top of page
  • sweetteatvpod

Episode 1: The Pilot

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Hey y'all! If you're new here, start at our prologue to get to know us!

Once you're all caught up, let's get into Designing Women, season 1, episode 1 - the Pilot. In this episode, we're coming in hot with our take, revisiting this iconic series 30+ years later to see what they got right, what they got wrong, and how the show holds in 2021.

In the pilot, we meet Charlene Frazier, Mary Jo Shively and, of course, the Sugarbakers - Suzanne and Julia. Four strong, brazen women from right here in our hometown, Atlanta! The pilot finds the coworker-friends caught up in an...errrr...uncomfortable situation involving a man. We have thoughts. A lot of them. We'll talk a little bit about TV standards in the 80s, and how papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post received the show at launch. And, of course, we'll debate just how Southern this Southern-based show is. Come on, let's get into it!



Hey, y'all.

I'm Nikki.

And I'm Selena.

And this is Sweet Tea TV, a podcast by two Southerners exploring and celebrating the better parts of southern culture on TV and in entertainment.

In our first season, we'll dive into the iconic show Designing Women, a series far ahead of its time, following four strong, brazen women right here in our backyard.

Atlanta it's out.

Join us as we break down each episode and discuss what they got right, what they got wrong, and how this show holds 30 plus years later.

Come on, let's get into it.

All right, I'm recording.

Should we do any vocal exercises?

Anything you want to do to warm yourself up?

Well, it's been a while since I've done a vocal exercise.

I'm thinking of polypicta pepper pumper, nickel pepper pillows, palpable.

We probably don't need to take listeners along that journey with us, necessarily, but yeah.


So we're here.

We're ready for the Designing Women pilot episode, incidentally, the pilot episode of the Sweet Tea and TV podcast.

I'm Nikki.

And I'm Selena.

And, Selena, is there anything you want to tell anybody about the show or anything they should know about us?

Well, I think as a listener, it's probably helpful to know a little bit about us, but as good Southerners, we are fairly long winded, and we didn't.

Want to put you through that.

So we are going to talk a little bit about ourselves and share with you some background on our Southern resumes, how we know each other, and really kind of diving into why we're doing this and the things that we hope to achieve with the listener.

But we've pulled that out into a separate episode, a prologue, if you will.

And so folks can tune to that.

To hear more about us.

Otherwise, I think maybe, Nikki, if you can just give us some direction on what way the show is going to go and we'll be good.

And I'm thinking, Selena, that we'll probably cover, like, one to two episodes per podcast.

It'll really sort of depend how the show goes.

Yeah, no, absolutely.

And then I think what we can do also is we'll try and give a heads up so that folks who do decide they want to follow along can do so where they can watch the episode prior to tuning.

In to listening to us and joining this conversation so that everybody feels caught up for those who are sitting there wondering, hey, crazy ladies, we don't know where to find this.

Designing Women is available on Hulu.

That's where I'm watching it.


That's where you're watching it.

And then also you can find it on Prime Video, Apple TV, Pluto TV and also Internet Movie database or IMDb TV.

And so I'm waiting for someone to call me out and tell me they can't find those there.


There'S plenty of options.

Yeah, I didn't even know pluto TV was a thing.

I didn't either, but apparently it is, and it's great and it's very affordable.

If anybody wants to give us the chance to talk about Pluto TV here.

Just kidding.

I'm sure they'll be clamoring for a spot on our show.

Well, I am super well spoken, so.

There'S like a million ways to watch it.

I think probably one of the most important things for people to know is that it's a 1980s show, which means it has its own world of things to talk about.

I am sure there will be fashion.

We've got the whole Southern piece covered.

So if we were to get in a time machine and go back to 1986, what would be going on then?


So I did do a little digging.

No one do your math.

Nikki and I, in addition to knowing each other for a decade, working together for a decade, and now trying to tackle a podcast together, were also born in the same year we were one year old.

So we're going straight into it.

We're just going to do that math for everybody.

Well, no, don't do the math.

And if you're like me, you might still need to get out of Calculator, but whatever.

What I'm trying to get around to is we can't really do Total Recall from 1986.

So just to give everybody a little primer as we step back in time, ronald Reagan was the president, and it was also the year of the Iran Contra affair, or when that erupted, which revealed secret armed deals.

Moving on.

Something that also is really interesting, I think, and I love doing this.

I don't know if anybody goes, you grab the cards of the year you were born and you just sort of look through and see how things have changed.

It's fun, right?

So in 1986, let's do a little breakdown.

Average income, $22,400.

The average cost of a new house, 89,430.

Oh, my gosh.


So, same as today.


And then the average cost of a new car, wait for it, $9,255.

Holy moly.


Gallon of gas.

Eighty nine cents.

I want to say that for the record, though, high school, which wasn't very long ago for me, just yesterday.


I feel like it hovered not far from there, but it was less than a dollar.

Yeah, right?

And then a pound of bacon, $1.0.75.

