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Archive for the ‘Dallas’ Category

5. Zack and Kelly from Saved by the Bell

No other couple exemplifies the early 90’s quite like Zack and Kelly. Whaaaaat was going on here? Sometimes they were dating, sometimes she was dancing with older men at The Attic, and sometimes Zack was secretly making out with Lisa in her bedroom (what a bitch!). But then there were those touching moments, like when Kelly couldn’t afford to go to the prom because her father lost his job (could you not have borrowed something from Lisa’s closet, I mean reeeeally) and Zack and Kelly danced cheek to cheek by the picnic tables out back. HOW ROMANTIC. I am forever scarred that I did not experience a cheesy Saturday morning love affair like theirs in high school. And let’s not forget that the SBTB wedding in Vegas, was probably the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen on television.

4. Carrie and Big from Sex and the City

I sort of hate myself for including these people on this list, or any other, but come on! What a trainwreck these two turned out to be. He was suck a dick, that you couldn’t help but fall in love with him, and he was rich, and charming and rich and then there’s kooky Carrie Bradshaw yukkin it up in her studio apartment, writing her little sex column, learning lessons about love and life everyday, and breaking them down into cute little nuggets of wisdom to share with the world. I’m not sure what this says about me (or all the other people who LOVED it) but my favorite episode of SATC will always be the one in which Carrie cheats on douchebag Aiden with Big, oh, remember, they fight in the elevator! And next thing you know, it’s a full on affair. Let’s not forget that he essentially left her at the altar though, which was kiiiinda assholey, but I feel like she deserved it a little, she is ridiculous after all. Fortunately, he won her over in the in with a fuckin shoe closet. Way to possess any amount of self respect, Carrie.

3. Kevin and Winnie from The Wonder Years

Man, how crushed were you in the final scene of the final episode of The Wonder Years when we learn that Kevin and Winnie did NOT end up together? I guess we’re supposed to move on and accept that they were merely each other’s first loves, but for the love of god, HUMOR ME. It’s difficult to watch this show now, because I no longer relate to EVERYTHING Kevin is going through at an INTENSE EMOTIONAL level, and rather feel a little bit uncomfortable about how IN LOVE these middle schoolers are with each other. And remember, (see clip below) when Winnie was sick and Kevin “took care of her?” When I was 12, if some kid had come to my house and entertained me whilst I was ill in bed, I would have surely wanted to punch him in the face. Drop off my homework and get the fuck out of here already, I’m sick and would prefer to be alone. . .

2. J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing from Dallas

A lesser person probably would have chosen Pam and Bobby as the greatest couple on Dallas and those people would have been DEAD WRONG. Sure, Pam and Bobby’s love for each other is undying, but J.R. and Sue Ellen’s, is unadulterated. Theirs is a match made in HEAVEN. She a Texas beauty queen, he a rich independent oil man; he attracted to her good looks and well mannered persona; she attracted to his wealth and power. I assume they must have been happy together at some point, but not for long! He continued to womanize, and she couldn’t wake up without crushing bourbon, which made for incredible fights. And hate sex.

1. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy

Aaaahhhhhhh. Thank god I was not alive in the 50’s. If you think that the news of Brad and Jenn’s breakup was crushing, IMAGINE how absolutely devastating the In Touch cover with Lucy and Ricky torn apart must have been! “I DON’T Love Lucy!!!!” But, all the same, onscreen they were just the bees knees of couples (Fred and Ethel were pretty great too, I must admit), but something about her putting up with his bossy “do as I say” attitude, and his ridiculous accent and him putting up with her zany to the max slapstick antics makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. I also like that they maintained separate beds.

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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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by Beal

It’s easy for an actor to become the character they play on television. Can anyone make a valid argument about David Schwimmer and Ross Gellar not being one in the same? Or how about Frasier Crane? For the rest of his life Kelsey Grammar will always be (much to his own chagrin), Dr. Frasier Crane. That’s just who he is, and how we perceive him, but as much as we like him, we can’t accept him in another role. There are however, a select few members of the television elite who have managed to star in not one, but TWO prominent television roles. It’s unfortunate, a little, to think that so many great television stars never get a second chance to shine, but for the following five (ten by the time Judi chimes in) actors, NTO is glad they did. Without further adieu, here are the Top Five Stars So Nice They Cast Them Twice:

