Designing Women, but Make it 2020: A Review of TheaterSquared’s Recent Play
Updated: Apr 8
Phew! We did it! We squeezed in for a last-minute virtual viewing of the recent Designing Women play. That’s right - we said play! Set in 2020, as one would expect, LBT’s thoughts on politics, religion, and public health were on full display and we had…thoughts.
A few things we mentioned in the episode:
AND, since we recorded our episode, we found out that the Arkansas Reparatory Theater will present their production of the play January 18-February 6, 2022. Visit their site for more info!
Nikki: Hi, friends.
Nikki: Since we recorded this special episode, the Arkansas Repertory Theater announced their production of the Designing Women play will be on stage January 18 through February 6, 2022.
Nikki: Visit www.therep.org.
Nikki: That's T-H-E-R-E-P-O-R-G for more information.
Nikki: Now back to the show.
Salina: Oh hey, Nikki.
Nikki: Hey, Selena.
Salina: And hello and welcome to the Sweet Tea and TV podcast.
Salina: We're here for a special episode, specialty special.
Nikki: So special that we're in the same old crap.
Nikki: We got something new.
Salina: It's like something all around kind of new, because we're going to talk about the return of Designing Women.
Salina: That's right, guys.
Salina: Gals people.
Salina: Designing women returned.
Salina: This time to stage in theater.
Salina: That's a theater in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Salina: I guess that's where LBT is residing now.
Salina: It was only for a month run and with two really fun facts, maybe.
Salina: I don't know.
Salina: You decide how fun.
Salina: Well, it was set in 2020.
Salina: You know the facts.
Nikki: I know them.
Salina: And we were able to stream it from home.
Nikki: There you go.
Nikki: I didn't have to put pants on.
Salina: Who does anymore?
Salina: Post 2020 world pants offer?
Nikki: Post pandemic pants optional.
Salina: That's right.
Salina: So thinks of Tammy, friend of real life, friend of show.
Salina: She flagged this for us and she.
Nikki: Said, did you guys hear about this?
Nikki: And we were like, we're such massive Designing Women fans.
Nikki: No, we definitely have not heard of this.
Salina: Was that our fault?
Nikki: I was trying to decide if I was going to take ownership of that.
Salina: Time to set up those Google alerts, I guess.
Salina: Anyways, so we were able to catch one of the final performances.
Salina: And that's why we're here to report back to our duty to you.
Nikki: It's our duty to the Sweet Tea and TV sweet Teas.
Salina: Because if we didn't hear about it, there's a chance you didn't hear about it.
Salina: So we're here to report back.
Salina: And that's what today is about.
Salina: So the article that Tammy actually sent to us is from New York Times.
Salina: So I guess if you all want to know what they said, we'll also put that in show notes.
Salina: I did a thing.
Nikki: Oh, no.
Salina: Well, there's nothing for people to go back and see, right?
Salina: So I wrote a synopsis.
Salina: Do you want to judge me the way that we judge Hulu in IMDb?
Nikki: You know, judging is, like, my favorite thing to do.
Salina: What else are you going to do.
Nikki: In your spare time?
Salina: And then hopefully also we can put together some of the pieces for people before we start to give our thoughts.
Salina: That way they don't feel like they're going into this with the old wool over the eyes.
Salina: Yeah, that's not what that means.
Salina: I'm nervous.
Salina: No one avoided the roller coaster ride from h*** that was 2020.
Salina: Not even Sugar bakers building.
Salina: Tensions over COVID-19 and the looming presidential election come to a boiling point.
Salina: When Julia, Suzanne, Mary, Joe, Cleo, that's Anthony's cousin, and Haley, that's Charlene's sister all find themselves quarantined together after an exposure to the virus.
Salina: And as we all know, there's no better time to nitpick politics, religion, and what you don't like about each other than when you're cooped up and have nowhere to go.
Salina: Can Charlene, who's been missing in action, swoop in and save their business and 30 plus year friendship from disaster?
Salina: That's it.
Nikki: I like it.
Nikki: I like it.
Nikki: I feel like it was pretty inclusive.
Salina: We should say that this thing was two and a half hours longer.
Nikki: No, it was like almost 3 hours.
Salina: It was long.
Nikki: It was very long.
Nikki: We only got to watch it one time because the way it worked.
Nikki: So they did live performances, like Selena said, for about a month.
Nikki: And then they had a I was going to say virtual.
Nikki: They had like a recorded performance available.
Nikki: And you buy your ticket and then you get it for 24 hours on the day that you get it.
Nikki: And we both got it on a workday because it was ending that weekend.
Nikki: We weren't able to watch it or whatever.
Nikki: So we both got on a workday, which means we didn't get to start watching it till the end of the day.
Nikki: And then we had to go work the next day.
Nikki: So there was no time to watch it multiple times.
Nikki: So all of this is based on our very best recollections.
Salina: And it was just tough.
Nikki: It's tough.
Nikki: And so, yes, that was number one thing.
Nikki: It was very long.
Nikki: There was a lot of intersecting and interweaving points.
Salina: Well, I thought maybe what we could do is also give some of that hold on.
Salina: Thank you.
Nikki: You're welcome.
Nikki: It was lovely.
Nikki: You, Selena, did what Hulu often finds it cannot do.
Nikki: You gave a very inclusive but not overly revealing synopsis.
Salina: But now we do need to reveal.
Nikki: Now we got to reveal some things.
Salina: Because we assume that you want to know.
Salina: So I'm going to say some things and maybe you can hold me accountable because I think I probably missed a lot.
Nikki: It was long, right?
Salina: But I felt like we were in a little bit of a time warp where simultaneously we're in 2020 but no one's aged.
Salina: Some people have gotten younger.
Salina: That's cool.
Salina: Like, do what you want, but I think if you didn't view it like we did, it might make it tougher to get your mind on this.
Salina: So I think that's important for people to understand.
Salina: It's 2020, but I'm not sure they've gotten 30 years older.
Nikki: Yeah, I have this somewhere else to bring up later.
Nikki: But yeah, so the show is definitely and it's really clearly set in 2020, if for no other reason than the cultural milestones, the election COVID.
Nikki: So it's clear that's happening.
Nikki: We also know that the times it was really clear the show was set in the 1980s so it was supposed to be 30 years.
Nikki: But to your point, Suzanne doesn't look 30 years older.
Salina: I mean, they would be like about ready to move in the 55 and up communities, and that wasn't the case.
Salina: So just to give everybody an idea, nikki, tell me if I'm right or wrong here.
Salina: It sounds like Suzanne is in the middle of her 6th divorce.
Nikki: Oh, did they say that?
Salina: Her 6th?
Salina: I think so.
Nikki: It was a divorce for sure.
Nikki: I knew that part.
Salina: So now she owns her own cosmetics beauty business.
Salina: Sounds like there's a lot of different components to that.
Salina: She's got perfume, some stuff.
Nikki: She's a girl boss.
Salina: That's right.
Salina: Julia is now a blogger with a dedicated fan base.
Salina: And she really knows her way around words, which I'm proving right now that I don't.
Salina: She uses words.
Nikki: She's a good talker, but she also.
Salina: Stirs up a lot of emotions in people, it sounds like, as we know.
Salina: And so there's a lot of jokes about that, especially towards the beginning.
Salina: I think the other thing that's a big plot point is that she has a budding romance with a builder she's working on with and they're working on a community center, I think.
Salina: So that's happening.
Salina: Dollar Winhide is his name, is that right?
Nikki: Dollar win, dollar hide.
Nikki: Took me a second.
Nikki: It flipped in my brain.
Nikki: Win dollar hide.
Nikki: And weirdly, it seemed like maybe at the beginning of the play, they didn't have a budding romance.
Nikki: They were just like they just worked on this project together.
Nikki: It grows as the show goes on.
Nikki: Like they're not starting at like 50% even.
Nikki: They're just sort of like working together.
Salina: Maybe not even sure of one another a little bit.
Salina: They have different politics.
Nikki: But it was nearly 3 hours long, which is long enough for your relationship to come together.
Salina: Marriage, kids, divorce, subsequent marriage, all the things.
