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The Prologue: Sweet Tea & TV

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

The one where it all began. Well, technically, it all began in episode 1. Then we realized we had so much to say about ourselves, our love for the South, and where we want this podcast to take us, that we re-recorded our intro - a prologue, if you will. This is where you can learn who we are (Nikki & Salina, BTW - nice to meet ya!), how we know each other, and how we ended up talking into two mics, in different rooms, 10 miles apart (thanks, pandemic!) So come on, let's get into it!



Hey, y'all.

I'm Nikki.

And I'm Salina.

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.

And so 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.

Well, so I have a question for you, Nikki.

Should we tell them?

Should we tell these listeners, these listeners that we hope will one day come?

Our secret shame?

Our secret shame?

I'm like, do you know what our secret shame is?

There are so many.

Well, I'm afraid what might come out.

I just had, like, ten go through my head.

Well, I'm going to go ahead and just burst this secret shame in case you tell on us for real.

Neither one of us really drink sweet tea.

Oh, you're going to tell that one?


So our podcast namesake, the Sweet Tea.

And TV podcasters drink no sweet tea.


And so I never have, really.

I know we both have established that we don't, but is there a reason that you don't.

Other than recognizing the danger of sugar?

I grew up as a kid, I grew up, we drank sweet tea, probably my mom made a gallon every few days.

We had sweet tea in the refrigerator all the time.

Have you ever seen the big blue pitchers with the white lid that twists around?


Yeah, that was the pitcher my mom made tea in.

I think I learned to make tea when I was probably, I don't know, my mom would correct me, but maybe like eight, nine or ten.

I wasn't very old when I learned how to make it.

But, yeah, I think just as you grow up and people start talking about sugar, you're sort of like, oh, it's not so great for me.

Yeah, well, it's definitely sugary sweet.

I think for me, it was just, like, never a thing that my family offered, which I guess yeah, I don't want to expose myself as a bad Southerner, because that's really what I want us to talk a little bit about so that we can introduce ourselves, so that people can have an understanding of why we're doing this thing in the first.


But one side of my family was a Coca Cola family.

I mean, I'm not saying that we were, like, running marathons or anything.

We were just drinking something else that was sugary sweet.

And then my side of the family, my mom's side of the family, they were iced tea drinkers, not sweetened or unsweetened, as we call it in the south, which means nothing anywhere else, by the way, as you know.

Just tea.

Yeah, they're like.

So tea, this was something I ran into in the restaurant industry.

By the mean, I do think it's delicious.

And I like mine with lots of lemon.

So if you do ever drink tea, do you like a lot of lemon?

So I think it's an acquired taste, something I've acquired over time.

So I will occasionally drink an unsweet tea, like, out at a restaurant, and I do and I know there are issues with dirtiness of lemons at restaurants, but I don't know.

I still put them in.

But when I was growing up, we didn't put lemons in tea.

And I will tell you that we tried sun tea one time.

Have you ever made sun tea?

Not good.

It is not the same as Louisiana.

Was it also, like, bottled, though?

Oh, I don't know.

We literally took the tea bags, took the water, put it outside and let it I don't marinate in the sun.

I guess that's put it outside.

I don't know what this is.


I don't know.

You're teaching me something.

Oh, you know what I do think, though?

There's a brand called sun tea or something, but this was like a way of making tea.

But we only did that a couple of times because it's terrible.

But just know the Louisiana in the pot, my mom had a sweet tea pot.

She had a certain pot that was stained from the tea because that's the pot we made tea in.

So we took it pretty seriously.

Okay, well, so you've got some cred.

You've got some real cred there.

That's a good segue.

Because I thought what before we even get to Designing Women and because this is like the first time that we're sort of setting up who we are, what we're doing, I thought maybe we could talk a little bit about our relationship to the south.

We said in our nice little beautiful canned intro that we're Southern, but can you prove it?