This one feels like a random thing to compare to, but as a 30 something who buys a lot of groceries, bacon is really expensive.

I can tell you.

I spent a lot more than a dollar 75 on bacon.

Especially if you're getting, like, the nitrite free bacon.

I mean, even when you're trying to get something affordable, you're still looking at, like, $6.

Just ballparking.

I never buy bacon.

I'm vegan.

Yeah, whatever.

Pop culture wise.

Top five TV shows.

The Cosby Show family Ties cheers.

Murder she Wrote.

You like this one, Nikki?

Yo Show.

Golden Girls.


Yeah, we got to cover that one at some point in the podcast.


And that will be a first time for me because I've only ever seen hand, like the smattering of episodes, which is unbelievable to it's just it's really unforgivable.

But we'll educate you.

That's good.

I would like to learn something.

One other thing to mention is that Oprah debuts nationally in September in 1986.

Again, that's just one of those things.

Like, Oprah's been off the air now for ten years, and this is when she went national.

Let's think about the music at that time.

Take My Breath Away by Berlin and Stuck With You by Huey Lewis.

And the News were number one Billboard toppers.

If you don't know them, look them up, because guess what?

If we sing them, we have to pay for.

Um, and then I love this because this movie holds.

It holds number one at the box office.

When you look as a whole for the year Top Gun, if you haven't seen it, you're missing out.

If you look at the specific year or time period within which Designing Women premiered, crocodile Dundee was number one at the box office.

I can't say this for sure, but my guess is it doesn't hold.

But you know what?

I should go back and rewatch it because I could be wrong.

And then I have to give a little love to Annie Potts, who apparently I'm most connected with, or Mary Jo Shively because she played scene stealing Iona, who was the boss and mentor and mother figure to Andy in one of my very favorite movies, Pretty and Pink.

So just big love there.

Oh, yeah, I remember that.

Was that in 1986?

It was in fact, that movie came out, I think, in April, and then Designing Women premieres in the fall.

We've talked a lot and we haven't even touched on Designing Women.

So what is designing women.

IMDb says it's the misadventures of four women and their handyman.

Running a design firm in Atlanta, Georgia, outspoken feminist Julia Sugarbaker runs a design firm out of her Atlanta home, along with her shallow ex beauty queen sister Suzanne, divorced mother Mary Jo, and naive country girl Charlene.

So that's it.

Wikipedia added, which is probably important context.

Julia is the co founder and president of Sugar Bakers.

She's partnered with Suzanne, who is her younger sister.

Charlene worked as a secretary for Julia's late husband, Hayden, and has half her savings invested in Sugarbakers, which they allude to in the first episode.

She's also an office manager, and she's the next door neighbor of Mary Jo, who's recently divorced.

Mary Jo is the main interior designer and also a full partner.

And so then there's this other character, Anthony, who we have not met yet.

I am vaguely familiar with Anthony as a person, as a character, but I don't really know much about him.

Apparently he's a substantial part of the show.

And I think when we get into an episode, maybe with anthony.

We can talk about his backstory.

I read kind of the spoiler of it as I was pulling these notes together and was like, I feel like I don't really want to get into that yet.

I feel like that's something that should come later.

Yeah, that makes sense.

So The Creator is Linda bloodworth?

Thomason It premiered on September 29, 1986, and the finale was May 24, 1993.

Our stars are delta Burke dixie Carter annie Potts jean Smart Mishak Taylor.

Seven seasons, 163 episodes, 18 Emmy nominations, with one win for Hairstyling, which feels very Southern to me, if you ask me.

Yeah, that's true.

I was sort of looking at it like all that in a Hairstyle award.

But doesn't that seem somewhat right for a woman led show?

Doesn't that seem par for the course?

Par for the course is absolutely right.

It just seems like fitting somehow in a sad, depressing way.


All right, so we're here.

The moment is now.

We are ready.

We are ready to get into the first episode.

So the Hulu episode description, which I feel like I don't know, these episode descriptions are always my favorite way to break a show down.

Suzanne shocks her coworkers when she begins dating Mary Jo's ex husband.

There's a lot in that very brief summary.

Well, it's a little bit of a spoiler.

A little bit, yeah.

Or totally.



I feel like this is the problem with all descriptions.

Either they're so vague that they're like a Mad Men preview, or they're like this, and you're like, oh, okay, well, I'll just move on to episode.


So I don't know.



So that's exactly what happens.

Suzanne is asking for a gynecologist to go to charlene suggests Mary Jo's ex husband, who's a gynecologist.

Suzanne goes, and when she comes back, it sparks one of my favorite quotes of the entire episode.

Julia, of course.

Her lines are just so well written.

And she says, just exactly how does one make that jump from the stirrups in a doctor's office to a booth at TGI.


That was one of my favorite quotes of the entire episode.

First time I laughed out loud.


So I guess if there's strength in numbers, linda wrote this episode.

She knocked it out of the park.

So that was really funny.

There were two parts before that scene, though, where I laughed.