Salina: So the only thing that I recall about Mary Joe is that and I missed the thread whenever she said she was going to do this, but she was tracking down her first boss that MeTooed her at some point.
Salina: And I didn't even ever hear that.
Salina: I just know that when she got there, he had already passed away.
Nikki: I'm laughing because it wasn't his wife there.
Salina: Yeah, his wife was at the cemetery, and then she sang Happy Birthday to him or something really strange like that.
Nikki: I remember it making sense at the time.
Nikki: But to your point now, I don't remember how that came about.
Nikki: It's nearly 3 hours long.
Salina: You heard it here first.
Nikki: They don't talk about Mary Joe's family.
Nikki: We don't talk about the ladies man quint.
Nikki: We don't talk about Claudia, we don't talk about Ted.
Nikki: There's no conversation about any of that stuff.
Salina: So hopefully the kids are well, Charlene, she's gone on vacation.
Nikki: She's gone on vacation.
Nikki: I think she and Bill were going to celebrate their anniversary in Savannah or somewhere like on the coast, which is.
Salina: A spoiler alert because we've only finished season one.
Salina: So no one has met Bill, but we will eventually meet Bill.
Salina: Sorry about that.
Salina: But her being gone leads us to her little sister Haley, who comes to fill in while she's away, who must.
Nikki: Have been born after that episode that we watched with the like when all.
Salina: Of Carlene Marlene FArlene there was no Haley.
Salina: There was no Haley.
Salina: But we know that they had a lot of kids, so maybe they popped out a couple more in their 60s.
Nikki: Could happen.
Salina: It's like a biblical because she was.
Nikki: Noticeably younger than the other women.
Nikki: So it's possible that happened.
Salina: And the other big plot point about Charlene is we don't see her except for the very beginning and the very end.
Salina: And while she's gone, she gets COVID, and then she gets actually really sick and she's in the hospital, and she hides it from everyone except for Haley until the very end of the play.
Salina: So there was that that was going on.
Salina: Haley is a very religious woman.
Salina: She's married with children, presumably back in Missouri.
Nikki: Missouri, maybe.
Nikki: Good point.
Salina: It doesn't ever really say that.
Nikki: I'm super clear.
Salina: Either that or they said it ten times and Nick and I don't remember.
Nikki: So it was nearly 3 hours.
Nikki: Like I'm just going to keep saying that.
Salina: A three hour play.
Salina: Her husband is very controlling.
Salina: We never meet him.
Salina: We never see him.
Salina: But we hear a lot about him.
Nikki: And we hear her side of phone calls with him.
Salina: And there are strong hints throughout that he is gay.
Salina: But in the closet.
Salina: So that is a running thing.
Salina: Cleo, this is Anthony's cousin, who now, I guess she took over Anthony's part in the business.
Salina: Anthony is gone, and Cleo also has a daughter.
Salina: And this is my interpretation of her role.
Salina: She was there as a voice of reason.
Salina: She was there to provide some perspectives, but she didn't actually have anything going on that I recall the daughter no, sorry.
Salina: There was no conflict.
Nikki: I think that's right for Cleo.
Nikki: I think that's right.
Salina: I think maybe she was there to tell Suzanne when she was being racist.
Salina: That was her role.
Nikki: I think that's right.
Salina: So conflicts.
Salina: Suzanne is mad at Julia for dating.
Salina: I have it here.
Salina: Win dollar hide.
Salina: Not dollar win hide.
Salina: That had I don't know.
Salina: I mean, either way, the name is a little ridiculous, but this is because she was interested in him, but he's interested in Julia.
Salina: Julia is interested in Mr.
Salina: So sister tension.
Salina: Julia is concerned about Haley bringing too much religion into the workplace.
Salina: This was a theme that seemed to filter throughout Julia.
Salina: All right, this one's weird.
Salina: Julia is irate when she finds out Suzanne slept with Donald Trump at some point in the past.
Nikki: Oh, I forgot about that.
Salina: So that was a thing.
Nikki: That was a thing.
Salina: Everyone is annoyed at Suzanne for being a Karen.
Salina: Suzanne wants to know who this Karen person is.
Nikki: A little out of touch there.
Salina: That was good, I thought.
Salina: Yeah, more than that, I think LBT uses the characters to set up some of the dynamics we're seeing play out in the country.
Salina: Go with me on this journey, if you will.
Salina: Progressivism versus conservatism, urbanism versus ruralism, and the general inability to see one another through the other ism tribalism.
Salina: Everybody's got a camp, but we're having a really hard time seeing one another.
Salina: That was what I took away from this play.
Salina: That's what I think was on LBT's mind.
Salina: So there's that.
Salina: Anything to say there?
Salina: You're looking at me and shaking your head.
Salina: I don't want to.
Nikki: I'm trying to figure out where this fits in, and I think it's going to fit into the conversation later.
Nikki: But this concept of progressives versus conservatives and that lens of tribalism, I have to say, we only got, in my opinion, 98% of the play focused on the progressives side, the progressives tribe.
Nikki: And I think there was a half hearted attempt to see conservatives where they are, but I don't think we really went all the way.
Nikki: And I think that because of that, it was a little hypocritical for me to take that point away from it, that we should all see each other's perspectives.
Nikki: But 98, 99% of the play was like, all that other stuff is kind of silly.
Nikki: All those conservative perspectives are silly.
Nikki: See, like the Haley, we poked fun at her religion.
Nikki: We poked fun at her husband being super religious, but possibly gay.
Nikki: She's bringing too much religion into that was the b*** of the joke, was all of that.
Nikki: It wasn't like, well, but why is she this way?
Nikki: Why is she doing this?
Nikki: So that part bothered me a little bit.
Salina: Definitely had a slant.
Salina: We'll get into it.
Nikki: We'll get into it.
Salina: We do spend time with two male characters.
Salina: Suzanne's soon to be ex husband who's an avid Trump supporter, and when Dollar hide again, she's going to keep saying that name.
Nikki: Suzanne's ex husband had a weird name, too.
Nikki: Tipton III.
Salina: Like I'm telling you, it feels like she dropped.
Salina: She pulls names from some kind of weird Southern name.
Nikki: Southern Generator.
Salina: And if I could do the coding, I'd do one.
Salina: I really would.
Salina: So Julia's New Bow, he's a Republican, and I would put him in the camp of a never Trumper, kind of old school Republican, country club Republican kind of, but not really.
Salina: You can't put old win in a box is what I'm saying.
Salina: So does that all feel fair and accurate?
Nikki: I think that's right.
Salina: Again, that went on for a while.
Salina: 3 hours.
Nikki: 3 hours and 30 years have passed, so we have a lot of catching.
Salina: Up to do, which is a perfect transition into something that I thought we could talk about, which is we get a glimpse at LBT in this century.
Nikki: We don't get a glimpse.
Nikki: It's right in front of it.
Nikki: We get 3 hours of worth of LBT in this century.
Salina: A full Monty, if you will.
Nikki: We got the full frontal.
Salina: Full frontal and back noodles.
Salina: I don't even know what that means.
Nikki: I'm going to have to back noodles don't sound delightful.
Salina: It really doesn't.
Salina: If you've got back noodles, please see your doctor or healthcare provider.
Salina: So this is the first thing I've seen from her in this century.
Salina: She does have a handful of other writing credits, but it's nothing that I have seen.
Nikki: Okay, I'll take your word on that.
Salina: Is that true to your experience?
Nikki: Okay, I am not an IMDb junkie the way that you are.
Salina: Because I can tell you what they are because, you know, I look back.
Nikki: Okay, tell me.
Salina: So do you remember when Emerald had his own show?
Salina: And I do not mean the cooking.
Nikki: Show like a talk show.
Salina: No, it was a sitcom about Emerald Lagasse.
Salina: She's the creator.
Salina: It was short lived.
Salina: So that happened.
Salina: She had another show that she wrote on a couple of years ago.
Salina: I can't recall who was in it, but I'm very upset that I never saw it.
Salina: But it was only six episodes, so now I don't want to get invested.
Salina: But it actually had a really good cast and I thought the premise behind it sounded pretty interesting.
Salina: So there was that.
Salina: And then she did a documentary called, I think it was called Bridegroom, which basically is something that talks about gay marriage.