5. Kyle McLaughlin – Special Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks) | Trey MacDougal (Sex and the City) | Orson Hodge (Desperate Housewives)

kyle_maclachlan_narrowweb__300x3930.jpgAlright, alright, so Kyle McLaughlin isn’t exactly television “elite,” but I like to give credit where credit is due. Somehow this guy has managed to star in two super hits (SATC, DH) and a total cult classic while somehow remaining somewhat nameless to the lay television viewer. His name is Kyle McLaughlin and he is a TV triple threat. Have you seen Twin Peaks? McLaughlin plays Special Agent Dale Cooper, the FBI guy sent to a podunk town in Washington to investigate the murder of the homecoming queen. He’s delightfully quirky, and really bizarre without being creepy. Actually, he’s sort of like his character Orson Hodge in Desperate Housewives, but without the whole attempted murder, left his own mother for dead, extorts his own wife, is a kleptomaniac thing. He plays both well, and they’re quite different characters, but what they have in common, is that no matter how nice or normal they might seem, you can just tell that there’s something off. What might that be? Well, maybe he’s an impotent mama’s boy with an affinity for Jugs magazine and Scottish flings. Oh wait, that’s his character Trey MacDougal, Charolotte York’s first husband on Sex and the City. “Alrighty.”

4.  Ron Howard – Opie Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show) | Richie Cunningham (Happy Days)

1-opieSeriously, how CUTE was little Ronnie Howard? The ginger offspring of Sheriff Andy Taylor was always getting into moral dilemmas and fortunately for him his father’s moral compass was pointed straight towards heaven. Pa doled out his simple, heartfelt country wisdom on the regular and we ate it up with a spoon. Hard to believe that that little boy who always struggled to do the right thing would turn out to play Richie Cunningham on Happy Days? Now, I’m not the hugest fan of Happy Days it’s a little too absurd for my taste (that’s right, TOO ABSURD), but there’s no denying that it is a television institution, not unlike The Andy Griffith Show, and so the fact that Howard starred in both, I think, is kind of remarkable. Not to mention his super successful directorial career or his narration of/affiliation with Arrested Development.

3. Betty White – Sue Ann Nivens (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) | Rose Nylund (The Golden Girls)

Betty WhiteBetty White is easily my favorite television actress of all time. She’s been on television literally, since its inception. My favorite, and her most well known roles? Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. In an alternate universe, I would LOVE to see Sue Ann and Rose hang out with one another. Sue Ann and her “Happy Homemaker” with a dark side sits down for cheesecake with dimwitted Scandinavian, Rose Nylund. HILARITY ENSUES! Did you know that when they were casting The Mary Tyler Moore Show the character description for Sue Ann said, “A Betty White type?” At some point, one of the producers suggested, “Why don’t we just hire Betty White.” No one assumed she would take the role, but she did, and for that, we must bow down to the gods of television and sing the praises of the incomparable Betty White.

2. Mary Tyler Moore – Laura Petrie (The Dick Van Dyke Show) | Mary Richards (The Mary Tyler Moore Show)

mary_tyler_moore_longer_flip__circa_1970Who’s more lovable than Mary Tyler Moore? I submit that there is NO ONE! Which is probably why she was cast in two of television’s biggest hits. As a child my first introduction to Mary was as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke show which aired on Nick@Nite (of which the early 90’s version was far superior to today). Concurrently, N@N also aired The Mary Tyler Moore Show, another personal favorite. I remember finally noticing one day, “Heey, Rob’s wife is totally Mary Richards!” Without any concept of when these shows had actually been new, only that they were old, I, for a short time decided that Mary Tyler Moore was the greatest TV actress of all time, starring in two shows SIMULTANEOUSLY, for a number of years. However, I then deduced that The Dick Van Dyke Show was far more olden timey (four years) because it was in black and white, and yet again, felt a jolt of love for Mary, who had conquered both black and white and COLOR television formats. Seriously though, she can turn the world on with her smile.

1.  Larry Hagman – Major Nelson (I Dream of Jeannie) | J.R. Ewing (Dallas)

larry_hagmanImagine how bewildered I was when I finally put two and two together and realized that my beloved J.R. Ewing was actually Major Nelson. I thought I was better than that, but alas, I enjoyed these two programs at entirely different stages of my life, as did most of America. Hagman hit it big as Major Nelson, the zany astronaut owner of a mildly retarded genie in I Dream of Jeanie, which aired from 196550-Larry-Hagman to 1970. In 1978 Hagman returned to the small screen as the nefarious J.R. Ewing, the baddest, most powerful, richest man in Dallas. The two characters could not possibly be more diametrically different, which is why Hagman found himself at Number 1 today! Nelson is a clownish sitcom character who engages in madcap hi-jinx with a fantastical sex symbol who wears pink tulle on the reg. J.R. is a depraved oil man with an insatiable appetite for women, money and bourbon who will stop at nothing to remain in power. Plus his eyebrows are awesome.

