Goofs & Glitches
This page is to poke fun at the continuity problems, history re-writes and unexplained oddities within the series that fans are so quick to notice.
So how many of these did you spot?
The Pilot Episode
Obviously recorded ahead of the rest of the series to sell to the network and advertisers, there are various differences in this episode. Some things were changed before the series actually went into production. The actual set is different --- the foyer is deeper with an entry closet, and the inside steps continue around the door rather than just at the bottom of the staircase. Plus, outside the front door, brick from the side of the house and part of the Sugarbaker's sign is visible. Julia's desk, instead of being in the back next to the staircase, is right in the foreground. Also, Charlene's nickname for Mary Jo is "Jo" --- an idea which was obviously scrapped after the pilot was recorded. This episode also appears to have been shot using a cheaper film stock.
Miss Georgia World
In the early episode The Beauty Contest, Suzanne refers to herself as Miss Georgia-World 1976, but --- as of season four's There She Is --- all of a sudden she was Miss Georgia 1975. Also in The Beauty Contest, Julia claims that Suzanne answered "the question" (how would you prevent war?) with an eloquent speech about patriotism and diamond tiaras. While in There She Is, it is stated that Suzanne blew the question by saying that she wanted to star in her own TV show. There are also a couple of different stories relayed by Suzanne regarding her fire batons --- in There She Is and Suzanne Goes Looking For A Friend.
Charlene's Family - The Fraziers
The biggest, most obvious inconsistency is the introduction of Charlene's sister Carlene in season six. We know from her history that her sisters were named Marlene, Harlene, and Darlene (and the deceased Pat) --- there was no Carlene ever mentioned, even when the entire family of ten brothers and sisters visited. Another goof was made with her brother, Odell. In Second Time Around Charlene says she bought Odell a new wedding ring to replace the one that he lost, but he is still a virgin running off with his childhood sweetheart the following year in Odell.
The Sugarbakers Storeroom and House
That storeroom door behind the kitchen area is quite a mystery. In Mary Jo's First Date, Charlene drags Suzanne and Julia into the storeroom --- which has a window. But in Driving My Mama Back Home, Allison accidentally locks herself (along with Carlene and Anthony) inside of the windowless storeroom, and Suzanne claims never to have been inside the room before in Season Three's One Sees, The Other Doesn't. Though we do know there is a bathroom inside, Carlene acts as though the toilet is right inside the door in A Toe In The Water. And if the storeroom is the very back of the house as the window in Mary Jo's First Date implies, exactly where is the formal dining room seen in The Big Circle with Julia trying to feed Randa Oliver?
Also, Charlene is concerned that there is no basement in the house in Tornado Watch, but Anthony finds an old landmark in the basement in A Blast From The Past, and Julia says Suzanne's wedding dresses are all down there in Wedding Redux.
In all of the early episodes there is also a large brick column in the back of the room with a china cabinet or wood burning stove against it, which seems to disappear for Season Two. Also in the early episodes there always seem to be carpet samples, swags, and other things around the office area that would imply the ladies actually were working, but they all disappear in later Seasons.
The upstairs is very confusing (even ignoring the obvious fact that the door at the top of the stairs is smack at the front of the house). In Julia's Son there is an upstairs study, and we know that Payne's old room is up there, but for some reason over the rest of the series everyone acts as though Julia's room is the only place to talk up there (not to mention that the door to her room and window are in different places in Season Seven's The Vision Thing than in the early I Do, I Don't).
Then there is the issue of exactly how the street is set up. In several episodes there is reference to things on the street; a building under construction in Hard Hats and Lovers, a big parking garage in Stand and Fight, a corner newsstand in Julia Drives Over the First Amendment, and their own parking lot out front in There She Is. Doesn't this house appear to be in a swank residential area?
Birthdays and Age Variances
Okay, let's start with Julia's birthday. In the Season Three's, Mr. Meal Ticket, Charlene refers to Julia as a Scorpio --- though in Seasons Six and Seven her birthday is in September. Anthony's birthday is also in September as of Season Five, while in Season Three his birthday is celebrated in the episode Tyrone, which aired in January.
Another oddity is the age of Julia's son, Payne. Early in the first season he is 19 years old, but exactly 2 years later in E.P. Phone Home, Julia still says her son is 19.
Also, there is some confusion as to the age difference between Suzanne and Julia. In The Beauty Contest, we learn that the sisters are 14 years apart, but in Julia Gets Her Head Stuck In A Fence, Mary Jo is looking through pictures of the two as girls and comments that Julia looked so serious while 6-year-old Suzanne was laying across grand pianos. Of course Julia looked serious --- when Suzanne was six, Julia was already 20 years old!! Of course, as of Old Rebels and Young Models in Season Five, their age difference has been reduced to 12 years. In addition, if Suzanne is turning "29" (or 30) in the Pilot and graduated in 1974 (They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?), how on Earth could she have voted for Richard Nixon as she clearly states in one episode?
And does anyone think that Charlene's baby looks her correct age (which should be over a year and a half old) at the beginning of Season Six in The Big Desk? It looks like she missed a whole year of growth!!
