Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 3)


A Scene from: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 3)
By Jeffery Self

Previously on Designing Women (or just click here to read Part 1 and Part 2)

When Suzanne Sugarbaker didn’t show up for work on Monday the other ladies didn’t think anything of it. ‘Thats Suzanne for ya’ they scoffed. But now it has been discovered that she has dropped down dead. But Julia, Charlene, and Mary Joe don’t completely buy it. Joe Happeville, the city coroner has announced her dead but Mr. Happeville has a shady past and is a recognized pervert…. so who knows if he’s telling the truth.

NEW EPISODE BEGINS HERE


Charlene (Jean Smart) and Mary Joe (Annie Potts) have been joined on the sofa by Julia (Dixie Carter). All three watch the television in shock and awe. Every channel is talking about one thing: Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burker)’s Fake Death. After a while, Mary Joe speaks.

MARY JOE:
I don’t know what to say. I honestly don’t know what to say.

CHARLENE:
I’ve never heard anything like this. Do you think its actually true?

MARY JOE:
It’s on the news isn’t it?

CHARLENE:
Mary Joe, if I believed everything that was on the news then I’d have stopped smoking cigarettes back in high school and I never would have spent that night with Magic Johnson.

MARY JOE:
Well, I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe Suzanne would do a thing like that.

JULIA:
I smell something fishy in all of this and not just because of this delicious salmon wrap you made, Charlene.

She holds up the wrap and takes a bite. It does look delicious.

CHARLENE:
My secret ingreident is horesradish. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anybody!

MARY JOE:
So…. what? Julia, you think she’s not alive?

JULIA:
I’ve taken three Ativans since breakfast. I don’t know what I think but if I had to answer that question for a big shot, city reporter I’d say I’m not convinced.

The doorbell rings. Julia walks over, answer it. It’s a man dressed as a reporter, complete with trenchcoat, notebook, and a fedora that has the PRESS badge stuck in it.

REPORTER:
Excuse me ma’am. I’m with the New York Times. Do you think Suzanne Sugarbaker is or is not alive?

JULIA:
No comment!

She slams the door in his face and returns to the sofa.

CHARLENE:
Julia! I thought you said you’d tell a reporter you aren’t convinced.

JULIA:
I’ve said a lot of things this morning that I didn’t mean. Like for example…. do you ACTUALLY think I am gonna learn how to salsa dance?

CHARLENE:
You’re not?

JULIA:
Of course not! I was just caught up in the moment of your salmon wrap and all those Ativan I took!

CHARLENE:
(Looking very disappointed)

Oh. Guess I’ll find another partner then.

MARY JOE:
Well, what are you gonna do Julia?

JULIA:
I have a few things up my sleeve. Along with some juggling balls, a pair of fuzzy dice, and this novelty pen (she pulls out a huge, silly oversized pen from her sleeve) I’ve also got some tricks.

MARY JOE:
Julia! You’re all riled up! I love it! You sound like somebody in a James Bond movie or something.

CHARLENE:
YEA! Or how my Daddy used to sound before he’d head off to a clan rally!

MARY JOE:
Whats your plan?!

The doorbell rings.

JULIA:
I think the first step in my plan has just arrived.

MARY JOE:
Who is it?!

JULIA:
Charlene. Mary Joe. I need you to hide.

CHARLENE:
Hide?!

JULIA:
I don’t care where. Just don’t let yourself be seen.

Mary Joe and Charlene scramble to find a hiding spot.

MARY JOE:
(Pulling Charlene aside)

Back before JT and I split up…. he used to get real drunk and chase me around the house with this thing he called Bad MJ Stick. It was really just a branch off an articital Christmas tree but damn, he knew how to make it hurt. (Beat) Aw. Now I just miss JT again.

Charlene pushes Mary Joe into their hiding spot behind the kitchen counter. Julia goes to open the door. It’s an average looking middle aged man in a suit.

JULIA:
Good afternoon. Are you Joe Hapeville, Atlanta’s coroner?

JOE:
Yes. Are you Ms. Sugarbaker?

JULIA:
Yes. Do come in.

He walks in. She shuts the door.

JULIA:
Nobody saw you?

JOE:
Just a little girl but as I’ve learned in my time, little girls tend to keep their mouths shut.

JULIA:
(Visibily disgusted but attempting to hide it)

Very good. Have a seat. Can I get you anything?

Mary Joe and Charlene peek over the kitchen counter in disgust. Julia shoos them away.

JOE:
I’m alright. I can’t stay long. The police are all over my house like flies.

JULIA:
I suppose you know why I called you here.

JOE:
It’s either about your sister or the fact that for a good portion of 1979 I used to stand outside your bedroom window and watch you and your husband have sex. If my calculations are right I’m fairly certain I was there the night your son was concieved. June 11th?

Mary Joe and Charlene again pop up and mouth OH MY GOD. They then disappear.

JULIA:
(Again grossed out but also a little intrigued)

Fascinating but…. yes…. I’d like to talk to you about my sister.

JOE:
Look lady I got paid a lot to keep my mouth shut.

JULIA:
Thats what I thought. So its true? My sister IS alive?

JOE:
Lady look. I told you. I can’t give details. I entered into a very strict contract. After I entered into your VERY attractive sister.

JULIA:
(Ew)
I just want to know she’s okay. Can you tell me that? At least?