Salina: So those are the only things I know of, really.
Nikki: Since so I've not seen any of.
Salina: Those 2000 and she probably just living on that design of women money.
Salina: Sure, I would be.
Salina: Anyway, so I thought this was really interesting that we finally got more than a snapshot into the old brain where she is on things.
Salina: So I'm going to tell you what didn't surprise me is that because of the setting, it's set in 2020 and so it focuses on things that dominated the conversation all year, the election and the pandemic.
Salina: And like everything else these days, it's very political, partisan.
Salina: To your point before, was there anything for you that you felt surprised by or not surprised by?
Nikki: I expected that it would have a very progressive I hate to use these words because I hate to continue to perpetuate labels on things that maybe may or may not be fair, but I would expect that it would have a liberal slant.
Nikki: I was surprised at how far it went.
Nikki: And I think you tapped into the explanation for that, which is she's not tied to TV, she's not tied to ratings.
Nikki: She had sort of free rein and could do what she wanted and so that was something as I watched it, it really kept kind of like I kept coming back to this point that it seemed like we wanted to take away from it.
Nikki: And maybe this is an unfair maybe I'm putting something unfair on it.
Nikki: I thought maybe what she wanted us to take away from it was like, just see if through one another's eyes, take a second, take a beat and think about what the other person is trying to tell you.
Nikki: And that did not come across.
Nikki: And so I went back and looked at that New York Times article.
Nikki: I think it was the same one Tammy sent, but they said that's what makes this theatrical version of Designing Women more than an attempt to capitalize on familiar intellectual property as a television show.
Nikki: It straddled the political divide, allowing both progressive and conservative women to see themselves represented.
Nikki: Glamorously those divides are wider now, but if these characters can still talk to one another on stage, maybe audience members can continue those conversations off stage with or without reparte.
Nikki: It's beautifully written.
Nikki: I followed it.
Nikki: Followed it up to the last point where it said, like, if they can still talk to one another.
Nikki: I didn't feel as I watched the play, I didn't feel super productive.
Nikki: Let's see where one another comes from.
Nikki: Conversations until the bitter end of the play.
Nikki: And it was only because Charlene came in and basically said, like, I almost died.
Nikki: And that's kind of what led them to this very emotional moment.
Nikki: So that's a long winded way of answering your question to say, I think that part of it surprised me a little bit.
Salina: I wasn't expecting it to be as political as it was.
Salina: And I mean partisan political.
Salina: So in what we've seen up to this point, I think the network is a big reason behind it.
Salina: This is a place she can do whatever she wants, and I get that.
Salina: But it does feel to me like a little bit more of a sign of the times, because one thing is, she was not season one covered broad brush issues and more like ideology, like feminism, big tent pole kind of things.
Salina: But she wasn't out there ripping Reagan, and there was a lot of Trump ripping.
Salina: And I think that just feels like maybe that's where the country has been pulled.
Salina: Like people who normally let's just say that she would okay, it's the network, but also, maybe she did want to be thoughtful about not making anybody feel like they weren't a part of something.
Salina: And today it feels like I hear more and more people who are writers and directors come out and directly say, I didn't feel like I could be quiet about it this time.
Salina: And I'm wondering if that's some of what's going on now.
Salina: This is just me musing and I just want to say that I think that this feels a little dangerous as a harsh word, but it is one thing for us to talk about the be, like, what did they mean then?
Salina: But we are talking about now.
Salina: So we are just pontificating.
Salina: We don't know what's in LVT's mind.
Nikki: Oh, for sure.
Salina: And I don't know if you guys know this or not, but we're not actually friends.
Nikki: We could be.
Salina: And if that doesn't bring you over to our side, I don't know.
Salina: Spine chilling.
Salina: It sounds like we're seeing things from a very similar view.
Salina: We weren't expecting quite what we got.
Salina: So I will say that something that stuck out for me was that we got stronger stances, in my opinion, on issues facing African Americans and LGBTQ community, and primarily through the lens of Cleo, which it makes sense.
Salina: And at least compared to where we are now in the original show into season one, her stance feels more vocal, more pronounced.
Nikki: I like that there was a part in the middle, and I don't think I wrote down any of the script, which I wish I had.
Nikki: There was a part in the middle where Cleo had I'm not a theater person, which we'll get into, but she had what I would call like a soliloquy, kind of like a moment where she got to a monologue, maybe, and she said some things that honestly made me cry.
Nikki: Like, I honestly teared up it's in my highs.
Nikki: It was amazing.
Nikki: And it was so to your point on the nose.
Nikki: And it said things that we haven't so far seen in the show.
Nikki: We fall in love with this character of Anthony, but he hasn't really been given the opportunity.
Nikki: A lot of the cut lines that are kind of racist and have him calling out racism, we just covered this in one of our episodes.
Nikki: This even season two gets cut in whatever the final version is that we're watching, we don't even get to see that part.
Nikki: So a lot of the times where we could cover some of these issues, we haven't gotten to.
Nikki: So that was pretty cool.
Salina: Yeah, I like that a lot.
Salina: So I don't have any of those lines written down.
Salina: But I did like kind of some of the groupings of what she covered, and she covered things like the hypocrisy have gone with the win.
Salina: She covered things about the importance of Black Lives Matter and a whole string of things in between.
Salina: And she did it with such conviction, and it was that perfect match of logic and emotion.
Salina: And I'm going to call it an argument.
Salina: I've got my quotation marks up because it's not that she was necessarily arguing, although a little bit because I think she needed to at the time.
Salina: But it was such a well constructed argument and it was just beautiful.
Nikki: It was really nice.
Salina: Definitely a high.
Salina: So that was nice to see.
Salina: The other thing that I want your thoughts on is that we get two things that we don't really get in the show.
Nikki: Oh, sure.
Salina: And love scenes.
Salina: So thoughts?
Nikki: The love scenes were gentle, I thought.
Salina: I didn't they were consensual.
Salina: And that's important.
Nikki: It's very important.
Nikki: There was one very I think you and I had different reactions to the scene with the glass door.
Nikki: There was a very funny scene where.
Salina: Julia had to no, don't tell.
Salina: Just let them imagine.
Nikki: So I'm going to say they had to be kept separate and there's a glass door involved in a very intimate moment between the two of them with the glass door between them, but played.
Salina: Like a joke, definitely, because there's some glass groping guys, don't tell them.
Nikki: Let them imagine.
Salina: Oh, sorry.
Nikki: It was hilarious.
Nikki: I thought it was so funny, I was dying laughing.
Nikki: So the love scenes I actually thought were pretty tame.
Nikki: But I guess, I mean, they're not going to get naked on stage.
Nikki: Or I guess they could be a different place.
Salina: They got pretty close in the first scene.
Salina: They were down to skivvies.
Nikki: That's fine.
Salina: Wait, is that underwear or is skivvies underwear or is it a skin condition?
Nikki: That's scabies.
Nikki: skivies is underwear.
Salina: They got down to the skivvies and the scabies.
Nikki: The cussing.
Nikki: So I think you and I might have also had different reactions to the cussing.
Nikki: It never felt warranted to me.
Nikki: It never once felt warranted.
Nikki: With the exception possibly of one at the end.
Nikki: I'm okay with a well placed f word.
Nikki: I really can live with it.
Nikki: I think it can make a really good point.
Nikki: It just came like there was one point where Mary Joe dropped one, and I was like, Mary Joe is a mother.
Nikki: Where are her children?
Nikki: Where's Quint?
Nikki: Where is he rated?
Nikki: It just felt not true to her character, in my opinion, based on this character that I have built in my head of a 1980s Mary Joe, it was funny when she said it.
Nikki: It made me laugh.
Nikki: But that and this might be something else you have somewhere else in your notes.
Nikki: The character is Mary Joe just in general, didn't feel necessarily like the same person.
Nikki: So when it came from her, I was just like, what just happened?
Nikki: So the cussing was just it never really felt super warranted to me.
Nikki: Felt out of place.
Salina: That might be the tough thing from the high of not being on a network.
Salina: And her being able to do whatever she wants to do is that she can do whatever she wants to do.
Salina: But if you've got seven years of character development, that's going to feel like a real hill turn.
