She's one of the most fiery characters in TV history - Julia Sugarbaker of "Designing Women," which aired on CBS for seven seasons from 1986-1993. Just Google "Designing Women Rant," and you'll get a treasure trove of videos featuring Julia's epic takedowns beautifully brought to life by the late Dixie Carter.
For those of you who never watched, "Women" focused on the four women and one man who worked at Sugarbaker & Associates, an Atlanta interior design firm. Julia was the head of the firm, while her sister Suzanne (Delta Burke), a former beauty queen, was her silent partner who helped fund the operation. Timid Mary Jo (Annie Potts) was the head designer, and ditzy but sweet Charlene (Jean Smart) worked as the office manager. Helping out the women was Anthony (Meshach Taylor), an ex-con.
Julia was a sophisticated Southern woman full of grace and perfect manners. But rub her the wrong way, and she would unleash a withering verbal attack that would leave a person speechless. We were introduced to Julia's fire in the very first episode as she unloaded on a man who dared interrupt the ladies' lunch in order to hit on them. There were many other tirades over the years, including some political and religious diatribes that are even timelier today than they were in the 1980s. For example, there was her attack of her political opponent who questioned her Christianity and a takedown of a longtime client who showed her ignorance of how people contract AIDS.
But her most epic rant appeared in just the second episode of the series. In the episode, titled "The Beauty Contest," Julia overhears Miss Georgia World mocking Suzanne, a former Miss Georgia World. That was all Julia needed to launch a tirade about the night Suzanne won the crown twirling her flaming baton and knocking out a transformer in the process, thereby creating, according to Julia, "the night the lights went out in Georgia." When Carter passed away in 2010, the video was shared on hundreds of social media sites, including mine.
In that two minutes and 27 seconds, you find out everything you need to know about Julia. She's intelligent, she's articulate and she loves her family. The scene also tells you everything you need to know about Carter, whose own fire made Julia such a popular character. She reportedly disagreed with some of Julia's views, but she never let that affect her performance. Shockingly, Carter never received an Emmy nomination for the role.
You can now experience Julia Sugarbaker in all her glory for yourself beginning Monday, Aug. 26, when Hulu begins streaming all 163 episodes of "Women." But in addition to witnessing some of the most epic takedowns to ever air on TV, you'll also see a smart, funny, way-before-its-time sitcom that will make you laugh, cry, cheer and, most importantly, make you think. The show falls apart a little when Smart and Burke leave at the end of season five, but there are still plenty of solid episodes to enjoy. I'm looking forward to catching up on them myself very soon.
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at email@example.com.