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Designing Women w/ Julia Duffy Was Their Highest Rated Season

In all seven seasons of Designing Women, their highest rated season was the one featuring Julia Duffy, finishing the season in 6th place

And Julia Duffy was still fired.

Why?

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by Anonymousreply 22Yesterday at 4:15 AM

Columbia only put her there because leaving her on [italic]Baby Talk[/italic] would be an even bigger waste of her talent.

by Anonymousreply 102/26/2021

It was the only good season too.

Julia Duffy was the only good actress that show ever had.

by Anonymousreply 202/26/2021

I'd say they hit the high that season, not because of Julia Duffy but in spite of her. The main thing was that Murphy Brown exploded that season and was their lead in.

by Anonymousreply 302/26/2021

She was contracted to do only one season, which was standard practice. Her agent probably asked for too much money for a second season, and she walked.

by Anonymousreply 402/26/2021

The season after this, the B.J. Poteet, was the lowest-rated season because they moved it to the same Friday night slot that also included [italic]Golden Palace[/italic].

[quote] I'd say they hit the high that season, not because of Julia Duffy but in spite of her. The main thing was that Murphy Brown exploded that season and was their lead in.

Mainly because Dan Quayle trashed her for having a child out of wedlock. Would he prefer she aborted it instead like Maude?

by Anonymousreply 502/26/2021

R4 - no, Julia Duffy was fired

by Anonymousreply 602/26/2021

Because she got under obnoxious frau Julia's skin in a way that Suzanne never could. And Jan Hooks was awesome as always.

by Anonymousreply 702/26/2021

It was the highest rated season because it was coming on the heels of the Delta Burke departure, which gave Designing Women it's second highest rated season, and finally brought the show into the top ten. There was a ton of press surrounding Delta's last year. And many were wondering if the show could hold it's own without Delta and Jean, who bailed at the last minute despite saying that she would make occasional guest appearances.

Julia didn't click with audiences. Her character was so unlikeable the first half season, that by the time they started softening her up in the last half, the damage had been done. But the writing was still strong in spite of Duffy. There was some good episodes, like the Mame episode, the All About Eve with Carlene and her protege, Carlene gets an apartment, Julia and Mary Jo hiding under a horny news anchor's bed.

The Judith Ivey season is complete garbage.

by Anonymousreply 802/26/2021

I believe it was the highest rating season because during that year it piggybacked on a much higher rated show on CBS.

by Anonymousreply 902/26/2021

[quote] But the writing was still strong in spite of Duffy.

They also did Clarence Thomas with Julia Duffy character wearing a T-Shirt saying "She Lied" and Annie Potts character wearing a T-Shirt saying "He's Guilty"

by Anonymousreply 1002/26/2021

I love "Designing Women" (but with the original cast). I also was a big fan of Julia on "Newhart" DW was a popular show. Julia Duffy was a popular actress. She seemed like she'd be a good fit. The two together seemed like the mutual popularity would continue. However, this was not a Shelly Long/Kirstie Alley funny transition on "Cheers." Julia's character of self-centered princess worked well on "Newhart" but not so well on "Designing Women."

by Anonymousreply 1102/26/2021

The problem was that Suzanne was a spoiled Princess, who was also vulnerable and had depth. Allison was just a bitch, even when they tried to give her some vulnerability it rang false.

by Anonymousreply 1202/26/2021

Julia Sugarbaker was a haughty bitch and so was Allison. You can't easily have two of them on the same show.

This was the first season I watched when it aired, so I'm a fan. I love Jan Hooks and the two episodes with her and Jean Smart were good. I would have loved to see a little more sister time between them.

Julia Duffy was good in the role. Blame the producers/writers for fucking that up, not her.

I often refer to people as having OPD to this day.

by Anonymousreply 1302/26/2021

I like the episode this season where they all end up at a drive-in watching a French movie. Anthony and Bernice were in one vehicle.

by Anonymousreply 1402/26/2021

Get over it, Julia.

by Anonymousreply 1502/26/2021

Rewatching this on Hulu now and it's totally the writing and the circumstances she walked into. Duffy is clearly a very skilled actor, and one who can match Dixie Carter easily. She's attentive and energized and gets every laugh the script has for her character to get.

I would wholly lay the blame on two things: the writing, mainly. Alison is set up as so irredeemably obnoxious and lacking in warmth or depth--the dialogue says that, and has a meanness written into it that would almost be impossible to warm up. There's nothing to like about the character, as written, which leaves it all on the actor. And a lot of the scripts are so rote and poorly written and motivated, building to stupid DW tell-off sequences that haven't been earned. The ongoing subplot about Alison throwing Anthony's things out of Suzanne's house that she lives in, and Anthony also trying to get back with her, is as preposterous as it is unfunny.

