Designing Women
Character: Charlene Frazier Stillfield
Created by: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
Directed by: David Trainer, David Steinberg, Harry Thomason, Jack Shea
Written by: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Pamela Norris, Mark Alton Brown, Dee LaDuke
Produced by: Tommy Thompson, Mark Alton Brown, Dee LaDuke, Emily Marshall
Other cast: Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts
Episodes: Appeared in all episodes up to season 5 and first two episodes of season 6
Original airdate: September 29, 1986
Genre: Comedy
Running time: 30 min

The misadventures of four women and their handyman running a design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Outspoken feminist Julia Sugarbaker runs a design firm out of her Atlanta home, along with her shallow ex-beauty queen sister, Suzanne, divorced mother Mary Jo, and, naive country girl Charlene. Black ex-con Anthony helps deliver furniture for the business and voices his unique opinion on whatever the women are discussing. Episodes typically revolved around the work, personal, and love lives of these four women.


→ Delta Burke and Jean Smart met their husbands while working on the show.
→ Of the original cast, Jean Smart was the only one not born in the south or southeastern United States. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.
→ Of the twenty-five series the major networks debuted in 1986, this show was the only one to still be on the air for the 1992-1993 season.
→ The name of the show, Designing Women, is taken from an expression to describe women who are acting in a calculating, deceitful way.

Character Quotes

• I asked this Northern woman, “Where are ya’ll from?” And she said, “I’m from a place where we don’t end our sentences with prepositions.” So I said, “Okay, where are ya’ll from, bitch?”

Mary Jo Shively: We think that your friend, Monette might be practicing the oldest profession.
Charlene: You think that Monette is a carpenter?

Mary Jo: And why do you know all the capitols of every country, Charlene?
Charlene: Because, Mary Jo, I love knowledge. As a matter of fact, I yearn for it.

In Jean’s words…

Talking about her co-star Dixie Carter. One of the most gorgeous creatures I’ve ever laid eyes on. Was just delicious and hilarious and gorgeous. And then a year or so later, I walk on the set of Designing Women and met her. The thing I always thought about Dixie was that chronologically she wasn’t the youngest of the four of us, but she was definitely the youngest in anything that counts. She was like a teenager! […] I’ve never met a woman ever, anywhere, bar none, that was more feminine than Dixie Carter. She didn’t have an ounce of testosterone in her body. She was just adorable. And she was crazy about her husband. She was crazy about her daughters. She was completely devoted to her family. I so admired her relationship with her daughters. […] Obviously you can say about anybody they were one of a kind. Everybody is one of a kind. But she really, she really was and just amazing. [From Jean Smart remembers her ‘Designing Women’ co-star Dixie Carter: ‘She was such a cool lady.’Entertainment Weekly]

Talking about leaving the show. “I had a good time doing the show, but five years is an awfully long time for an actor to work on the same project,” she said. “It is sort of an unnatural position for an actor to be in to a certain extent.”
Because “Designing Women” was such a lucrative job, Smart said, it made her decision even easier. “I had been afforded a comfortable living because of the show,” she said. “But because of that, I almost had to get back in touch with reality. I didn’t become an actor for the money, so I can’t stay with a job for that reason. I did too many years of theater where you just get by from month to month, happily, to make that a priority. I had to remind myself that wasn’t important.” [From Profile : A Smart MoveL.A. Times]