Saturday, June 28, 2014

What Would Suzanne Sugarbaker Do?

All the pageant drama this week has me thinking of one of my favorite episodes of Designing Women, with Suzanne Sugarbaker...in real life, she got to keep the Miss Florida crown.


Delta Burke, Miss Florida 1974
My favorite Miss Florida ever!

Do y'all remember this episode?



There She Is

From Designing Women, 1989
While preparing for Charlene's baby shower, Julia, Mary Jo and Charlene are surprised by a visit form Audrey, the Director of Pageants for Miss Georgia U.S. Audrey has been trying to reach Suzanne to tell her that an error has been discovered in the balloting for the 1975 pageant. As a result, Suzanne was not Miss Georgia U.S. 1975, and she now must give her crown to the rightful winner, Donna Jo Carnes. Audrey tells the women to be sure Suzanne attends the ceremony the following day so that she can give up the crown to Donna Jo.
Knowing how important the Miss Georgia U.S. title has been to Suzanne, the women are worried about how to break the bad news to her. Trying a gentle and indirect approach, they begin to ask her questions about the pageant and specifically about Donna Jo. Suspicious about the questions, Suzanne wonders what is going on. The women are forced to tell her that not only is she not Miss Georgia U.S. 1975, but also that she must personally hand the crown over to Donna Jo, her archenemy from the pageant. Suzanne swears that under no circumstances will she give up the crown and title. Crediting Julia with instilling in her the confidence to win the title 15 years earlier, Suzanne insists that this same confidence will, somehow, help her retain her title now. Just to be sure, however, Suzanne has her maid, Consuela, put curses on both Donna Jo and Audrey.
Having successfully brought Suzanne to the ceremony, Charlene and Mary Jo meet Donna Jo, a very bitter first runner up whose life went nowhere after the pageant. As the ceremony begins, Audrey announces that she has managed to find one of the original judges from the 1975 pageant, an 80-year old Jim Cline. A confused Mr. Cline realizes then and there that Donna Jo was not the original winner and confesses that she had bribed him with the best night of his life. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Suzanne is once again crowned Miss Georgia U.S. 1975.

The scene where the ladies finally tell Suzanne about having to relinquish her crown takes place off-camera. She then sits in shock during most of Charlene's baby shower.

 Anthony is running errands for the ladies to help them prepare for Charlene's baby shower. 
CHARLENE: I'm sorry you can't stay for the shower, it's just one of those all girl times.
ANTHONY: Believe me, Charlene, I understand perfectly. It's absolutely alright. I go to all-boy parties sometimes, and we have those little tiny sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and then we play word games where the prize is a biscuit cutter, so I've had my fill.
SUZANNE: They can have that crown when they tear it from my cold, dead scalp!!
CHARLENE: You do know that we're here to take you down to the hotel for the ceremony...
SUZANNE: Yes, of course. I'm almost ready. Just let me touch up my makeup.
JULIA: (suspicious) Ok, Suzanne. What's going on?
SUZANNE: You know, Julia. We're going down to the Marriott to see those pageant people.
CHARLENE: (relieved) Oh, Suzanne, this is great. Yesterday, when you said that stuff about your cold, dead scalp, y'know, and then you ran out to the parking lot and threw yourself on the ground kicking and screaming, and then you crawled to your car with dirt and saliva all over your face, and then you drove away peeling rubber.......we thought you were upset.
MARY JO: Silly us.
SUZANNE: Yes, well I talked to Consuela, and I'm better now.
ANTHONY: Uh oh. I don't like the sound of that.
JULIA: I'd like to think that this means you and Consuela had a soul-searching chat, and you re-evaluated your priorities and realized crown, or no crown, you are who you are -- but I have a feeling I'd be disappointed.
ANTHONY: I have a feeling it's more like little dolls, straight pins and chicken parts.
CHARLENE: Did Consuela make a Donna Jo Carnes doll?
SUZANNE: Yes, and she also put a curse on that Audrey woman too, and I wrote down on this piece of paper a hundred times It will not happen, so you all can just go ahead and laugh, but I know in my heart it's just not going to happen.
JULIA: Suzanne, you're just making this harder on yourself. Now I've talked to Reese, and apparently there's no statute of limitations on this thing, and there's nothing we can do here.
SUZANNE: When I was a little girl, you told me, "Suzanne, if there's anything in this life you want to be, you can be it. All you have to do it want it enough." That's how I won that contest in the first place -- I wanted it more. All those other girls were running around saying, "I don't care who wins. I just enjoy the camaraderie and meeting all the other girls from all over the state of Georgia." I didn't give a flip about meeting other girls. I can meet other girls any ole time. And maybe they didn't mean it, but they said it, so a little tiny bit of them did mean it. I never said it. Basically, I just said, "I want that crown to be on my head." So I'll just go down and talk to these people and explain it all to them, and they won't take my crown. They can't because......because you told me I could be whatever I want to be if I just want it bad enough. And I want to be Miss Georgia......for the rest of my life.
The group is waiting on the ceremony for Suzanne to relinquish her Miss Georgia crown to Donna Jo Carnes when Bernice comes into the room dragging a portly woman behind her.
BERNICE: Look what I found in the ladies room.......
CHARLENE: Oh Bernice, put her back!

8 comments:

Farrah said...

I love the other pageant episode where Julia tells the new Miss Georgia about the night Suzanne put the lights out in Georgia with thr fire baton.

Net, the Movie Blogger said...

Oh, I love those Sugarbaker Sisters! I love the pageant episodes and the one Farrah mentioned, too.

Suzanne is so fabulous! I just love her Southern charm! She's the ultimate beauty queen!

Monique Lehnhardt said...

I think that was my favorite episode too. Suzanne Sugarbaker was such a fun and multi-dimensional character. Like most truly southern ladies she understood that if others are going to value you, first you have to value yourself. And not take yourself too seriously. I miss her.

Gramspearls said...

I loved that show! I suppose it was my first exposure to southern women. I always wished I was a
'Suzanne', but I am a 'Julia'. At least now I know how important it is to accessorize. They always dressed so well ( for that time). Thank you for that funny memories.

Warmly, Kathleen

Miss Janice said...

I love every episode!

Miss Janice said...

Loved those sisters!!

Miss Janice said...

Suzanne was my favorite!

Miss Janice said...

I'm definitely "Suzanne."