I loved when Charlene said, I'm not a person going down the great freeway of life with the back of her dress tucked into her pantyhose.

I laughed really hard at that.

And then when they were talking about the gynecologist and Suzanne says, he can't retire.

I've been going to him for ten years or whatever, and Julia says, Let him go.

He's paid his dues.

I laughed out loud at that part.

It was pretty funny.

And I think one of the things that line was spoiled for me, because in researching for the show, that was one of the things that was captured in a review.

That's where the research gets dangerous because you wind up accidentally spoiling things for yourself.


It definitely did make me laugh.

So if we get around to kind of how this all comes together via the description that we get or the spoiler, suzanne winds up going to Mary Jo's ex husband as her just can we pause right there?

Is that okay for us to pause on that and talk about how weird that is?

It was a weird setup.

It was definitely a weird setup.

The fact that Charlene seems to harbor some real deep resentment toward Mary Jo's ex husband.

She says on a few occasions, sort of these just these comments, like passing comments about how Mary Jo paid for his school, and I think she made a couple comments about him cheating on her.

So it seemed to me Charlene really doesn't have a lot of faith in this man, doesn't seem to really care for him.

So why then does Charlene suggest him to Suzanne, except maybe she hates Suzanne and just kind of like, yeah, go to him.

But it just struck me as kind of a far reaching way to set the episode up.

It felt unnatural to think just I think in general in talking about this, and I don't know if others felt this way or feel this way on a rewatch, but the whole show is exposition.

Yeah, a lot of pilots are, but it feels like it was less smooth because it's 1986.

So we're just getting these really stilted conversations of, like, Mary Jo.

Remember that time, that time 3 seconds ago just to give us the background information, because a lot of times they were revealing things to me that seemed crazy that they wouldn't know themselves because it almost seemed like Suzanne didn't really realize he was a doctor.

That was my read.

And I'm like, you're telling me that a woman that recently got divorced hasn't been talking about it in the office?

I don't believe that for a second.


And not just a woman, but, like, a person, like people who are divorced.

That's a thing I don't know.

Especially in this intimate office.

I am willing to suspend some of my disbelief around it because it is an 80s sitcom.

One of the things that struck me the most about the episode is that it was almost over as soon as it started.

Compared to some of the longer shows I think we're used to seeing now, the Game of Thrones style shows.

And like Gilmore Girls, you have these very kind of almost very long shows.

Almost twice as long, so they can cover a lot more ground.

So it really struck me how quick it moved, and I really felt like in a lot of ways, they made the dialogue and the script really work.

It worked really hard because it had to do a lot in a short amount of time.

Yeah, that's very true.

And I think a lot of my observations definitely fall in line with they were putting a lot into a little episode.

I mean, we do get three full acts of, again, exposition, but also plot just unfolding.

So I think that's very fair to just sort of jump back into the you know, so Suzanne accepts and you can kind of see these quick breaks where there was obviously a commercial, but it just sort of snaps back.

And the next thing that we see is that Suzanne is sitting there in sunglasses inside.

So that's fine.

And Julia breaks the line.

It's 3 hours later and she is dating Mary Jo's husband.

Ex husband.

I had a lot to unpack from that.

I don't know about you.

So, I mean, we've already covered the fact that we'll give them some breaks because this is a pilot.

They needed to let us know a lot of things.

They're putting a lot in one episode and all that's fine.

But are we to believe that?

How did this happen?

Did he actually give the examination and then they decided to go on a date?

She said it was only a consultation in his front office.


I feel so much better about that.

I can't remember exactly how she said it, but it was just a meeting in the front office because I had the same question.


And yeah, no, she says it was just a meeting because I was like, that would be super awkward.

And are we to believe that?

And then what does that mean?

That says a lot.

That he would do an examination and immediately want to take this woman out.

What did he find?



Well, so the most unbelievable part of all of this to me an appointment with the doctor in one day.

No, sure.


Not even in just one day, like 1 minute.

Life was different.

Yes, health care was better in the.

Hear, but she called in a favor, too, because she had a friend.

So maybe she got put to the front of the line.

Who's to say?


That's true.

Again, this is all about suspending reality and having a good time.

That, I feel like, is what eighty S and early 90s sitcoms were all about.


No, absolutely.

I think the next thing that sort of okay.

Mary Doe is clearly not okay with this.




She is p*****.

This felt very okay.

I can only speak from a Southern woman's perspective.

This idea of kind of almost like a passive aggressive kind of I don't know.

Are we trained in that?


It is 101 in our trainings next to biscuit identification and sweet tea when nobody else has it.

So I don't know.

But yeah, again, there was just something there that felt first of all, it was really funny.

And I love some of the way they use these lines.

But yeah.

Hey, there were some really good lines in this part.

I think you had a favorite or two.

I don't know if you wanted to share what your favorite lines were around this area.

I died laughing.

I died laughing when Suzanne said to Mary Jo how did she say it?

Something about their electric attraction.

I swear I don't mean that bitchy.

And then fast forward just like 30 seconds.

