DALLAS versus KNOTS LANDING versus the rest of them week by week

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by James from London, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

    Message Count:
    3,022
    Trophy Points:
    6,636
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Actor
    Location:
    Brixton
    Ratings:
    +5,097
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    Time immemorial
    28 Feb 91: KNOTS LANDING: Bad Dog v. 01 Mar 91: DALLAS: Win Some, Lose Some

    There are two broken engagements in this week’s Ewingverse — each the end result of a chain of events set in motion by a seemingly unrelated incident two weeks ago. During her altercation with Jason Lochner’s uncles on the Mackenzies’ front lawn, Paige sustained a black eye. Upon seeing it in last week’s ep, Greg barred her from attending a meeting with Mrs Richfield and replaced her with Linda Fairgate. Linda’s resultant workload left her and Greg working late at the office together. One thing led another and the episode ended with her “boinking the boss.” Consequently, she fails to show up for a Valentine’s Day dinner at Karen and Mack’s house at the start of this week’s ep. When she uses work an excuse, an angry Michael offers her an ultimatum: “Either you start leaving your work at the office, Linda, and at a decent hour, or you start leaving your engagement ring on the dresser.” She calls his bluff and removes the ring. Later, they break off the engagement. “Wearing this ring has probably meant more to me than anything else in my entire life,” she tells him. “I’m sorry for crying — it just hurts so much.” Michael insists she keep the ring (“We’ll call it a friendship ring”) and we then cut to her coolly flogging it for $3,000.

    Meanwhile, JR, having sought the help of LeeAnn De La Vega’s vengeful sister-in-law, Carmen, to locate her weak spot, learned that the company Liz Adams inherited from her brother has been leasing crucial drilling equipment to De La Vega Oil. Using information he acquired from Stephanie Rodgers in Season 12, he then blackmailed a senator into stalling Cliff’s new political appointment. This week, he tells Liz that the only way Cliff will get the appointment is if she sells him (JR) her brother’s company. “When I cancel those leases and yank those rigs, one Mrs De La Vega is gonna be sitting on a pool of oil and she won’t be able to get at it,” he explains. Liz reluctantly agrees and Cliff gets the job he so desperately wanted. Suddenly, it’s all going Cliff’s way — he has a new life and career in Washington and is about to marry the woman he loves. But then, inevitably, he finds out about the deal Liz made with JR and from there, it’s basically a rerun of what happened when he discovered Afton had slept with Gil Thurman to get him a refinery back in Season 5. “I did it for you!” Liz insists. “That’s so much crap!” he barks at her. “The one thing I thought I had earned all by myself and you had to get it for me! And you had to give in to JR to do it and he knows it. AND HE KNOWS IT!” So it is that Liz finally comes to the same conclusion that Afton, Sue Ellen, Julie Grey and Mandy have before her — Cliff and JR are cut from the same piece of cloth. “You are just as small and as mean as he is and you’re sure as hell not the sort of man I want to spend my life with!” she tells him. Unlike Linda Fairgate, she sees no value in holding on to her engagement ring. “Why don’t you put that back in the crackerjack box where you found it?” she suggests to Cliff, dropping it in an ice bucket.

    Although JR wasn’t exactly discreet about his adulterous liaisons while married to Sue Ellen, this week James does something his daddy never even considered. After staying out all night (“I was at the motorcycle shop tuning an engine,” he explains. “By the time I finished, that engine was really purring”), he brings his latest conquest, DeeDee, home to Southfork for breakfast. Michelle responds by pushing DeeDee in the pool. So James pushes Michelle in with her. The two women start throwing watery punches, recalling both Krystle and Alexis in the lily pond and Marilee Stone and Jamie at the Ewing barbecue. Then, prompted by his daddy (“You better do something … they’re gonna drown each other!”), James reluctantly wades in to break them up. “Things are finally starting to get fun around here again!” laughs Christopher (this should probably have been John Ross’s line but he’s been mysteriously absent for the past few episodes) and he’s right — it is fun, in a nostalgic sort of way. That evening, Michelle strikes back by bringing her male secretary Derrick home for dinner. This is fun too, but before Southfork can degenerate any further into the kind of “anything goes” free-for-all that Falcon Crest became after its few seasons, JR puts his foot down: “My daddy built this house and there are certain traditions and values that we live by here. I won’t have you making a mockery of them,” he tells James and Michelle. To underline JR’s point, DALLAS has already gone to the trouble over the past couple of episodes of reinforcing the Southfork ritual of a family dinner at 6pm preceded by cocktails in the living room. “If you’re gonna be married,” JR continues, “you act married … or get the hell out.” And with this speech, almost unnoticed, he slips effortlessly into the role of Ewing patriarch.

