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"Designing Women" reboot in the works

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14 hours ago, Khan said:

I will say this much: we are long overdue for another DW/"Golden Girls"-type series that's heavily female-centric; and we are REALLY long overdue for another series from Bloodworth-Thomason that lets her rip on the current state of affairs.  If Murphy Brown can return, so can LBH's p.o.v.

 

Funny you should mention that - LBH was often aggravated in the late 80's/early 90's at the acclaim Diane English received for Murphy Brown. She didn't understand why MB was an Emmy darling, while DW was overlooked. 

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When I watched the show as a child, Delta Burke always had my attention, but, even though Charlene wasn't much of a character, I think Jean Smart was the real glue of the show. She was just such a great actress, with empathy and nuance which added to what could have been as much of a caricature as Rose on the Golden Girls quickly became. I haven't seen it in years but I remember her performance in the WWII episode where she first met her husband in dream form - on paper that is such a silly conceit, but she made it work. 

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32 minutes ago, BetterForgotten said:

And Jean's definitely been the most visible actress (on TV at least) since leaving the show. I do think the show suffered when she left, even if people cite Burke's exit as the real beginning of the end. 

 

You could really feel the decline of the writing in the arrival of Carlene. I love Jan Hooks, but the character was just yokel yokel yokel. It's sad to say that Jan got more dramatic material in SNL sketches than she did on DW.

Edited by DRW50

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1 hour ago, BetterForgotten said:

LBH was often aggravated in the late 80's/early 90's at the acclaim Diane English received for Murphy Brown. She didn't understand why MB was an Emmy darling, while DW was overlooked. 

 

I've wondered that myself.

 

Over the years, I've heard and read theories suggesting that all the Emmy love for MB was due to the fact that Emmy voters, especially the older ones, looked upon Candice's dad, Edgar, as a sort of elder statesman for the radio and TV industries.  However, while that might explain why Candice herself won so many Emmys, I don't believe it explains the other wins for that show.

 

In the end, I think it comes down to bias against DW's Southern roots.  There were other, less brilliantly written (and acted, and directed, and produced) series during that period that received multiple Emmy wins and nominations, so you can't say DW never won in the major categories, because it was deficient in those departments.  And though "The Golden Girls," which was the female-centric series of the era that did take home several awards, was set in Miami, it wasn't an explicitly Southern show.  (Heck, all four "girls" were Miami transplants -- and Blanche's "Southern-ness" was often the brunt of jokes...and limericks. ;))

 

DW, OTOH, never made any bones about its' reverence for all things Southern, just as it never hid the fact that its' political viewpoint always tilted heavily to the left.  Even its' most stereotypically Southern characters (I'm thinking of recurring characters, such as "Daddy" Jones) weren't funny because they were from the South.  That might have turned off Emmy voters, who, being from the East and West coasts, probably held their own prejudices toward the South and Southerners.

 

4 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

You could really feel the decline of the writing in the arrival of Carlene. I love Jan Hooks, but the character was just yokel yokel yokel. It's sad to say that Jan got more dramatic material in SNL sketches than she did on DW.

 

IMO, the problem was that they were trying to give viewers a variation on Charlene, when all the humor that could be derived from that kind of character had already been derived.  LBH and her second-in-command, Pamela Norris, really should have worked on making Carlene a character in her own right.

Edited by Khan

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I wonder sometimes if it's because the writing for Designing Women could be very strident, especially those big, long speeches when Julia and Mary Jo would go on a tear. I found Mary Jo unbearable much of the time, as talented an actress as Annie Potts was. 

3 minutes ago, Khan said:

 

IMO, the problem was that they were trying to give viewers a variation on Charlene, when all the humor that could be derived from that kind of character had already been derived.  LBH and her second-in-command, Pamela Norris, really should have worked on making Carlene a character in her own right.

 

That's true.

 

They did seem to finally try a new character archetype in the last season, with BJ, but it was too late.

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58 minutes ago, BetterForgotten said:

And Jean's definitely been the most visible actress (on TV at least) since leaving the show. I do think the show suffered when she left, even if people cite Burke's exit as the real beginning of the end. 

