Designing Women: The Complete First Season

Designing Women:  The Complete First Season
Even if there wasn't a recent 30 Rock episode about staying up all night watching a Designing Women marathon, and getting hungry and horny in the process, there are many reasons to revisit the Sugarbaker sisters and their run-ins with sexual harassment, escaped criminals, career prostitutes and making themselves "fresh" for gynaecologist husbands. It's a typical '80s cornball sitcom with requisite "issue" episodes but some of the dialogue that shoots out of Delta Burke's mouth is still a little shocking to this day. In fact, much of the comedy of the series stems from the juxtaposition of Ms. Burke's shallow ex-beauty queen character with fellow Sugarbaker Dixie Carter's outspoken feminist character, given their propensity for creative insults. These sisters are joined by fellow designing women Mary-Jo Shively (Annie Potts), a meek, divorced mother-of-two, and Charlene (Jean Smart), a relatively dim receptionist with a tendency to date criminals and married men. Occasionally, Anthony (Meshach Taylor), a black ex-convict, pops in to deliver some goods, bringing with him stories of Southern racism to keep the audience aware of the political landscape. The 22 first season episodes included on this four-disc set cover some serious issues, such as breast cancer, but mostly explore more bizarre territory, like Suzanne's (Burke) temporary adoption of a Vietnamese orphan, Charlene's decision to date Mary-Jo's dad and an episode where Julia is asked to design a whorehouse. Fans looking to revisit the show will find it all kinds of dated, featuring a lot of shoulder pads and big hair, but should unearth some amusement and fond reminiscences, while anyone unfamiliar with the show will probably wonder: "why the hell did people watch it in the first place?" Included with the set is a "Reunion" special feature with the lead cast members and creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, which is essentially a panel, videotaped at the Fearless Women Seminar back in 2006. Anecdotes and fond memories ensue. (Shout! Factory)