I mean, it was almost nothing.

And Julia came back with a joke about female morality, basically.

And alluding to the fact that Suzanne's Bed is like a fast food restaurant.

And she said, and I swear I don't mean that bitchy.

It was just the funniest, just the almost immediate callback.

But the fact that in 1986 they were saying, I swear I don't mean that bitchy.

I don't know.

Something about that whole situation just made me die laughing.

And I feel again, I don't know if it's Southern, don't know if it's girl code.

I don't know.

But we do oftentimes say things that are sort of passive aggressive or backhanded compliments and then couch it with, I swear I don't mean to be mean, or I don't mean to be that just that whole scene reeked of that.

And I just thought it was so funny how Julia turned it on.

I just that's the kind of quick wit I wish I had in my own life.

Well, in good comedic timing, right?

Because that's what it's all about.

And that's not an easy thing to master.

So you kind of see Dixie Carter.

She's just like right out of the gate pilot episode.

She's showing you what she's got.

And I think that's know, we're starting to get that glint of what we're going to get from Julia in coming episodes.

And in this episode for that, all I will tell you.

One of my favorite lines from this part of the episode is so Mary Jo starts talking about what happened between her and Ted and why they're not together anymore.

And when she said that the nurses he hired all had life threatening breasts, I thought I was going to fall out of my chair.

I also want that to be my nickname from now on.

So just going to do a plug there for that to be mine.

Maybe it'll yeah, but I love that.

And she says, I thought seeing female patients all day would make him numb.

Instead, he developed a high tolerance.

A high tolerance, the way she says it.

Well, this whole part, right, which I feel like if we're going to talk about 80s TV versus now everything is so heavily innuendo.

They're talking about vaginas.


Doesn't get more on the nose than that.

They didn't make him an ENT.

So I just thought that was really interesting.

And I think they would have been much more direct in today's TV.

Yeah, but that was definitely something that hit me.


I agree.

And then the last line that I thought was really good was, even though it's kind of messed up, but like, she's Mary Jo saying everything's okay, and you can just, oh, it's fine, and then she shuts the door when Suzanne shuts the door on her way out, and she's like, b****.

And when she did that, I was just like, okay, it cracked me up.

But it definitely kind of told you it told you everything that you suspected, but now you know for sure.

Yeah, and I actually looked it up and couldn't find it.

But I did not think the FCC allowed you to say that word.

Yeah, I thought that was still one of the seven deadly words I could almost swear.

I remember when they started to allow that to be said on television, and the networks almost made a joke of it, and in their promos, I want to say this is in the mid ninety s, and I looked and I couldn't find it.

I might look again because I'm pretty.

Annoyed I couldn't find it.

But you should look again, because it actually struck me that they used it in so many ways, so many different times throughout the episode.


And I don't know, I don't care, but I just thought it was funny because I was like, were they getting deemed for this and just did it anyway?

I wasn't sure.

Did they dub over her saying something different?

Yeah, I don't know.

Well, okay.

And then one thing, because I know we need to move on, but I just wanted to say because you told me that you watched this show already, the history of swear words.

And I just noticed in looking up, trying to find the FCC stuff, I found an article that was talking about a history of swear words, and specifically the word b****.

And the use of that word spiked during the suffragette movement, in the again, during the feminist movies in the 70s.

Here's the kicker, it was not identified in the dictionary as a disparaging word until you want to take a guess.

Oh, gosh, I don't know if I want to.

I don't know the what?

Yeah, isn't that par for the course as a woman?

We don't even get her swear words.

Yeah, so I thought that was really interesting, and so I wanted to share that because, I don't know, I think that was very telling and I think it just wasn't that long ago.

And here we are looking at a 1986 show, and I don't know, that just really hit me in a certain kind of way not to bring it down.



So I think we do have to touch on and again, we're going to have to move on.

We do have to touch on Julia's epic annihilation of the man in the Sushi restaurant.

They all go to lunch, I guess, and they're waiting on Suzanne to join them.

And a man walks up and tries to insert himself into their lunch.

And I couldn't recreate it if I wanted to.

I think that was such a I guess Dixie Carter is the only person who could have delivered that.

And it tracks with the one thing that I do recall about her.

And it's either I recall it through actual memory, I recall it from my parents conversations about the show, but she is the mistress of the epic verbal takedown, and she does she takes him right down on his knees.

And the most fascinating part of it is that he says, basically, like, yeah, I'll go check on something and come back.

He doesn't even get there, which doesn't even ridiculous get.

But, yeah, I actually think we should pull this clip and play it.

Excuse me, but you lovely ladies look like you're in need of a little male companionship here.

Speaker E: Trust me when I tell you that you have completely misassessed the situation at.

This a sense of humor.

I like that.

Speaker E: You're charlene fraser.

No kidding.

I have a sister named Arlene.

Oh, really?

Speaker E: I have sisters named Marlene, Darlene, and Harlene.

Speaker E: I have a brother named Skip.

Allow me to introduce myself.