So will you start us off, if you're willing and share with us maybe some highlights of let's call it your Southern resume?

I like this.

I like this.

Yeah, I think the most important part of my Southern resume is that I was born in a Southern state, so I was born in South Carolina, like my parents before me and my grandparents before them.

So we are all South Carolinians.

But I've also lived in North Carolina and now Georgia, which is where you and I both call home.

I lived in Pennsylvania for a very brief time as a kid, which is where you will quickly learn that not everyone knows what sweet tea is.

And so maybe I don't have much of a Southern accent, I think, which people will notice right away.

Maybe that's where it went.

I lived there when I was, like, seven or eight, so maybe it just disappeared when I was there.

But fun fact, you left it there.

I left it there.

That's right.

Packed everything up and left my accent.

But fun fact, we moved to georgia during the 96 olympics.

So when they were hosting the olympics, we were bringing our bags in and moving in.

So I consider myself a pretty well established georgia peach.

It's a little hard to leave behind my south carolina identity, but I went to a state university here in georgia.

I have a deep appreciation for country music, which, incidentally, was not always true.

My mother does not appreciate country music at all.

But I really got into it in college.

I love the weather.

I love how kind and neighborly people tend to be in the south.

So there's a lot I love here.

And I love exactly what we were just talking about.

When you go into a restaurant and ask for sweet tea, they don't think you're crazy.

And I think another fun fact about me is that I love the south so much that I named my daughter carolina after my home state.

So she is forever called carolina, but her name is actually carolina, and that know, in homage to my home state.

Well, does it matter that now I call every carolina carolina.

I've ruined it forever for you.

Carolina is such a beautiful name, and I appreciate that everybody tries to call her that, but honestly, it's just carolina.

And more honestly, it was inspired by a country song.

I heard a lyric in a country song when I was pregnant, and I decided I love that name for her.

So that's how much I love and appreciate the south.

But that know, I do think that the good has to be balanced with the bad.

And so there's some not so great parts of being from the south that are tough to come to terms with and to reconcile with a deep love for it.

So I think I've just really tried to take away the things that we can appreciate and take away the lessons that we need to learn.

And at the end of the my, this is my home.

I love my home.

So I don't know that's my southern resume is that enough?

Do you think that qualifies me?

Well, I think that helps with the accent.

It's all about balance, right?

Well, we are a listening show, so it's possible that people might be like, she's from the it's similar in the well, I've spent my whole life in georgia.

I was born here, I was raised here.

I've actually lived only in or around the metro atlanta area my entire it's very it's all very exciting.

I do travel.

I think in contrast to what you're saying, though, I'm actually not really much of a okay, this is really not fair.

I'm okay with country music.

It's fine.

It's not my favorite.

I do love me some patsy klein way back, so that's fine.

I won't go all down that.

But just to say that I'm not really a sports fan, so that's not really a connection point for you and I.

But this is my home, too.

It's where most of my friends where except for a few ones that I miss and love.

Ashley in ireland and then taylor in kentucky.

My husband and I met here.

Obviously, if I haven't left the and, you know, we were married here in georgia and delonica.

We made memories and a life.

Know most of my family except for my dad.

Love you, dad.

Not here, but in texas.

We'll get into another that's a whole nother thing.

That's a whole nother.

So I think similar to what you were saying.

There's a lot of awesome things about the south, even though I may not relate with the ones that I think people on the outside looking in are like, these are those southern things, right?

The hallmarks of southernism.

I can't think of a better way to put it.

And so for me, I think mine might look a little different, but it's certainly something that I hope that we can share with listeners who decide to tune in, and we hope you'll tune in.

Just a full disclosure, I want more for and from the south.

Sometimes I think that's what I'm hearing you say a little bit in what you were saying, too.

I feel frustrated when it's not measuring up, but I'm also going to be the first person to come to its defense when I feel like people are judging it unfairly or without some level of understanding because my mantra sort of is like, I can talk about my mama, but you can't talk about my mama.

