Did Suzanne Sugarbaker pave the way for Karen Walker?

I haven’t discussed this at all on the blog yet, but I’ve been obsessively watching episodes of “Designing Women” for the first time. I’m watching them in chronological order, renting them from the library.

I assume many people have watched the show, but if you haven’t, it’s about four women — Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker, Mary Jo and Charlene — who run and work for an interior design company, Sugarbaker & Associates in Atlanta, Georgia.

Although most of the scenes take place within the office (which is Julia’s house), the show has very little to do with work or design, and more about their individual stories and how they cope together as friends and family. It’s very funny, and even a little edgy at times.

I’m about to start watching season three (there were seven seasons total, running from 1986-1993), and even in this short time watching, I’m starting to think that Suzanne Sugarbaker paved the way for my favorite character on “Will & Grace”, Karen Walker.

Here are some character traits about Suzanne Sugarbaker:

  • Speaks exactly what’s on her mind
  • Was a childhood beauty queen
  • History of divorce
  • Has a fortune from previous marriages
  • Is fashion-forward
  • Appreciates the finer things in life
  • Has a sister
  • Has a live-in maid
  • Is a silent partner for an interior design firm

Here are some character traits about Karen Walker:

  • Speaks exactly what’s on her mind (usually due to alcohol
  • Was a childhood con artist (thanks to her mom)
  • History of divorce
  • Has a fortune from current husband (and future ex-husband)
  • Is fashion-forward
  • Appreciates the finer things in life
  • Has a sister
  • Has a live-in maid (and full staff)
  • Is an assistant at an interior design company

See what I mean? Karen Walker is basically an updated version of Suzanne Sugarbaker, and I don’t mean that in a negative way at all — I love them both!

Perhaps once I watch more of the show there could be some differences between them that pop up, but I have a feeling I’ll be sticking to my theory that they are very similar characters.

Here is a classic Suzanne Sugarbaker moment:

Here is a classic Karen Walker moment:

What do you think? Similar characters?

In other news, I took a COMPLETE break from clients and work Friday-Sunday after three weeks of some really late nights and early mornings. It was a much-needed break and I’m feeling refreshed and thankful that I am able to gain control of my schedule (and hopefully maintain it).

We’re almost half-way through June and I’m still shocked this whole be-your-own-boss thing is working so well. However, I’m going through many learning moments lately, trying to set and keep boundaries as I find myself working very late and dropping all of my things for certain clients.

It will all take time and practice. I mean… I spent a big part of the weekend watching seasons of “The Hills” and if you know what I’m talking about: “Truth and time tells all.”

If you’d like to see more writing from me, I curate and edit an email newsletter focused on local news and entertainment in Austin, Texas, called Inside Austin. It comes out every Tuesday and Thursday, but once I hit 3,000 subscribers, it gets a third day of publishing. Sign up to get Tuesday’s newsletter and/or read past issues!

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