    But Michelle hasn’t given up on trying to disrupt the family unit. To that end, she waits for JR to return home the following evening and then steals naked into his shower. Alas, the younger woman/older man scenario works less well here than it did for Linda and Greg at the Sumner Group. “You’re a conniving little bitch,” JR informs her, dragging her out of his bathroom. “I finally get my son back and if you think a night with you is more important than that, then you’re also a stupid little bitch!” Fortunately, Cliff’s bust-up with Liz means that he is back in the revenge game and he stops by Ewing Oil to suggest to Michelle that they join forces against her new father-in-law: “I’m about to cut JR’s head off and hand it to him on a platter. I thought you might like to help.” “Oh, I think I’d enjoy that,” she smiles, “and if we get James along the way, that’s fine too.”

    During his storyline with Liz, we saw JR in Cliff’s condo — a rare sight indeed. In fact, it’s only happened once before. Even more incongruous, bordering on the surreal, is the sight of Val stomping around Paige’s apartment, wearing her asymmetrical wig and bright red lipstick, ranting about the whereabouts of “your freeloading gold-digging slut of a mother!” “I didn’t know she knew Mother that well,” Paige later remarks to Gary when he also stops by her apartment — another unusual occurrence. Indeed, Paige has never really spoken to Val or Gary before this week.

    Meanwhile, Paige’s freeloading gold-digging slut of a mother has actually hooked up with Nick Schillace again for another get-rich-quick scheme. Just as Bobby is presently calling himself Bobby Southworth, they too have adopted aliases, Betty and Dimitri. And just as Bobby and Jory have got themselves caught up in a dangerous mystery involving a pawn ticket and a briefcase full of drugs, Anne and Mick are now embroiled in their own dangerous mystery, which involves a doll containing an unknown Maguffin worth $60,000. While Jory is abducted and held for ransom, Anne is held, briefly, at gunpoint. But then comes the screwball twist — remember the recent episode of KNOTS that ended with Anne and Nick staring at two identical suitcases, one of which contained a million dollars and the other a bomb? Well, this ep ends with them staring at a litter of near-identical puppies, one of which has eaten the precious Maguffin. Repetitive yes, but puppies are cuter than briefcases (generally speaking) so it kind of balances out.

    Meanwhile, the dramatic purpose of Malibu Bobby’s generic drugs/kidnap plot becomes clear when he realises that his window of opportunity to save Jory’s life (“They’re gonna kill her if you don’t show up!”) clashes with his only chance to nab Jory’s mother Hilary. Who will win out: Hero Bobby or Vengeful Bobby? Somewhat inevitably, he elects to rescue the damsel in distress (and apprehend the kidnappers to boot).

    Eventually, Jory realises that Bobby isn’t who he claims to be and that he only befriended her to gain access to her mother. Over on KNOTS, Kate now knows that Steve Brewer likewise misrepresented himself when they first met in order to gain access to her mother (who, it turns out, is also his mother). And just as Bobby can’t bring himself to hurt Jory any further by telling her the truth of what Hilary did (“Your mother and I have some unfinished business” is all he’ll say), Claudia is unwilling to reveal the rest of her story, i.e., the identity of Steve’s father. “Why does everyone presume that this is public information?” she asks indignantly. In lieu of an answer, Kate develops her own theory. “She told me that she didn’t have a choice … It sounded like she was raped,” she tells Steve.

    While Jory reacts to the news of Bobby’s deception with mild hysteria — “I cared for you and you didn’t give a damn about me!” she wails — Kate manages to retain her sense of humour in the face of Steve’s. She even presents him with a card that reads, “Roses are a shade of red, my face has turned another. I thought you’d be my Valentine, but it turns out you’re my brother.” This sweet, sad and funny little verse is in stark contrast to another poem on this week’s KNOTS, “A Prayer for Children”, which Mack delivers over a sentimental montage of sick and/or sad-looking children in hospital. Its basic message — that children suffering abuse and other hardships is A Very Bad Thing and there but for the grace of God go the rest of our kids — is something we can all agree on and don’t need to be bludgeoned over the head with. Whereas Jason’s reading from Spoon River Anthology a few weeks ago felt moving and intimate because it arose naturally out of the drama (as does Kate’s Valentine verse), this seems more like a lecture.

