Designing Women (1986–1993)

TV Series   |  TV-PG   |    |  Comedy


Episode Guide
Designing Women (1986) Poster

The misadventures of four women and their handyman running a design firm in Atlanta, Georgia.


7/10
3,999

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Photos

  • Dolly Parton and Jean Smart in Designing Women (1986)
  • Delta Burke and Jean Smart in Designing Women (1986)
  • Annie Potts and Jan Hooks in Designing Women (1986)
  • Dixie Carter in Designing Women (1986)
  • Jean Smart in Designing Women (1986)
  • Jean Smart and Mariann Aalda in Designing Women (1986)

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Cast & Crew

Top Series Cast



Creator:

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


30 November 2003 | vs661966
9
| Witty and Extremely Funny
"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.

Critic Reviews


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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jan Hooks said she got a lot of very negative feedback from fans when she tried to step into the void left by Jean Smart's departure. She told the Orlando Sentinel at the time she didn't blame them:"Jan Hooks doesn't blame all those loyal Designing Women fans who have expressed cranky outrage over the show's major personality overhaul this season. "I was a fan of the show myself before I was chosen to be on it," says Hooks, who plays dizzily sweet Karlene Frazier, one of two new characters on the CBS show this season. "I would have been doing the same thing the fans were. I'd be yelling, 'Who do you think you are?!'" Jan Hooks as Karlene Frazier actually went over better than the other replacement that season: Julia Duffy as Allison Sugarbaker. The network and the fans immediately reacted with strong disapproval of Duffy/Allison; and the word was the network was about to fire Duffy before she jumped ship at the end of one season. Hooks, conversely, after some initial resistance from fans, ended up being very well received with fans, critics and network executives; and ended up staying with the show until the series finale at the end of the next season.


Quotes

Mary Jo Shively: We think that your friend, Monette might be practicing the oldest profession.
Charlene: You think that Monette is a carpenter?


Goofs

In several episodes the characters reference going to the fast-food restaurant Carl's Jr. There are no Carl's Jr. restaurants in the Southeast. In this region they have always been Hardee's.


Soundtracks

Georgia on My Mind
by
Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell
Performed by Ray Charles
(seasons 6-7)

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Comedy

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