Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 1)


A Scene From: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 1)
By Jeffery Self


The Sugarbaker office. Morning. Charlene Frazier (Jean Smart) is finishing up something at her desk. Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts) enters through the front door.

MARY JO:
I wanna say this off the record because I don’t want you thinking I’m some nutcase but sometimes when I see those local news reports on those mothers who drown their kids in the bathtubs or lock ’em up in the basements with rabid dogs for two years without food or water, I think….. you go girl.

CHARLENE:
Mary Jo!

MARY JO:
Again, I don’t mean it! So don’t go lecturing me about morality. I’m just saying that sometimes when I’m trying to get my kids ready for school in the morning and they’re screaming and yelling and knocking stuff over…. I close my eyes for just a split second and think…. what will I do with the bodies?

CHARLENE:
That’s just about the most terrible thing I’ve ever heard.

MARY JO:
I feel like burying them, which is the obvious choice, is SO much work. I like to garden but…. haha…. come on! And burning them isn’t gonna do because our damn fireplace hasn’t worked in four years and the last time I tried burning leaves in my backyard I ended up having to call the fire department and I do NOT want to the brave firemen of Atlanta in my back yard spraying some water hose all over the scorched carcus of my little Claudia. Talk about embarrassing.

CHARLENE:
Mary Jo, this is-

MARY JO:
Ugh. But my freezer is so small, Charlene. My freezer is just so damn small.

CHARLENE:
This is sick.

MARY JO:
(Without much emotion)

Oh. I’m just venting. I love my kids and I’m really glad I didn’t give them up when I said I would.

CHARLENE:
I’d be grateful if I were you. I can’t wait to be a mother one day. Back before my mama fell off the wagon and started drinking so heavily again, she’d say that being a mother was God’s special gift to women. (Beat, sorta sadly) Now she can’t say anything at all because of the accident she had when she started drinking again…. where she literally fell of a wagon. It was eerily poetic.

MARY JO:
(To herself, wistfully)

If I only had a walk in freezer… that would solve everything.


Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) and Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) enter. Suzanne is very upset.

JULIA:
Suzanne, you’re acting ridiculous.

SUZANNE:
Acting?! Julia, this is NOT acting. What I did in my high school production of ‘Tea House Of The August Moon’. That was acting. What I did on my second AND third wedding nights. That was acting. But this is, in no way, acting!

CHARLENE:
Whats wrong?

JULIA:
We were at the fabric store and the young man who helped us carry everything out to the car referred to Suzanne as-

SUZANNE:
Don’t say it Julia!

JULIA:
– as Ma’am.

Suzanne throws herself onto the sofa.

CHARLENE:
Well, Suzanne thats just being polite. You’ve lived in the south your whole life…. thats just what people do. You know that.

SUZANNE:
My MeeMaw Sugarbaker was a Ma’am. My mother was a Ma’am. And despite what she may try to cover up with Clairol Midnight Black, Julia over here is a Ma’am. But Beauty Queens are not MA’AMs.

JULIA:
Can one really call one’s self a beauty queen when the last pageant they won took place during the Nixon adminstration?

The women laugh.

SUZANNE:
You all might think its real funny to sit here and laugh at me in my time of despair but I don’t! And I won’t stand for it.

CHARLENE:
Where are you going?

SUZANNE:
Out. On the town.

CHARLENE:
It’s ten ‘o’ clock in the morning.

MARY JO:
(With a casual laugh)

We could go bury my kids on some property I’ve got in Gwinnet County.

JULIA:
Suzanne. I think you need to just have a seat and calm down.

SUZANNE:
(Smearing on globs of make-up)

No. I’m serious this time. I’m gonna get my youth back if it kills me!

JULIA:
Like the time you claimed you were gonna sleep with Ted Turner if it killed you?

CHARLENE:
Julia, don’t joke about that. That almost DID kill her.

SUZANNE:
You can’t DIE from ghonerrea, Charlene. It’s 1987!

Now, made up half like a beauty queen and half like a crazed birthday clown, she flings the front door open and announces to seemingly all of Atlanta:

SUZANNE:
Listen close and listen hard, Atlanta…. Suzanne Sugarbaker is BACK!

She stampedes out the door. The audience applauds, because they always do shit like that. After a moment, a young man appears in the opened doorway. He pokes his head in nervously.

MARK:
Uh. Is this Sugarbaker’s?

JULIA:
Yes. I’m Julia Sugarbaker and that was my sister, The Tazmanian Devil.

MARK:
I’m looking for Charlene Frazier.

CHARLENE:
I’m Charlene. Who are you?

MARK:
I’m…. your son.

Everyone gasps.

TO BE CONTINUED

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2 Comments on “Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 1)”

  1. Cas Marino Says:

    OK… you NEVER take on “DW”. That’s like rewriting the bible.

    But you’ve done it with aplomb. Thus, Jeffery, you are my new religion.

    I want to play Julia in the demented, highly illegal, but no-doubt sold out stage version…

  2. Marc Says:

    I love your DW fiction, Jeffery! I just watched an episode of the show tonight – the first one featuring the fabulous Bernice!


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