8 TV Shows to Watch If You Love Designing Women
There's no doubt that Designing Women is one of the best, funniest, and most Southern TV shows around and while we would happily watch all seven seasons again and again, one can't live on Designing Women alone. Occasionally you need to watch something else. If you have checked our lists of the best Southern TV shows you forgot you loved and the best Southern TV shows of all time, and still find yourself hankering for more female friendship, Southern charm, and just good old-fashioned fun, here are eight TV shows to watch:
When Hal Holbrooke's character died (he played Julia Sugarbaker's husband Reese), he was quickly resurrected on Designing Women creators Harry Thomason's and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's new TV series, Evening Shade. In the show, Burt Reynolds starred as Wood Newton, a pro-football player who returns to his hometown of Evening Shade, Ark., to coach a high school football team. Wood has to cope with a losing team, his in-laws, including his father in law (Holbrooke), and an expanding family, while his wife (Marilu Henner) works as District Attorney. The also starred National Medal of Honor winner Ossie Davis and two Oscar winners who were just up-and-comers at the time—both Billy Bob Thornton and Hilary Swank played recurring characters on the show.
Women of the House
When Designing Women ended, Suzanne Sugarbaker's story continued in this show created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomas. In the short-lived series, Delta Burke once again stars as the former Georgia beauty queen. She is no longer working in interior design, though, because her latest husband has died and she has decided to finish his term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Teri Garr and Patricia Heaton co-starred as staffers in Sugarbaker's Washington, D.C. office, and a few of her Designing Women co-stars stopped by the show, including Anthony (Meshach Taylor) and Burke's real life husband Gerald McRaney, playing Suzanne's ex-husband, novelist Dash Goff.
One Day At A Time
Netflix just updated the classic 1970s sitcom One Day at a Time about a single woman raising her two children—and it's just as much fun. In this version, a Cuban woman raises her son and daughter with the help of her mother and the ever-present building superintendent. Like the Sugarbakers, the family frequently fights and bickers, but they eventually come together, with big discussions and bigger hugs, proving they are always there for each other.
Parks and Recreation
If you enjoyed the office camaraderie of Designing Women head straight to Pawnee, Indiana's Parks and Recreation Department. Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope, a mid-level bureaucrat with high-level dreams. She is determined to make her town, the best in the Midwest and just needs a little help from her co-workers to pull it off. The long-running comedy is shot like a mockumentary with Knope as the star, doing her best to be as ethical as possible while bogged down in bureaucracy and inter-office politics and rivalries. The show helped launch the careers of Chris Pratt, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, and Aubrey Plaza, brought Rob Lowe back to primetime, and frequently convinced stars like Louis C.K., Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, and even Bill Murray to stop by the office.
If you miss the sort of honest portrayal of female friendship shown in Designing Women, Playing House may fill the void. When Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) finds out that her husband cheated on her while she was pregnant, she kicks him out, and calls on her childhood best friend Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) to come help her raise her baby. Emma ditches her high-powered career and moves in, even though neither of them have any idea what they're doing and end up in ridiculous situations all the time.
Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) was a hard-working New York lawyer, who just so happened to quit her high-powered job and move to the anonymous suburb of West Covina, California, where her almost sorta kinda ex-boyfriend Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) happens to live. She swears that she didn't move there for Josh, of course, but she totally did, setting up the premise that she is the titular crazy ex—even though she and Josh only dated in middle school. The campy show doubles as a musical that makes the most of Rebecca's insanity and all the awkward moments that it creates—and there are plenty.
WATCH: Julia Sugarbaker's Best Takedowns On Designing Women
John Ritter, Billy Bob Thornton, and Markie Post (remember her from Night Court?) starred in this sitcom created by Designing Women creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomas. In the series, Ritter plays John Hartman, a political aide to conservative Southern Senator, Strobe Smithers. Hartman falls for Post's left-leaning reporter Georgie, and hires her as the Senator's press secretary setting up a political tug-of-war masquerading as a love story. Luckily there are plenty of jokes to keep everyone laughing through the political pain.
The series follows a former high school queen bee Amanda (Leslie Bibb) who is forced to take her teenaged daughters to move in with her mother (Designing Women's own Annie Potts) when her husband dies in a car crash and it turns out he was both cheating on her and cheating investors out of billions of dollars. Back in her upscale Dallas neighborhood, she has to face her high school frenemies, her mother's social climbing, and her own ghosts. Sadly, the show only lasted one season, but that just makes it easier to binge watch.