And that's how I feel about the salad.



So that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

For my southern resume, I'm also told it's not important who, but I'm also told that I slightly have an accent.

It's a little bit of an accent.

It's mild.

It's mild plus it's a lilt.

But I think that's what's so funny about how we've bonded over our quote unquote southernism, because I'm the one that sounds the least southern, and I'm the one that's like, oh, I love a large front porch in the summer and a glass of sweet tea.

And you're like, I want so much more from the south, but also don't mess with my mama.

I think it's the kind of funny counterbalance.

I feel like between the two of.

Us, I also like a front porch.

I have a heart.

Fair point.

Fair point.

But I totally get what you're saying.

Well, that is absolutely where I wanted to go next, if that's okay.

I'm reading your mind today.

I know.

And I really like it.

It's helpful.

We could just go ahead and launch in to say that the reason we know each other is because we work together.

So we just got off work, and I'm tired.

I know we have to figure out the ideal time to record because it's hard finding the right time when you work full time during the day and you're trying to kind of counterbalance this fun nighttime project.

It is.

And that's how much we love my grandma, our listener.

Because we are going to do this even when we're tired.

That's the kind of commitment that comes from what we do in our daily jobs.

I'm just kidding too, because my grandma will never figure out how to use.

She will when you go down there and set it up for her.


That's what it's going to take.

That's what you're going to do.

That's your commitment to the listener.

That is my commitment.

We will come to your house and set up downloading our podcast if you promise to listen.

Yeah, and I don't want to take that too far, but just in general, I don't care if you're here or maybe you're somewhere like Prague and you just really need us to come and set you up.

All expenses paid, of course.


That's the kind of first class service that we offer.

Also, we want to fly first class on the way there.

So just keep that in mind as you're budgeting our flights to Prague to.

Come set your stuff up.

That will be very know.

One thing I want to say too, is well, actually, let me put it this way.

So we're both from the south, we both work together and we've known each other for a decade, a little more.

We were so young when we met.

I thought that I was old.

That was stupid.

That'll teach you.

In ten years, I can also look back and I'll be like, I was so young.

I wish I could realize my mid.

So but here we are.

And so we both have kind of these I think there are these Southern isms that are in common.

We contrast a little bit.

So I think we can both bring some different perspectives.

Is there anything else, Johnny, on the spot?

Because that's what I'm going to do to you all the time during this podcast.

Anything else that you think that maybe the listener should know about you and me, our relationship, before we move on?

No, I think you covered it.

I mean, knowing that we've known each other for a long time, I think is important because we have bonded over Southernism and also our love of pop culture and TV for a long time.

And so that's really the genesis of this podcast, is just kind of an opportunity for us to talk about the things that we love and kind of combine them into something that maybe is a little educational for the listener.

Maybe we learned some things along the way.

So I think everything you've shared so far is probably the most relevant.

But I think for people to know that this has been a long time coming for us and this is something we're really excited about.

So hopefully others will get in on our enthusiasm.

Yeah, I like that.

That's good.

I also wanted to talk just we can do this as quickly or we can go on for as long as you want.

You don't have anything to do.


I thought that it might be helpful, too, just to talk a little bit, like, as we start this journey, because we're going to go down this path of digesting one episode after the next of Designing Women.

And so I think for both of us, we know it's been a long time since we've really watched these episodes, particularly if you're talking about, like, consecutively yeah.

Well, I think I have before, but it's been a long time.

So with that in mind, I thought it would be nice for us to go ahead and establish as of today how we feel about the show and our relationship to it, what it meant to us as the Designing Women we knew before.


I think for me, it's been a really long time since I've watched any of it, and I certainly did not watch every episode.

And I've had this conversation with my mom recently because she loves Designing Women.

This was a favorite show of hers years ago, and so she has seen every episode.

She watches them on repeat now, the way I have my own shows that I watch on repeat.

