I was hesitant to post this. In fact, I have waited two weeks to finally admit that I watched yet another season of Dallas in less than two weeks time (and then immediately ordered Season 4). I mean, I have always known exactly how much time I spend watching television. It’s copious and embarrassing, but until now, I hoped that anyone that read this assumed I lived a full life rich with activity, and yet, somehow found time to review three or four programs a week and write a top five list. And then I started posting about seasons/series on DVD and now we ALL know that in addition to my regularly scheduled programming, I also watch an additional 20 hours per week on DVD. That’s legitimately, a part time job (and I’m happy to do it.) You’re WELCOME!
When we last saw the Ewings, Sue Ellen was in the hospital, after escaping from the sanitarium, getting a snoot full and crashing a car into a telephone pole, forcing an emergency delivery (that’s right, she was pregnant). Cliff, who believes he is the baby’s ACTUAL father (as opposed to her husband J.R. Ewing) rushes to the hospital. Next thing ya know, Little John has been KIDNAPPED (mind you this is about the 8th time a Ewing has been kidnapped in 3 years). All fingers pointed to Cliff, but turns out it was some whackadoodle from the hospital whose own child had not survived birth. Let’s see, we soon learn that Pamela Barnes Ewing and her brother Cliff are carriers of, wait for it, Neurofibromitosis, whose main symptom is cafe au lait spots. Pamela has a miscarriage, which she’s half thankful for because the baby may have died immediately from neurofibromitosis tumors. (Dear god, why do I watch this?) Sue Ellen has an affair with a hot, super rich cowboy, Dusty, but then he dies in a plane crash, when he is flying to Dallas so she can runaway with him and leave J.R. forever (enter Sue Ellen’s alcohol relapse).
Miss Ellie has a mastectomy and almost has two affairs, but she’s too appropriate to ever cheat on Jock, despite learning that he has lied to her for the last 50 years about being married once before. Jock, J.R., Bobby and Ray go hunting/camping and have a shootout in the woods with some old oil enemy. Jock is shot in the stomach and J.R. in the leg, both survive. Jock is later accused of murder, in which the victim turns out to be Pam’s biological father, who her daddy, Digger Barnes killed. J.R. mortgages South Fork and almost loses it, has an affair with Sue Ellen’s kid sister, pays off some guy to marry Lucy, learns that baby John is, in fact his, fucks over the entire oil cartel on an Asian oil deal (on purpose) and in the final moments, is shot twice in the abdomen!!
Who Shot J.R.?
Probably one of the most famous advertising lines in history, “Who shot J.R.?” was a phenomenon in 1980 that led to the highest rated television episode of all time an popularized the “cliffhanger” ending. Although, it almost didn’t happen. The season three cliffhanger was supposed to be Jock’s trial. A 30 year old corpse was found on South Fork and when Cliff Barnes began working at the D.A.’s office, he focused all of his time investigating the murder, hoping, yet again to put the Ewing’s out of business. The big reveal would be that Digger Barnes (Cliff’s father) was the murder and the murdered was Pam’s biological father. However, after this was nearly set in stone, the network (anxious for ratings) ordered a few more episodes. What to do? In a meeting with the producers, writers and cast, someone finally came up with, “Why don’t we just shoot the son of a bitch?” And the simple story line was tacked on to the end of the season. Each cast member had to film the shooting scene and a voice over about shooting J.R. so that NO ONE would know exactly who shot him until the reveal episode aired 8 MONTHS later (summer hiatus and an actors strike). The cast and crew were about the last people in America to find out “Who shot J.R.?” because the night the episode aired, a big party was held for them, in which they didn’t show the episode until after it had aired on the West Coast. Unfortunately because of the Internet (and the fact that 29 years have passed) I already knew whodunit, but my money was on Seth Stone’s (who killed himself after going bankrupt in J.R.’s bunk Asian oil deal) wife. (Note: all this information was included in a bonus feature documentary Who Shot J.R.? The Dallas Phenomenon)