Nikki: It felt really and that's exactly how I would describe it.
Nikki: I just felt like, whoa, what?
Nikki: And I'm not even like again, I want to be super clear.
Nikki: I'm not against cussing.
Nikki: I use cuss words all the time.
Salina: Don't let her fool you.
Salina: She's over there clutching her PO.
Nikki: It was just so out of left field.
Nikki: It just felt like, well, that was unnecessary.
Nikki: And I think that's what network TV teaches us, right?
Nikki: Like, most of the time, cuss words aren't necessary.
Nikki: I feel better.
Salina: I think that we had opposite reactions for the same reasons.
Salina: Oh, so that would be the way I felt about the sex scenes.
Salina: I don't care about sex.
Salina: It doesn't bother me.
Nikki: I see what you're saying now.
Salina: It just felt so a** backwards from everything we've built up this whole time where we barely see a kiss.
Salina: You all aren't privy to this yet, but we'll get a shot of Julia's lingerie at some point, and it's more clothes than I've ever worn.
Nikki: Check the mail in.
Salina: I would totally walk down the street.
Salina: I mean, at least the amount of coverage that is there.
Salina: So suddenly, for her to be very close to nude on the couch is kind of weird.
Salina: And then for her, it's also the unfortunate part of stage love making.
Salina: It's just not polished enough for me.
Nikki: I like some production value.
Salina: It's like 70s softcore.
Salina: Yeah, I do.
Salina: I want some production value.
Salina: And so it's a little rougher looking.
Salina: And we're used to not in a good way.
Salina: We're used to Game of Thrones level love making, so that was part of the issue for me.
Salina: And much like you felt it wasn't true to Mary Joe's character, this idea, so they play it for laughs.
Salina: Where Julia and Wynn are downstairs on the couch.
Salina: They've fallen asleep.
Salina: He's in his boxers, I think she's very scantily clad, and they're basically still in a scissoring position.
Salina: And we're left to believe that the women come in to work and Julia wouldn't melt into the floor and die.
Nikki: 2021, Selena.
Nikki: Get over it.
Nikki: Grow up.
Nikki: She's matured a little bit.
Salina: I didn't say any of these things to your Mary Joe thing.
Nikki: Tom's is a change in it just.
Salina: Feels like she would have been very embarrassed to have found like that.
Salina: And she didn't seem to really mind that much.
Salina: Yeah, she kind of, like, flung her b*** around and was like, hello.
Nikki: Flung it around?
Nikki: Well, tossed it over her shoulder instead of here.
Salina: Now, 30 years later.
Salina: Yeah, she tossed it anyways.
Salina: And then I would just say with the cussing, I don't care at all.
Salina: My thing is, I was okay because it was infrequent the only time I've ever been agitated by cussing in a show is when it's so unnecessary, where they're cussing, like, every other word, and I'm distracted by it, where I'm like, okay.
Salina: Or like, I've watched ones where it's supposed to be set in old English days, and it's just not the best production value.
Salina: And they're just like, f this and f that and f this, and they're like, walking into court with the king, and I'm like, okay, guys, this is not believable.
Salina: So I have a list.
Salina: I'm like I also feel like I could take a breath of things that I felt I picked up on that are bothering LBT.
Salina: Okay, before we leave the 21st century.
Nikki: Donald Trump is at the top of your list.
Salina: He's in there.
Salina: He's in there.
Salina: Other things I'm going to say this without comment.
Salina: We're just going to leave this list.
Nikki: Oh, sure.
Nikki: Thanks for that.
Salina: Heads up.
Salina: But if there's one you feel strongly about, let me know.
Salina: We'll circle back.
Salina: People who won't wear masks.
Salina: The Kardashians.
Salina: Social media, especially.
Salina: Everyone being so narcissistic and putting their T and A in her face.
Salina: Veganism, maybe there was a weird thing about that.
Salina: Overly sexually aggressive young women, people who overuse the word awesome.
Salina: The royal family being a douche to Meghan Markle, fox News, janine Shapiro, Tucker Carlson, trump and everything that comes with it.
Salina: Crime shows and Karen's.
Salina: Oh, wait, monuments.
Salina: And the P word.
Salina: It rhymes with Watson.
Salina: Well, there's not a lot of words that rhyme with it.
Salina: I, too, am not a fan of the P word.
Nikki: So doesn't rhyme with wattusi, though.
Salina: What does it rhyme with?
Salina: Nikki Watson.
Salina: How do you pronounce his words?
Nikki: Let's just say it one, two so.
Salina: Anyway, she's not a fan of that.
Nikki: Yeah, she's not fan.
Salina: Was there anything that you wanted to.
Nikki: Add to that one piece of consistency in thinking about, like, the 80s, some of the things we've said about the TV show.
Nikki: Julia does not love a woman embracing her own sexuality.
Nikki: And now that you're pointing out the point about Wind Dollar Hide, it remains true in this play that, like, people embracing their sexuality, wearing revealing clothes, whatever, all those other things you just said that she kind of points out throughout the dialogue, it stays true.
Nikki: That really drives poor LBT.
Nikki: She hates that, right?
Salina: Or at least we assume it does.
Salina: Well, sure.
Nikki: I mean, yeah, right?
Salina: Because we're just we're just making stuff up.
Nikki: All assumptions.
Salina: Tune in for the assumptions right here on Sweet Tea and TV and LBT.
Salina: Come on the show.
Salina: Would you like to talk about the highs?
Nikki: Of course.
Salina: What do you got?
Nikki: Wind Dollar.
Nikki: He was dreamy.
Nikki: I think he did for me as a love interest for Julia.
Nikki: What I wanted.
Salina: I'm sorry.
Salina: I thought you were about to say, I think he did for me as a lover.
Salina: And I'm like, what happened?
Salina: What happened in your stream?
Nikki: Oh, my God.
Nikki: I don't know what Selena's watching.
Nikki: He did for me what I wanted Reese to do.
Nikki: He was masculine.
Nikki: He had a masculine energy.
Nikki: He had a very old Southern vibe.
Nikki: You said, like country club Southern.
Nikki: I could feel that from him.
Nikki: Not chauvinistic, not stuck in an old.
Salina: Time, but a little bit of a bad boy.
Nikki: A little bit of a bad boy.
Salina: Bad man.
Salina: Look at you.
Nikki: I just love that character so much.
Salina: All right.
Nikki: Go on.
Salina: Tell us more.
Nikki: I liked that the set looked like Sugar Bakers but like a modern version.
Nikki: It felt like putting on a warm blanket.
Nikki: They showed it and I was like, I like that.
Salina: It did feel like returning home or something.
Salina: Especially since we have been subjected to but now I've said it to a lot of Sugar Bakers because it's all Sugar Bakers.
Salina: All it's the thrust of the show.
Salina: That's where they're at.
Salina: You want to say something?
Nikki: I really did like the script.
Nikki: I hated so much for my own personal lack of attention that it was almost 3 hours long because I really struggled to focus for that long.
Nikki: If I had been in person, it would have been a real uphill battle for me.
Nikki: But I feel like what I saw and what I jotted down to myself, the writing was still so very sharp.
Nikki: It was so good, so pointed and still funny and still current.
Nikki: The way in my opinion, it was current.
Nikki: Some of the references maybe were a little but I liked it.
Nikki: I wrote down one where they said we're not the kind of women who go out slashing tires.
Nikki: We cut brakes.
Salina: That's just funny.
Nikki: That's just funny.
Nikki: I loved all of Julia's fan mail.
Nikki: This was sort of a running joke throughout the episode, was she has this blog where she's writing.
Nikki: Selena mentioned that earlier.
Nikki: And she gets these voicemails from people about her writing and they're just really funny.
Nikki: Julia really strikes a chord for people and not a good one.
Salina: But it makes for excellent writing.
Nikki: It does.
Nikki: And then I liked the southern references.
Nikki: And you mentioned some of these in your review.
Nikki: The stuckey's pecan logs, the chickfila bag.
Nikki: I thought those were really funny.
Nikki: I also liked I liked some of the characters a lot.
Nikki: Like, I thought Suzanne was really funny in this.
Nikki: She's not the Suzanne we know, but she was very funny.
