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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Designing Women’ movie

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Designing Women, the 1986-93 CBS sitcom about four Southern women — and one token man — who run an interior design firm.

(This week’s Dream Cast was suggested by reader i fields. If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The original cast included:

Julia Sugarbaker: Dixie Carter
Suzanne Sugarbaker: Delta Burke
Mary Jo Shively: Annie Potts
Charlene Frazier Stillfield: Jean Smart
Anthony Bouvier: Meshach Taylor

I was not a particular fan of the original show — sitcoms are low on my list of favorite forms of storytelling. I may have accidentally seen part of an episode here or there, but that’s about it. Which makes me the wrong kind of person to be playing this game, which is supposed to be as much about honoring the original as having fun with the idea of remaking it.

But what the hell. I’m gonna have fun anyway. Designing Women is now DYI Men, and it’s about four guys and one gal who run a company that buys up foreclosed houses on the cheap, fixes ’em up, and resells them at fair prices and on honest mortgage terms. See, they run their own mortgage service, too. The woman on the team handles all the business, because we’ve all seen in recent months how men clearly have no head for numbers. The guys just do all the grunt work. Oh, and here’s the big joke: Two of the four guys are gay… but we don’t learn which until the second season, at the earliest.

It’s broad. It’s dumb. What else were you expecting: It’s a sitcom.

My dream cast:

John Sugarbaker: David Hyde Pierce
Sam Sugarbaker: Kevin James
Mickey Shively: Josh Lucas
Charlie Stillfield: Justin Long
Toni Bouvier: Wanda Sykes

(Of course, it’s Sam and Mickey who are gay.)

Oo, a sitcom take on jury duty. Can that ever get old?

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  • Paul

    I remember the exact episode when I stopped watching Designing Women. It was when Mary Jo dumped her live in boyfriend because he was between jobs. He was trying to be a good guy about, be the perfect house husband while he looked for work, but she dumped him anyway. So I wasn’t going to play the game until you changed it.

    John Cusack, the guy who plays Monk, the young aide to the President from West Wing, the woman who played CJ on West Wing, and a guy from my old gym because he really does that for a living and looks like it, and he was funny, too.

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