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by Beal


dallasdvd4This is a cry for help. I have a problem, and I’m willing to admit it, but unwilling to get help. I completed yet another season of Dallas in record time, because every episode was spectacular. This season, which is actually season 3 on television (DVD box sets consider the Miniseries to be Season 1) marks the first year that Dallas reached number 1 in the ratings. The “Who Shot J.R.?” reveal episode, “Who Done It?” gained the highest rating of any television episode in U.S. history, a position it held until the final episode of M*A*S*H aired in 1983. It remains the second most watched television episode of all time. This season of Dallas was also nominated for six Emmy’s, and with good reason, they really outdid themselves this season and it was TERRIFIC.

Kristin Shot J.R.

FINALLY! After two days (the American viewing public waited eight months in 1980, I waited two days for DVDs to arrive in the mail) the mystery of “Who shot J.R.?” was solved, but not in the first episode of the season, nor the second, viewers had to wait until the fourth episode to discover that Sue Ellen’s sister, Kristin Shepard shot J.R. late that night in the Ewing Oil office, but not until after Sue Ellen had spent a few nights in jail, because her fingerprints were the only ones on the gun. The gun of course, belonged to J.R. and Sue Ellen had taken it into town to kill J.R. But, because she’s Sue Ellen, she got piss ass drunk first, and believing that he was at her sister’s condo, went there to shoot him. She woke up the following morning in her car in the airport parking lot, with ZERO memory of the night before. We find out in episode 4, “Who done it?” That despite Sue Ellen’s inability to come up with a solid alibi, she remembers going to Kristen’s, and having a drink (at which point she set the gun down, and Kristin took it). This inconsistency comes up during hypnosis and because Jock and Miss Ellie found the gun in Sue Ellen’s closet, yet she KNOWS she didn’t have it when she returned to Southfork from the airport parking lot and the only one home was Kristin. In the final moments of the reveal episode, Sue Ellen approaches J.R. who is sitting by the pool in his wheelchair. Terrified for his life, he tries to get to the phone before she reaches him. Kristen enters the scene, the truth is revealed and just as you think J.R. is about to kill her (or call the police), she claims that she is pregnant with his baby. J.R. refuses to press charges and runs Kristen out of Dallas.

Other Highlights Include

lucy_ewingLucy gets married to a poor medical student, Mitch Cooper and holds the wedding right on the back patio at Southfork. Seriously guys? I know that the ranch is a beautiful piece of property, but you’re worth billions, rent a banquet hall already. Mitch and Lucy fight every episode about money, because Mitch has none and so Lucy gets a job (as Miss Young Dallas, what is this?) and makes ten times what he makes.

Pamela finds her long lost mother, almost has an affair and also gets a dreadful perm (which they tame by the end of the season). Bobby becomes the new president of Ewing Oil while J.R. is recovering, he successfully buys a refinery, which J.R. was never able to do, but in the end returns the helm to J.R. (with stipulations) because he hates the “wheeling and dealing.” He is then elected to the state senate, where he must first vote on a land issue that pits Jock against Miss Ellie (who has filed for divorce over the matter.) And then sit on the committee that is investigating J.R. for overthrowing a foreign government (because thats what state senate committees do). J.R. drugs Cliff, gets all the evidence ahead of time and bribes the right people and is found innocent.

Sue Ellen, ooohhh Sue Ellen, re-unites with her college boyfriend, Clint at Lucy’s wedding, but after noticing she’s being followed, seeks to find out by who and why. After some stealthy detective work, she arrives at the mansion of whomever is funding the P.I. following her. And wouldn’t you know it! It’s Dusty Farlow, he didn’t die in the plane crash after all, and despite his paralysis, Sue Ellen devotes herself to him and they make plans to get Sue Ellen and little John Ross out of Southfork and onto the Southern Cross Ranch where Dusty’s family (equally as wealthy as the Ewings) live.

