Designing Women Is Better Than Golden Girls…There, I Said It [VIDEO]
I have had to listen to this for far too long now, and I am putting my foot down...right square into the middle of Atlanta, Georgia.
If you hadn't noticed, we have a certain morning show personality (her first name rhymes with ANGEL) who is one of the biggest Golden Girls fans I have ever met. And I know a lot of them, so that is saying something.
There isn't anything remotely related to the Emmy-winning 80s sitcom that Angel isn't aware of.
Whether it concerns Golden Girls Christmas tree ornaments, the Golden Girls house from the show being listed on a real estate site, Golden Girls face masks, or just Golden Girls novelties found at her favorite store, Angel is all over it.
But I'm here to tell you, there is something better.
It is called Designing Women. And for those of you so immersed in all things Golden, I'll let you know that it, too, was a popular 80s sitcom (though, admittedly, NOT as popular) that ran from 1986 through 1993, although the last two seasons were hot garbage.
And, no, it didn't win Emmys the way Golden Girls did (all four of the latter's stars won at some point during the show's run; none from DW ever won) and hasn't popped up nearly as much, in syndication, as its counterpart has.
But, in my humble opinion, it is a MUCH better show. I have friendly disagreements with friends of mine all the time about this topic. And I always explain my stance. So I will now, to you.
While The Golden Girls certainly had an accomplished cast, I always felt that none of the dialogue on the show EVER sounded like dialogue. They always sounded like one-liners, with every member of the cast waiting to nail the punchline. Also, the storylines were never as realistic as the ones on Designing Women, and I can give you an example of what I mean.
But first...Designing Women was about four women who worked at the Sugarbaker Design Firm in Atlanta. The owner was Julia Sugarbaker (the late Dixie Carter). There was also her sister Suzanne (Delta Burke), Mary Jo (Annie Potts--who's from Franklin, Kentucky), and their secretary Charlene (Jean Smart).
Now as for that realism...in a second-season episode, Charlene was troubled because her pastor at church had said from the pulpit that women shouldn't be preachers. And she was having a real crisis of conscience over this matter. In one scene of the episode, she was having a discussion with her pastor about missionaries Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon.
Well, I liked to have fallen out of my chair. Here's a Hollywood-produced sitcom dropping the names of missionaries whose names I'd heard every Christmas and Easter my entire life. Growing up as a Southern Baptist, you just did. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. You fellow Baptists feel me?
I credit the show's creator, Missouri native Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, with infusing, into the show, her knowledge and memories of her childhood and life in the south. It's this understanding of how people talk and think in that region of the country that makes Designing Women so real. And funny.
I had never heard a sitcom character discuss a memory from Sunday School in my lifetime.
Mainly, though, unlike The Golden Girls, there were no obvious "jokes" in Designing Women, no "hitting the mark" with a punchline. They just spoke. And it was usually very funny. This description of crazy people in the south, for example:
Or this--arguably the most famous scene in the entire series' run:
I don't hate The Golden Girls. The show has its moments. It also has the queen of deadpan timing, the late Bea Arthur. But it never did ring nearly as true as Designing Women, a show that never once offered caricatures of southerners, like so many had before.
Designing Women is currently available on Hulu.