Thelma Harper and her spinster sister Fran open their home to Thelma's recently divorced son Vinton and his teenage son and daughter. It's quite an adjustment for everyone, especially the ... See full summary »
A greasy-spoon diner in Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for this long-running series. The title character, Alice Hyatt, is an aspiring singer who arrives in Phoenix with her teenaged son, ... See full summary »
Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, ... See full summary »
Lara Jill Miller
Hayden Fox is the head coach of a university football team, and eats, sleeps and lives football. His partner, however, does not share his passion for the sport, which frequently causes ... See full summary »
Craig T. Nelson,
Jerry Van Dyke,
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
Dixie Carter, being a Republican, didn't always agree with her character's Liberal views. So she and the show's producers came to an agreement: whenever Julia would go off on something that Dixie didn't quite agree on she would get to showcase her singing in a future episode. See more »
[after Charlene turns juror Julia in for discussing her case outside of court]
[on the phone]
Now Julia, you sound overwrought.
Yeah, well you're gonna think overwrought. If I miss my dinner with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter because of this, you're going to pay and pay big. I'm going to find you and hunt you down like a dog! I'm talking about you running through the woods in the snow with blood hounds ripping your clothes off! And remember Charlene, I have your address. You'd be wise to ask yourself...
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Designing Women is a true classic show, certainly with its original cast, offering some of the best characters, chemistry, and scripts ever on television. The people behind the show were the Thomasons, good friends of Bill Clinton from Arkansas, and often, the show expressed their liberal point of view.
Julia, Suzanne, Charlene, Mary Jo etc., have now all passed into syndication where they can be enjoyed all the time. These wonderful actresses fleshed out their characters so were able to laugh, be appalled, and cry with them: Julia, the widow, outspoken with a good heart; Suzanne, her beauty queen sister, selfish, shallow, and lovable; Charlene, the patsy, pretty, sweet, and naive; Mary Jo, the divorcée, struggling with dating and motherhood, self-deprecating and funny. And what can be said about that supporting cast of Meshach Taylor as Anthony and Alice Ghostley as Bernice? Perfect.
Even though I laughed hysterically at many of the episodes, two stand out - one where, during freezing weather, Suzanne and Anthony are stranded at a fleabag hotel for the night; the other was when the girls went on some sort of camping trip and were ordered around by a counselor - I'm vague on the details, but I can still see the look on Charlene and Mary Jo's faces.
Like the Golden Girls, with the loss of one of the cast, in this case Delta Burke, the show suffered, although it was still funny with Julia Duffy and Judith Ivey. But audiences find it difficult to accept new characters as replacements, no matter how good. The chemistry was never the same. Nevertheless, even the later episodes make for great viewing.
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