So she can remember every single plot point.

She can remember every single interaction between characters, when they shifted, cast, all of those sorts of things.

My mom really knows.

And I don't remember the show in that way at all.

I can remember her watching it, and I remember her making references to it, but, like, plot points and detailed character stories.

I don't know those things.

So for me, this is almost an entirely fresh rewatch.

I feel like you're more familiar with it than I am.


So look at that nice compare and contrast.

Again, I'd be hard pressed to remember all of the individual plotlines, but I definitely remember some, and some of the memories of it are very vivid.

I think it's because as we get into it, some of the show is just kind of quirky, which I love some good quirk, but what I can definitely recall, if not individual lines, is loving it.

I love the characters, all of them, but especially Julia.

And I think characters like hers, or to skip around a little bit, even like Murphy Brown or Elaine Bennett from Know, I think watching them on television as the only five year old watching these sitcoms, for whatever reason, it just sort of shaped me to some extent.

I grew up watching these women buck the system.

I watched them stand their ground.

I watched them run companies, run with the boys.

And I think that really stuck with me because I didn't really know it before.

I didn't know that was something that used to not be the case.


And on reflection, as a 30 something now to have seen Southern women not portrayed as soft excuse me, soft spoken or simple minded or subservient, but strong and like, that is something that just really left an impression on me.

Oh, wow.

You went deep.

You went deep with your appreciation.

Well, that's what Julia does.

Oh, yeah.

That's what Julia does.

So I think the last thing that I was hoping we could do if this is, you know, we got to make sure we're in agreement for folks who don't know we're like, not together right now because there's a pandemic, I.

Feel like that's an important thing people should know.

Yeah, good call.

That is an important thing for people to know that we are not actually recording in the same room.

And we have not normal times.

We haven't been, quote unquote, in the same room since last year.

So it's been a long time since we've even been in the same room.

We've seen each other, like, on walks and things like that, where we've conceptualized some of this.

But yeah, we haven't been in the same room.

I think that is a you were just saying you've never known before kind of on TV.

Maybe we'll never know a before on podcasting and this is the only way we'll ever have known to do it, but we're doing it virtual.

We'll be learning a lot then.

Sure, we are learning a lot.


And I think we've talked about this to some extent, Nikki, but if I can just throw it to you to talk a little bit, maybe about a little bit about why we're doing this and just so the audience kind of has a crisp understanding of what it is that we're after.

Because we are sweet tea and TV.

We're not designing women women, just some of the things that we're hoping to achieve, like designing women and then broader.


I think for you and me, and you can correct me if I'm saying anything wrong, I think for us, fun is really kind of the way we're approaching this show.

If you had to have ground rules, that would be our number one ground rule.

So we do work full time jobs, I think we mentioned that earlier.

And we just don't always get to be as creative as we want to be.

So we've always been kind of trying to think of a fun creative project we could do.

I think the fact that we bonded over the south, the fact that there are so many amazing shows on TV and amazing movies that have shown the south kind of in Hollywood, we've always had fun kind of picking those apart and thinking about how true is it to our experience?

And it felt like that was a little bit of a gap, something maybe we could fill our expertise is TV and our own Southernism.

That seems fair.

Enough, right?

We're experts in that, so it felt like maybe we could share that.

And we want this to be fun for listeners.

We want to share the best parts of the south that we love and the parts that we're proud of, maybe introduce people who aren't as familiar with those things.

And I think just at the end of the day, this last year we alluded to this earlier has been really challenging for a lot of people.

And we really want this show to be sort of a fun little escape where we get to just chat about Designing Women.

Over time.

I think we would ideally like to explore other shows and other movies and things like that and again, provide that unique perspective.

So we want to kind of dig into the shows a little bit, offer that and then look at it through kind of the 2021 lens and see how things hold up.

Designing Women is an older show, so it'll be kind of cool to see how cultural things that were addressed during that time and then offer our perspective.

