Belled

Hey, DW fans! Plans for the next installment got pushed back a little so, in the interim, we thought we'd bring you a look at Anthony in the episode "Tyrone" and announce the video release of Mirimax Pictures' GUINEVERE which co-stars Jean Smart. Plus, Nikki gives us the inside scoop on where she believes Carlene has been!

As always, please let us know how we're doing so far, how we can make the Fan Club more interactive for everyone, and what you'd like to see on the revamped "Designing Women Tribute Page" -- coming soon!


"Tyrone"

Be sure to check out the Episode Summary from Columbia Tri-Star for this episode. The summary page includes all the quotes referred to in this segment, as well as pictures, commentary, and facts.

Meshach Taylor

Anthony Bouvier. Sometimes the straight man, sometimes the comic relief, always the meter by which many of the "Ladies'" situations were measured and leveled out. He started out as an ex-con delivery man in "Design House" (Season 1), representing the seedier side of life against which the Sugarbaker Ladies played. Despite his questionable past, the Ladies and the audience saw something in Anthony that was intriguing and endearing. And so did Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. By the second season, Anthony was a regular cast member; by the third season, Meshach Taylor shared "star" billing with the "Ladies." By the fifth season, Anthony's future plans included marrying Prima Belle, Suzanne (a plan which died with the departure of Delta Burke as Suzanne in Season 6).

Anthony was originally written as something of an articulately spoken thug, but his character took a drastic turn after becoming a permanent fixture on the series. It could have been a complete cop-out on the part of the producers for him to be simply a wrongly accused man who works to change his life, but the "Tyrone" episode of Season 3 shows us that the demons of his childhood are an elemental part of his character, whether he really committed the criminal offenses or not. As usual, the producers did not cop out. Despite all of his friends, school, and social involvements, we see that there is a lonely sad little boy inside of Anthony with a void that no one will ever fill. So, criminal or not, he has the same scars.

As you may recall, in Season 2, we learned more about Anthony's past when the Sugarbaker Ladies defended his character in the face of what they felt was blatant class discrimination by the parents of his new girlfriend (eps., "Anthony, Jr."). In the face of this confrontation, the Ladies learned that the "ex-convict" they had come to love despite his "unfortunate incarceration" was actually innocent of any crime. This revelation started the unfolding and blossoming of Anthony's character: not only was it clear at this point that the Ladies had always assumed he was guilty (but loved him anyway), but Anthony himself never argued his innocence with them. Why, the Ladies and the viewers wondered? And why were they (and us) so quick to assume he wasn't telling the truth from Day One? (a question so subtley but poignantly posed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason).

The episode "Tyrone" focuses on Anthony's "little brother" from a community outreach program. What is often remembered about this episode is that the boy, Tyrone, holds up a convenience store while Julia is waiting for him in the "getaway" car. But the real story in this episode comes from within Anthony himself as these circumstances and his growing love for and responsibility toward this boy take him back into his own childhood. This episode, more than any other in the series, really shows us the inner Anthony and what has made him the person that he is.

Anthony never harbors any illusions about Tyrone. Even knowing of Tyrone's difficult life circumstances, Anthony warns the Ladies not to be taken in by his charm because he's really a little devil of sorts. Yet, when Tyrone, the charmer, does arrive at Sugarbakers and mentions wishing he had a job but not being able to get one due to his "unfortunate incarceration," Julia immediately offers him one helping Anthony; it's as if she hears those buzz words and thinks of Anthony himself. Still, they all seem skeptical about Tyrone -- especially Anthony.

It isn't long before the famous convenience store heist takes place and Tyrone is subsequently carted off to Juvie. Anthony, feeling horribly responsible for putting the Ladies through this, especially Julia, fears that he'll be fired. Julia is, indeed, angry; but not for the reason Anthony assumes. She's angry and disappointed that both of them are sitting there feeling sorry for themselves when there's a scared little boy across town in Juvie all by himself. After pointing out to Anthony that he was right to see something special in Tyrone and that Tyrone was more than likely afraid of the love and trust Anthony had shown him and decided to "test" it, she strongly but lovingly tells Anthony that "so far . . . you're FAILING it."

Anthony goes to Juvenile Hall, accompanied by Julia, and very strongly tells Tyrone that he expects more from him and will be there every week to make sure that Tyrone is getting his act together. During all of this, it's as if Anthony is talking to himself at that age and the camera often pans to Julia almost like the viewer so it's clear that's what Anthony is doing.

"Tyrone" gives us the deepest look into the heart of Anthony's character in a single stabbing speech that Anthony makes to the boy in juvenile hall:

"You think that you're the only kid in the world whose family doesn't care about him? Well let me tell you something. I grew up in a neighborhood where people put cigarettes out on your head. I never met my father, and my mother was an addict who left me behind when I was two weeks old -- I didn't see her again 'til I was nine. Then she wrote and said she was coming. One day she showed up at school after I had told everybody how beautiful my mama was and how she was coming just to see me. You know what she did, Tyrone? (pause) She got out of her car. She walked across the playground and picked up some other kid and hugged him and starting crying and calling him by my name. She did that right in front of everybody. I was her son and she didn't even know me. (pan to Julia who can barely look at them) So you see . . . I've been where you are right now. And if it hadn't been for that one person, my grandmama, loving me and kicking my butt everyday I'd still be there. I'm gonna be here every week. You can count on that, Tyrone."

