A Fine Kick-Off For All The Pageantry

When I was in college, Emma Kate had a little TV/VCR combo that sat right underneath the window in our room at the Chi O house (oh, that TV/VCR was the HEIGHT of technology back in the day). At the time I had a slight obsession with taping my favorite shows and then watching them over and over again. so I’m surprised that I didn’t wear the TV/VCR slap out with my repeated viewings of Moonlighting, Saturday Night Live and Designing Women. I watched all three shows so often that I pretty much committed most of the episodes to memory (is that pathetic? please don’t tell me it was pathetic. IT WAS MY HOBBY.)

This past Saturday morning I was checking “the Facetime,” as my husband calls Facebook (and we thought it was really funny and clever until there was actually, you know, something called Facetime, at which point his nickname for the Facebook became a smidge confusing), and a college friend of mine had posted a scene from Designing Women that I’d totally forgotten about. Watching it made me miss the show like crazy, and it made me think of all the hours I fast forwarded and rewound similar moments on EK’s TV/VCR.

It’s a TV memorial stone, people. A TV MEMORIAL STONE.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up by saying that I have seen some lovely Miss Maines and Miss Vermonts in my time – but Suzanne Sugarbaker’s take on things cracked me up. It also reminded me of one of my all-time favorite DW memories (and I have a LOT of favorite DW memories). It’s such a classic.

It’s Miss America week, y’all.

Giddy up.

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  1. Thanks for that…I needed some Julia & Suzanne Sugarbaker to kick off my Monday morning!

  2. One of my favorite DW’s of all time!!! Thanks for the laugh this morning!

  3. A couple years ago they played Designing Women re-runs everyday at just the perfect time as I was getting ready for work. So instead of watching the news or whatever, I would have the ladies on. It was a great way to start the day. One year for halloween I went as Miss Valdosta Feed and Grain, which is completely obsure reference, but I’m guessing maybe you remember?!?!

  4. This is why I love you, Boomama. I don’t know if that many other people share my love for Designing Women like you do. Like you said in your post, I MISS that show so much! There’s really nothing else like it. :)

  5. Woo, woo! If some major world event happened, and the Designing Women scripts, videos, etc., were destroyed, there would be enough of us to reconstruct each episode, word by word. Sounds like something from Twilight Zone, doesn’t it — another of my frequently watched favorites. I haven’t seen Designing Women lately; it’s about time for a reprise on some network! BTW, I’ve always felt that I’ve been drawn to Designing Women because the four of them are some kind of wacky composite of my (and probably every woman’s) personality. We all have some of Suzanne Sugarbaker in us (as well as the other three), but we only let her out when our own hormones (or something else) is raging!

  6. Love it, BooMama! I sure miss DW! Julia’s rants were classic. Remember when she let some New York Times writer have it for a disparaging article he wrote about the South?

  7. DW is on my list of top ten tv shows of all time. Loved that show.

  8. As a Mississippi girl currently living in Vermont (although only for school…I will be heading back South as SOON as I can!), I love this post!

  9. Oh, Sophie, you are a friend indeed. Starting my Monday with “Designing Women” clips? I rise up and call you blessed.

  10. Oh, I’m clapping my hands with delight at the night the the lights went out in Georgia. It is my absolute all time favorite and I have worshiped at that memorial on You Tube many times, thanking God for the TV shows and Southern women that inspire me to believe!!

  11. OMG thank you thank you thank you for reminding me of TV greatness!! That show was one of my very favorites and still is on my top lists of fave tv shows EVER!!! And the whole pageant explanation by Suzanne…PRICELESS!!! I love me some Sugarbaker women and thanks for making Monday funny!!!

  12. L-O-V-E this show! I first saw these clips when a friend (in light of Miss America week, how ironic that the friend was Miss Tennessee 2004!!) posted them on her Facebook (Facetime) page when Dixie Carter passed away. Well, those clips sent me on a wild YouTube DW-watching frenzy. Looking back, that was a very unproductive day for me, but I sure did watch me a lot of Sugarbaker goodness! What an awesome show!

  13. Oh BooMama! Thank you for this. And it is true what Suzanne said, the South just does have pretty contestants! Not that I”m partial or anything: :)

  14. I love Designing Women. Thanks for sharing those clips!

  15. Oh gol, I loved that show. The second clip is a favorite of mine! And obviously, a BIG fan of Miss America. I might have to wear my tiara all week :)

  16. Oh, yes, I definitely shared the Miss Mississippi clip when it showed up on my fb feed (or whatever they’re calling it these days).