Obviously, we're also women, so I feel like we offer kind of that perspective as well, which will be interesting.

I think one thing that we have talked about quite a bit, because this is something that's really important to both of us is we can't just conveniently skip over the fact that the south has a complicated and challenging history.

We can't whitewash the history and just pretend things didn't happen or overlook certain things.

So we want our show to be fun, but sometimes that means we're going to have to shine a light on things that maybe are less fun.

We don't want to just skip over those for the sake of skipping over.

I again, this is a fresh watch for me.

So I don't know how much Designing Women addresses these issues, but I know, Salina, you and I have talked about, based on your recollection, there are some tough issues they dig into, and I would imagine that any Southern show worth its weight and salt would cover some of those things.

So I think we want to address those things and we might have to get serious sometimes and really say if something's not right, we want to call it out and say, here this isn't right, and that's why it wasn't right.

And maybe we can all learn a little bit as we go.

And then I think just one other thing I would say on that front is that pie in the sky, if we were shooting for the stars, which sometimes we are as we talk about this podcast, we would love to bring representative and diverse voices to the table to talk about those experiences that maybe we're not qualified.

We just gave our Southern resume.

We can speak from that experience, but there are plenty of other experiences and life experiences that are addressed in TV and in movies and just in culture in general that we're not qualified to speak to.

So we want to make sure that to whatever extent we have the ability to give those voices a platform and a chance to share that experience, we want to share that.

Well, I think that sums it all up.

Did I get the high points?

I feel like just at the end of the day, we want to entertain, we want to have fun, but we want to do it in a responsible way, and we want to make sure that whatever we're sharing and whatever we're talking about is responsible and covers the important stuff.

I think we also want to take the opportunity to talk about the stuff we love.

Like, if there's ever an opportunity to talk about food, we would love to talk about food, right?


Just open the door.

Just say pie.

All they have to do is just walk into a restaurant.

We're like, did somebody say biscuits?

Let's talk.


You know, we get back to me not having an accent.

I think there are a lot of really charming turns of phrase in the south that I didn't really inherit.

I say y'all gratuitously.

I use that word every day, millions of times.

But things like ain't and over yonder and caddy wampus, those are real, true words that people in my family and not like my great grandfather, but like cousins, these are words they actually use, contemporaries of mine, and I would love to explore those a little bit.

And then if there's any other little fun facts, designing Women are the first show we're getting into is based in Atlanta, which, conveniently, we're from the metro Atlanta area.

So any other fun facts that we could share along the way about our home, I think would be fun.

I love that, and I'm so excited to do it and to really take you guys down some serious rabbit holes.

It's okay.

Nikki's going to constrain me.

I don't know.

I might be right there with you.

I'm a rabbit holer, too.


I'm the Google rabbit holer.

Hopefully somebody will pull us back here or there.

We need a responsible adult around.

So I'm super looking forward to those opportunities to not just explore Designing Women, but things outside the bounds of Designing Women.

I mean, we really thinking of that as a jumping off point.


I know that this whole segment has felt like probably a little indulgent, maybe, to a listener, but I just know as a podcast listener myself, you are too, Nikki.

If I'm going to tune into something, I need to know who I'm listening to and what we're looking to achieve together, because you really are kind of going on a journey.

I get where I feel invested when I'm listening to a podcast.

Like, really invested.

I hope that our listeners feel very invested, too, and I hope they like us.

Yeah, well, that would be helpful.

I mean, don't sound desperate.


Please listen and, like, please like me, please.

No, but anyways, but thank you so much for this indulgence.

We are going to separate this out into a separate episode, then, where we actually dig into the pilot of Designing Women.

That's where we'll break it down, kind of act by act, and give you our Southern perspectives.

And we're just going to take it from there.

So join us.




Be my friend.


Like me.


On Facebook.

All right.

Well, we'll see you around the bend at episode one.

All right, let's do episode one.


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