Picks and Pans Review: Women of the House

updated 01/09/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/09/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET)


She's baa-ack. Big, bold, brassy Suzanne Sugarbaker (the character Delta Burke played on Designing Women) gets a new sitcom, amply filling the congressional seat of her late (fifth) husband. Our Ms. Sugarbaker, still played by Burke, stands out among the buttoned-down, spin-doctored politicos in Washington like Hank Williams Jr. at a meditation center.

Her staff includes a cynical Beltway insider (Patricia Heaton) who makes Eddie Haskell seem sincere, a mousy, neurotic receptionist (Valerie Mahaffey) and a muddled press secretary (Teri Garr).

Implausible and forced, the show doesn't hang together well at all, but it comes up a full letter grade because the writing—pointed, contempo, bawdy and feminist—is usually articulate. For instance, when Burke makes an appearance on Crossfire in a décolleté outfit, Heaton dryly notes, "This town hasn't seen a pair of boobs like that since Haldeman and Ehrlichman."

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