Designing Women
Designing Women
TV-PG | 29 September 1986 (USA)
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  • Reviews
    Perry Kate

    Very very predictable, including the post credit scene !!!

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    I like the storyline of this show,it attract me so much

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    Matylda Swan

    It is a whirlwind of delight --- attractive actors, stunning couture, spectacular sets and outrageous parties.

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    Jenni Devyn

    Worth seeing just to witness how winsome it is.

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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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    Pepper Anne

    The Golden Girls, NBC's great sitcom of four senior women sharing a house together in Miami may have paved the way for the success of Designing Women, which debuted the following year in 1986.Like the Golden Girls, this was a show primarily about single (and eventually married) women who worked at Sugarbakers, an interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Dixie Carter, my favorite, played sharp-tongued Julia Sugarbaker, a product of proper Southern upbringing but with a progressive and bold outlook. As the Golden Girls always took their opportunity for political commentary (often more liberal) on all sorts of issues (probably because it was easier to address these in a cast of all women versus one of all men), Julia Sugarbaker was often the primary character for political expression. Julia was a character never afraid to speak her mind, though sometimes, she did tend to come off as somewhat irritable than wise when the point was made too often. Though, they were important issues nonetheless. Like the Golden Girls, it was an opportune moment, hailing from the days of Regan and eventually Bush, Sr. With a cast of middle-aged Southern women and one black ex-convict (Anthony Bouvier played by Mesach Taylor, who became a cast regular shortly into the first season), these issues were obviously abundant: feminism, race, AIDs, religion, poverty, and so forth. This was the age of television, afterall, when show's creators were still allowed to openly speak their mind (for the most part anyway). Annie Potts, my favorite comedienne, was Mary Jo Shively, equally cynical. Although, earlier versions of her character, before they worked out the kinks in the first season, came off as quite arrogant at times. Shively was the single woman, mother of two who often scoffed at their strange clientelle and also pursued political positions with Julia, though not as often. Jean Smart was the flamboyant Charlene Frazier, a real goofy character with a pleasant personality who seemed to always have all the knowledge of trivial and tabloid information. But, perhaps the biggest draw to the show was Delta Burke who plays snippy former-Miss Atlanta sister to Julia, Suzanne Sugarbaker. Once Mesach Taylor became a regular in the cast, his character Anthony was often forced into hilarious situations with Suzanne. Suzanne, who owned a pot bellied pig named Noel and was known for wielding a handgun and had a Phillipino maid named Conseulla who was rumored to have put curses on Suzanne. At the time, Delta Burke was married to Gerald MacReiny, former Major Dad star, who later plays her ex-husband, Graham on Designing Women. Dixie Carter, too, played alongside her husband, Hal Holbrook, who played her boyfriend, Reece.Despite a great assortment of characters which appear slightly modeled by the Golden Girls cast, this show, unlike the Golden Girls, was not as successful from beginning to end. At the start of the first season, they had problems really finding a niche for each of their characters. At first, it was only the four women, but soon Anthony became a cast regular as the Sugarbaker handyman. And soon, even he developed a more dominant role, often in episodes dealing with his hilarious misadventures with Suzanne. Alice Ghostly, one of my favorites, was the next to join the show as the incredibly zany, but lovable Bernice Clifton. (I love the show where she hosts the public access show and tells everyone that the Sugarbaker interior design firm is just a front for a prostitution house, mortifying Julia and the rest who thought they were on the air to discuss designing).And, despite an all-star cast by this point, each providing many great qualities and plenty of laughs, the show underwent a cast change, probably due to Delta Burke's on-going battle with depression. She was the first to leave and soon, so did Jean Smart who was written off the show when her character, Charlene, gets married and has a baby and soon, becomes a stay-at-home mom. These were two powerful players on the show, and Delta Burke certainly had the biggest draw, which was a powerful act to follow for Jan Hooks, Judith Ivey, and the arrogant Julia Duffy, none of whom (except maybe Hooks who is always good as the moron character like she played in 3rd Rock From the Son) could pull it off. They joined the show in 1991 and the show eventually ended in 1993. But perhaps this is not soley attributed to a cast change. Four years on the air (as of of 1991) is still a good run. Even The Golden Girls took it's final bow in 1992. The show, when it was in it's prime (when it had Julia, Suzanne, Mary-Jo, Charlene, Anthony, and Bernice), it proved to be one of the best sitcoms of the 1980s. The friends, through their trials and tribulations, shared in many hilarious situations that to this day, can still make you laugh till you cry (especially with a lot of the stuff out of Suzanne's mouth). And since it looks like a rarity to catch the reruns anymore on Lifetime TV, where it ran consecutive episodes following the Golden Girls, you're in luck, because they've released some seasons on DVD!

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    Brett Walter

    Nothing is so sad as to see good performers wasted. There were times that this show was actually funny. The problem was that the producers Bloodworth-Thomas's, were so far liberal that they were about to fall off the face of this earth. And there is nothing wrong with that, i mean they are entiteled to their own opinion, but don't take your opinion and flaunt it on a sitcom. And they treated their opinions as facts on this show. It was fact that everyone LOVED Bill Clinton, or that everyone HATED coats made out of fur. And then, such as in the episode about fur, they became so dramatic at the end, about the poor animals theat were killed! You could hear the blood running from the hearts. And to do this on a SITCOM!!!! It was a sitcom, I didn't want to be preached, or listen to a half-hour campaign, I wanted to laugh! If you are going to do this, then you need to keep an open mind. I used to like this when I was younger, but now, I get so frustrated everytime I see it. I'll stick with The Golden Girls!

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    This show was funny most of the time--and a might preachy some of the time, but always fun to watch. As long as Delta Burke and Jean Smart were on the show, it really was great, but when these two funny women left the show, it went downhill FAST!! That means that the first five years of the show were the best and should not be missed. Suzanne, Charlene and Anthony were the funniest characters on this show and Julia was too preachy, while Mary Jo was a pain in the neck--always whining about something!!

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