin has said many times in interviews….they are merely a mixture of what created interesting characters for a book.  You obviously know a little bit about Kim Gatlin who wrote the book on which the TV program is based, but it’s a good idea to check your facts before you post.  Sales of the book were great because lots of folk enjoyed the spoof.  Fame and fortune huh??  What’s wrong with a self employed and divorced Mom writing a novel which is loosely based on some things she has seen and heard as she’s lived her life in a very unique neighborhood?  They say it’s best to write about what you know…so she did.  BTW,  you said, “The writing is poor and the storylines cliche.”  Does that quote refer to the TV program or to the book??  Just curious since you seem to think they are one and the same.  Hey…the good news is that you don’t have to watch the program if you don’t like it! 

  • MF

    I never said they didn’t film *anything* in Dallas – one would have to be blind to not recognize the Texas Star, numerous East Dallas locales, etc, etc… but they did a quick in & out to get the exteriors (and a few interiors) and high-tailed it back to Hollywood for the rest. Nothing like Good Guys and the New Dallas (and oldies like Prison Break & Walker TX Ranger) who set up shop in our lovely town and pumped much love and $$$ to the community.

  • MomtoWebster

    FYI to MF and others…”GCB” has shown LOTS of Old East Dallas in it’s outdoor scenes.  I have no idea where the interior shots are shot but the homes they show which are actually on Swiss Avenue are quite real, the church they use (actually the Munger Place Church at Munger and Bryan St.) is quite real except the fake Bulletin Sign which they use to post the sermon titles…that evidently is a prop.   Trust me…the Star of Texas ferris wheel which was used as a backdrop for the faux Cattle Baron’s Ball,  is a beautiful permanent structure at the State Fair of Texas aka. Fair Park.  All of these exterior locations I’ve noticed are within five to ten minutes of each other and they are locations which my neighbors and I pass and see weekly if not daily.  The “GCB” TV program is representing “Hillside Park”…a fictional TV ‘reel” suburb of Dallas.  It is NOT claiming to be Dallas…but every exterior shot I’ve seen so far, is quite REAL to those of us who are blessed to be living in beautiful and historic  Old East Dallas.  The church and the home where Amanda’s mother lives both bear historical markers which designate them as Historic buildings in Dallas.  I don’t know about you, but I love watching to see the beautiful Dallas locations where it’s being filmed.  They can call it whatever they wish and they can portray those fictional characters as the extreme worst examples of some very real folk who bear those exact characteristics.  Those of you who don’t recognize our part of Dallas should come visit and embrace the beauty and history which can be found here. 

  • Anonymous

    You made a very common mistake in your analysis of what Church is. Your not wrong of course, there are many women like that -and the men can be just as hypocritical. In fact, I would go as far to say that every Christian is pretty screwed up on some level. But that’s the actually the point. Christians are humans too. If we had everything figured out and lived perfect lives, then we wouldn’t need Jesus, would we? Jesus said that it’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick -that he came to be with the sinners, not the righteous. 

    So please don’t misunderstand me. You are not wrong that Church is full of hypocrites and other various screwed up people, but that’s the whole point. Church is full of people who need Jesus.

    Where GCB is ridiculous and makes me think that the writers have never been to a Church in their lives, is in situations like the pilot episode where a woman is allowed to stand up in the middle of a service and openly call out and smear another member of the church in front of everyone. I’ve gone to a lot of churches in my life, and I have never seen anything remotely like that. That would have been absolutely shocking to everyone, and it certainly wouldn’t have had the speaking character’s desired effect.

  • Blockbuster2004

    You know what a lot of those women are what I remember people being like church when I was in high school. Everyone thought they were super close to god but were just awful to everyone who did not believe or act the way they did. Cured me of church, real quick. 

  • Toysnattic

    This show is a disgrace to Dallas! I heard about the book deal a few years ago written by Kim Gatlin (the ex of musician Larry Gatlin). Kim worked as a realtor in the Park Cities and had privy to much scoop; however, fame and fortune are obviously more important to her at the expense of dishing a dirty protrayal of Dallas. Kim’s has some LA connections as her cousin is acress Angie Harmon. The writing is poor and the storylines cliche. The actors are the biggest draw. Hopefully this one won’t last long!