Mary Jo's House
As of Season Two, the inner construction of Mary Jo's house has been revamped. The placement of the fireplace and staircase have changed with the addition of walls separating the foyer and dining room from the living room. Previously, her house had a very open, cottage appearance.
Suzanne's Bedroom and House
We know Suzanne has a big house, but what's with her bedroom essentially being a different room in every appearance? Her room in There She Is bears absolutely no resemblence to her room as it appeared in either Oh, Suzannah or only three episodes later in Grand Slam Thank You Ma'am. Also, if Suzanne's house is bigger than Monette's 19 room home as Suzanne states in Monette, why would Allison need to clear out Anthony from his room in order to have an exercise room as she mentions in Season Six? --- except maybe to annoy him.
The Spin-Off: Women of the House
Suzanne says that Sapphire Jones is her lifelong nanny and housekeeper and has been with her forever --- but no mention of her was ever made during the original series when Suzanne was forced to deal with Consuela. Also, what is with the retarded brother, Jim?!! 'Nuff said.
Other Minor Inconsistencies or Annoyances
How long has Julia been a widow?:
In the pilot episode, Julia makes reference to her husband Hayden having died last year, and we find out a few weeks later that she and Reese are celebrating the six-month anniversary of their first date. But, in Second Time Around, Julia tells Bill Stillfield that she wasted five years of her life doing bad paintings after Hayden died -- until she met Reese.
Jack Dent's Position: In Mary Jo's First Date, Suzanne says her ex-, Jack Dent, played second base for the Atlanta Braves. When he actually appeared in Grand Slam Thank You Ma'am he was instead a famous pitcher for the Braves.
Suzanne and Golf: In Season One's And Justice For Paul, Suzanne says she birdied with a new client on the golf course, while in Season Five's Fore! she knows nothing about golf.
MRS. Sugarbaker: Julia and Suzanne apparently both chose to return to using their maiden name of Sugarbaker, but there is no logical reason why Julia would be referred to as Mrs. Sugarbaker --- unless maybe out of respect to her being a widow.
Suzanne and Sex: In the early episodes Suzanne is referred to as very sexual, while in later years she acts as though she only had sex if she absolutely had to --- and only if they married her.
Bernice and Consuela's Driving: In most episodes Bernice had to take a taxi or have Anthony pick her up, but in a couple episodes she made reference to having driven to Sugarbaker's --- so whose car did she drive? Also, Anthony is teaching Consuela to drive in Season Five's Friends and Husbands, but Suzanne has Consuela pick up Li-Sing from school in Season One's Oh, Suzannah
Julia and Mink Coats: In The Fur Flies Julia and Mary Jo both make remarks about Suzanne wearing real fur (though Suzanne mentions that Julia has a fur she inherited in her closet). The writer seems to have forgotten that everyone was given a mink coat by clients at the end of Seams From A Marriage in Season One.
Anthony's Mother: Though it is known through most of the series that Anthony has no relationship with his mother, just previous to his history being revealed Anthony mentions purchasing a washing machine for his mother in Ted and Tammy. Could he have meant to say his grandmother?
Same Face, Different Name
Once a Letch, Always a Letch: Actor Ian Patrick Williams played both the sleazy photographer in The Women of Atlanta and the womanizing news anchorman Chuck Tremaine in Julia and Mary Jo Get Stuck Under a Bed.
My, Grandmother, What a Familiar Face You Have: Beah Richards first appeared as the dying Miss Minnie in The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire 20th Century during Season Four, and then again in the final season's Wedding Redux as Anthony's grandmother (a part originally played by Frances E. Williams in Anthony's Graduation).
Typecasting the Spunky Old Broad: Meg Wyllie, who played Miss Crown in Old Rebels & Young Models, previously appeared as one of the ladies' fellow campers in The Wilderness Experience. On the same note, Dona Hardy, who plays Miss Crown's annoying friend in Old Rebels and Young Models, also plays an aquaintance of Bernice in I'll See You in Court.
The Sexually Repressed Nerd: Well, there's no question why Richard Sanders was chosen to play the role of a shy, horny geek --- it's been his niche for years, but didn't they think we'd notice such a recognizable actor playing Elmer Peace in Tornado Watch and then Dr. Newhouse in A Class Act so soon the following season?
Dancing Neanderthal: M.C. Gainey first appeared as prison bully T. Tommy Reed in Getting to Know You, then as a dancing hillbilly thug Junior Jones in Nightmare From Hee Haw, and then reprised his T. Tommy role in Last Tango in Atlanta. The writers used a great inside joke to tie it all together though --- Mary Jo remarking on the resemblence between T. Tommy and her hillbilly dance partner.
The Con-Artist: As Gaylon King, Michael Ross cons gullible Charlene into thinking she can be a music star in Nashville Bound, and he later returns as Stan the Man, a sleazy car salesman in Oh, What a Feeling.
Madame Junie: Most Designing Women fans didn't let this slip by: the actress who plays Charlene's high school friend-turned madame Monette (Bobbie Ferguson) makes a brief disguised appearance as part of the cleaning supplies "cult" in The Junies.
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