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maryann johanson | watching movies at home

The Best of Designing Women (review)

It comes across as just slightly dated in a few spots today, but this 1980s sitcom broke new ground with its blunt feminism and independent heroines. Four Southern women run an interior design business, but, as in most sitcoms, they rarely do any work — instead, outspoken dame Dixie Carter, uncertain divorced mother Annie Potts, sweet country girl Jean Smart, and ditzy beauty queen Delta Burke snipe about sex, ex-husbands, beauty regimens, gynecologists, weight issues, breast implants, and other girly matters. But it wasn’t all the stuff of slumber parties — the gals brought their sass to bear on causes from AIDS to world hunger, though they did tend toward the preachy. The five episodes included here, dating from 1986 through 1989, feature guest appearances from names such as Hal Holbrook and Scott Bakula. The audio and video of the earlier episodes is just a little bit fuzzy but not enough to detract from viewing.

MPAA: not rated

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