 

For me, it's tough to call, since both exits happened almost simultaneously.  If Jean Smart had stayed at least for one more season, then I think I would know for sure whether Delta Burke's exit alone was the true death blow.

 

21 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

I wonder sometimes if it's because the writing for Designing Women could be very strident, especially those big, long speeches when Julia and Mary Jo would go on a tear.

 

That's also possible.

 

Re: B.J. -- In order for a character like hers to have worked, you needed someone in the writers' room who knew how conservatives thought, or thought at the time.  As it was, I don't think they tapped her full potential.

 

Moreover, I think B.J./Judith Ivey's addition to the show upset the balance of the show too much, with Dixie Carter and Annie Potts forced to play caricatures of their own characters.  Julia was less inhibited than she'd been before (which the writers attempted to explain away as her going through menopause), while Mary Jo became an outright "dry drunk."

 

1 hour ago, ChitHappens said:

Dixie could have read the phone book for an entire eppy, and I would have been ok!  

 

Same here.  No matter how much it bored me to watch Dixie Carter sing (and granted, I don't think she performed on the show too often), I considered the trade-off a worthy one.  It takes a true talent like Carter, who was a Republican IRL, to deliver those pro-liberal rants consistently and effectively.

Edited by Khan

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15 minutes ago, Khan said:

Same here.  No matter how much it bored me to watch Dixie Carter sing (and granted, I don't think she performed on the show too often), I considered the trade-off a worthy one.  It takes a true talent like Carter, who was a Republican IRL, to deliver those pro-liberal rants consistently and effectively.

 

Image result for amen gif

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I guess you can say DW probably got lost in the shuffle between Murphy Brown and The Golden Girls, which both catered to similar demos. 

 

LBT's writing may have come off as too "preachy" for some. However, I don't think Diane English was any less "preachy."

 

I think LBT also felt CBS did a better job with promotion/marketing for MB than they did with her show. 

Edited by BetterForgotten

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3 minutes ago, BetterForgotten said:

I guess, you can say DW probably got lost in the shuffle between Murphy Brown and The Golden Girls, which both catered to similar demos. 

 

I would say the same about "Family Ties" being overshadowed by "The Cosby Show."  FT, IMO, was better-written, but people (and Emmy voters) gravitated more toward TCS, because it was more groundbreaking.

 

And poor "Newhart" and "Night Court" lived for so long in "Cheers"'s shadow that I think it affected their chances of getting more Emmy nominations, let alone wins.

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5 hours ago, DRW50 said:

 

You could really feel the decline of the writing in the arrival of Carlene. I love Jan Hooks, but the character was just yokel yokel yokel. It's sad to say that Jan got more dramatic material in SNL sketches than she did on DW.

 

I thought Carlene was how Charlene was when she first left popular bluff.  We have to remember when DW started, Charlene had lived several years outside of Popular Bluff so she had become more refined though still naive and trusting.  Carlene was more like a fish out of water, yet was insightful in an odd way (she didnt tell those popular bluff stories ad much as charlene).

 

I think the reason whuh people said Delta leaving affected the show more than Jean smart was because it was harder to replace Suzanne.  Allison was obnoxious and not charming, while BJ was more like a conservative Julia than she was like Suzanne.

 

I dont recall Dixie Carter singing all that much..maybe 4 or 5 times on her own.  My fav singing performance of hers was Sweet Georgia Brown at her sons wedding and she's drunk....while charlene/mary jo/Suzanne are bewildered and amused.

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16 hours ago, DRW50 said:

When I watched the show as a child, Delta Burke always had my attention, but, even though Charlene wasn't much of a character, I think Jean Smart was the real glue of the show. She was just such a great actress, with empathy and nuance which added to what could have been as much of a caricature as Rose on the Golden Girls quickly became. I haven't seen it in years but I remember her performance in the WWII episode where she first met her husband in dream form - on paper that is such a silly conceit, but she made it work. 

 

Betty White has shared how they used to call Rue, "The Actress", and that's exactly how I think of Jean among the DW. 

 

Suzanne certainly grabbed my attention too, she was outrageously hilarious (which was a slow build... another subject). But I always thought of Dixie as the star and even wondered why she didn't get first billing.

 

This is my favorite. That hand on that hip.

 

 

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