WARNING: This is a political opinion piece which may anger some people. Read at your own risk.
I try very hard not to post political opinions of any sort anywhere, but I’ve had enough of one particular item. And that would be Designing Women. As a child, I loved that show. In college, I watched reruns sporadically. But as an adult, I think it’s preposterous, racist, biased, ignorant, and just plain annoying.
Take the episode I’m watching now, “Julia Runs Over the First Amendment”. Julia decides she can’t handle pornography magazines, so she runs over the newspaper stand selling them with her car. That’s stupid. Now, she has to pay the owner all the expenses, keeping him in business and giving him amazing publicity. She couldn’t have helped the porn industry more.
From the very first episode Anthony is introduced, we see racist undertones. I didn’t see it as a child, and in college it was just background noise and not something I listened closely to. But now, as I try to watch something I once thought was wonderful (mainly because Susan was awesome) I see how he is mistreated constantly, solely because of his race. And this behavior is accepted by the characters and audience. That’s racist.
I’m not going to delve into the “overweight” issues of Delta Burke. Hollywood is notorious for its sexist and biased issues with women. So that’s not unique to the show.
But I will state how this show (like many others in Hollywood) is full of hatred for anyone who doesn’t agree with them. I remember MaryJoe stating, “Oh, no I agree that we should…” as if it were required for her to have a certain opinion. As if not being the most liberal person on the planet were a heinous sin. It’s not. Just in case you thought it was. How they portray any Conservative viewpoint in the most exaggerated, horrible light and chew them down like they’re the bully who needs to be beaten and taught a lesson, much to the cheers of the crowd. FYI, Hollywood, Conservatives are not the bullies. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, cultures, and political viewpoints. Bullies are people who use their power to bring down someone they don’t like, who beat people either weaker than they are, or better than they are because they’re not going to start a fight with the bully. You know, like how a TV show with the power to share its opinion and shun others’ uses its power to beat down Conservatives. Think about that.
I remember hearing how the writers wanted so much to incorporate Southern culture into their show. They missed a few things. OK, they missed a lot of things. Like for one, how “true Southern women” are not dressed in white lacy hankies and spend their time on porches with parasols pretending they’re still masters of their plantations. Those masters were the Democrats of the South, and they were long gone by the 1980’s. We’re Republican now, and we are against slavery, as the Republican party has always been. I don’t know a single person who can trace their lineage back to plantation ownership, because those were haughty bigwigs who moved North. The Southerners I know are descendants of slaves and poor white people. Riding in horse-drawn carriages is normal, would not cause a fuss, and would not land you with Animal Control and a heavy fine. Ask any of the 100 or so Mennonite and Amish people in my small community alone who I often encounter on the roads. That’s ignorant. It’s biased because they can’t see the South for what it is and have to coat it with their mis/preconceptions.
And my favorite pet peeve, Susan’s AR-15. For one, they throw around the word “semi-automatic” like it’s something to fear, which, in turn, causes fear. It’s like how Rowling portrayed Voldemort’s name and legend. Unnecessary fear, when screamed at the top of your lungs, becomes infectious, sickening the ignorant with its disease. Which is exactly what you get when you have obviously gun-ignorant people trying to portray a political message. When Susan is hypothetically mugged. “Oh, well I have a gun!” She then spends 5 minutes searching her purse for the weapon. The writers do everything they can to portray those whose opinions they wish destroy, not disagree with, destroy, as preposterous. My weapon, if carried, is in a holster. I would never have it lying willy-nilly in a bag. That’s unsafe and ridiculous.
I watch a lot of shows written by liberals who express their opinions from time to time. From time to time. Not every episode, and not in a destructive, ignorant way. Take Frasier. Martin, a cop, and clearly a Republican, decides he doesn’t want the general public carrying weapons. This is very out of character for him. So is his stance on abortion “Blob. Person. Blob.” But these opinions are softly spoken, not harsh, and not EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. Oh, and get this, the writers of this show acknowledge BOTH sides as good and bad. They have characters who allow for differing opinions without declaring one as the winner. For example, when Frasier’s liberal candidate is discovered to believe in aliens and harbor illegal immigrants (although the immigrants I believe were a misunderstanding). Or when Dr. Nora, although written as an extreme lunatic, is appreciated by both Martin and Daphnie for having conservative values.
Dear Linda Bloodworth Thomason et al.,
Perhaps, someday, you will read this and learn that you were, in fact, playing the part of the bully. And you were, in fact, displaying ignorance, racism, and prejudice. And maybe, just maybe, you will read this and realize that your opinions do not need to be shouted from the rooftops and shoved down people’s throats.