  • Jeanette Crumpler

    I wrote a harsh review of the show myself, but it didn’t get posted. Used a bad analogy and a bad word. Let me just say, the show is badly written, the acting is not so good. All of us may have known someone or two like a couple of the ladies, but I refuse to name names. All in all it will have its day then disappear like some of the others. I thought “Hart of Dixie” was going to be good, but it didn’t turn out that way. Again, too many cliches & poor writing.
    Just my opinion,

  • Lllugo2006

    I loved the Good Guys. But it didn’t get hype like this dumb show

  • Cecilia

    ease up….or should i say, ‘WHOA, boy…”
    SPOOF is SPOOF….jersey shore pretends to be a REALITY show…
    those GCB’s are cartoons and he or she who takes them seriously needs a shrink…
    the battle between good and evil goes on and you know sunday night tv is a major battlefield,
    recliners loaded and  in stretched-out position! ease up and laugh a little, for heaven’s sake!

  • XNJ girl

    Originally from NJ–I was shocked when Jersey Shore came out.  It is NOTHING like 99% of Jersey–maybe even 100% of Jersey!  And nothing at all like the Jersey shore itself.   I don’ know anyone from Jersey who speaks (or acts) like they do.  But I have realized it is an extreme parody and now just laugh when I see references to it.  Gads!  I sure don’t watch it! 
    Maybe that’s what you need to do with GCB.  And if it becomes a hit???  I’ll help you defend Dallas to all!

  • Bregan0419

    Hating Dallas is a cliche that was played upon by other shows or the love-hate of the all American team, but it comes from the atmosphere created by someone deciding to kill a President in downtown.  It’s like trying to explain to today’s teenager why a russians don’t like to speak english.  It seems irrational, but they weren’t there and didn’t live in that time.  Yes I agree the accents are just not correct.  But it easy to see that reading Waco might make you think of taco, so -heck yea- you can eat one.  Ridiculous, but I get it.  It is a third grader’s joke/mistake. 

  • I agree, Michael. Where Good Guys was genuinely funny and developing into a long-haul kinda show — until they pulled the plug — GCB is not just lacking in humor, it’s a gross caricature. I’m surprised that the people on Swiss Avenue agreed to allow their homes to be used to ridicule those on “the other side of Fitzhugh.” For the past 3 years, I’ve photographed the homes, people, and events on Swiss Avenue, from the edge of downtown all the way to LaVista in a photo documentary called the Swiss Avenue Project. Not once have I met anyone who talked or behaved even remotely like anyone on GCB. I happen to be a Kristen Chenoweth fanboy but — sorry, Kris — I really hope this show ends up in the trash to be picked up on Friday. Unfortunately, it’ll likely just be recycled and we’ll see it again in another form.

  • Montemalone

    Too late.

  • Rachel Stone

    I was rooting for “Good Guys” too. I haven’t watched the “Dallas” redux, but I might check it out since it’s filmed here.

  • Michael Mosteller

    So sad that a decent show set in Dallas couldn’t find an audience, the Good Guys, and this terrible show set in Dallas will probably be around for year.

  • Betsyw

    You are right on, Rachel.  I too was disgusted with this “spoof”.  Not worth watching, even for fun!  BTW, being a born-in-New Jersey girl, I did not mind “The Sopranos” because I knew some people who could have made it big on that show.  But “Jersey Shore” is quite another issue.  The “actors” are from NEW YORK, not New Jersey…yet everyone who doesn’t know better thinks they represent New Jersey!

    Maybe all that “world class” ambition that has always described the movers and shakers in Dallas has led to a sort of pathology….sure you can kick us around and make fun as long as you pay big for the privilege.  Its getting to be a bore.

  • Melissa

    I thought it was silly but pretty entertaining.  I read the book too which is just as silly.

  • Anonymous

    Could have been better if any of the writers had ever been to Dallas, or ever been to a church. 

  • I love Annie Potts too!

  • Holly Terror

    I know women in Lakewood who are potrayed accurately in GCB. They are just not as wealthy.  I love Annie Potts.

  • MF

    If there was even a slight chance that viewers would realize it’s a ridiculous spoof and that Dallas is NOTHING like this… I’d be okay with it. I’d even be okay with it if it were actually filming primarily in Dallas, giving us the bump we need in the TV/Film economy. But they’re not. And middle America ain’t that smart. So I shall pray for a speedy cancellation.

  • MG

    I HATED the show and am mortified that Dallas is portrayed in such a horrible light. Even if it is a spoof – it was awful! Not even funny. Just really, really bad.

  • P Miller

    I have to say, I watched it.  Its has absolutely nothing to do with Dallas or Highland Park, for that matter.  It was slap-stick funny. Not sure if I will continue watching it.