Outspoken feminist Julia Sugarbaker runs a design firm out of her Atlanta home, along with her shallow ex-beauty queen sister, Suzanne, divorced mother Mary Jo, and, naive country girl ... See full summary »
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Outspoken feminist Julia Sugarbaker runs a design firm out of her Atlanta home, along with her shallow ex-beauty queen sister, Suzanne, divorced mother Mary Jo, and, naive country girl Charlene. Black ex-con Anthony helps deliver furniture for the business and voices his unique opinion on whatever the women are discussing. Episodes typically revolve around the work, personal, and love lives of these four women. Written by
As with many shows, the pilot features a set that's different from that of the one used once the show is picked up by the network; in this case, there is a stepped entryway beyond the front door, Julia's desk is located front-and-center of the set, and much of the furniture is completely different. Sharp-eyed viewers will also note the dark and grainy quality of the pilot, which is in contrast to the bright, warm, crisp look of the remaining episodes. Dedicated viewers will also note that not only is Suzanne's relationship with Ted, Mary Jo's ex-husband, almost NEVER referred to again after the initial episode, but that Julia alludes to Suzanne's "many" marriages, though in later shows, it's clearly stated Suzanne has only been married three times. See more »
I asked this Northern woman, "Where are ya'll from?" And she said, "I'm from a place where we don't end our sentences with prepositions." So I said, "Okay, where are ya'll from, bitch?"
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"Designing Women" centered on four Southern women who worked at an interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. The original cast included Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, and Meshach Taylor. The humor was outrageously funny, witty and topical and the actors all worked well as an ensemble since their characters were so well-defined and very different. I am puzzled by the many negative comments about this show stating that it was not funny. Were these people watching the same show that I was?
In 1991, both Delta Burke and Jean Smart left the series and were replaced by Julia Duffy, who had played Stephanie on "Newhart," and Jan Hooks, an alumna of "Saturday Night Live." Both were fine actresses but their characters were not well fleshed-out. Duffy's Allison Sugarbaker was a New Yorker and, in my opinion, just never caught on with viewers. Hooks' Carlene Dobber was simply a nitwit, which is a shame because Jan Hooks was hysterical and very versatile on all the seasons she was on SNL. They never developed a multi-layered character that utilized her full comedic potential, but rather one that was mostly a one-note caricature. So, this truly fine and funny actress was wasted in a silly role. Julia Duffy was replaced the next and final season by Judith Ivey, whose character was again a Southern type who fit seamlessly into the ensemble.
I often think the best character was Bernice Clifton as played by the outrageously funny and talented Alice Ghostley. Next to Suzanne Sugarbaker, this character had some hilarious and unforgettable lines.
There are many terrific episodes of this series. They are currently being rebroadcast on the Lifetime Network along with "The Golden Girls," another great series. Those who commented that "Designing Women" is a rip-off of "The Golden Girls" are mistaken; both are fine situation comedies in their own right but are also very unique and distinct from one another. The only thing common to both is that each show starred four wonderful comedic actresses. It would be great to have some solid programming such as both of these shows on the networks today.
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