Amanda receives a mysterious letter from her dead husband; Carlene, Cricket and Sharon have their own marital problems to sort out

By Marc Snetiker
Updated March 19, 2012 at 08:01 AM EDT
Credit: Richard Foreman/ABC
S1 E3
  • TV Show
  • ABC

Yippee-ki-yay, GCBs and GCBros! It’s the third week of ABC’s newest guilty pleasure, which at this point can only be described as Revenge + Mean Girls + (The View x Friday Night Lights) divided by a healthy dose of Real Housewives of Bethlehem. I’ll be taking the reins on recapping this Texas buffet of pep rally mom bitchery, and what a fantastic week to begin my debauchery-filled duties for a show that’s so over the top, it makes Pee Wee Herman look like Jeremy Irons.

Last week Amanda and Gigi gained another point in the Battle for Suburban Dallas, turning Booby-Licious into the premiere luncheon location, much to the vexation of perenially pissed Carlene. (Meanwhile, the hellish spawn of Cricket and Sharon have taken Laura under their wing, which can only mean future trouble for the Vaughn women.) But while it seemed like Carlene would be back with a vengeance this week, it was Ripp Cockburn who had a plan for retribution up his sleeve.

It all started innocently enough in La Casa de Cockburn, where Ripp and Carlene were experiencing some frustrating bedroom troubles. Ripp’s been focusing too much of his brainpower on trying to uncover dirt on Bill Vaughn, Amanda’s late husband who stole millions from Ripp in a Ponzi scheme. Ripp has been preoccupied by Amanda’s return to Highland Park, and as such, he can only take out his sexual dissatisfaction with a giant crossbow that would make Hawkeye embarrassed. The target on his bullseye? A magazine with “Bill Vaughn’s Ponzi Victims” spread out across the cover. Looks like we’ve got some intrigue here, people!

Carlene can’t handle her marriage’s intimacy problems, though, and asks the GCBs for bedroom advice… for a hypothetical follower of her Bible blog, natch. (In other news, who else wants to visit Carlene’s Bible blog? Step it up, ABC marketing department!) Cricket recommends some Christian self-help marriage books, but as it turns out, Carlene isn’t the only GCB with marital problems. Sharon still hasn’t confronted Zach about kissing Amanda at the car dealership, deciding instead to be a dutiful wife and hope that things blow over. But the gals persuade Sharon to woman up and convince her to stomp on the “blonde viper named Amanda that has slithered into my matrimonial garden!”

Cricket, on the other hand, has been getting her frustration out with her gym trainers: first with Lance, her personal trainer, who suddenly calls off the affair because he’s engaged to “something named Kiki,” who works at a private gym. This will simply not fly with Mrs. Caruth-Reilly, who sends a gift to the happy couple before buying and destroying the entire chain of gym centers. Match point for Cricket, and she’s back to tae kwon doin’-it with former instructor Victor (who, as Sharon hilariously hisses, “is Asian!”).

NEXT: Gigi shoves Amanda back into the dating pool

At La Casa de Vaughn (we’re in Texas, after all, so the Tex-Mex Spanish thing can work well here, methinks), Amanda’s plans for a family movie night are dashed when Gigi sets her up for a date night at the opera with her choice of two beaus (both of whom are “in oil,” one of whom is actually named Beau). Amanda rejects both, due to her “mourning period,” of course. The next day at Booby-Licious, she focuses her energy on helping on-the-outs socialite Heather with her plan to woo a former nerd-turned-“squillionaire” who has just returned to Dallas. But no trip to Booby-Licious would be complete without just a wee bit of drama from the GCBs, right? Sharon storms in to tell off Amanda, but winds up getting knocked down by a “fallen woman” who slings booby baskets down a stripper pole in the middle of the restaurant.

Back at home, Amanda gets a package from the U.S. Marshall Service — an apology letter from Bill and a photo of the then-happy Vaughn family. Before she can process the surprise, though, Gigi happens to have found another beau: Pastor Tudor, who is far too good-looking to be a squeaky-clean pastor for long. The young priest encourages Amanda to join the church’s singles group, despite the stigma associated with it. “I know what image gets conjured up when people say ‘church singles,’” he professes. “It’s a terrific bunch. So not the cantina scene from Star Wars.” Gigi volunteers Amanda, as well as desperate Heather (whose disastrous date with Andrew results in a bruised head and a lost bicuspid).

At the Cockburns’, Carlene is now armed with “spicy scripture” (which Zach Peacham thought was a cookbook). She decides to shake things up in the bedroom by playing Adam and Eve dress-up after hearing from a lady at the Bible bookstore that the duo are the most popular biblical characters for marital roleplay. (Shall we assume that the second-most popular are two of the jackrabbits on Noah’s ark?) Ripp is still not into it, although that’s probably less to do with his preoccupation with Bill Vaughn and more for the fact that Carlene’s Eve costume looks a little bit like Monica’s Barbados hair from Friends. Cricket, having fully released her tension by “working out” with Victor, shares the secret of her sex-cess and sends the still-unsatisfied Carlene to her martial arts trainer. Carlene requests that Victor “do to me what you did to Cricket,” but poor, naïve Carlene genuinely thought it was strictly a workout (no hanky panky), made evident by her running away when Victor “tried to touch my tae kwon do.”