Ray Don Simpson.

Speaker E: Well, there's no need for introductions, Ray Don.

Speaker E: We know who you are.

You do?

Speaker E: Of course.

Speaker E: You're the guy who's always wherever women gather or try to be alone, you want to eat with us when we're dining in hotels.

Speaker E: You want to know if the book we're reading is any good or if you can keep us company on the plane.

Speaker E: And I want to thank you, Ray Dawn, on behalf of all the women in the world for your unfailing attention and concern.

Speaker E: But read my lips and remember, as hard as it is to believe, sometimes we like talking just to each other, and sometimes we like just being alone.

Okay, I can take a hint.

You want a little girl talk?

So I'll just go make a couple of phone calls and be right back.

Speaker E: Julia he just asked to sit down.

You didn't have to.

Annihilate yeah, she kills it, and you just see her eyes light up.


She really just goes to town on it.


And she just has this way about her, and it is absolutely amazing and definitely hands down, I think it's better than the main point of information that we get at this part of the episode.

But is it fair enough to say that basically Suzanne Flaunts, in having just been with Ted and starts talking about how they're going to go to Paris, and then she basically breaks the news.

That they're getting married, which is wild.


It happened.


And, I mean, we don't really know how much time has passed, but even for whatever, maybe if we'd had, like, four commercials in between, I would have been like, okay, it's been some time, but it felt crazy fast.

And lady does not know how to read a room.

Or she doesn't care.

I can't figure out which one it is.

I would venture a guess.

She doesn't care.

I think she lives in her own yeah.


So I think those are probably the best parts of the Sushi restaurant.

And then I will say, actually the episode kind of gets a little boring for me.

After that, Suzanne sets it up so that Mary Jo and her ex husband get together and try to hash out their differences.

I don't really get much out of the rest of the episode, but I don't know if you got more out of.


Yeah, it's always hard to I think in a sitcom to do kind of these like heart to heart moments, which is basically what happens just for folks following along.

So she does get them to sit down, Ted and Mary Jo, but they're suddenly having this fight that you can tell that they've been having for twelve years or however long they were married.

And we get to this spot, though, where they just suddenly turn on a dime to where she drops her guard out of nowhere and she tells him how much she's done in their relationship.

And she put him through school to become a doctor.

She had his children, she did everything for the kids.

He never wanted for anything.

And all she wanted to hear was thank you.

And it's really hard for him to say thank you, and he does finally say it, but for me it just all felt like it happened a little quickly.

I don't buy that.

A couple of minutes undid, a decade plus of hurt, obvious pain and resentment, and that's where we are.

Everybody else enters back into the room just to kind of, I guess, close up the episode unless there's other observations or like on this particular part.

But everybody comes back in, they pop champagne to celebrate.

But then Suzanne and Ted run off.

And then what I do, like here and what I do feel like starts to go back into this sort of to me you could almost look at this as like a break.

Like we had to do that thing where we concentrated on a man and we got rid of this old crap and now we're going to celebrate each other.

And Mary Jo turns to Julia and she turns to Charlene and that's what they do.

She toasts them and she even toasts Suzanne, which I thought was really loving because I think I'd need a couple more days with that.

So especially since they don't seem that close, but maybe that's what's helping.

But she calls her a class act.

She says, Julia, she's the best of the big shoulder know, charlene is the best of the Lean sisters because all of her sister's names rhymed.

You get that earlier in the episode.

And she's honored to be in debt with them.

So I thought.

That part was kind of nice.

I think my question is on this one episode alone, is someone going to be invested enough to watch episode two because they sow the conflict and then they resolve the was that was a kind of big thing for me ish.

Because there was still a little bit of an awkward interaction between suzanne and ted right there at the end.

Yeah, I think we got a hint of things to come.


I don't know that this relationship that happened in a doctor's office and five minutes ago is destined to last.

And that I really don't remember.

At I also Scott Bacula goes on to be in Quantum Leap, so I'm pretty sure he doesn't return for long.

So yeah, I'm super curious to see if this becomes a show that I love kind of at the same level as Golden Girls, Gilmore Girls.

I have a list of shows that I just will rewatch all the time and I'm curious to see if this becomes one.

I would say based on the first episode, Little, it's going to be a tough hill to climb, but it covered a lot of groundwork.

It did everything a pilot is supposed to do.

Typically, a pilot does not draw me in.

It is not my favorite episode of any I don't sit and rewatch pilots.

I watch.

King of Queens is one of my favorite shows.

I skipped the entire first season altogether because it's so rocky.

They introduce a whole character who never shows back up.

So now that I've seen the whole show, I know I'm not going to watch that.

So I will obviously stick with it because we're committed now.

We're doing this.

We're in it.

We're in it.

We are there.

So I will stick with it.

I don't know that I would keep watching it for our show, the Sweet Tea and TV podcast, if we give ourselves a scale of one to five sweet Teas and you're just rating the show as how much did you like it, one being not so much, five being loved.

It would rewatch it again.