    Designing Women = one of the most clever shows. EVER.

  17. Oh, and although it’s completely unrelated to Miss America….this is one of my VERY favorite clips:


  18. Kimberly/OKC says:

    I loved Julia Sugarbaker and I loved Dixie Carter herself! She put out a book several years ago and I devoured it. I still remember a lot of her advice but can’t remember the name right now…something about “ramblings of a southern women” or something. Oh, I just thought of one thing I always thought odd but interesting. She believed one should always dress their children in all white until they are a year old. I think because the are innocent and little angels and precious etc. Not being from the south, I never got that. Have you ever heard of that?

  19. The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia was probably my favorite DW episodes! I cry everytime (okay I’m a wimp!)

    • THANK YOU! I just got teary eyed watching it, and thought, “Surely, I’m not the only one!” I remember watching these episodes with my mama! I think I had that whole spiel memorized at one point!

  20. FYI – They have started showing reruns of DW on the TV Guide network recently! I set my DVR to record the series and have loved watching it!

  21. And yet again, I’m reminded exactly why I love you so much. :)

  22. I think part of the reason that I have never been totally satisfied with “real life” work is because Designing Women, Moonlighting, and Mary Tyler Moore are my standards.

  23. Good grief I wanted to BE Julia Sugarbaker, when she’d get on her soapbox I’d get teary eyed from the beautify of the passion and words :) I <3 these clips, now I want to go watch a DW marathon!! :)

  24. I’m not even joking, I just went on a 5-minute rant about how I love The Golden Girls, but the time has come for them to give up their 8-hour blocks to Designing Women. When I was in high school Lifetime Television for Women had an hour of DW followed by an hour of GG every afternoon, and it. Was. Glorious.

  25. I miss Designing Women. Such a great show. Now I have to find it so I can watch it. Thanks for the laughs!

  26. Thank you for that! I love the Sugarbaker ladies, and that is one of my favorite episodes. It ranks right up there with the one where Julia is explaining that “in the South we don’t ask IF you have crazy people in your family, we ask which side they’re on”.

    TV Guide channel is running DW episodes. Did you know that? I have my DVR set, and I pick my faves to watch when I’m bored or just need a good laugh!

  27. Brenda in Georgia says:

    My Yankee friend in college said that Southerners were better-looking, but Northerners were smarter. I said just because we talk slow(ly), doesn’t mean we are slow.

  28. Oh, how I loved those women! Both those clips brought tears to my eyes remembering the good ole days! In other news. There seems to be some big event happening tonight in NO! Gotta get my Roll Tide in!

  29. Michelle H. says:

    OOOHHH I really want to be Julia Sugarbaker when I grow up!

  30. Too funny. I just posted about watching DW reruns. Not the same without Suzanne in the later years.

  31. I loved Suzanne Sugarbaker, and all the other DW crew. That first clip cracked me up, and made me want to go find some more DW to watch. That second clip was my ALL TIME FAVORITE DW episode. I wanted to jump up and clap my hands, and salute the Georgia flag all at once! ;-)

  32. Oh thank you–in my world, September will ALWAYS be pageant time and I was not paying enough attention to realize that in addition of taking away the “show us your shoes” parade and the splash in the Atlantic–now they hold it when I’m not even looking for it. Sheesh. Great opening to Pageant Week!

  33. So my friend still has a vcr, and it makes me laugh because legit sometimes she still programs it to record things. haha.

  34. Cindy Mc says:

    Several of my friends in college (baseball players from up north) told me that the difference between Northern girls and Southern girls was make-up and jewelry–Southerners know how to wear both well. Funny thing eveyone of those guys married a Southern Belle–just sayin

  35. I LOVE that you would record those shows! My favorite is Designing Women, especially “The Lights Went Out in Georgia.” You are always so much fun!

  36. Isn’t anyone going to mention the fabulous hair and clothes that these clips represent? I was a “prefessional working woman” in the late 80’s and 90’s and I loved to see what the girls were wearing! Then I’d try to imitate it the next day at work. I always thought it was such a compliment when someone said, “You look so Sugarbaker today.” I always wanted to look like Charlene, but since I’m only 5’2″, that wasn’t going to happen.

    Sigh. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore, do they?

  37. Oh, the joy that this give me!! Designing Women is one of my FAVORITE shows ever and I think part of the reason I wanted to become an interior designer. Julia was absolutely my favorite!

