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Designing Women: The Final Season

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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(Jul 17, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

The seventh and final season mixes up the cast one last time with the introduction of Judith Ivey as B.J. Poteet, a rich Texas widow who invests in the Sugarbaker firm after Allison Sugarbaker pulls her money out of the business for good. Season Seven highlights include Carlene (Jan Hooks) dating a cross-dresser, Anthony (Meshach Taylor) embarking on a wild, and costly, trip to Vegas, Bernice (Alice Ghostley) fearing that Mary Jo (Annie Potts) is planning to put her to sleep, and Julia (Dixie Carter) and all of the women of Sugarbaker’s struggling to keep the business alive.

Created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Designing Women aired on CBS from 1986 to 1993 and remains one of the true pioneering shows in television history.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Jan Hooks, Judith Ivey, Julia Duffy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: July 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 507 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007RMQ4CW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,780 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This July, one of the most beloved, well-crafted, character-driven sitcoms will finally be complete on DVD thanks to Shout Factory, when Season 7 of "Designing Women" is released.

In 1992 "Designing Women" was coming off its highest ratings in the series' history following the replacement of half the cast, including the show's big breakout character. A remarkable achievement in lieu of the fact that one of the replacements was very poorly received by audiences. The producers decided to let Julia Duffy go because they felt the show was tarnished by such an unlikeable character. In the years since, it seems unanimous that it was the writing and NOT Duffy's performance that caused the backlash.

For Season 7, veteran stage/character actress Judith Ivey was brought in as the now-revolving fourth member of Sugarbakers (rumour has it after Bonnie Hunt turned down the part). As extremely-rich-but-down-to-earth widow B.J. Poteet, Ivey is a terrific addition to the seasoned cast, creating a colorful, charismatic character with a fleshed-out backstory but the addition of B.J. unfortunately throws the show off-kilter and it's now unbalanced like a table with only three legs. It's sad to see a series that has carefully developed it's characters for six years suddenly toss all their history aside to get some cheap laughs. With new writers and Norma Safford Vela now producing, that's exactly the problem with this final season. The show becomes a frustrating mass of contradictions that alienated all except the most devoted fans. The new Friday night timeslot no doubt cost "Designing Women" a large chunk of their audience too (the show plunged from #6 to #67 in the Nielsen's resulting in CBS cancelling it in Spring 1993).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not having seen this since it originally aired 20 years ago(!), my memory of this season was, to put it mildly, a little hazy. The only episode I actually remembered was the Gone With The Wind spoof two-parter that served as the show's swan song. My other recollection was that I liked the addition of Judith Ivey and I thought overall that this was a better season than the previous one. So now it feels like I'm watching it again for the first time. And here's what I've deduced.
1) Season Six Was Better. As much as Julia Duffy's character (an extension of her Newhart role) was universally hated, overall I felt Season Six had better stories and better laughs. In contrast the first six episodes of Season Seven are dreadful, but if you make it through those, things definitely improve. And in retrospect, Duffy really wasn't that bad in Season Six, she was simply stuck with an unlikable Suzanne-filler that she couldn't do much with. The character of Carlene was much more successful. Which leads me to,
2) B.J. was a good move (in theory.) As I mentioned before, I thought bringing in Judith Ivey was great, in that she made B.J. a warm, believable character who brought some much needed sass to the show. The drawback was, like Alison, B.J. didn't really have much to besides butt heads with Julia, but she definitely was a better fit for the show.
3) Julia Becomes A Joke. What I mean by that is Julia Sugarbaker is no longer herself. What started out as the most level-headed character devolved into a parody. Julia Sugarbaker joining in an impromptu Motown routine in a hospital room? I don't think so! Even Dixie Carter seemed to poke fun at herself, and that was disappointing. This character decline started around the sixth season, but this season is the most obvious.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
DVD itself came sealed and works as intended with no flaws in viewing. Price of course is always better (OK, almost always better) on Amazon!

The episodes of the final season are probably not regarded as the best in the series, but I truly love the later episodes. The introduction of the charachter BJ and the continuation of Carlene from the season prior are great additions to this season. The feeling of the shows is much more "fun," than prior early seasons when the actors tend to be more business-like for lack of a better term. As they get more and more comfortable with each passing year their characters seems to take on more personality and become increasingly fun and relaxed on each episode, especially Julia and Mary Jo. Very stoic and business oriented, they become increasingly fun and down-to-earth as the series goes on.

I personally love the entire series from season 1 right to the end. This season might not fit everyone's idea of the best season, but I believe it's a showcase of the evolution the characters took on as the series progresses. I LOVE IT!
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Format: DVD
That's not a question that first pops into one's mind when taking the final season solely by itself. But certainly, when compared with the earliest episodes of season one, Designing Women has, by the series finale, jumped off the tracks and ran amok. There are some bright spots to be had! I still maintain that Jan Hooks was an absolute coup for the last couple of seasons of Designing Women. When she's good, she's great and she really has a knack for stealing the spotlight in her scenes. Her characterizations of iconic Gone With the Wind characters in the series finale, for example, is a riot! Alice Ghostley, with the show since the very beginning, takes the time among the inane plots and cartoon-ish situations of season seven to simply do her thing and it's such fun to watch. I would call Bernice, played by Ghostley, the steam behind the final season, the last original element that still maintains the enjoyable quality viewers fell in love with. The saddest thing about these last episodes is the characters of Mary Jo Shively and Julia Sugarbaker. Gone is the spot-on writing, crisp dialogue and effortless humor of yesteryear. The last of the original lead characters have been replaced with shrill caricatures of their original selves. Julia's Terminator alter ego is cranked up to the highest degree and, instead of cheering her on, I now find myself tuning her out. The same with Mary Jo, whose neuroses has risen so much, she spends a majority of season seven running around the set and screaming. Judith Ivey as BJ Poteet is largely forgettable and Meshach Taylor as Anthony is saddled with a season long subplot that is, quite frankly, subpar. The finale is tolerable and, as a send off into the great beyond of classic TV, is certainly fitting.Read more ›
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Designing Women: The Final Season
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