Designing Women: Season 3
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All 22 Episodes of Season Three Hilarity
It is quite the scene at Sugarbaker & Associates in Season Three when Julia (Dixie Carter) runs for the office of Supervisor against a sexist pig, Suzanne (Delta Burke) brandishes a semiautomatic weapon to protect a pig of her own, Mary Jo (Annie Potts) decides that getting breast implants might be a good idea, Anthony (Meshach Taylor) gets nominated for Homecoming Queen and Charlene (Jean Smart) decides to drag them all down to Graceland for an Elvis nostalgia weekend. Alice Ghostley continues her recurring role as the befuddled and lovable Bernice Clifton, who in Season Three, among other things, leads the women in a wilderness survival course.
Created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Designing Women aired on CBS from 1986 1993, running for seven seasons and becoming a premier landmark sitcom in television history.
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It was in season 3 that the series definitely hit its stride. There are 22 episodes and each character gets a solo turn in some episodes and there are many ensemble episodes where the chemistry of all four together rules. There was no standout of the four in this season. All sparkled and shined. In the next few years Delta Burke would be singled out and be the only one of the foursome to get an Emmy nomination - twice.
But here we have Mary Jo wanting breast implants and dealing with problems with her boyfriend J.D. and daughter Claudia. Charlene gets caught up in the Junies selling cleaning products and has some lovely episodes with her fiancee Bill as she gets engaged and married. Very well done. Julia drives thru a newsstand to support her first amendment rights and famously walks down a runway in a fashion show with her dress tucked in her stockings with no underwear. Delta Burke did start developing her sarcastic wit and superb comedic timing this season. Each episode had some great Suzanne moments but she shined in the episode where she dated a blind man. How would the woman who relied on her beauty be accepted by someone who could not appreciate that. And Anthony became a big brother and had a young delinquent Tyrone he mentored in a very touching episode.
The personalities of all are fully established here. Julia with an opinion on everything, Suzanne with her sarcastic wit, Charlene with her naive innocence and Mary Jo who represented the everywoman. These episodes are in no way dated and are presented here with no cuts running about 23 minutes apiece.
This show more than has a place in television history. It was the first time a show had all the main characters as strong, independent women and became a hit. They took on issues, provided laughs and tears. This show is highly recommended and season 3 is one to truly treasure.
Do be warned, this series has a liberal-leaning political point of view and hard-core conservatives are not portrayed in a positive light. The producers, the Bloodworth-Thomasons, are long-time Clinton supporters. As a Centrist with a mix of political views, this doesn't bother me *too* much, but it might bother someone more conservative than me. Favorite episodes in this season set: "The Candidate" (self-described liberal Christian Julia, a.k.a. "The Terminator", runs for public office against far-right candidate Wilson Brickett), "Big Haas and Little Falsie" (flat-chested Mary Jo inherits $3,000 and considers getting breast implants), "One Sees, the Other Doesn't" (a blind client falls for ex-beauty-queen Suzanne), "The Engagement"/"Come On and Marry Me, Bill" (pair of episodes about Charlene's engagement and wedding to Air Force Col. Bill Stillfield), "Full Moon" (Julia participates in a fashion show where she gets the back of her dress stuck in her panty hose) and "Julia Drives Over the First Amendment" (Julia stages a one-woman protest against a neighborhood news stand displaying smutty magazines--and a big poster advertising them).
This is one of the few series from later than the 70s that I enjoy binge-watching. Highly recommended if you can get past the political slant.