Nikki: I thought Julia was funny.
Nikki: I thought she was close to the Julia we know.
Nikki: Mary Joe didn't feel quite the same.
Nikki: And Charlene definitely didn't feel the same.
Nikki: I really liked Haley and Cleo was cleo was a huge high for me.
Nikki: She was just so funny and so on.
Nikki: It so I think those were some of my big highs.
Salina: Well, I'll start off with Cleo and Haley because they were also on my list.
Salina: I found them both to be a breath of fresh air.
Salina: And maybe that's what LBT.
Salina: Was aiming for.
Salina: Yeah, because she could have because there's none of the original cast here, so she could have brought in someone to play Anthony.
Salina: So I would love to hear why she decided not to do that.
Salina: I wonder if it was almost too painful.
Salina: But that said, he's not the only one that's passed.
Salina: But you also can't have the show without Julia.
Salina: Like, you literally cannot do that.
Salina: So I thought that they were both really great characters, because at first, I think it was red flags for me.
Salina: And they're related.
Salina: Don't worry.
Salina: We brought in their sister.
Salina: So one of the things that I really liked about Haley was that do you remember her stage fall when she was in that oh, in the 1940s Hollywood area?
Salina: Of Suzanne's.
Salina: Picture everybody, if you can.
Salina: Like fuzzy pink slippers and the long see through robe with the fuzzies at the bottom.
Salina: That kind of, like, weigh it down.
Nikki: Suzanne sort of adopts Haley.
Nikki: The ladies splinter.
Nikki: They splinter into tribes, if you will, and Suzanne and Haley become a tribe.
Nikki: And so in adopting her, Suzanne does sort of what we saw her do with her foster child in season one, where she sort of turns her into a mini Suzanne.
Nikki: So she gives her these very part of her what did she call them?
Nikki: Like her old Hollywood collection of nightgowns or something.
Salina: Yeah, I forget the term.
Nikki: Super niche like thing to have.
Salina: Yeah, there's a very specific term for it.
Salina: It just looks like something like Betty Davis or something would be in and like Baby Jane or something.
Salina: I'm sure I'm getting all those references wrong.
Salina: Haley is, like, definitely not glamorous.
Salina: I'm not trying to be rude.
Nikki: Her character is not it's intentional.
Salina: She is a flat, swearing kind of gal.
Salina: And so she's trying cardigan, and so she's trying to walk down the stairs in these probably stilettos, I'm guessing, and she falls down them.
Salina: Stage falls are not easy.
Salina: And I thought she did such a good job, and it was very comedic.
Nikki: Yeah, it was very funny.
Salina: That was something that stood out for me, her getting white girl wasted at the book club.
Nikki: I loved that so much.
Salina: So Cleo had my favorite line of the whole show.
Salina: She said, Dude, you really need to unfork your facts.
Salina: Hillary was a b**** in 2016.
Salina: Now Hillary is a Satan worshiping pedophile.
Salina: If you're going to be for Trump, you have to keep up with all the batshit crazy stuff.
Salina: And that just was everything.
Nikki: I thought it was really good.
Salina: And then I already talked about we both did, about her.
Salina: I called it a monologue.
Salina: Don't know if that's correct or not.
Nikki: Don't know the right words.
Salina: It was beautiful.
Salina: We loved it.
Salina: That's enough.
Salina: My other highs from this is just the fact that we were able to do this at all.
Salina: It was in Arkansas, and what a time to be alive.
Salina: They said we wouldn't be able to stream theater.
Nikki: Look at us now.
Salina: Here we are streaming an 80 sitcom.
Nikki: Feel terrible we weren't able to tell people in enough time that they could watch it.
Salina: Yeah, I feel really bad about that.
Salina: Sorry, guys.
Nikki: You're going to move right past that.
Salina: But we're really going to tell you.
Nikki: All the you didn't miss a thing.
Salina: Brick by brick.
Salina: Brick by brick.
Salina: I also really enjoyed that Suzanne keeps getting called Karen everywhere she goes.
Salina: Yeah, on the flip side of that, I thought she had a pretty fair argument when she understood what Karen was, which she was like.
Salina: But I was just asking for my change back.
Salina: And it's sort of this idea that being a Karen has somehow become also like a way to maybe excuse sometimes maybe you just didn't do the right thing.
Salina: Not every time.
Salina: But if she didn't get her right change back, just give her her right change back.
Salina: But if she is being a Karen and she did get her right change back, then call her out.
Salina: So there's that.
Salina: I said this in my recap, but I'm not sure we needed this conflict at all.
Salina: And I mean, the fight between Suzanne.
Nikki: And Julia because Suzanne slept with Trump.
Salina: Allegedly, that overwin all of that.
Salina: But my high is that I liked watching them come back together again, even if the reason was, like, a little shaky.
Salina: LBT is really good at that.
Salina: So those were all my highs.
Nikki: There you go.
Salina: Lows man.
Nikki: I don't like plays.
Nikki: I said it.
Nikki: I said what I said.
Nikki: Come at me.
Nikki: Theater is not for me.
Nikki: I've said this like, theater and musicals are just not my thing.
Nikki: I try.
Nikki: I give it a real honest effort, but I feel like it limits you maybe so much in what you can do.
Nikki: There was a very theatrical vibe to these characters.
Nikki: Like, I'm going to worry about voice projection, and it just makes them sound false.
Nikki: It just makes them sound false.
Nikki: The whole thing with Charlene being sick, with COVID the way that they had to show her on stage was like, off stage with a blue light on her and she's in a gurney, and it just looked so cheesy.
Nikki: It just looked so cheesy.
Nikki: And the cheese factor bothers me.
Nikki: I'll also tell you there was a part really early on.
Nikki: I think the New York Times article maybe mentions this or one of the reviews of the play.
Nikki: There's a confetti cannon that plays throughout the episode.
Nikki: They use it a couple of times.
Nikki: They used it very early on, and I can't remember what they were celebrating.
Salina: They left it on the stage.
Nikki: It was on the stage the whole time.
Salina: It bothered me, too.
Salina: Drove me.
Nikki: So it just takes you out of the moment.
Nikki: And I feel like possibly it was that we were watching the version of it where the camera is like a little bit higher than maybe you would have been in your seat.
Nikki: Like, if you were in a seat, maybe the idea is you wouldn't have seen it.
Nikki: I don't know.
Nikki: I haven't been to the theater.
Nikki: Drove me so crazy and took me out of the moment.
Nikki: So all of that to say, I just feel like once you wait 30 years watching a stage version of this.
Nikki: It just doesn't do it for me.
Nikki: It just doesn't do it for me.
Nikki: We talked about this earlier on the fact that 30 years have passed, everyone is somehow still younger, except I will say, I looked up some of the actresses of some of the actors, and the one that played Suzanne is the lady, Amy Pitts.
Nikki: She actually is, like, in her 50s, mid 50s.
Nikki: She looks amazing for her age.
Salina: So Suzanne would be, like, 60s.
Salina: Yeah, but it's close.
Nikki: It's close.
Salina: It's not so far away.
Salina: Of course, I don't want to hear anybody, when I'm in my 50s tell me that I'm close to my 60s.
Nikki: That's true.
Salina: Also, it's not our fault that this beautiful actor looks like she dipped from the well of eternal.
Nikki: I swear to you, watching the play, I thought she was, like, late 20s or maybe early 30s.
Nikki: I'm watching this, thinking, like, what are we doing here?
Nikki: That's how old she was in the show.
Nikki: But 30 years have passed.
Nikki: What is happening?
Salina: She looks great, and I have seen her for years, and she does not look like she's aged today.
Nikki: And the lady that played Julia, the actor that played Julia, Carmen Cusack, does not look the age that Julia would have looked in the play.
Nikki: That just bugged me.
Salina: I think in real life, she's either she's a little younger still.
Nikki: I feel like I saw at some point she's wearing a wig.
Nikki: That's not what her normal hair looks like.
Nikki: And when her wig's not on, she looks a lot younger.
Nikki: I just didn't understand that.
Nikki: I didn't understand the idea behind that.
Nikki: I don't know if we've mentioned this.
Nikki: It was almost 3 hours long, which just really challenges my episodes being out of order.
