Attempting to Like GCB

You would think that with my having suffered the horrors of dwelling in North Dallas for 3 years, the ABC series GCB, which lampoons that very same microcosm, would be right up my alley.

Oddly, I think it’s the familiarity that makes it difficult for me to watch.

On the one hand there are things that they get oh-so-very right.  The plethoras of money, the mock version of Highland Park United Methodist Church (where you go to rub shoulders with the wealthy more than for any real religious reason–though the service shown seems way too casual to be like the HPUMC main service…and not casual enough to be like the contemporary service), women with bizarre names like Bookie and Cricket, mentions of places like Turtle Creek, proper homage to the roll of Nieman Marcus in the shopping pantheon….

But then you have things like people offering over hand-gun laden purses to their daughters.  I’m not saying a hand-gun laden Gucci bag is abnormal in North Dallas, I’m just saying that every woman there would be damn good and well aware of the concealed carry rules (having gone through the process herself…except for the ones married to slightly more fringe husbands who cling to the belief that the concealed carry law will only give the government a list of names to collect from when the Second Amendment is destroyed–but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish) and know better than to arm her recently-imported-from-California daughter.

And the pet peeve that actually arises in every show which tries to set itself in Texas (or, honestly, much of anywhere in the U.S.):  putting a definite article before a numerical freeway designation.  I-20 is just that “I-20” or “20” not “THE I-20.”  The minute I hear that I’m reminded that this whole thing is clearly being shot in L.A. (first ep WAS in Dallas at least as far as the exteriors were concerned–I’ve driven past more than one of the places shown).

The emphasis on ranches and cowboys is also losing me.  You see way less of that in Dallas than in other Texas cities like San Antonio or Ft. Worth.  Oh, sure, you see it in Dallas, probably more now than in the past few decades, but it’s mostly a costume put on to distinguish themselves from wealthy folks in, say, Atlanta.  It’s not because anyone’s spent any time on the family ranch.  After all, Dallas is all about “bidness” not farming and ranching.  Men in Dallas are more likely to be in Armani than Wrangler and I honestly can’t say I have EVER seen a woman from North Dallas over the age of 23 in a cowboy hat or boots.

Now that we’re on week two, I have to question the whole pork thing.  Really?  REALLY?  Pulled pork?  Oh, hell no.  This is Texas.  It’s all about the beef.  Even John Ford got that much in Rio Grande (“Ain’t no one told Uncle Sam we grow beef in these parts?”).  Also, if you drive 80 miles from Dallas, you won’t get to anything looking like the landscape shown around the locale of the pork incident*.

The thing of it is, the necessary fodder for TV is there in reality.  North Dallas and the Park Cities (Highland Park, University Park) are twisted little worlds.  Saint Molly of Ivins captured some of that in her article “Hello from Boosterville” (included in her book Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?).  While I was in law school there was still a gas station down in Snyder plaza where you could get full service.  No joke.  And I saw many a Grande Dame ol’ gal with that particular style of North Dallas Helmet-Hair sitting primly behind her wheel while a guy in coveralls filled the tank of her Mercedes and cleaned her windshield.  I’ve seen a fleet of Mercs, Jags, Audis, etc. parked in the firelane outside of my dorm because if you’re late to HPUMC on Sunday, you wind  up having to park over in one of the garages and that’s just not acceptable.  It’s worth it to pay the ticket left on your windshield after one a disgruntled law student in one of the dorms calls campus police….

I may give it another week, but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to overcome what I know of the real comedy of North Dallas enough to enjoy this fake version.


*Update: August 2012:  Oddly enough, the location of the pork incident does look a lot like the location in a scene from the Mexican telenovela, Por Ella…Soy Eva.

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