Designing Women: The Final Season
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The series ended kind of weird and I was sad that it was over but this was one of the funniest and most unpredictable seasons of the show. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lucky7
I can see why series ended. Not as funny as first 5 seasons.Published 14 months ago by Deborah A. Bird