Where would you put it?

This pilot episode.

I'm going to say three out of five sweet teas.

That's me grading it on a curve because it is an 80s show and we're watching it through a 2021 lens.

And I think that's important for all the right reasons.

And I understand this.

It was mainly exposition, but that's hard to watch and there were some unrealistic choices that they made to make the plot work.

The big disappointment for me was that I would have almost viewed this like a vignette, like if it felt like things were resolved enough just at the end of this, whereas I wanted just a little bit more conflict to lure me in.

And I think that's because maybe because today shows, like, it just feels like everything's so big and dramatic and that's why I'm grading it on a curb for that reason.

I think basically the showrunner had 20 minutes to make you love these women so much that that alone made you come back.

And that's a big risk to take.

But you know what?

I'm going to take it.

Coming back.

Coming back.

I think I would give it a three.

Feels generous to me, but I'm on the fence about it, and I think my reasoning probably feeds into the next thing I wanted to talk to you a little bit about.

So for me, I thought the dialogue was amazing.

I just thought that was amazing writing.

Just the quick wittedness, the fact that within the first five minutes, I had a really good sense of who each one of these characters are, and I'm super curious to see if that holds over time.

My first impressions of them hold over.

You know, I felt like I had a really good sense of them, but my criticism is the fact that they're based in Atlanta.

The fact that they're southern was kind of billed, I think, as a big part of the show, and that wasn't really mentioned in any sort of way.

Maybe I wanted something a little more on the nose than it was.

They mentioned Ansley park, which is a neighborhood here in Atlanta, but other than that, there really was not that much.

And so I wanted to see more southernness I wanted to see more southern representation of a show that was billing itself that way.

So for me, I felt like if we're going to kind of get into how southern is it, I felt like everyone had a slight accent, except, oddly, I felt like I didn't hear an accent at all from Suzanne.

And honestly, I bought Charlene's the most, which was fascinating, because when I looked into it later, I think I found out she's like the non southerner of the crew.

That's right.

I really bought her accent and then was like, wait a minute, she's not even southern.

So I think in general, it felt like it was obviously southern because they mentioned Atlanta.

But really there wasn't that much in the show that rang true for me on the southern front.

I don't know.

What do you I think for me, I think what they did was they sort of checked all the technical.

Um, there are southern accents.

It's in Atlanta.

They showed don't actually we can talk about the house some other time.

But that outside shot of that house, I don't know.

I think they're going for sort of one of those Atlanta mansion y style houses, but it actually looks more like French architecture to me.

So I don't know if he'd even hit that necessarily.

We're obviously on a sound stage.

I mean, that's fine.

I was happy to at least get some sense of place with getting Ansley Park, but I agree.

I wanted more like, why go with Fridays?

Why didn't they go with the varsity.


I mean, there were things that they could grasp and include there.

So I totally take your point.

I thought the accents were so you're right.

Everybody except for Jean Smart, who plays Charlene, is actually from the south.

So that's kind of an interesting tidbit.

But I feel like it's so funny to me that you didn't think Suzanne really had an accent because for me, it registered as like, that over the top kind of southern that you do and.

Like the I didn't hear that at all from I heard that from Julia.

Definitely from Julia.

Now I'm going to go back and watch because, you know, it only takes you saying that to take me around the bend.

I'm like, yes, you're probably right.

But that was sort of my impression of both of their accents, is that they were just too over the top charlene.

They're definite is it just me?

Are they trying to do a panhandle accent?

I don't know.

But just so you know, before I looked up who was from where, I thought Charlene was the only Southerner.

Oh, yeah.

So I did too.

Well, that makes me feel better, whatever's going on.

She did a really good job.

But Jean Smart is the woman, so we'll get into her.

We have plenty of time to get into everyone.

But she is awesome and probably has the most rocking career.


So anyways, if I was going to give it a rating, like a real rating, I give it four out of five bowls of grips.

I did go pretty high, but that's because I think it you did go high.

But I felt like even though it may have been surface kitty pool, they checked all the boxes.

So for the pilot, I'm going to give them a little bit more leeway as we get into the show.

I'm going to toughen up.

I'm going to get tough.

She's going to get strict.

Well, I think it's worth saying as we sort of wrap up talking about episode number one, I think it's worth saying that it was not the best rated, best reviewed pilot ever.

I think you had found maybe that the New York Times and the Washington Post didn't particularly care for it.

Is there anything more you want to say on that?

No, I think that's absolutely right.

One of those other things that we'll link to our website, but I'd say a Lukewarm whatever is what they got out of that.

I think they said Golden Girls is better that's the four women you want to watch for whatever that's worth.

If you have to pick one, pick.

The elderly women, which that's nice.

Yeah, that's true.

Doesn't happen all the time.

It's a win win, as Michael Scott would say from the office.


So I know you were interested in exploring the Bechtel test.

Do you want to talk a little bit about that and how you would rate it.

So the Bechtel test is something that I thought would be nice if we just like as we're sort of moving through these episodes, not all the time, but occasionally we just check in.