Nikki: The episodes are out of order?
Nikki: I have no idea.
Nikki: So that just bugged me.
Nikki: And then the accents.
Nikki: So there were a couple of points when I really, truly thought, like, if I had closed my eyes, I would have thought that was Dixie Carter.
Nikki: It sounded like Julia to me.
Salina: Sometimes she was nailing it so hard.
Nikki: Suzanne's was it was at times very distracting for me.
Nikki: For a show that tried so hard to stick so true to some version of a southern accent, that was a tough one for me.
Salina: Yeah, I thought that on the accent.
Salina: Since we're there because I want to hear the rest of your I want to hear everything.
Nikki: You take it away.
Salina: I thought Mary Joe's was pretty solid.
Salina: And I thought Haley's was pretty good.
Salina: Something tells me I mean, maybe I'm wrong, but something tells me that this is not something that she's had in the works for a long time.
Nikki: Actually, I know for a fact that the play was announced in early 2020.
Nikki: She didn't even start writing till 2021.
Salina: It feels like something that came together quickly, and only someone that's masterful can do.
Salina: But I still feel a little bit of that quickness to it, which might be why some of it could use some smoothing.
Salina: Again, something easy to say from someone not in the business.
Nikki: And I understand that she had 7000 pages worth of content after writing.
Nikki: She started in early 2020 and had 7000 pages.
Salina: I believe it.
Nikki: That's crazy.
Salina: I believe it.
Salina: Sometimes I think her and I'm wondering how much her and Amy Sherman palladino are similar creator of the Gilmore Girls.
Nikki: Just in case anybody has anyone ever seen them in the room at the same time?
Salina: Well, maybe they're friends.
Nikki: Who knows?
Salina: Did it maybe feel just a beat behind to devote so much time and energy to 2020?
Nikki: So to your point, this was just crossing my mind when you said it felt like it came together quickly.
Nikki: It was just crossing my mind.
Nikki: It had to to stay current, to be somewhat relevant in the time that it takes to pull a stage production together.
Nikki: It had to come together really quickly.
Nikki: So did it feel behind?
Nikki: No, because we're still living so much of it.
Nikki: I felt like some of the Trump, some of the Make America Great again stuff felt a little delayed.
Nikki: That felt a little irrelevant.
Nikki: We got new issues.
Nikki: We got so many new problems.
Salina: New problems, same problems.
Salina: But I don't know.
Salina: There was something about it where it was like there's been a couple of shows where they'll do, like a close Callback, where we look at something that was like just a year ago or just five years ago or something like that.
Salina: Actually, I'm going to bring up another show as a case in point, though, of why it's and maybe this is to your point earlier about some things not feeling subjective enough, that objective enough.
Salina: There I go.
Salina: That the Crown, which is on Netflix, that's looking at the Royal Family will not do anything that's less than 20 or 25 years old.
Nikki: Too soon.
Salina: That's what the creator said.
Salina: I cannot look at content, I'm paraphrasing.
Salina: I cannot look at something that happened in real life and shine a light on those people and feel like I can do it with any amount of fairness.
Salina: And so I think that's one thing that makes it tough for me.
Nikki: One of the things that LBT said about and again, I'm going to paraphrase here but about writing this play, she said that she just in early 2020, she was hearing the voices.
Nikki: She was hearing the voices of the Designing Women.
Nikki: She felt like they anxiously had something to say about the state of the nation, and she had to get it out.
Salina: Well, and I think the things that I wish that we had been so much energy has gone towards one figure.
Salina: Okay, so Trump so much energy has gone there.
Salina: And I think I said this a couple of episodes ago, we had a lot of things going on in texas lately.
Salina: Yeah, I sure would have loved to hear LBT on that.
Nikki: Yeah, good point.
Salina: So there was just some other thing.
Salina: I'm not saying that that's not something worth talking about, because it was definitely something, again, dominating the conversation, not just here, but abroad.
Salina: I mean, every time that I have left this country, people are asking me questions about our leadership, and they want to know, like, they have lots of questions about Trump, which I'm like, I'm just a citizen.
Nikki: And I think that sort of brings me around to I think you're asking a really good question, and my answer might be changing because it's bringing me around to that point I made earlier of what was her point with this play?
Nikki: What did she want us to take away from it?
Nikki: And the Trump aspect of it, which was, I mean, what would you say?
Nikki: Like, 40% of the play, a good half of the play was Trump focused, and what was the to what end?
Nikki: Like, do you want to change people's minds?
Nikki: Because if so, that's two, that ship's sailed.
Nikki: He may become relevant at some point, but right now, in terms of voting or not voting for Trump, if that's what you're aiming for, that ship has sailed.
Nikki: So I don't think I needed a three hour play to tell me LBT didn't care for Trump.
Nikki: I didn't need that.
Nikki: I have six, seven seasons of a TV show from the 80s that tells me that.
Nikki: So, yeah, that maybe did feel a.
Salina: Little irrelevant or what scares me is, are we ever in a position to win hearts and minds again?
Nikki: And I don't know.
Salina: We are.
Salina: And that's the thing that I find the most deflating.
Salina: And if that's the case, and other people who have been on this Earth longer than you and I have may feel even more that way, have they just been like, you know what?
Salina: Sometimes I just need to say what I need to say, and I have the platform to do it.
Salina: Well, we solved that.
Salina: So we've talked about the accents.
Salina: We've talked about how long it is.
Salina: I also had that in my notes.
Nikki: How long was it?
Salina: I hear it was like about 3 hours.
Salina: That's so long, selena writing that synopsis almost broke my brain.
Salina: Just because I was trying so hard, so many pieces.
Salina: I was like, oh, we'll never get all of this in here.
Salina: How will we ever explain it?
Salina: And then I was like, Selena, this is not even your day job, which I find myself doing a lot.
Nikki: It's barely even my night job.
Salina: I think you've covered this in yours as well.
Salina: But we just like charlene.
Salina: Why do we oust her for the bulk of the play?
Nikki: I should have put this in my lows.
Nikki: Mary Joe and Charlene, I combine them into one.
Nikki: Charlene is just to your point.
Nikki: She's just gone.
Nikki: And then when she comes back it's this person I don't even recognize.
Nikki: And to be fair, we've only watched into a few episodes of season two, but the Charlene I saw in the play was not the Charlene I respect.
Nikki: People grow and mature.
Nikki: This is a totally different person.
Nikki: Yeah, it's almost like the actress was different altogether.
Salina: Well, the argument of, like, I've been put up over this for 30 years.
Salina: I'm tired of you all calling my people podunks.
Salina: And I get it, because I have sat here and been annoyed on her behalf.
Salina: I have sat here as someone who has family from the quote unquote hills.
Salina: I have sat here and devoted an extra sugar to unfair, derogatory terms for people who come from those lovely Podung towns.
Salina: And so I think it was almost the way that she did it was it felt not true to her for me, in a scolding way.
Nikki: It was also buried at the very end, and there's a lot from that last probably 45 minutes.
Nikki: I don't remember.
Salina: The only thing I could figure was that they needed a way to make sense of Haley, and I think they wanted to bring in a Haley.
Salina: I think they wanted to bring in a younger cast member, but I think they also wanted to bring in a varying perspective, and they wanted to bring in I think the evangelical thing is a big thing in this country right now, and I think they wanted to bring that in.
Nikki: I'm going to pause you for a second, though, and make the counterpoint that why couldn't they have given Charlene the Anthony treatment then?
Nikki: Charlene and Bill are stationed in Germany.
Nikki: Charlene and Bill are in Japan.
Salina: Charlene and Bill together, I think they wanted her to be the voice of reason at the end, to come back and bring them together.
Salina: I think they felt like they needed I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the decision.
Salina: I'm just saying I felt like they could it be that LBT thought that maybe Charlene was the only one that could really be the clue?
Salina: Not saying the execution was perfect, just saying maybe that's where she was coming from.
Salina: Because, again, I don't know the answer.
Nikki: Yeah, we need LBT.
Nikki: We have to chat.
Nikki: I got some questions one day because then Mary Joe, again, felt like a very different character than she was, in my opinion.
