Character Spotlight: Sue Ellen Ewing

by Beal

Sue Ellen & J.R. EwingShow: Dallas

Character: Sue Ellen Ewing

Actress: Linda Gray

Essentially: Emily Post’s got nothing on this bitch. A former Miss Texas, Sue Ellen is the most proper southern belle you’ll ever come across. She has impeccable manners and is probably the most polite individual ever. That is, until she gets a snoot full and then all bets are off. Sue Ellen never heeded the warning “everything in moderation.” Be it elegant furs or shots of bourbon whiskey, wretched excess is Sue Ellen’s M.O. After a nip or eight at the bottle, she transforms from her gracious elegant self into a raging drunk, and like J.R. always says, “Nothing’s so ugly as a woman who can’t hold her liquor.” Which is one reason Sue Ellen landed herself in the sanitarium (the first time), in jail and finally on the streets, not to mention the countless times she woke up in the driver’s seat of her car, unable to account for the last 12 hours. She’s “a drunk, a whore and an unfit mother!” I might go so far as to suggest that Sue Ellen was prime time’s FIRST blackout drunk!

Poor Little Rich Girl: Sue Ellen wasn’t always rich. As a child, her alcoholic father left her, her sister and her mother when Sue Ellen was only a tot. In an attempt to stop history from repeating itself, her mother raised them to be the most prim and proper young ladies in Texas so they would land themselves wonderful southern gentleman who would take care of them till death did they part. Well, unfortunately Sue Ellen landed the awful, albeit rich, J.R. who treated her like shit, cheated on her (seriously, like every day with a different woman, not to mention her own sister), locked her up in the sanitarium, tricked her, plotted against her, pimped her out, and so on and so forth. In her spare time (when she’s not drunk, crying about J.R.’s mistreatment or quivering her lips about something) Sue Ellen keeps busy with affairs of her own with the likes of J.R.’s nemesis Cliff Barnes, or the cowboy she met at the South Fork rodeo, Dusty Farlow or anyone else in Dallas that compliments her, treats her with any amount of respect or has a shitload of money.

Favorites: Oh wow, choosing a favorite Sue Ellen moment is like choosing a favorite Kelly Taylor tragedy! There’s just too many RIDICULOUS incidents to choose from. Let’s see. I LOVE that she’s plastered every single day of her pregnancy with John Ross III, and that neither her husband or in-laws seemed to be the least bit concerned for the child’s well being until the final month WHEN J.R. finally checked her drunken ass into a SANITARIUM, which she got drunk and escaped from. I love when she wakes up in her car the day after J.R. is shot and comes to the conclusion that she was the shooter. Or how about in the 1982 season when she cuts her hair into a mullet or later when she starts rocking the word’s puffiest shoulder pads? But probably the highlight of Sue Ellen’s life in Dallas is when she wakes up totaled in an alley way, and takes a nip off a bag lady’s bottle. Sue Ellen, meet Rock Bottom.


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