Sincere kudos (and thanks, natch) to the good folks at TV Land, who have seen fit to return that terrific television classic “Designing Women” (my hands-down vote for funniest situation comedy evah) to its daily lineup (albeit at the ungodly hour of 2am Texas time, to which I can only offer: thank you, Jesus, for the DVR) following an inexplicable and unjustified hiatus. Even though I’ve seen every episode no less than once (and, indeed, have a great many of them committed to memory, such is the level of my supreme madness!) and have almost all of them on tape, I still get all warm and tingly inside when I can flip on live TV and see what fresh hijinks the Sugarbaker gang are involved in.

Having said that, whomever at the network has been placed in charge of recutting these episodes (so as to be able to squeeze in two (!) extra commercial breaks, you see) ought to have his (or her) eyelashes ripped off his (or her) skull one follicle at a time. The original syndication run from years ago produced some outrageous episode edits, but nothing as atrocious as what I’m witnessing on this latest TV Land stint. (Again, it probably helps nothing that I have entire episodes of the series permanently lodged in the Venus flytrap that is my batshit mind.) Thankfully, the climactic (and best, and funniest) scene from my all-time favorite “Women” outing — “Miss Trial,” the one where Julia (as played by the marvelously dry Dixie Carter) got arrested for ditching jury duty — remained largely intact during last week’s airing, but many of the scenes leading up to same were thoroughly and unconscionably butchered. As he was sitting right next to me throughout the viewing, I’m pretty sure A heard my heart break as I pondered all the quips and punchlines that were sacrificed so that TV Land could sell me a can of Manwich and a roll of Tums four times in the span of one half hour. I’ll certainly take what I can get and be grateful for it — something is better than nothing, at least in this instance — but forgive me for believing that a network which has dedicated itself to collecting and preserving the very best material television has to offer should do a better job than this when the time comes to put its money where its mouth is.

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