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Picks and Pans Main: TV

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ABC, March 4, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


The initials stand for-well, nothing. This new hour-long satire about nasty Dallas socialites is based on a novel called Good Christian Bitches. That title, which would have established a benchmark for religious insensitivity in a network show, was retooled to Good Christian Belles, then simply collapsed to GCB. Which sounds like a shopping network. Meant to be a deliberately outlandish soap, GCB is actually rather benign: It has none of Desperate Housewives’ winking cuteness, none of Revenge’s dagger-eyed, fire-breathing kick. It’s dandelion fluff blown south from the grave of Aaron Spelling. After her marriage ends in disaster, one-time mean girl Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) returns to Dallas and moves in with her Texas grand-dame mama (Annie Potts). The rich frenemies she left behind are disinclined to forgive their mutual past. Looking like a bad-tempered showcat, Kristin Chenoweth is amusing as Amanda’s archnemesis. The problem is that Cheryl Hines is already giving a much livelier performance along similar lines over on Suburgatory. At any rate, the “G” definitely no longer stands for good.

Watch What Happens Live

Bravo, Sundays-Thursdays, 11 p.m. ET/PT |


Now five nights a week, Bravo executive Andy Cohen’s half-hour talk show has lost none of its seat-of-the-pants, bargain-basement nuttiness. Cohen still comes across as a celebrity-obsessed teen interviewing imaginary guests in his bedroom. There’s no firm logic to any given night, which can include drinking games, Real Housewives trivia and even a pajama party with Ralph Fiennes. (Well, that’s one way to promote Coriolanus.) If Barbara Walters and Mario Cantone inhabited one body, this is what you’d get. And that’s fine by me.

Lab Rats

Disney XD, Mondays, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT |


Soon after 14-year-old Leo (Tyrel Jackson Williams) moves in with his new stepdad, a brilliant inventor, he learns that Dad has also created three superpowered kids in a lab under the house. This makes for a strange variation on the “blended family” sitcom: A grown-up watching Lab Rats may have to shake off bizarre thoughts about the ethics of secret cyborg daycare. It’s all pretty dumb, but the slapstick is innocently broad, and Hal Sparks plays the inventor as a classic, nonthreatening TV dad, eager to please and easily distracted.