Nikki: And maybe it's because I do recognize this actor, and I do know that she is, like, super self confident, super self like, she's not the withering flower that Mary Joe has been so far in the show.
Nikki: So far, mary Joe has not been the most assertive character in this play.
Nikki: She was again, time goes on, people get mature.
Nikki: I understand that.
Salina: I am totally with you.
Salina: I think that her entire energy is different, totally different.
Salina: Mary Joe, to me, is high energy, high anxiety.
Nikki: We talk about how she, like, scrambles into the room all the time.
Salina: And she's almost, like, melodic with her line delivery, and her rhythm is so different than this other actor who I think landed a lot of jokes really well.
Salina: She's a stand up, but it was too different.
Salina: They plopped curly hair on her, and that was supposed to be enough.
Nikki: And then it's Mary Joe.
Nikki: I agree with you.
Nikki: I agree with you.
Salina: I have some strays.
Nikki: I only had the one, and I already dropped my knowledge that she started writing in 2021.
Salina: Well, this is crazy.
Salina: The 7000 pages, that's all I got.
Nikki: In the way of strays that's way.
Salina: That's off the stage.
Salina: Well, I've got one for you.
Salina: Did you realize there were two Julia's?
Salina: I did not know that until I started looking more closely.
Nikki: Not in the version that we there was only one Julia in the version we watched, though, right?
Salina: But I'm not entirely sure who we saw.
Nikki: I was really confident that it was Carmen Cusack.
Salina: Me too, except it didn't align with the nights that she performed, but neither.
Nikki: Did one of the other charlene.
Salina: She didn't align there were two Charlene's?
Salina: Oh, I didn't know there were two Charlenes.
Salina: So I'm like, how many actors are there?
Nikki: So Charlie Charlene was two.
Nikki: One is Elaine Hendrix, who was in Romeo Michelle high school reunion.
Salina: Yeah, that's the only one I saw.
Nikki: She was in The Parent Trap.
Nikki: And I remember her from an episode of Ghost Whisper.
Nikki: That's not who we saw.
Nikki: I'm pretty sure we were watching Deborah Capps, who, when I Googled her, her LinkedIn page, told me that she is a community engagement manager at the Boys and Girls Club in Bentonville, Arkansas, among other things.
Nikki: So I think she wasn't quite as established as other actors we saw.
Nikki: But I can tell you with certainty the person we saw playing Charlene was not Elaine Hendrix.
Salina: I thought maybe she just I thought they looked different, but I was like, maybe I'm misremembering.
Nikki: The only reason I'm getting so passionate about that is because I went down the same rabbit hole on Charlene.
Nikki: And so I felt reasonably confident that the person I saw in pictures as Julia was Carmen Cusack.
Nikki: Not the other person.
Salina: It could be that the streamed version was recorded on a Carmen Cusack night that we wound up subsequently watching on Catherine Lanassa's night for a live performance.
Salina: How's that?
Nikki: I think that's right.
Salina: A brain breaker.
Nikki: I think the streamed performance was recorded early.
Nikki: Like, early in the run.
Nikki: It was just a one time recording that they gave you.
Nikki: Everybody who did that watched the same.
Salina: One, which would probably make a lot more sense for everyone involved.
Salina: But I didn't run the event.
Salina: Okay, so that was astray.
Salina: But you knew everyone else for the show.
Salina: You didn't see there were two Julia's and apparently two Tarlenes.
Salina: We talked about the fact that nobody mentioned their children and the fact that that was really strange.
Salina: But I did want to say that in comparison to the fact that we get a dash golf mention suzanne's first ex husband.
Salina: So I just thought that was weird.
Nikki: I didn't remember that.
Salina: It was very brief.
Salina: I don't even remember what it was about, but I was, like, talking about dash, but no one's mentioned their children.
Nikki: We haven't talked about this because I didn't write them all down, but there were quite a few flashbacks or throwbacks to the show.
Nikki: There was the night and the lights went out in Georgia.
Nikki: Throwback, I guess dash golf, which I probably heard in the moment.
Nikki: There were a couple of throwbacks for fans.
Salina: My last stray is I had two more Southern mentions that I didn't add because I found them in my notes after I wrote my recap.
Salina: That's how the sausage is made.
Salina: One was Tyler Perry.
Salina: Suzanne name drops them.
Salina: She went to lunch with them or something.
Salina: And she also mentions nene leaks.
Nikki: Oh, I didn't hear that.
Salina: Also as a name drop for someone she like lunched with or something.
Salina: So we apparently both looked into the actors.
Nikki: We did.
Salina: Is there anything that you want to share?
Nikki: I already shared my thing about Elaine Hendrix, who's not the person we saw.
Salina: Which had news to me today.
Nikki: Carla Renata, who played Cleo, I found this in her Wikipedia page, but I'm not really sure what it means.
Nikki: It says she made history, becoming the first African American actress to secure recurring roles on four television shows.
Nikki: So I'm not clear on whether that was that she did all four at the same time or has she literally been the only black person in the history of television who has had a recurring role on four TV shows.
Salina: I saw that same thing.
Salina: I took it to mean the former.
Nikki: But at the same time.
Salina: Okay, but maybe it's not.
Nikki: I just thought that sounds like either way, it's a huge milestone.
Nikki: But, yeah, the face you're making, one is sadder than the other.
Salina: Only because every time I hear something like the Academy Award ones always astonish me for African Americans and women, frankly.
Nikki: Did you know that Amy Pitts, who played Suzanne, had a recurring role in The Office?
Salina: I did.
Nikki: I wrote that one down just for you.
Salina: I did.
Salina: For the people out there who are fans of The Office.
Salina: She is the woman who played Michael's love interest that he subsequently finds out is married.
Salina: It is a very funny string of episodes, and she does a really great job.
Nikki: I think that's all I had.
Salina: Okay, funnily enough, the Kim Matula who plays Haley, unless there's a second Haley.
Nikki: I didn't see a second Haley.
Salina: Very concerned now, but I actually just saw her in a show this week.
Nikki: Oh, is that right?
Salina: She is on American Crime Stories.
Salina: Do you not know what this is?
Nikki: What is this?
Salina: You know what American Horror Story is?
Salina: Ryan Murphy.
Salina: So he has an anthology don't know if that's the right word.
Salina: American crime story.
Salina: And there are, like, miniseries of different American crimes.
Salina: So the very first season is about OJ.
Salina: Gooding jr.
Salina: Plays OJ.
Nikki: Oh, this is familiar.
Salina: Fantastic show.
Salina: Second one is about Giovanni Versace, who gets murdered outside of his home.
Salina: And then this one is about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Nikki: Oh, my.
Salina: And it is amazing, really.
Salina: She has, like, a two second role.
Salina: I'm not trying to down her role.
Salina: I'm just saying, like, I wish we had gotten to see more of her.
Salina: She plays Laura Ingram.
Salina: They're all real life people.
Salina: So not a lot of fake characters in this one.
Salina: Anyways, the season finale is next week.
Salina: I've binged it in a scary amount of time.
Salina: It is so addictive.
Salina: I can't it's so good.
Salina: Anyway, so that's my plug for today.
Salina: Just to talk about Sarah colonna.
Salina: So this is the colona.
Salina: I don't know Mary Joe.
Nikki: I was trying to remember which one she is.
Salina: She's the person that I think we both most recognized.
Salina: And so she's a stand up comedian, actor, and a best selling author.
Salina: Sad to say.
Salina: I didn't know about the best selling author part, but we read a lot for work, so mama Ma, I don't read enough of my spare time.
Salina: Nikki reads.
Salina: She's the smart one.
Salina: So she's done a fair amount lately.
Salina: She did a stint on the show Shameless, and she was on that show that came out on Netflix a couple of years ago.
Salina: Insatiable got a lot of heat because this is about the girl who is a little heavier.
Salina: And then something happens.
Salina: She gets, like, beat up by a person who's homeless.
Salina: And then she's skinny.
Salina: So she plays her mom on that show.
Salina: But what I knew her from was Chelsea and all the roundtables.
Salina: And I think she was a writer on that show almost the entire time.
Salina: I did not realize until today that the people who were in the Roundtable, like, I guess a bunch of them were also writers on the show.
Salina: I had no idea.