OH YEA! We learn that ranch foreman Ray Krebbs is actually Jock’s son, making him a Ewing heir (making Miss Ellie none-too-happy), but the most interesting part is, Ray is now biologically Lucy’s uncle, so no one ever mentions how the two had an affair in the barn throughout season 1.

Special Features

Included in this box set, was a little reunion special entitled Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork, which was, nothing if not completely awesome. The original cast, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, Ken Kercheval, Steve Kanaly, Charlene Tilton and later, Mary Crosby, all rolled up to Southfork (a real ranch apparently) in the SAME CARS they drove during the series! And J.R. landed in the Ewing helicopter. Let’s just say, that I was about as giddy as I get for the 90 minutes that this terrific production lasted. (Like I said, I have a problem). The characters “caught up” with each other, told hilarious behind the scenes stories, and they showed both a blooper reel (where sweet old Miss Ellie drops the F-bomb a number of times), a series of “practical jokes” cast members played and some footage that Larry Hagman had taken with his own video camera, in which Linda Gray is always dancing. They also showed the un-aired footage of each cast member “shooting J.R.” which was delightful. Sadly, P.Duff and Victoria Principal have received some less than stellar face lifts. Patrick’s is, can I say tolerable? His face is tolerable. But Victoria looks sort of like Dolly Parton and sort of like an 80’s prime-time soap star action figure.

Cliffhanger

Well, they couldn’t very well outdo last season’s cliffhanger (Who shot J.R.?), no one can, but they did their best. In the final scene Cliff Barnes arrives at Southfork for a meeting with Bobby. As he is approaching the back door he notices a body floating face down in the pool and jumps in to rescue it. When he looks up, he sees J.R. standing at the edge of the balcony, where the railing is broken and proclaims, “She’s dead! Yoooouuuu bastard!” FREEZE FRAME. Leaving us to wonder, (A) Whose body was floating in the pool? (B) Did J.R. do it?

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. . .  (oh wait I already found out, because season 5 arrived in the mail yesterday. Seriously CRY FOR HELP!)

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by Beal

5.  ER – Chloe gives birth to Baby Susie in “Motherhood” (May 11, 1995)

A lesser TV authority would never have included this on their list. A main character’s sister gives birth and it makes a Top Five list? Who does that? Well, I do, and here’s why. First of all, we’re talking ER season 1, when this show was the greatest program I had ever watched, and not just Law & Order‘s fiercest competition for longest running show and most frequent cast changer. I was OBSESSED with the Chloe/Susan plot line. Check it, Susan is an ER doctor, her sister Chloe, is a junkie. When she turns up pregnant, Susan takes her in but despite her best efforts, Chloe just can’t stay clean. Obviously she gives birth in Susan’s emergency room, in a memorable scene in which she yells for The Beatles “Blackbird” to play as her daughter is being born. Following the birth of Baby Susie, Chloe and Susan’s mother, COOKIE, arrives at the hospital since the plan all along was for Cookie to raise the baby. At the last minute though, bitchy/flaky Cookie (seriously, you can’t trust anyone called Cookie) decides she’s taken care of Chloe long enough and by default, Susan is now the mother of the possible crack baby that was named after her. Important to note: Quentin Tarantino directed this episode.

4. Roseanne – Jackie has Andy out of wedlock in “Labor Day” (March 8, 1994)

Coming in at number four, Roseanne manages to eliminate the sappy emotional swill of the Very Special Birth Episode in exchange for madcap hilarity, sitcom style. I believe Jackie’s surprise pregnancy was written into the show, on account of actress Laurie Metcalf’s real life pregnancy, which explains how her terrifying pregnant belly in the hilarious bathroom scene with Roseanne looks so damn real (and terrifying). Expecting for Jackie to remain in labor for several hours, Roseanne and Jackie hesitate to call Fred, who barely makes it to the hospital in time to see the birth of his child. Remember though, it is a sitcom, and he is required to be in the room, in order to faint at the first sign of anything grotesque. In the final moments, they forgo the usual eight month old baby covered in goo scheme and use the camera instead, giving the audience the newborn’s P.O.V. Just watch:

3. Weeds – Nancy forces doctor to remove baby ASAP in “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (July 20, 2009)

Things start to get a little creepy when Nancy discovers a “birthing room” in her Mexican drug kingpin boyfriend’s house. She’s pregnant, and because she narked out Esteban’s trafficking operation, it’s the only reason she’s still alive. When she realizes that this powerful man is going to force her to have this baby at home OFF THE GRID, and then probably murder her, it’s time to take action. She needs a birth certificate, and witnesses. It’s a matter of life and death. Fortunately, ol’ Andy Botwin is there to save the day (in the General Lee) and rushes Nancy to none other than Dr. Alanis Morissette, who induces labor immediately, after hearing the story of the whackjob drug kingpin baby daddy. When Esteban arrives at the hospital he insists that Nancy leave immediately, it’s too late though, and the nurse presents his son, Stevie Ray Botwin.

