What good would come from me panning a series that ended over 15 years ago? Would personal satisfaction be enough? I hope so because I’m moving forward with this.
Designing Women is the story of a Southern woman who runs an Interior Design firm, three other women who either read the news paper or tease their hair while claiming to work there, and a black assistant who makes Stepin Fetchit look like Malcolm X at times…he actually sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to his boss…it was meant for irony (I pray) but having it proceed “The Banana Boat Song” did not stop me from gritting my teeth.
These hard working women start off their Third Season by taking a well deserved vacation (the hair teasing was too much). But ‘bless mah achin’ feet,’ the hard work does not stop there, as this vacation is SO arduous that they are forced to hire a nanny to take care of their kids for the duration. Suddenly my life doesn’t seem so hard.
I know this show is known for its occasional subversive dispensing of Liberal ideas via the main character (I’m being generous here), and that the creator has very strong ties to the Democratic party (for what its worth), but these characters are not as relatable as one would hope. It’s like seeing the cast of Dallas try to convince their audience they’re the cast of Rent. I’m already having a hard enough time buying Delta Burke as an entertaining performer to any degree.
The pacing is odd for this sort of sitcom. There are numerous cuts, making many of the scenes very short. Said cuts are tailored to highlight punchlines made in the dialogue, but there is nothing really “punchy” (or funny) about what’s being said so it just makes for an excessive amounts of fades and transitions.
Fullscreen 1.33:1. The picture quality is quite awful. Everything is fuzzy, and I’m not just leading into another joke about the leading ladies’ hair. Little to no effort has been made to place any polish on the picture when converting to DVD format. Just another knock against it.
The stereo track is not very dazzling but the dialogue is clear enough not to upset. Really, there is not much to speak about since there is little in the way of sound f/x so as long as the jokes and canned laughter as distinguishable then things are hunky dory enough for anyone who has any interest in this set.
I wanted to blame my bitterness on not being the “target audience” or perhaps just a bit too young to have experienced it in its CBS pride, but I am juwst old enough to have seen it and its prime-time partner Murphy Brown (the two making for a highly rated hour in the CBS lineup) and even as a child watching that program I knew MB to be superior. My childhood memories validate my stance and I feel am still right to criticize this feeble chunk of lowest common denominator sitcom fodder (and this is saying a lot considering we’re talking about a boy of about 5-8 recalling a show that made references to The Ayatollah). Have at it fans, I want nothing more to do with it.