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Designing Women

CBS (ended 1993)



User Score: 1966

out of 10
User Rating
433 votes

By TV.com Users

Designing Women

Show Summary

Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter), Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts), Charlene Frazier-Stillfield (Jean Smart) and Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) are associates at their design firm, Sugarbaker and Associates. Julia Sugarbaker is the owner of Sugarbaker and Associates and is very outspoken and strong-willed. Mary Jo Shively is a divorced single-parent who is just as strong-willed as Julia, but isn't as self-confident. Charlene is the naive and trusting farm girl from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Suzanne Sugarbaker is the self-centered ex-beauty queen who has a number of wealthy ex-husbands.

At the end of Season 5 Delta Burke was fired from the series and Jean Smart left to pursue other goals. Two new characters were introduced: Allison Sugarbaker (Julia Duffy) and Carlene Frazier Dobber (Jan Hooks). Soon, Julia Duffy was taken out of the series and a final cast change brought in Bonnie Jean "B.J." Poteet (Judith Ivey).

The series was very successful for CBS, lasting 7 seasons (163 episodes). Reruns from the series continue to air on Lifetime.

In 1995, Delta Burke reconciled with the series creators and reprised her role of Suzanne Sugarbaker for the far less successful spin-off Women of the House, which co-starred Teri Garr and Patricia Heaton. Carter, Burke, and Bloodworth-Thomason had all previously worked together on the 1982-83 sitcom Filthy Rich, from which a lot of dialogue in Designing Women was recycled. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better)

#23 in the 1989- 1990 Season
#11 in the 1990- 1991 Season
#6 in the 1991- 1992 Season


    Remembering Designing Women's Dixie Carter

    Dixie Carter, known for her portrayal of Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women, passed away last weekend; we've rounded up some of her memorable performances.


    Actress Dixie Carter dies at 70

  • Dixie Carter

    Dixie Carter

    Julia Sugarbaker

    Annie Potts

    Annie Potts

    Mary Jo Shively

    Meshach Taylor

    Meshach Taylor

    Anthony Bouvier

    Delta Burke

    Delta Burke

    Suzanne Sugarbaker

    Jean Smart

    Jean Smart

    Charlene Frazier Stillfield/Charlene Frazier Stillfield (Seasons 4-5)

    Jan Hooks

    Jan Hooks

    Carlene Frazier Dobber

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    • The Original Cast Was The Best Cast

      After Delta Burke and Jean Smart left the show, it all sort of fell apart. Julia Duffy was a mistake. Allison Sugarbaker should have never existed. And where did Carlene come from anyway? That one episode with all of Charlene's family, Carlene is not mentioned. Every episode of season six was one catastrophe after another. Season seven, however, was so much better. Judith Ivey's character was pretty great. Sure, she wasn't enough to bring the show back, but in all fairness it was pretty far gone after the previous season. The one thing I will never get over is that damn gone with the wind parody. What in God's name was that? I mean I realize the show was canceled, so that wasn't the official finale, but I don't think that episode should have happened either way.moreless
    • a classy and funny show

      I really love this show until now because for me, this is the best sitcom ever made! Eventhough this is always compared to Golden Girls, I like this show much better because Golden Girls is so overrated and Designing Women has the best comedy by far. I love the character of Julia and she's really a good actress and all the cast really gave their full performance in this show! Sometimes it's a bit preachy but it never fail to deliver a good laugh to everyone. I bought the complete 7 seasons of this show at DVDBOOTH .com which really provided me good quality DVDs. Among all the TV series created, Designing Women is definitely stand out among all other sitcom. I think they can never make any other series as good as this one!moreless
    • A comedy, that aims at teaching left-leaning doctrine through humor.

      A show presumably about a small interior designer firm, though precious few episodes are actually about designing. And only a few episodes in, you get the feeling that the audience is what they are designing.

      Playing the overplayed and trite cast-the-conservative-as-a-dufus card, the writers consistently consistently use the character of Suzanne Sugarbaker for straight lines to be struck down comically by the more liberal - and therefore more "enlightened" - partners. Liberal potshots at conservative politics were gratuitously and irrelevantly sprinkled into the script.

      The character of Bernice Clifton used one whole episode to take a half-hour slam on the conservative church.

      I'll grant that the show had it;'s truly funny moments. But unless you enjoy having your core values ridiculed, there was really little reason to watch the show.

    • great show

      Well Written
    • It was a classic show.

      I loved Designing Women. It lost some of it's appeal when Suzanne and Charlene lefet, but it was still funny. My favorite character was Julia. She was this polite, sophiticated woman, but when you got on her bad side, she'd go Terminator on you, which I found to be funny, but also true about whoever her anger was aimed at. My favorite episode with Julia was Full Moon, or the name of it was close to that. I loved the fact that she was always sticking up for what she thought was right. That episode where she kept crashing her car into a stand that had posters she spoke of as degrading to women. Mary Jo was my second favorite. Especially in the Big Hass episode, when she was talking about how big breast could get you anything. Mary Jo, i think would be in everyones top two, of the funniest ones of them all. I wasn't to happy when Suzanne ans Charlene left, but that epsidoe when they all spent the night at Charlene's (or is it Carlene's? I think both her and charlene's names were spelt the same) new apartment, had me laughing hard. I love old classic shows like these.moreless

    More Info About This Show


    Comedy, Drama


    Sitcoms, Classics, 80s, Love & Romance, social issues