Then, he continues after the guard comes in to tell them their time is up: "One more thing, man. You know that birthday wish that you asked me about? I wished you were my son." Tyrone emotionally tells Anthony that he loves him, they embrace, and Tyrone is taken away again. For a few moments, Anthony is left in the middle of the room, looking absolutely anguished. Though he doesn't say it in so many words, you can tell that he's been moved by this situation and revistiting his own past through Tyrone.

By at first failing Tyrone, Anthony became flawed in this episode instead of so polished. He actually became human. Even Julia learned more about his character and developed a stronger respect for him -- cementing their friendship as Tyrone is taken away by the guard and Julia turns to Anthony in the episode's final line of dialogue before embracing him:

"Anthony, I want you to know that I've never been prouder of anyone in my life . . . than I am of you at this moment."

We all felt that hug.


Jean Smart in GUINEVERE -- Now on Video

Released on video on March 14th, Mirimax's GUINEVERE is a May-September romance with an edge -- a young woman with lots of questions and an older man with a few too many answers. The principal players are Sarah Polley and Stephen Rea, with supporting cast members Jean Smart, Gina Gershon, and Paul Dooley.

Rea & Polley

The Official Mirimax Plot Summary: In a family full of over-achievers, Harper Sloane (Polley) was the youngest and the odd one out. Then she met Connie Fitzpatrick (Rea), the photographer at her sister's wedding, who's about to become the one man who could take her away from it all. He's charming and shaggily attractive, with an intense sexual energy that draws her into his world. As a romance begins to unfold, his artistic passions become rights of passage for Harper, whose inexperience and awkward nature make her the perfect student. As Harper comes out of her shell, he'll show her a world of possibilities she's never imagined.

GUINEVERE embraces its characters but is never entirely uncritical of them. The film explores our passions, our temptations and how far we'll actually go for the one we love. The film is the directorial debut of Audrey Wells, the writer of THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS.

Jean Smart plays Harper's mother, Deborah, who is not happy to hear about her daughter's plans to drop law school, and even less happy to find out about her relationship with the much older Connie. The role may be small, but Smart's bitter portrayal is critically acclaimed.

Here are some reviews of her performance:

"Smart delivers one of the best performances of the year and one I beg Oscar voters not to forget come ballot season." ~ David Nadelberg, CheckOut.com

"Smart's speech is bad enough to be Oscar material." ~ Richard von Busack, The Metropolitan

"Harper's mother (Jean Smart, in an unexpectedly impressive supporting performance) suddenly confronts the man who's seduced her 20-year-old daughter, is the most unflinching passage in a commercial film this year. Smart coolly stares down Rea, seeing right through his role's bohemian veneer, and the tension shoots into the stratosphere." ~ Paul Tatara, CNN

Jean Smart as Deborah

"But more than anyone else the standout is Jean Smart, who plays Harper's mother Deborah. She comes in and delivers the best 'Excuse me while I hijack this film for the next ten minutes' scene I've witnessed since Alec Baldwin tore up a blackboard in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. It's a devastating little speech of such razor-sharp character dissection that it simply made the movie for me." ~ NeedCoffee.com

"Smart is frighteningly sharp as the controlling mother; her tell-off scene is a stunner." ~ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, SanAntonio360.com

"When Mom (Jean Smart) discovers the relationship, she reacts with a cold fury and a savage verbal deconstruction as to Connie's motives. This scene alone is worth the price of a ticket and earns Smart a place on my end of year 'best' list." ~ The Cranky Critic

So, now that GUINEVERE is on video, we ALL have the chance to witness Jean Smart's Oscar-contending performance. We'd love to hear what everyone thought of her in this movie, so if you have a review to share, please let us know.


. . . Carlene

"After a few years at Sugarbakers, a few guitar and singing lessons, and a dream, Carlene took some time off to go on the road. She toured the Gulf and East coasts, singing and playing her guitar at many small bars. After being booed off the stage one too many times, she returned to Sugarbakers. Her spirit was not crushed, though. She continued to do her act locally, but still wasn't a success. She eventually married the top Atlanta car-salesman, Bubba, and led a long and happy life." (submitted by Nikki)

We still have only heard from a handful of you on where you think the Sugarbakers' players are today. Send your ideas for future newsletters!! Email "Belled"


From "Tyrone"

(13) Besides the camera, what else does Tyrone heist?

(14) According to the news report, what kind of car does Julia drive?

(15) What gift does Tyrone bring the ladies when he first visits Sugarbakers?

(16) In the issue of the "Informer" tabloid that Charlene is reading, who does it say that Jackie Onassis is planning to marry?

* Answers will appear in the next issue.


Answers from Issue #003

(9) Which two members of Sugarbaker's did NOT celebrate a birthday on the series?

Neither Mary Jo nor Carlene celebrated their birthday in an episode.

(10) Where did Mary Jo's ex-husband Ted Shively go to medical school?

Guadalajara, Mexico.

(11) What was the name of Carlene's entry for Atlanta's official song?

"Atlanta, Where My Sweet Dreams Come True"

(12) What was Allison's occupation before she left New York City?

She was a seeing-eye person for a blind lady who was allergic to dogs.