Joe shakes his head no.

JOE:
I’m sorry.

JULIA:
(With seductive eyes)

WHAT WILL IT TAKE??????

JOE:
(Shifting in his seat. His interests clearly peaked)

I can’t…. I can’t say anything…..

JULIA:
(Removing her blazer. She is just in a sleeveless black top and skirt and putting on an act for him)

Lets not forget…. Mr. Hapeville…. that I, too, am a Sugarbaker woman….. and as you’ve learned Sugarbaker women are willing to go to all lengths to get what they want…..

JOE:
(Now sweating)

Julia I promised her-

JULIA:
(She sits down on the sofa next to him and begin playing with his hair. She speaks softly and slowly into his ear)

All I want is a yes or no. Is my sister alright?

Joe jumps up off the sofa and backs away from Julia.

JOE:
Don’t do this to me. I signed my life away-

Suddenly, Mary Joe and Charlene jump up from behind the counter with their tops unbuttoned in seductress mode. Joe turns and see them. He nearly passes out.

MARY JOE:
Come on Mr. Hapeville. Just say yes or no.

CHARLENE:
Come on Joey. I can do things with my body that will freak you out so much you’ll want to call the police. Gross stuff. Violent stuff.

Mary Joe and Julia give Charlene an alarmed look. Charlene shrugs at them.

JULIA:
(Now she’s really forcing herself)

Here’s an idea, Mr. Hapeville. How about the three of us lie down on this sofa and you take your sweet time getting to know each of and every one of us….. Come on girls!

They all lay down on the sofa and begin undressing, Joe caves and moves toward them, when suddenly Suzanne comes rushing down the stairs.

SUZANNE:
Stop! STOP! I’m alive! I’m alright!!!!!

Julia, Mary Joe, and Charlene jump up.

JULIA:
Suzanne!

MARY JOE:
You’re alright!

SUZANNE:
I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I couldn’t let y’all go through with this. You don’t know it but this man is VERY VERY sick.

JOE:
Hey!

SUZANNE:
Well, Joe. You are. I love you like a brother but honey….. you put my panties in the microwave and tried to make me swallow a bumblebee.

Joe shrugs as if to say “Well, I can’t deny that.”

SUZANNE:
And I appreciate your going to all the trouble to help me….. risking your whole life…. probably losing your job…..

JOE:
Oh. No. I didn’t lose my job. I’m sort of in the position that I can do pretty much whatever I want. I mean…. if I don’t get fired for doing what I did to that parakeet in the Atlanta Zoo then they’re not getting rid of me for anything.

SUZANNE:
And Julia. Mary Joe. Charlene. I guess I owe y’all the biggest apology of all.

JULIA:
I’d say so!

CHARLENE:
Why would you do a thing like this?!

SUZANNE:
Well…. because I wanted to prove a point to y’all-

MARY JOE:
A point?

SUZANNE:
I’m not the most popular person around here.

CHARLENE:
Honey, what do you mean?

SUZANNE:
Well. You’re always making fun of me and putting me down. ‘Suzanne can’t do this…. Suzanne can’t do that…. Suzanne is nothing but big s-l-u-t!’ And a couple days ago I woke up and I decided I wouldn’t stand for that anymore. I wanted to prove to you, all three of you, what the world would be like without me.

MARY JOE:
So you faked your own death because you think we’re mean to you?

SUZANNE:
Thats right.

CHARLENE:
Well, honey…. we don’t mean those things. You know that. I make jokes about Mary Joe all the time. ‘Mary Joe has no life or sex appeal.’ See?

MARY JOE:
Thanks, Charlene.

SUZANNE:
Do you girls know how hard I try to impress you? I want to be just like all of y’all. To have your strength Julia or your humor Charlene or your kindness Mary Joe…. well, to have all of those things would be the greatest in the world.

JULIA:
Well, Suzanne. There are easier ways of letting us know how you feel than faking your own death and bribing the city coroner with sex to claim its legit.

SUZANNE:
I guess I know that now.

MARY JOE:
We love you Suzanne.

SUZANNE:
And I love y’all. Each and every one of you. I guess what I did was pretty stupid but sometimes thats just how emotions work, isn’t it? I hope you’ll forgive me.

JULIA:
Of course we will.

They all form a group hug. Joe looks on like the pervert he is. After a moment.

JOE:
(Quietly)

Mmmmmmmmm.

Julia steps out of the group hug, grabs Joe by the collar, and walks him to the door. She opens the door and stares directly into his face.

JULIA:
(With those crazy Julia eyes)

You may have gotten away with things before but this is the first time you’ve ever messed with the Sugarbakers and Mr. Joe Hapeville…. I can assure you, happily and loudly, on this great Georgia Clay muddy soil…. that this…. will CERTAINLY be your LAST!

She throws him out the door and slams it shut. The audience goes wild. Julia returns to the group hug. The theme music begins. Credits begin to roll. After a moment Joe’s face appears in the window above the front door. He’s desperately hanging on the door and looking in like a creep. After a moment he slips, shouts, and falls out of view.

THE END

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One Comment on “Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 3)”

  1. James Says:

    Congratulations on creating a time machine. I felt like I was a teenager in CT on a Monday night in the 1980s. (Do you have that salmon wrap recipe?)


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