Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy

Karla's Kolumn: Lessons and laughs of 'Designing Women'


October 14, 2017

A while back I found a new channel had appeared on the satellite system and with that channel came some old shows, including one of my all time favorites — “Designing Women.”

The first five seasons were the best with the original cast members of Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker, Charlene Fraser and Mary Jo Shively. But let’s not forget Anthony and Bernice.

I loved the show for a number of reasons but first and foremost was it made me laugh. Not just a polite chuckle but a laugh out loud, snorting guffaw. Let’s face it there are some great one liners in the show.

Suzanne when talking about Reggie Mac who stole her money ... “He’s not dangerous. I’m dangerous. I’m going to kill him.”

Suzanne … “I told myself it was going to be a real donkey day and now look what’s happened, there’s a circus coming to town and it’s got my name on it.”

Julia … “Well I give to the humane society but that doesn’t make me a cat.”

Julia … “The truth is there are only nine people who cannot define pornography, unfortunately they are all on the Supreme Court.”

Suzanne in talking about one of Anthony’s girlfriends … “This girl is selfish, pushy, whiny and neurotic, sounds to me like a white girl.”

Julia … No one in the south asks if you have crazy people in your family, they just ask what side they are on.”

Suzanne … “You know what your problem is people … you think too much.”

Charlene … “All we needed was an open field, a broom stick and a potato. Well, not a good potato, we had to eat those.”

Suzanne … “I say if history is just going to repeat itself, why the heck should I pay attention the first time.”

When discussing religion and they ask Anthony if his church is a holy roller-type church. He replies, “I’m Episcopalian. The only time Episcopalians crawl around on the floor is if they are looking for a golf ball.”

Suzanne in discussing her relationship with her maid Consuela … “If I want her to get up in the middle of the night and make a peach pie, she does it. And when she throws a knife at me, I over look it.”

Along with the great comedy, Designing Women touched on a number of important social issues, birth control, AIDS, domestic violence, racism, religious issues, cancer, treatment of the elderly, treatment of women, sexual harassment, not just of women but of men, weight issues, pornography and free speech. In later episodes they even took on political issues of the time like the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

During one episode regarding AIDS, Julia remarks to a friend who said AIDS is killing off “all the right people” and that they are getting what they deserve [because homosexuality is considered a sin]. Julia remarks that she has known the woman most of her life and “if God were giving out sexually transmitted diseases for sinning, you would be at the free clinic all the time.”

But mostly the show was about relationships with family and friends. Those relationships take work, there can be good times and bad times, and in the end it’s about forgiving and caring about those we love; accepting them for who they are and embracing their differences.

My favorite quote from the show is not a funny one-liner and it’s one I’ve shared before. It’s in the episode where Charlene has her baby Olivia. While the others are waiting they meet Miss Minnie Bell Ward, a 100-year-old woman. Before she passes she says, “we ain’t what we should be, we ain’t what we’re gonna be, but at least we ain’t what we were.”

In other words, be patient with me, I’m a work in progress.


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