For those who don't know what the Bechtel test is, it is a test where you look at a piece of content and you look at one.

Is there more than one woman?

So we can check that box, and then the second box is, do those two women speak to each other?

Second box checked.

And I think we can definitely check that.

There the third box that gets a little tougher.

And this is where a lot of shows fall short, even today, as crazy as it may seem.

Were they talking about anything besides a man?

So I think the answer for all three of those is yes.

All three of those things happen.

However yeah, it is good.

However, if I was going to look at this proportionally, I'm not sure that we did that well because we spent a lot of time on Ted.

We sure did.

Too much time on sure did.

I got to tell you, he didn't seem like much of a pro.

Scott Pacula.

Yeah, I guess it's not about the.

It'S about the man who took advantage of his wife for 12 hours.

Oh, right.

The character I'm sorry.

Hooked up with a lady.

He'll always be 3 hours.

Quantum Leap.

To me, I think we're talking about two different Scott.

My bad.


And I'm such a fan of the show.

I don't remember what his name was in Quantum Leap, but yeah.

So I think proportionally, for me, it's falling a little short and not quite living up to what I'm hopeful that it will live up to in future episodes.

So I'm actually hoping we can take a serious turn for a minute.

Is that okay?

We're in this journey together, Selena.

Wherever we need to go, let's go.


So, as we're setting up for this podcast and our know to watch and review Designing Women together, we want to acknowledge that we've really lost some great actors along the way from the show specifically for actually.

And so, first up, and the only one we've met so far would be Dixie Carter, who plays Julia.

So she passed in 2010 from complications caused by endometrial cancer.

And then in 2014, strangely, we lost two actors from the show.

Now, neither one of these individuals have been introduced.

We did talk a little bit about the first person, Mishak Taylor.

He plays Anthony Bouvier, so he died from colorectal cancer.

And then there's Jan Hooks, so she joins in later seasons as Charlene's sister, Carlene.

She died from throat cancer again that same year in 2014.

And just this February, Hal Holbrook passed away.

I did not see a reason why.

Nikki, I don't know if in any of your search you did or not.

I don't think I remember seeing that okay.


I didn't know if it was like, flawed research on my part, but what I can tell you is he was 95 years old, so it's very possible it was just from age.

But I think a really important part about Hal Holbrook is that that was the actor's name in real life.

He was Dixie Carter's husband.

He was also a recurring character, and we'll meet him later this season.

He's an attorney named Reese Watson.

That's really as far as I want.

To go because I'm not trying to do any spoilers.

If anybody is watching for the first time, for the purposes of this podcast, sadly, this really means we can't do a lot of things.

I don't mean for this to sound crass at all, but like, check in on where they are now or if they do something cool like a table read, or if there was going to be a reunion of any kind, which, honestly, with that many characters gone, I don't even know that they could do that.

But if they were, it would not include these cast members.

So my sincere hope also with us sharing this now is it keeps listeners, it keeps you guys from doing something I've done several times over the years, which is like getting attached to a character or actor and then just like stumbling across the news that they have passed after you've drawn attached to them.


That is sad.


So there's that logistical standpoint trying to protect you all a little bit.

I mean, we don't even know each other yet, but I want to be able to do that a little bit.

We'll be friends.

And that's what you would do for a friend.

Yeah, absolutely.

Sentimentally speaking, it's three and a half decades later, we are still talking about this show.

These characters, the actors who played them.

Nikki, you and I are both doing a lot of research right now.

We're not the only ones talking about it.

If you go on social media, there's a lot of people still talking about it.

They're diving into the episodes right now that's doing something right in my book.

So I just want to send out some good vibes and some vibes of thanks for the sparkle and the joy that these individuals put into the world and for the characters they mastered and ones that really impacted our life.

That was such a nice tribute.

Well, I hate to bring it down, but I don't really think it has to be down necessarily either, because death is a part of life, right.

And we are looking at a show that's 35 years old and this is.

A chance to celebrate a legacy, as you were saying, that these characters and these actors brought.


And we're not going to do this right now.

We've got lots of time.

We have a lot of episodes to.

Cover, a lot of episodes.

And so that's going to give us the chance to kind of look into these different actors and the different things that they've done over the years because, and Nikki can tell you this, I'm a big fan of the connections to where we've seen people before.

I like talking about people's acting chops, and I hope that you'll be willing.

To hear from me on it.

I always kind of laugh about broadcast, like, local broadcast reporters, and they always have to transition between these, really, like, this person died.

Also, there's a concert this weekend.

But do they really transition at all?

They really exactly the way you did it.

Four car pile up and there's free ice cream for free ice cream day.

Get your chocolate sauce.


So I'm about to do that hard.

Turn again out of that and just.

Say that.

Next week we're going to continue on.

We're going to cover episode two.

We hope that you'll join us and follow us along as we break down the series.

In the future, we are exploring, covering multiple episodes.

When we meet, I think we want to be a little loose, at least to kind of determine what works best.