The second thing is the situation she walked into: it's DIXIE'S SHOW at this point and she's not letting anyone challenge that. Julia is going to be right, Julia is going to win, Julia is going to get the last laugh and the biggest laugh every time. Julia is going to look the best. Potts and Hooks are both very different energy from Carter and pose no threat to her. Duffy is more of a live wire. This same interpersonal dynamic with Carter was at the heart of the Jackee "almost" at the end of the Duffy season. Harry recently said she and Dixie Carter did not get along.

Also, watching this again (I hadn't seen it since these eps first aired) the costume designer really did love putting those gals in solid, saturated jewel tones. Hooks will get some pattern fabric occasionally on her jumpers but that's it.

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by Anonymousreply 16Last Wednesday at 5:39 AM

I run across gay men in their 30s and 40s who have never heard of the show. I had thought it became a sort of "classic" rather than just geriatric nostalgia?

by Anonymousreply 17Last Wednesday at 5:50 AM

Yeah I have to agree the writing is what did the show in. By the Duffy season it had become too lazy and self-referential. The political stuff went directly for politicians rather than being about a specific issue, so that probably turned some viewers off as well.

The way Duffy was written into the series was ham-handed and sloppy - how they made her act, the rebellion at Sugarbakers, the fact that she was REALLY a softie and insecure in the inside and it was all an act, y'all! It was just badly done.

They were sort of trying to replace Suzanne with a similar character but it seemed self-destructive because they made Duffy's character so unlikeable that that first impression is what a lot of people got. And Duffy didn't have a real connection with anyone in the show (Suzanne was Julia's sister, for example) so she had no supporters on her side to claim "she's really goodhearted though".

by Anonymousreply 18Last Wednesday at 5:51 AM

[quote]Julia Duffy was the only good actress that show ever had.

Fuck you very much.

by Anonymousreply 19Last Wednesday at 5:54 AM

Having just finished binging Season 6 on Hulu, all I can say is wow did Duffy get a raw deal. She's very professional throughout, acts everything as well as anyone could, and does a good job overall, but the character is so mean. The storylines are preposterous and uninspired. There aren't a lot of warm, human moments and no writing where the characters bond or work together to defeat a shared threat or enemy. Every once in a while, Duffy will get a good line or reaction and she makes the most of it without overplaying--she's clearly capable and keeps trying to spin the dross into gold in the most skillful way. I liked her on Newhart but I respect her much more having watched her struggle through these awful scripts and having read about what must have been a less than happy set.

And then, in the later eps, the self-referential meanness slips into the writing. Suddenly, the other characters are saying double-edged lines about how Alison isn't fitting in, the character is just two-dimensional.

Even in the last episode of the season, when I'm sure she knew she was on her way out, Duffy is giving it her all. And that episode is centered around Jackee, who appears as Anthony's new girlfriend and a potential new partner in Sugarbaker's. Jackee has said lately she was intended to be a regular but did not get along with Dixie Carter. She got a raw deal too, because her energy is like a breath of fresh air, she looks great and she's funny, and she has chemistry with Meshach Taylor.

So now I'm watching the beginning of Season 7 with Stammerin' Judith Ivey (who is fine, and a wonderful actress elsewhere, but not as skilled at sitcoms and comedy as Duffy). The way BJ Poteet gets a stake in Sugarbaker's is so forced. I'm a few episodes in and the question of "where did Alison go?" hasn't been mentioned yet and the Anthony and Vanessa engagement cliffhanger hasn't been resolved either. Jackee just did the one episode, which ends with the big plot twist, and...that's it. For those who have watched all of S7, do the characters of Alison or Vanessa come up again?

by Anonymousreply 20Yesterday at 4:08 AM

I think they just mention in that first episode of S7 that Alison bought a Victoria's Secret franchise. That's it for Alison.

I think they mention Vanessa a few episodes in when Anthony is heartbroken and hooks up with Sheryl Lee Ralph, who just seems to be a showgirl version of the Vanessa character anyway.

by Anonymousreply 21Yesterday at 4:14 AM

One of my favourite exchanges on Will & Grace is when Jack is at a bowling alley or something and for some reason is talking to an elder gay to try to help him out (?) and asks him about his favourite TV show or something. He answers "Designing Women," and Jack replies, "Well, first of all, you need to update your references."

by Anonymousreply 22Yesterday at 4:15 AM
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