As we all know, everyone in Dallas has a nemesis. Mine is a certain someone who wears a smaller pant size than I do, obsesses over that darn hairdo, and can dance like the wind. I’m speaking, of course, about Tim Rogers. On last night’s GCB, we learn that even men of the cloth have frenemies. The show opens with Pastor Tudor and Amanda stealing literature from another church—a church where a number of former Hillside congregants now go. Pastor Tudor takes the exodus particularly personally. The minister at the competing church is Reverend Steve—a guy Tudor went to seminary with. “Maybe I am a little competitive. I’m human. I try not to be,” he says. The plan: steal some church bulletins and get to the bottom of why they prefer this new church.
All goes well until the criminal masterminds make their escape. Amanda almost hits Reverend Steve with the getaway car in the parking lot. Reverend Steve is not angry. In fact, he is happy to talk about the fonts they use in the bulletins and on the church sign. This week’s message,”Pride comes before the fall,” is also the name of the episode. After bragging about typography, Steve mentions the big production of Godspell his church is putting on its ampitheater. Noticing how crestfallen Tudor looks, Amanda counters that Hillside is also putting on a show—an original musical that Heather wrote in 10th grade called The Miracle of Jesus.
I have to be honest—I was pretty excited by this premise. Have you looked at anything you wrote in 10th grade? Do you remember your favorite song in 10th grade? (I loved “Broken Promises” by Johnny Hates Jazz and wrote a screenplay for an Indiana Jones film starring a young 10th grader from Southeast Texas.) I’m just saying that it could have been funny. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the absurdity of doing a script that was written by a high schooler some 20 years before, this episode is more about the squabbling that ensues as folks vie for good parts and glory. (Also, I call B.S. on some of the song choices. “It’s a Miracle” by Barry Manilow? I very much doubt that a song from 1974 was top of mind to a child of the 1980s.)
Anyway, Amanda decides to direct the production, and as expected, Cricket and Carlene both want the lead role as the Holy Spirit. Although Cricket promises fancy Broadway-grade lighting, harnesses, and so forth, Amanda refuses the bribe and rewards Carlene with the lead role. Husband Rip lands the role of Jesus, even though he didn’t audition. Poor Cricket gets offered the role of the leper. Her husband—cast as Lazarus—tells her to look on the bright side—the two will get to perform a song-and-dance number. “Let’s get some new tap shoes,” he says. Hurt, Cricket refuses to do the show.
Obviously, things do not go well. The show is a mess. The script isn’t great. (A sample line by the leper: “Help make me less gross, Jesus.” See? More of that would have been great.) The production value is horrible. So Amanda decides to channel “High School Amanda” in order to ruthlessly make it a better show. She re-casts Cricket as the Holy Spirit and accepts her fancy and expensive equipment. She then has to tell Carlene about the change—”Sometimes in the theater, changes have to be made,” she says. “I need you to be the leper.”
Carlene does not take the demotion well. “You cut me from the cheer squad because I had bad skin, and now you make me the leper?” she asks.
Despite the new lead and fancy harness—calibrated exactly for Cricket’s height and weight, by the way—things do not get any better at the Miracle of Jesus rehearsals. Carlene has bribed Heather with some potential real estate listings if she re-writes the play with the leper as the lead. Everyone argues, and Amanda eventually loses it. She calls everyone “pathetic losers” and tells them, “Do what I say!” No surprise: everyone bails.
After conferring with Pastor Tudor, Amanda realizes her motives for directing the play are less than pure, so she decides to atone. She invites Carlene, Heather, and Cricket to a “private Neiman’s sale,” which they apparently think is happening in a weird shopping center. Instead of bargains though, Amanda—wearing her high school cheerleading uniform—is waiting for them. She has a wagon and three buckets of mud. “You get to javelina me,” she tells the three girls. (Remember, dumping mud and calling girls “pigs” was a favorite hobby of Amanda back in high school.)
Initially, the women hesitate. But after Amanda goads Carlene (“I slept with your brother. You caught your son masturbating to a picture of me. You couldn’t be a star if a meteor fell on Hollywood.”), Carlene loses it and dumps the bucket on Amanda’s head. Cricket is next. “I do NOT have herpes!” she yells. And then the four ladies start mudding one another, and all is healed, and then the show must go on. But you knew that already. Rip, acting as Jesus, manages to get the cast back together. They act! They sing! They dance! To “Jesus is Alright by Me” by the Doobie Brothers! Little Carlene also flies through a stained-glass window—remember that harness that was calibrated for a much taller Cricket?—but manages to finish the big number.
In the other storyline, Sharon is trying to make her “Losin’ It with Jesus” diet plan a financial success. She has booked a home shopping television show, and she enlists the help of former pageant coach Gigi to help bring some polish to her performance. Take note Toddlers & Tiaras fans, the way to win—at pageants and life—is to “drop your voice an octave, find the graceful hands that God gave you; and never say ‘y’all.’” Gigi also tries to eradicate the roll that is ever-present in Sharon’s bang area (sounds gross, but you know what I mean) with a bobby pin.
Unsurprisingly, Sharon tries and fails and falls apart on-camera. She ad libs about Israel and Palestine, Obama’s birth certificate, and euthanasia. After she takes five, Gigi encourages her to just be herself, and the lady sells 500 plans. Yay! Except that after she does her calculations—three meals a day plus snacks—she realizes she is incapable of filling the orders. So that stinks.
That’s it for the week. I’m off to listen to some Johnny Hates Jazz.