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Designing Women: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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When four strong, sassy and sexy Southern women running a fledgling interior decorating firm hit the television airwaves as Designing Women in 1986, they brought a new kind of Southern spirit to American television. Smart, ambitious and outspoken they embodied the new Southern woman. The much-married, alimony-rich beauty queen Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) uses her feminine wiles to attract business for the firm - and future ex-husbands for herself. Her sophisticated sister, Julia (Dixie Carter), is nobodys fool and runs the operation and her own life with a guarded graciousness. Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts) is the sweet-natured, recently-divorced mother trying to make her own way in the world as a decorator for the first time. Small-town gal Charlene Frazier (Jean Smart) is the naïve, overly-trusting bad-guy magnet who runs the office. They are all devoted to the business. They are each devoted to the other. Designing Women was a gift to American television that ran for seven seasons and continues winning fans to this day in reruns all around the world. All 21 episodes from Season 1 finally arrive on DVD.
* Designing Women: A Reunion sponsored by The Paley Center for Media in 2006.
The mark of a great sitcom is whether the jokes and tone stand up to time, despite any outdated hairstyles and fashion. Designing Women is a great sitcom. The first season--which aired during 1986-1987--capitalizes on the leading ladies' charm and chemistry. Sure, the clothes may give away the era, but the dialogue is consistently whip-smart and funny. Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) owns an Atlanta interior design firm. She is a proper, well-mannered lady, but if you get on her bad side, watch out: Her words cut through like a knife, as evidenced in an episode where a clueless man thinks Julia and her friends might be flattered by his unwanted attention. Julia's sister Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) is the polar opposite of her feminist sister. A former beauty queen, Suzanne has been married and divorced more than a handful of times. Though shallow and blunt, Suzanne also has a heart of gold when it comes to things that really matter--like friends and family. Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts) is their petite, red-headed colleague. Divorced from a doctor who she put through med school, Mary Jo isn't sure how to navigate life as a single mom. Then there's Charlene Frazier (Jean Smart), whom Suzanne once referred to as a "big old donkey girl." Naïve and hopeful, Charlene sees the good in everyone--even Suzanne. The beauty of Designing Women is that while somes of the plotlines revolve around each character's insecurity, the writers also tap into what the women really want--even if they aren't aware of it. For instance, Suzanne volunteers to foster a child whose adoptive parents can't take her for a month. Never mind that this isn't the way foster parents or adoption works. The way Suzanne fusses over the little girl--even allowing Li Sing to wear one of her prized tiaras to bed--is as touching as it is funny. Meanwhile, Julia has a difficult time watching her 19-year-old son engage in a romance with a woman her own age. This season also tackles sexual harassment, racism, and cancer. There are some ridiculous premises--such as Charlene's being involved with a possible escaped criminal and Suzanne being worried that her maid cast a voodoo spell over her. But overall, Designing Women still manages to make viewers laugh, think, and even cry a bit. --Jae-Ha Kim
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UPDATE: ordered a second set of DVDs and they, too, were defective. I'm either a glutton for punishment, or really want a GOOD set, but I'm trying one more time... Hey, Amazon! Look into this production run of DVDs!!! They're defective!
okay i LOVED this show and was excited to find the DVDs on amazon... this dvd set, however, was poorly made - full of digital glitches, to the point where one episode locked up the DVD player.... very disappointed!!! i've returned this set (amazon's great with refunds), and am hoping a reorder will provide me with a clean set of DVDs... i ordered Season 2 of the show, but have yet to make it through all the episodes to make sure they aren't faulty as well... hopefully, they aren't...
Add the gifted and delightfully forthright lead actresses Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart who deliver their lines with verve and sincerity, and mix in the comedic grace of Meshach Taylor and the eccentric charm of Alice Ghostly, and you have a magical formula which seems effortlessly achieved.
"Designing Women" is a true classic which you can revisit repeatedly and still be inspired. Plaudits to Shout Factory for preserving this delicious entertainment on DVD especially for those of us who appreciate quality television.
I could not give 5 stars because it has a sort of ringing sound while watching. None of my other DVD's do that in my BlueRay player. I have watched two discs on this set and both occasionally make the sound. It is not enough to drown out her audio, just can be a little annoying.
played on our Pioneer player (audio via the TV). With no Closed Captioning available, we tossed the DVDs. If
a reader knows of a solution to this problem, we'd like to hear it.