On Designing Women Charlene Frazier flew just a little under the radar. She didn’t have Julia Sugarbaker’s fiery wit and tendency to rant and she wasn’t a former Miss Georgia World and Southern belle-like Suzanne. Instead, she was the kind-hearted office manager and friendly secretary who minded the shop and answered the phone (when she wasn’t consulting her psychic). As a relative newcomer to Atlanta, Charlene was still learning the ropes in the big city, which is a hard task, because she’s so trusting that as Mary Jo once said, she’s the kind of woman "who would have dated Lee Harvey Oswald in high school." However, in addition to her gentle spirit and open heart she had a hilarious sense of humor, a truly fascinating view on the world, and some of the best lines on the entire show.
Here are five reasons to love Charlene:
1. She has no shame about her humble childhood
Charlene clearly grew up poor, but she is never ashamed of that, it is simply part of who she is. Take for example, when she explains that she once came to school with a Kotex on her forehead, cause they didn’t have a Band-Aid, or the fact that her family played baseball with a stick and a potato (the bad ones, ‘cause they would eat the good ones) she simply tells her story, and never stops to think there is anything strange about playing baseball with a potato at all.
2. She is always full of surprises
Charlene may come across like a somewhat stereotypical innocent country girl who thinks the world’s oldest profession is carpentry, but she was constantly full of surprises. Take for instance when she told Mary Jo that she knows the capitols of every country, Mary Jo asked, “Why?” and her answer was simple: “Because, Mary Jo, I love knowledge. As a matter of fact, I yearn for it.”
3. She is sweet, but downright salty sometimes, too
Charlene may have been the friendliest employee at the Sugarbaker design firm, but don’t push her. Like any Southern woman, she had her limits, like the time she asked a tourist about her hometown. “I this Northern woman, ‘Where are y’all from?’” Charlene recounted. “And she said, “I’m from a place where we don’t end our sentences with prepositions.’ So, I said, ‘Okay, where are y’all from, bitch?”
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4. She always follows her heart
Charlene is always true to herself and when something bothers her, she addresses it, even when it gets her in trouble with her friends. For instance, when Julia was on jury duty and was talking about the case outside of the court, Charlene followed her heart and turned her into the judge who sequestered the jury. Julia was furious and Charlene ended up on the receiving end of one of her epic diatribes. “If I miss my dinner with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter because of this, you're going to pay and pay big,” Julia says. “I'm going to find you and hunt you down like a dog! I'm talking about you running through the woods in the snow with blood hounds ripping your clothes off! And remember Charlene, I have your address. You'd be wise to ask yourself ‘Do I know where my baby is?’” Despite the threats, it’s clear that Charlene would do it again, just because she believes it’s the right thing to do.
5. She is a very good friend
Charlene is incredibly open and trusting and just about the best friend anyone could have. She proves that time and time again on Designing Women, whether she’s sharing gossip with Anthony, parenting stories with Mary Jo, or tolerating Suzanne mocking her “hillbilly stories” with a laugh: “I curse the day I ever told you we had an outhouse.” Charlene even occasionally lends her strength and support to the steel-fired Julia, who usually had more than enough moxie to spare. “it would be impossible for me to have more courage than you,” she tells Julia, who is battling a case of nerves. “’cause you're my hero.”