We want to hear from people to see what's working best for them as a listener, because it's one thing to sit here and talk, it's another thing to get that engagement on the back end and see how we can adjust to make for a better listen.

See, there's my Southern coming out.

I'm doing something for listeners.

That's what we hope that you can anticipate.

We'll keep you updated.

On that note, Nikki has some ways because she's the one that's been setting up our accounts where you can reach us, find us, get in touch with us.

And so, Nikki, can you tell them a little bit about where we're available and find stores?

Yeah, of course.

I think this will be a fun way for people to your point to follow along and share in the journey with us.

So we're on Instagram and Facebook at Sweet tea and TV.

As always, please send your questions, your comments, tag us in your post showing the south a little bit of love.

If there's somewhere you love to eat, somewhere you love to visit in the south or somewhere you would love to visit or eat, and maybe we can build a little bit of a community and folks can share with one another.

So we welcome any feedback and input there.

You can also reach us at and at our website,

It's under development, but it will be really good by the time we launch this podcast.

And we'll drop all of this in episode notes if there's anything you didn't catch.

So I think we would just tell people.

Thanks for joining us.

This has been long in the works for us, right, Selena?

That's right.

Thank you so much.

And I'm just so excited to move forward and go from, you know, and.

It doesn't really matter.

I think the last thing we should say since we've talked all about Designing Women, does it really matter if you're a fan of Designing Women or not?

It doesn't really.

I haven't seen these episodes.

I'm watching them for the first time.

So if you want to come on this journey and see if you're a fan this isn't meant to be for the diehards.

This is also meant for people who want to explore Southern culture within pop culture and things like that.

So hopefully folks will join us and learn something along the way.

Yeah, no, for sure.

I definitely think that that does not matter.

If you're coming in fresh, come in fresh and follow along.

I think there is something that could be interesting for anyone.

It's all about shared experience, new experience.

We're into it.

So next time, episode two.

Episode two.

We'll see you there.


All right, Nikki, we have one more thing that I'd like to do.

So we're going to do a segment.

And it's going to be called are you ready for this?

I don't know.

Am I ready?

You tell me.

Well, I don't know.

Now the suspense is there, so let's say, yes, I'm ready.



End it.

It's going to be called I'll have another sweet tea, extra sugar.

That's great.

But here's what that means, because nobody else is going to know what that means.

It's a segment about our lack of self control and the need to say.

What we weren't able to say is part of our regular Designing Women episode review.

But here's the kicker.

We only get 30 seconds apiece to do it.

When have we ever been able to say anything in 30 seconds?


But we're going to yeah.

We're going to time each other because that's all we have.

Okay, I'm going to get my timer ready.

Well, my question is, who's going to go first?

Well, you introed it, so maybe you should go first.


All right, I'm ready.



I'm going to give you a countdown.




In the opening credits, did you notice that the show creator's husband's name came?


Heavens and stars.

I wasn't prepared for a laugh track.

Their clients sound terrible.

One like the beginning of a Me too plot.

The other a douchebag with Marvel lions.

Harry Belafonte gets a weird mention he was a confident of MLK Jr.

As well as the first African American to ever win an Emmy award.

He is also an EGOT winner, meaning that he is part of a very small club of people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

I'm so glad they said Ansley Park instead of Buckhead.

Makes it sound like they do the research.

Good grief.

They love a smoky eye and some serious rouge in the 80s.

You're out.

You're done.

You're done.

Almost up.

Oh, my gosh.

I don't know if I need a full 30.

I mean, you had a whole lot more.

You didn't get to say, maybe I.

Talked too much, but no, we both talked too much.

It's fine.

That's why we're doing this.

But I made it in in 30 seconds.

That's all I cared about.

You did, man.

That was amazing.

That was incredible.

I can't sweat him now.

All right, I'm pulling up the clock.

Oh, mine's not nearly as formal.

Mine is literally my notes from the episode that my handwritten notes that I felt like I didn't get a chance to say in the no, not nearly as good as yours, but I can do.

The it's everybody for themselves.


I can do it.

All right, I'm going to catch you down.


Three, two, one, go.

So I really wanted to capture my character first impressions.

Charlene told a joke and cracked herself up in the very first intro.

Mary Jo seemed really high strung and talked a lot.

Julia was very to the point in all business, and Suzanne was super breezy.

I would love to know if of follow through that the whole series.

And if I really think that's the characters they are also, charlene took her earring out to answer the phone.

If that's not the most 80s thing I've ever seen in my life, I don't know what it is.

And I just feel like we need to keep our eyes on 80s sort of things like that.


There you go.

That was good.

And that, people, is sweet.

Tea dressover.


Recent Posts

See All

Designing Women S4E2 Re-Sugar: Dixie Carter

It’s time we revisit our “Extra Sugar” all about Dixie Carter! By the time we’d done this, we’d done segments about the lives and careers of  LBT, Annie Potts, Meschach Taylor, Delta Burke, and Jean S


bottom of page