2. Murphy Brown – Single working mom, Murphy has a baby boy in “Birth 101” (May 18, 1992)

Much to Vice President Dan Quayle’s chagrin, a fictional unmarried career woman gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on May 18, 1992. In an episode that was both heartwarming and hilarious, the entire news team works together to get this baby born. From Jim’s awkward attempts to take Murphy’s mind off the pain and his total discomfort with the mere thought of her lady parts, to Frank’s idiotic antics and attempts to empathize, Miles inability to focus on anyone but himself (granted, he was shot at while trying to locate Eldin) to Corky’s rush to the pharmacy to refill her prescription to birth control pills, this episode is comedy gold, and a major watercooler moment in television history. Eldin shows up at the last minute (after a jaunt to Maryland for some crabcakes) and the baby is born. The news team comes in for a final congratulations, with Phil in tow (let’s just say this, if I ever have a baby, I hope my favorite bartender is among the first visitors, too) before Murphy holds her son for the first time. “Hi. I see you got a little hat,” she says, before Frank re-enters to tape their first moment together and Murphy begins to sing Carole King’s “Natural Woman” and I start crying.

1.  Dallas – Drunk Sue Ellen gives birth to John Ross Ewing III in “John Ewing III Pt.” (April 6, 1979)

It’s a wonder little John Ross isn’t retarded. For the entirety of Sue Ellen’s pregnancy she not only drank, but drank to total blackout most, if not all evenings. She was reeling from the breakup of her most recent affair with Cliff Barnes (the Ewing’s arch-nemisis) and wasn’t even sure if the baby was Cliff’s or her husband J.R.’s (we find out later it is, in fact, J.R.’s). Weeks before the baby was born, J.R. checks Sue Ellen into a sanitarium (rehab would be used today, but hey, it was the 70’s) where she bribes an orderly for booze. Once she’s good and liquored up, she escapes lockdown, steals a car and smashes it right into a telephone pole. She is rushed to the hospital and gives birth to a baby whose life is clearly in danger. Sue Ellen isn’t doing so hot herself, either. Eventually the baby is deemed in good health, but then is kidnapped, before he makes it home to Southfork. Sue Ellen continues drinking and neglects her child until midway through the following season.

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by Beal

245262I 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!

Recap:

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)

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by Beal

51l+cF5kGJL._SS500_I recently developed a voracious appetite for late seventies melodrama and the only thing that satiates it, is Dallas. This epic prime-time saga, the Holy Grail of serialized dramatic fiction, ran for 14 seasons. I however, have only made my way through seasons one and two, whose 29 episodes and bonus features have been conveniently boxed on five discs. (Note: Season 1 was actually a five-part miniseries, which is why there were only 29 episodes in two seasons).

Now, I have always been attracted to this program. As I have mentioned before, my cell phone ring happens to be the theme song to Dallas, an homage to my childhood when this song signaled my Friday night bedtime. Odd to think that what I just consumed en masse was that which my parents were watching BEFORE I WAS BORN and until I reached the second grade (I can’t imagine waiting an entire week to see what happened next). You may have noticed that a mere two days ago I created a post about watching the entire MSCL series, well, it took me more than a week to sit down to write that, and less than a week to enjoy 23.2 hours (48 min episodes) of Dallas. Calculating that now, I’m not sure if I’m ashamed or elated that I spent an entire day of one week engaged in a 30 year old television program that NO ONE cares to discuss, despite my best efforts.

An actual text conversation with my mother:

Me: OMG. Pam just bitch slapped a drunken Sue Ellen.

Mom: That will happen. A lot.

2 hours later

Me: J.R. just slapped a drunk/pregnant Sue Ellen. That’s my last Dallas text I promise.

Mom: Promise?

Mom: Can I borrow it when you’re done?

