Shout! Factory // 1988 // 480 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 10th, 2010
"Have you all just COMPLETELY lost your minds?" -- Julia
In the third year of Designing Women, the characters started to evolve a bit, as main writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason began to share scripting duties with Pam Norris. The two women didn't change the show much, but you could notice little things starting to differ. Dixie Carter toned down her performance of Julia a bit, Annie Potts took Mary Jo to even more biting sarcasm frequently, Jean Smart further countrified Charlene, and Delta Burke started to make Suzanne more childlike and more flamboyant. Meanwhile, Mesach Taylor as Anthony seemed to anchor the show as the moral compass, a switch from his original role as the man with a mysterious past. The third year seemed to match the second in terms of quality, and the show was going strong and steady.
There's certainly many reasons to like these episodes, and fans are going to find some key moments in this collection. Highlights from the third year include: Julia trying her hand at local politics, Suzanne having to date a blind man where her looks don't matter, Suzanne's pig is threatened, Anthony becomes a Big Brother to a delinquent who gets Julia involved in a convenience store robbery, Mary Jo thinks about a breast job, Charlene falls prey to a cult of cleaning supplies, the girls decorate a nudist colony, a client turns out to be a cat, and Alice Ghostley shows up a few times as Bernice. But the big event, and the fan favorite moment? It would have to be the 50th episode of the show where Charlene and Bill celebrate getting married. Oh, and then there is also the season finale where Julia drives into a magazine stand because she says it is pornographic.
Shout! Factory just puts the 22 episodes that make up Season Three on four DVDs, and slips them in slim line cases with a cardboard sleeve. A nice booklet serves as an episode guide, but there are no extras on the discs. The transfers are not excellent, and decidedly this looks like what television was in 1988 and 1989. It appears as VHS quality on DVD with its soft picture and mono soundtrack. Colors bleed, and overall the sharpness is on par with a soup spoon. You won't be using these DVDs to demo your new 64 inch television or surround sound system. Yet fans of Designing Women will just be glad to finally have these shows out on disc. Certainly the quality of the material justifies more, but I'm happy to finally have this show coming out on DVD.
Not guilty of anything, but making me believe in the charms of southern
Review content copyright © 2010 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 480 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Video: Trip to the Beach
* Video: The Wilderness Experience
* Video: Women of Atlanta