Salina: So today years old when I learned that.
Nikki: There you go.
Nikki: You're never too old to learn new things.
Salina: But yeah, I thought that was really a good point, though, just to circle back to what we're talking about, which is Designing Women, which is her as Mary Joe.
Salina: She is a very I don't want to she's her own person, but if you are not familiar with her work, she is very Chelsea like, dry, like, sardonic sarcastic.
Salina: And I just don't think that that felt the same as Mary Joe.
Salina: Solid acting.
Salina: Not the same person that we've seen at this point.
Nikki: You hit the nail on the head when you said it's a different energy.
Nikki: Every actor brings an energy.
Nikki: They can be the most amazing actor in the world, and you feel a vibe from them.
Nikki: They still have a vibe.
Nikki: She didn't have a Mary Joe vibe.
Salina: I think that's just it.
Salina: It probably feels worth noting that, like you said, there's one person who played the charlene that we saw, and they're not someone that has this extensive filmography or whatever.
Salina: Carmen Cusack.
Salina: One of the reasons that I'm not familiar with her is she is more of active on the stage.
Salina: She's also a singer, so she's a Tony Award nominee.
Salina: So I don't know as much about her, but she was in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with Tom Hanks, the movie about Mr.
Salina: Rogers that came out a couple of years ago.
Salina: I still haven't seen it.
Salina: I want to.
Nikki: She also was originally cast for the role that Lauren Graham plays in Zoe's extraordinary playlist.
Salina: Oh, really?
Nikki: Which I have not seen because I don't like musicals.
Nikki: But originally she was cast in that role and then replaced with Lauren Graham.
Salina: Oh, that's interesting.
Nikki: She's also, like you said, Tony nominated, but also Grammy nominated.
Nikki: To your point about her being a singer.
Salina: Very nice.
Salina: You can tell that Nikki and I did our homework.
Salina: I think the only other thing that I really wanted to share was Catherine LaNassa, who played the Julia we didn't see.
Salina: She was married to Dennis Hopper in real life.
Salina: Dennis Hopper.
Salina: He's a very famous actor.
Salina: And then I just thought that was crazy.
Salina: One thing is, because she's born in 1966, I saw today, much like, she must also be drinking from the fountain of youth, because when I read Dennis Hopper, I was like, Dennis Hopper?
Nikki: That Dennis Hopper.
Salina: She seems a little young for him, but she was also married to French Stewart.
Salina: Do you know who that is?
Salina: You know who that is?
Salina: I do love French Stewart.
Salina: Me, too.
Salina: And I don't know why that surprised me so much, but I was like and two really different people, so I don't know.
Nikki: That's funny.
Nikki: That's really funny.
Salina: Just thought I'd share that little bit of information and.
Nikki: That'S it.
Salina: There you go, guys.
Salina: Thanks for tuning in.
Nikki: I will end by saying that I want to say it's the New York Times article, but I read a couple of articles in preparation for this segment, and there was a little conversation about why they chose this tiny playhouse.
Nikki: I say tiny.
Nikki: It's not really that tiny.
Nikki: They chose this playhouse in Bentonville, Arkansas, which for some people might feel random, I think is what I'm trying to articulate.
Nikki: It might just sort of feel like other than their ties to Arkansas, like, why?
Nikki: And they talked to the manager of the playhouse, I think it was, and he talked about how the area they're in is pretty evenly divided, partisanly, and they are trending in the direction of more progressive.
Nikki: And so it's very important to them in the Playhouse to present projects that make people think and that bring in diverse perspectives and diverse opinions.
Nikki: And so that's kind of the story of how they ended up in this particular theater squared Playhouse.
Nikki: The second thing that I'll mention is it sounds like there may be a pipe dream hope that this show could be shown in other places.
Nikki: So, again, it was a limited run in a theater house in Arkansas.
Nikki: We watched it because they offered a virtual version.
Nikki: It's no longer available.
Nikki: The play has closed.
Nikki: But it sounds like there is a possibility it could be available at another time in other places, maybe in the south.
Salina: So it's possible maybe we'll be able.
Nikki: To go see it in person and do this whole episode all over again.
Salina: It'll be completely different.
Salina: So until then until then, stay tuned for this week's very rapid fire Extra Sugar, where I will ask Nikki to guess whether or not these actors are from the south or not to understand their accents.
Salina: So you know what that means.
Salina: We'll see you around the bend.
Salina: And welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar, where Selena hasn't done it in so long that she forgot how to start it.
Salina: All right, Nikki, we got a real quick Extra Sugar today.
Salina: Okay, I am going to share with you each character, just their character name, unless we have two of them where I knew there were two of them to be had, and I want you to guess southern.
Salina: Not Southern.
Salina: Are you ready to do this?
Salina: All of us have party, but it just too late.
Nikki: You were going to say?
Salina: I am Charlene, the one we didn't see.
Salina: Sorry, I didn't know.
Nikki: Didn't see.
Nikki: Not Southern.
Salina: She's Southern.
Nikki: Oh, wow.
Salina: Sorry, lady.
Salina: That one feels unfair, but I didn't know.
Nikki: It's 50 50 shot.
Salina: She was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Salina: She spent her early years in nearby Knoxville in Morristown, and at 15, here's a nice connection.
Salina: She actually moved to Atlanta, where she attended the Northside School of Performing Arts.
Nikki: Good for her.
Salina: Well, you have heard her voice.
Salina: You saw her on Ghost Whisper, right?
Nikki: That's true.
Salina: So you're not flying completely blind.
Nikki: That's true.
Salina: Cleo southern.
Salina: She is not Southern.
Nikki: Gosh darn it.
Salina: She is from St.
Salina: Louis, Missouri.
Salina: It's not Southern.
Salina: She's very close.
Salina: Catherine LaNassa.
Salina: That's Julia number one, which is why I'm telling you that she's blonde in real life, not the one we saw.
Nikki: Not Southern.
Salina: She is southern.
Nikki: I feel like this game is rigged in some way.
Nikki: This was a good premise.
Salina: Hey, don't you poo poo on my game, because you're getting them wrong.
Nikki: I haven't seen any of these people.
Salina: Well, I thought she's the one we saw, so whatever.
Salina: It's a game, Nikki.
Salina: I won't, like, beat you on the way out the door if you don't.
Nikki: I'm not worried about you beating me.
Nikki: I'm worried about my record of winning games on this show.
Salina: Okay, well, she was born in New Orleans.
Salina: And then she went to school in North Carolina.
Salina: So she does have some southern ties.
Salina: The Julie.
Salina: You do know Carmen Cusack.
Salina: Not Southern.
Nikki: Not southern.
Salina: Good job.
Nikki: Can we quit now?
Salina: She was born in Denver, Colorado, and it sounds like she was there in her formative years as well.
Salina: I tried to be really fair and poke around so that it wasn't like, born in Tennessee, but raised in New York City.
Salina: That would be unfair.
Salina: Haley southern.
Salina: Well, it depends on whether or not they consider themselves Southerners.
Salina: I consider you southern.
Salina: She is from Fort Worth, Texas.
Salina: So you win.
Salina: Mary Joe.
Salina: Very good.
Salina: She was born in Germany.
Salina: No, it's okay.
Salina: See, I kept searching.
Salina: This is one of the reasons I did right.
Salina: But she was raised in Farmington, Arkansas.
Nikki: Oh, an Arkansas tie.
Salina: That's right.
Salina: So she has ties right there to where she performed.
Salina: And also, maybe she has ties to the Thomas.
Salina: Don't know.
Salina: Don't know anything.
Nikki: That wasn't the point of the segment.
Salina: It's why you guys come here for the inside tips.
Salina: We're tired.
Salina: And finally, Suzanne.
Nikki: Oh, shoot.
Nikki: I have to get her head back in her face.
Nikki: Back in my head.
Salina: The worst Southern accent.
Salina: Come on, Nikki.
Nikki: I know.
Nikki: Not Southern.
Nikki: Southern hate you so much.
Salina: I'm just kidding.
Salina: That gal isn't from the south.
Salina: She's from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Salina: So you win, Nikki.
Salina: We all win.
Salina: We're winning.
Salina: And that was this week's edition of Extra Sugar.