About:

pambobBack to the “real” drama! This show is everything I’ve ever wanted in a television program and more. I think we all know the premise, but here’s a refresher. The Ewing family are like Texas royalty. Their wealth is great and their power greater. Patriarch Jock (Jim Davis) and wife Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) run the family, which is housed (in one house, what the shit?) at South Fork Ranch, in Braddock, just outside Dallas. Eldest brother J.R. (Larry Hagman), and youngest brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) live there with their wives, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and Pamela (Victoria Principal). Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton), daughter of runaway drifter middle son Gary, also lives there. Also, it is important to know that J.R. will do ANYTHING to maintain his position of power and every Ewing (and anyone else in the show) will do ANYTHING to mention the name “Ewing.” [I’m embarrassed to admit this, but during one episode I tallied how many times someone said “Ewing” during one episode, and it was 48 times, that’s one per minute.]

A quick recap of seasons 1 &2:  Bobby marries Pam, who is the daughter of Digger Barnes and sister to Cliff Barnes, both of whom are Ewing arch-enemies, theirs is a decades old rivalry of which the Ewings always come out on top. Lucy, a part-time high school student and full-time munchkin has been sleeping with the Ranch foreman, middle aged Ray up in the hay loft for some time. J.R. has dozens of affairs while his trophy wife, a former Miss Texas, sits at home and drinks until she decides to have an affair with Cliff Barnes (J.R.’s number 1 enemy in life). Is her baby J.R.’s or Cliff’s? Oh, don’t worry about that we’ll have to find out later, because Sue Ellen has just escaped from the sanitarium, pounded a bottle of hooch and crashed her stolen car into a telephone pole. She’s pregnant for the love of god!

Highlights:

lhagman_lThis show is truly unbelievable, and being that its social norms are set in the 70’s, only makes for greater drama. For example, Sue Ellen’s drinking problem. She’s pregnant and living in a house with her husband, mother/father/brother/sister in law as well as a full staff, yet no one minds when she comes to dinner trashed, drinks several nightcaps or is occasionally plastered when she arrives at the breakfast table? Are all my friends, who were conceived around this time, victims of fetal alcohol syndrome? Did no one recognize this as a terrible idea? Or what about how the entire family thinks its a bad idea that Pam gets a job? She’s working as a buyer for the nicest store in Dallas. Granted she doesn’t need a paycheck, they’re worth billions, but they’re going to put their foot down on this and not the drunk pregnant lady thing? Or what about when J.R. tries to marry Lucy off to a homosexual (groundbreaking!) just so that he can merge with the gay’s big oil family? At some juncture, Bobby finally punches asshole J.R. for something shitty that he did, mind you though, this was months AFTER he “accidentally” pushed Pam out of the hayloft causing her to miscarry a fetus, after he forged his father’s will to allow drilling on South Fork and of course after he set Pam up to look like she was involved in a threesome/prostitution ring with a coworker and a Senator, which made the front page of the Dallas newspaper.

Also, within three episodes: Lucy ranaway and while hitchhiking was picked up by a whackjob robber which ended in a hostage situation and shootout that Bobby and Lucy escaped from with some quick thinking and sweet kick moves. J.R. was caught sleeping with the wife of some backwoods hick (Brian Denehey) and for revenge the hick and his scummy cohort went to South Fork, held half the family hostage and decided to rape, yes rape, Sue Ellen and Lucy for revenge. Don’t worry, Bobby got home just in time. Oh and in the next episode, some real swift crooks kidnap Bobby (intending to get J.R.) and hold him for ransom, which Cliff Barnes delivers to them in the middle of a dirt road. When they get out of the car and Bobby is home free, J.R. and some old boys pop out of the field and SHOOT ALL THREE CROOKS AND LEAVE THEM DEAD IN THE ROAD.

Bonus Features:

I opted not to listen to the available audio commentaries, but since season three has yet to arrive in the mail, I might have to go back and do that, just to get my fix. There was also a Soap Talk reunion special on the final disc. I’ll say this, seeing the cast 30 years later, and still good friends, was awesome. Forcing them to do it on a show hosted by Lisa Rinna, was not.

Favorite Moment:

As I mentioned, Sue Ellen was a bit of a lush. One evening while waiting for J.R. at his office, she tied one on, (remember, she’s pregnant) resulting in her passing out in her car on the side of the road (Bobby to the rescue!). Meanwhile, Lucy has become addicted to some mystery pills. The following day J.R. removes/hides all liquor in the house and Bobby has taken the last of Lucy’s stash and allowed her to stay home from school to rest. Then this happens:

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