Perhaps the greatest bit of character development tonight came from our discovery that Sharon Peacham owns a walk-in refrigerator. Zach comes home as Sharon is about to begin a batch of three-alarm chili, and naturally, Sharon still can’t stomach the idea of telling him that she knows his secret. Instead, she decides to call the Texas Chili Council Culinary Hotline, where “authoritative and wise” Bethany May (who I’m pretty sure was Harriette Winslow from Family Matters)solves both the chili conundrum and the Peacham marriage mess. “If I confront him, it might open the door for him to leave me,” says a terrified Sharon, but Bethany May is insistent, and Sharon vows to break the hard truth to Zach at… the church singles mixer!!

NEXT: Pastor Tudor’s singles event could not go any worse

Heather tricks Amanda into attending the event so she can see Andrew, but the singles mixers turns out to be nothing short of a self-help workshop for people who suck at relationships, hosted by three “aspirational group leader” couples: Zach and Sharon, Blake and Cricket, and Ripp and Carlene, otherwise known as Marriage All-Stars. Splitting into small groups, the Caruth-Reillys mentor the “Always Alones” (the never-been-marrieds), the Cockburns want to “take the sin out of being single” by honing in on the “Alone Agains” (the divorced), and the Peachams are just there for the food. (Honestly, these Fat Sharon jokes can’t go on that much longer, right?)

Amanda is reluctantly placed in the “Alone Agains” with the Cockburns, which Ripp uses as an opportunity to get Amanda to spill the secrets she’s allegedly harboring about Bill. (Does she know where he kept the money? Does she have it? All this and more, in Amanda’s pretty little head!) Ripp instructs his group to write down their secrets and stick them in a piñata, which means that all of Amanda’s deepest secrets will be congregated in one brightly colored papier-mâché place. Everything’s coming up Ripp as Amanda accidentally lets slip that Bill has “popped up again,” piquing the dastardly Cockburn’s interest even more.

Carlene spots woe-be-gay Blake and proceeds to dole out marital advice and offer her Christian sex encyclopedias (including the particularly unsettling Parting the Red Sea), but her little pep-talk doesn’t seem to go over too well when Blake confronts Cricket about spilling the (baked) beans. As they argue about Carlene’s meddling, we actually get our first glimpse into Cricket’s troubled psyche, as it turns out that Cricket has put up with Blake’s secret sexuality for the fleeting sake of her own appearance. The mood got very emotional very quickly, and dare I say, poor Cricket? But no, I daren’t, because not long after, she reverted to Crazy Cricket mode and royally ripped out Carlene for projecting her sin onto others. “Fix your own marriage, leave mine alone!” she warns. Trouble in GCB paradise?

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Sharon and Zach are having the most awkward chili cooking session in the history of chili cooking. The uncomfortable silence is broken, though, when Amanda walks into the kitchen. Zach offers her a taste, but Sharon insists “her mouth is never going on anything of mine again!” and eats the entire spoonful of pepper-filled chili. The heat is too much, and Sharon can’t resist when Amanda holds a half-gallon of milk as ransom, forcing Sharon to demonically yell at Zach, “You kissed Amanda!” The truth is now out in Peacham-land, which is apparently synonymous with being in the kitchen.

In the “Always Alones” room, Heather and co. attempt to reclaim their virginity by writing down the names of their sexual partners, putting them into “chastity pots” and lighting them on fire. In the “Alone Agains” room, nerd billionaire Andrew worries that the personal secrets hidden in the piñatas will be suddenly public (“I’m in software development and privacy issues are kind of a thing for me”). But Amanda points out that the scattered secrets will eliminate attribution, which leads Ripp to pull the fire alarm, keeping the piñatas intact and leaving him with a golden opportunity to swipe Amanda’s entire stash of private information.

With firemen and sirens everywhere, Pastor Tudor stands outside the church trying to salvage what was obviously a disastrous evening (bless his green-polo heart!). Heather and Andrew steal a kiss next to a fire engine, while Ripp wins Amanda’s trust by giving her her piñata. But upon returning home and smashing the living crap out of it, Amanda discovers that she was given the wrong piñata, and Ripp Cockburn’s dastardly plan comes to fruition when he and Carlene (who he can now completely satisfy, obviously) sit on their oversize bed reading Amanda’s handwritten secrets, which may or may not infer that Bill is — GASP! — still alive.

NEXT: And the best sound bites of the night are…

Sound Bites of the Night:

“I’ve come to terms with your job. I’ve even come to love jalapeno poppers.” –Gigi, showing her support for Amanda’s job at Booby-Licious

“Just Google ‘holy spirit’ and ‘horny’ and check out the Bible bookstore.” –Cricket, giving advice to the sexually frustrated Carlene

“After your homily on volunteerism, the ladies and I decided to roll up our sleeves and drive Juan, Feliciano and Jorge right on down here!” –Sharon, on her Christian duty to join the Landscape Committee

“I don’t remember the exact verse, but the Bible’s full of that kind of whoop-ass.” –Cricket, trying to justify revenge on Amanda with the good book

“I’m gonna slip into something less biblical.” –Carlene

Sharon: “I said use a smidge!”

Zach: “What the hell is a smidge!?”

Zach: “I’ve been thinking a lot about life, and it’s awful.”

Sharon: “What’s awful? Thinking, or our life?”

Carlene: “Are we poor?”

Ripp: “No, darling, we’re still very, very rich. Just not very, very, very rich.”

Episode Recaps


  • TV Show
  • 1
  • Pending
  • ABC