  38. Love, love, love Designing Women!! I have watched every episode numerous times. I still cry everytime I see the episode where Charlene has her baby and Dolly Parton is her angel. Love your blog!

  39. Christine says:

    Oh, we lost a good one when we lost Dixie Carter! That show was just the best…back when women were portrayed well on TV instead of the Housewives…sigh!

  40. Judy in Mi says:

    Loved. Loved. DW! Still can’t say female without pronouncing it like Charlene did when she said someone named their baby Female. And nobody gets it (kind of like when I say speciality and nobody gets that either – if you can name that movie we will be friends forever). I may have split a gut during that episode.


    Judy – a Northener who doesn’t end all her sentences with a preposition (rock on Charlene – that episode may have had me rolling in the aisle!).

  41. YES ya’ll were on the cut’n edge of technology back in 1989 and I was so fortunate to live accross from you so as to always stay up on my Moonlightin and DW episodes. I especially loved the evenings you would change your sheets, bring home a variety of periodicals an share only AFTER you’d read them first HA! That Julia clip makes me cry an laugh at the same time.

  42. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Miss me some Julia Sugarbaker!

  43. Oh Designing Women……….a staple of my childhood. My brother, mom and I would watch the reruns ALL THE TIME, along with the treasured Golden Girls. We actually have my husband hooked too:). My brother and I will still quote DW to each other, always seems relevant and funny. Our favorites? Suzanne shooting Anthony with that HUGE gun, Suzanne smoking, the lost pearls in the salad bar, any vacation one, oh and where Suzanne’s ex writes about the 4 of them……ok, that’s alot and there are many more but thanks for starting my day off with a little DW

  44. The MEN should KILL the BUGS.

  45. The second clip is my all time favorite!! I adored Designing Women because those ladies are what Southern women are all about.

  46. This was gold, Boomama. I had forgotten about “the night the lights went out in Georgia” speech, and I just loved Suzanne’s hilarious southern perspective.
    Likewise, do you remember Claire Huxtable’s speech to Denise when Denise pops off about her freedom to do what she wants and Claire dials her down with the “Go Discover America” speech?
    I miss the Huxtables.

    • Do you remember the speech Claire Huxtable gave Elvin (Sondra’s then-yet-to-be husband) about getting coffee “for her man”? Another gem. :)

  47. Ahh, DW! I used to LOVE watching the Sugarbaker sisters. I wanted to dress just like Suzanne. fortunately, I was too broke to.
    Oh, how I smiled and laughed watching those! My 4 year old wasn’t as impressed; she said, “I don’t know why you’re laughing. I don’t see anything funny. I thought that lady was just talking mean.” There goes my idea of watching DW with my girls. It’s probably for the best, though ;-) (but my goodness, if you’re going to tell someone off, you really ought to do it with style….)

  48. The mother-in-law bought me the first 3 seasons of DW on DVD! I am in heaven!

  49. Last night I was a WEE bit nervous during the National Championship game (BIG Bama fans, by the way!), so I was perusing the ole blogosphere as I chewed my fingernails off. After I watched your 2 Designing Women tidbits, I jumped onto YouTube to find more. Needless to say, they kept my attention so my fingernails are good and healthy, and I have a renewed love affair with Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker! Thank you!

  50. Oh, how I LOVED that show. LOVED.

  51. Debbie in Tennessee says:

    I love Julia and the beauty pagent is my all time favorite, but no that is really not true, I have so many and being from the south just makes them all the better! Don’t you agree? You make me laugh all the time BooMama, thank you!

  52. Yes, I did just post that to my facebook! And I am all about me some Sugarbakers. And pagents. And Miss Mississippis. Indeed.

  53. Ahh, Julia Sugarbaker. I always wanted to “tell it” like her. That’s class.

    hah! Gotta love it. Thanks for the memories.

  54. I love me some Designing Women! I second what another commenter said about the clothes…weren’t they great! Those ladies were always stylish. I love the Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, but another favorite is the time Anthony went with Suzanne to judge a pageant and they got stuck in a blizzard and had to share a hotel room. Remember that? Hilarious! One of my students a few years back told me I reminded him of Julia Sugarbaker, and I took it as a great compliment!

  55. Margaret Brown says:

    You’re a Chi O?!? So am I! Now, I know another reason why I love you!

  56. I LOVE Designing Women!!! That second clip was fantastic! I remember watching that and the Golden Girls over and over in college. Such classic shows =) Thank you!