GCB Episode 8 Recap – “Pride Comes Before A Fall”
Amanda’s position as church secretary has given her many more opportunities of self-examination than she’d have ever had as just a regular member of the congregation… It seems Pastor Tudor has an old rival from seminary school who leads another church in the neighborhood, Pastor Steve, and this rivalry has gone on for many years!
When Amanda goes with Pastor Tudor to “spy” on what’s going on at Pastor Steve’s church, they’re immediately caught by Pastor Steve and in trying to help Pastor Tudor save face, Amanda announces they’re looking for a new font for the church bulletin and that’s what they’re doing there but when Pastor Steve mentions they’re preparing for their big church musical and mentions he’s sure their church is doing the same to celebrate the big 65th anniversary celebration the church is surely preparing for, Amanda chimes in and mentions they indeed ARE preparing for a new church musical that will rival Pastor Steve’s production he’s doing at his church. Problem is… their church wasn’t planning anything but a potluck at Fellowship Hall not a musical for the church’s 65th anniversary so they had to get busy and Pastor Tudor is horrified knowing they don’t even have a script.
Amanda assigns herself the job of producer/director and has Heather dig up a play that together they won an award for in high school, so Heather assists and has a writer’s credit. They have a casting call that gets ugly when Jesus can’t be a Siamese twin so Carlene and Cricket can share the role and as expected, one of them isn’t happy and naturally, it’s Cricket. As a bribe, Cricket had offered better production equipment than the church would’ve ever been able to afford in exchange for the lead role but Amanda knows Carlene’s right for the part. When audition results are posted and Carlene has the lead and Crickets gets the role of the leper, Cricket pulls out of the production WITH her equipment and quits. Days into rehearsal, Pastor Steve comes to visit the rehearsal and Amanda can see Pastor Tudor’s embarrassed for them and knows he’s lost another round to his rival. She realizes they have to have more than a bare bones production for Pastor Tudor to save face with Pastor Steve so she goes to Cricket to beg her back to the show with the lead role in exchange for her contribution. This is classic behavior from the “old Amanda” and Cricket calls her out on it. When Amanda tells Carlene she’s no longer the Holy Spirit, Carlene calls her out on her old behavior, too, and then blackmails Heather as the creator of the play into rewriting it so the leper’s the lead and the Holy Spirit does nothing but hover in her harness, mum, through the whole production.
In the midst of all this, Sharon has gone to Gigi to ask her to make her one of the legendary “Stopper Girls”, the girls who won all the pageants under Gigi’s direction after Amanda left for California and Gigi had too much time on her hands. She coaches Sharon and has no idea this isn’t just a vanity project and that the Peacham’s really need the income. When Gigi sees Sharon isn’t selling any “Losing It With Jesus” meals and runs off the set in tears, locking herself in her dressing room, Gigi goes to her admitting she left out the most important part of Sharon’s makeover- her heart. She tells her to just go out there and “be herself” because Sharon has confessed to Gigi that the car dealership is in real trouble and they really need this additional income. Gigi then confesses that she developed the legendary “Stopper Girls” to save face from Amanda running off to California and so she could feel she wasn’t a failure with young girls, in general. Sharon goes back out to sell her meals more as Sharon than someone else and sells 500 of them!! She’s thrilled with the reslutls until Gigi points out that she’s sold 500 meal plans- 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks. Not just 500 meals. But Sharon is up for the task since it will save her family from financial ruin.
Carlene has decided to offer Heather an exclusive on her “Condos For Christian Living” which is a very lucrative contract but has also threatened to take away any other business Heather currently has of Carlene’s if she refuses to rewrite the play, which Heather immediately does. When Heather comes in with the new version, Amanda is very upset and doesn’t see how Heather can bend to Carlene’s threats when Heather points out that’s exactly what Amanda’s done with Cricket. Heather also points out that Amanda was always used to being at the top of the totem pole and that the other girls’ claws had to come out just to hang on and Amanda starts to see that old behavior is harder to correct than she had originally thought. The girls start accusing each other, finally blame Amanda for wanting to do this church production in order to be in control of all of them again and put them in their places and Amanda loses her temper and calls them all losers. When they all leave mad, Amanda walks in on Pastor Tudor praying, asking God to forgive him for being prideful and so competitive with Pastor Steve and tells Amanda this is all actually HIS fault and that he’s to blame, not her, and that he’s calling off the show and going back to the potluck. Amanda insists it’s her fault and asks for his counsel on how to make up to these women she hurt so deeply and he tells her it start with forgiving herself first then hopefully they, too, can forgive her. She disagrees with that being all there is to it, says she needs to go back to that hurtful place for them and takes the day off.
When Carlene, Cricket and Heather find themselves in the Hillside High parking lot lured by an invitation only, private Neiman Marcus sale, they arrive to find they’re the only ones there until Amanda appears in her old cheerleading uniform. Sharon arrives last and is a little out of the loop but catches on quickly then is offended to know Amanda includes her in this exercise as she was a beautiful, popular girl, too. Then Amanda reminds her she told the pageant judges that Sharon wasn’t a virgin and cost her the Miss Texas title and she almost relents when Sharon pushes her over the edge by telling her she reduced her son to one line in the church musical. She states the uniform is symbolic and the only way they’ll be able to start forgiving her is with a little symbolic mud slinging of their own and she gets them all to participate, gladly. They all decide to finally put their pasts behind them and head to the church to get the production going again as not to let down Pastor Tudor.
Upon arriving back at the church, they are stunned to find the rehearsal in full swing. Blake and Ripp had taken over in their wives absences and had seen that the show would go on. When the girls reappear, they have to make amends to their husbands and the congregation in order to be let back into all of their good graces and get their parts back. Cricket allows Carlene to be the Holy Spirit like Amanda had originally cast and the show goes on. Everyone is delighted, Pastor Steve is very impressed, Pastor Tudor is beaming with pride and as Carlene is singing the closing number and hoisted to fly in the sanctuary, Amanda and Heather remember the harness was calibrated for Crickets weight. It’s too late and Carlene goes flying wildly around the sanctuary before crashing through the stained glass. The audience jumps to its feet in applause. Pastor Tudor notes that he doesn’t normally care for clapping in church but this was an exception. Amanda is resigned to turning in her clipboard in the morning and resigning and Pastor won’t hear of it. He insists she go out and take a bow with the rest of the cast and right as she does, the Cockburns and the Reilly’s come together in front of her to take their bows. Things are already back to normal in the neighborhood. I personally loved the message behind this one- we’ve all choked on our own pride more than a few times and it’s always great when it can be resolved this easily!!