The BEST Episodes of Designing Women
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: May 12, 2020
Julia Sugarbaker, Mary Jo Shively, Charlene Frazier-Stillfield and Suzanne Sugarbaker are associates at their design firm, Sugarbaker and Associates. Julia is the owner and is very outspoken and strong-willed. Mary Jo is a divorced single-parent whom is just as strong-willed as Julia, but isn't as self-confident. Charlene is the naive and trusting farm girl from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Suzanne is the self-centered ex-beauty queen whom has a number of wealthy ex-husbands.
#1 - The Junies
Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 20, 1989
Charlene becomes a part-time saleswoman for "Lady Jun" cleaning products, and when she repeatedly succumbs to psychological pressure from her friend Libby despite her stated intention to quit, Julia determines to rescue her from this "cult" -- and winds up taking on Lady Jun herself. Meanwhile, Anthony receives an unusual nomination from his junior college -- as homecoming queen -- and gets unexpected support from Suzanne.
#2 - One Sees, the Other Doesn't
Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 27, 1989
Suzanne didn't spend one week and $2,000 at a spa to be asked out by a blind client who can't appreciate her radiance -- especially since she finds it difficult to believe that he is attracted by her personality.
#3 - Odell
Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Mar 6, 1989
Sugarbakers becomes the site of a Southern family feud after Charlene's brother arrives and announces he is marrying the daughter of a longtime family rival, Anthony partners Bernice in a dance contest.
#4 - Howard the Date
Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 14, 1987
It's the mercy date from Hell when the female Sugarbakers staff accompany dateless Howard the nerd to his high-school reunion. Their sympathy quickly wears off when he begins to boast about handling his "four women."
#5 - Heart Attacks
Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 9, 1987
Reese's fitness demonstration - arm wrestling an old buddy and sometime-rival -- causes a heart attack, and subsequent different treatment from Julia.
#6 - New Year's Daze
Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 1, 1987
It is New Year's Eve, and everyone is dressed in their finery, anticipating a fun-filled night on the town. The identity of Charlene's date is kept secret until a news flash reports that the infamous "Shadow" is the subject of a massive manhunt.
#7 - Stranded
Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 7, 1987
While Charlene, Julia and Mary Jo get the flu on a trip to St. Louis, a snowstorm forces Suzanne and Anthony to share a motel room in Tennessee.
#8 - The Slumber Party
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 18, 1986
Arriving at work one morning, Suzanne tells Julia, Mary Jo, and Charlene that when she tried to fire her maid, she put a voodoo death curse on her and proclaimed that Suzanne would be gone by midnight. Mary Jo invites Charlene, Julia and Suzanne to help her with Claudia's slumber party.
#9 - Dash Goff, the Writer
Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 26, 1987
Suzanne's visiting ex, a novelist who loves flowery Southern words and women, is in a writer's slump and contemplating suicide.
#10 - Perky's Visit
Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 24, 1986
Perky Sugarbaker, Julia and Suzanne's mother, and her friend Bernice hope to escape the dull routine of their lives in the retirement home by joining the girls and their ex-con handyman Anthony for the festive occasion, considering it an exhilarating change.
#11 - Cruising
Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 16, 1987
Suzanne and Mary Jo become romantic rivals while doing a job aboard a cruise ship.
#12 - 101 Ways to Decorate a Gas Station
Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 14, 1987
A scruffy gas-station owner wins free interior decoration from Sugarbakers, Charlene consults a psychic about her future.
#13 - I'll Be Home For Christmas
Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 21, 1987
Charlene and Anthony scheme to outsmart Mary Jo's disbelieving son on Christmas Eve -- until their hired Santa beats them to it, by swiping the Sugarbakers' Christmas gifts.
#14 - Ted Remarries (Ted and Tammy)
Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 21, 1987
Mary Jo can't face her children being with her ex-husband's new wife, who is spoiling them.
#15 - La Place sans Souci
Season 4 - Episode 28 - Aired May 21, 1990
At a plush spa, the sparse diet, vigorous exercise program and thermal mud baths bring out the worst in Suzanne -- especially when Julia and Mary Jo are encouraged to gain weight.
#16 - The IT Men
Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 11, 1986
When her boyfriend Mason takes a job in Japan, Charlene finds she has chemistry with another man, a man who happens to be married to one of the Sugarbaker clients.
#17 - Half an Air Bubble Off
Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 19, 1987
When an eccentric client harasses the women with bizarre decorating requests, they decide to matchmake him with Bernice.
#18 - Design House
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 17, 1986
Since Suzanne has money invested in Sugarbaker's and is tired of her image as a front bimbo for the firm, Julia assigns her to do the decorating of their next project. Unfortunately, the house burns to the ground while Suzanne is working on it.
#19 - Anthony, Jr.
Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 28, 1987
Anthony goes to extremes to impress his girlfriends' wealthy parents, inventing a pedigreed family -- then an uninvited dinner guest informs him he is the father of her child.
#20 - I Do, I Don't
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 4, 1986
The dinner is perfect, the champagne flows, Julia is presented with a single rose, and on a lark she and her current beau Reese get married. The next morning both parties regret their hastiness, and Reese appears with annulment papers. An argument ensues, and Julia finally agrees to sign the papers, thereby annulling their marriage and their entire relationship.
#21 - Mary Jo's First Date
Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 3, 1986
Concerned that Mary Jo hasn't dated since she and Ted broke up, Suzanne arranges a bind date for her with an old acquaintance, J.D. Shackelford, head scout for the Atlanta Braves baseball team, while Julia struggles through an I.R.S. audit conducted by the same Ray Don Simpson who tried to pick up the women at a restaurant and suffered a tonguelashing from Julia.
#22 - How Long Has This Been Going On?
Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 28, 1991
Everyone at Sugarbakers is baffled to discover that sensible Julia has covertly been singing evenings at a nightclub, Anthony tries to muster the nerve to ask out a girl who works at the bookstore.
#23 - This is Art?
Season 5 - Episode 18 - Aired Feb 25, 1991
Amateur painter Julia inadvertently becomes the darling of Atlanta's art scene when someone tries to buy her handbag while she's attending a gallery opening; Suzanne inadvertently glues her lips shut.
#24 - A Little Night Music
Season 6 - Episode 22 - Aired Apr 27, 1992
Julia strolls down memory lane while awaiting the results of hysterectomy tests at a hospital whose workers are on strike, and a surgeon turns out to be her prescription for romance.
#25 - A Big Affair
Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 20, 1986
Suzanne's intimate dinner party, planned to impress an important client, goes awry before it begins when she arranges a date between a more-than-hefty man and a reluctant Charlene.