    And this week’s Top 2 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) DALLAS
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

    Message Count:
    3,022
    Trophy Points:
    6,636
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Actor
    Location:
    Brixton
    Ratings:
    +5,097
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    Time immemorial
    07 Mar 91: KNOTS LANDING: Gone Microfiching v. 08 Mar 91: DALLAS: Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Sons

    The latest additions to the Mackenzie house and Southfork Ranch are treated in contrasting ways this week. While Karen and Mack do everything they can to make their new foster son Jason feel at home, i.e., making a fuss while trying to make it seem like they’re not making a fuss — James’s wife Michelle finds herself repeatedly left out and made fun of by the men and boys at Southfork. “The famous Ewing men’s club, no women or outsiders allowed,” she remarks upon being excluded from a family cattle drive. “What are you gonna do — slap a sex discrimination suit on me?” JR sneers in reply.

    The tentative way the Mackenzies and Jason behave towards each other is very touching. In a season of KNOTS that’s been uncharacteristically heavy-handed, Thomas Wilson Brown’s delicately truthful performance as Jason has been a saving grace. Moments like the closing scene where he quietly breaks down after the family surprise him with a birthday cake could so easily have been cloying but are instead very moving.

    Although DALLAS doesn’t cast Michelle in as sympathetic a light as KNOTS does Jason (“She doesn’t like kids,” observes Christopher — even Alexis and Angela liked kids!), it doesn’t dismiss her easily as JR does either. We’re privy to moments that the rest of the Ewings don’t see — her sadness as she takes one last look around April’s apartment before putting it up for sale; her admission to Cliff that she doesn’t regard her marriage to James solely as a business transaction (“Maybe it’s crazy but … I really want him to fall in love with me”). In fact, in the topsy turvy world that is DALLAS’s final season, the show’s biggest opportunist is also its major underdog. So it’s cheering when James starts to soften towards his new wife. “You get under my skin sometimes but there’s a lot there to like too,” he concedes. At this, Michelle’s pretty little face lights up — maybe there is a future for her at Southfork after all! But then in the final scene of the episode, a plainly dressed young woman shows up at the ranch claiming that she is James’s wife. And that’s not all. “This is James’ son,” she says, producing a blond toddler out of thin air. “You’re not gonna wake up one day and find out we don’t want you,” Mack assures Jason at the end of KNOTS. “We’re it, pal. You’re stuck with us.” By the end of DALLAS, Michelle’s position is looking a lot more precarious.

    While Christopher likens the squabbling between JR, James and Michelle to “watching the Three Stooges on TV”, Steve Brewer finds Claudia’s story about the circumstances leading to his conception — a college romance with a history professor who was unable to leave his paralysed wife — about as convincing as a romance novel: “Danielle Steel couldn’t have done a better job.” On balance, Steve being a Danielle Steel reader seems even less likely than ten-year-old Christopher being a Three Stooges fan.

    Early on in this week’s KNOTS, Julie Williams broaches the topic of “safe sex against AIDS” with her father Frank. What follows is Soap Land’s most in-depth discussion on the subject thus far. They get as far as comparing latex and lambskin condoms before Julie makes it clear that she isn’t concerned for herself, but for Frank. Watched in hindsight, there’s an irony to this scene that just feels horribly sad.

    Now she’s gotten past her rebellious phase and stopped pointing rifles at people, Julie has become a really charming presence on KNOTS, graceful and self-possessed. She deflects her father’s overprotectiveness, which sometimes threatens to tip over into sitcom buffoonery, with casually understated humour and a lovely lightness of touch. It’s not a quality we’ve seen in any of Soap Land’s previous teen girls.

    While Frank talks about moving on at Pat’s graveside (“Charlotte’s a nice woman … I know she’d be good for Julie”), fellow widower Bobby is also ready to let go of the past. “There comes a time when you have to stop looking for revenge. Caring for the living is important,” he tells Christopher. Frank ends up splitting with Charlotte when he realises he’s more serious about their relationship than she is. This inevitably leads to him encountering a succession of potential girlfriends who are “hilariously” unsuitable — a sequence made totally worth it by the date who stares at him with contemptuous boredom as he delivers another anecdote about how adorably hapless he is.

    This is Episode 350 of DALLAS and the Ewing cattle drive gives the instalment a pleasingly back to basics feel. It also includes another of those "Things You Thought You’d Never See on DALLAS" moments to file alongside Jordan Lee’s phone box murder and JR schtupping Sly: “Yeah, that’s your Uncle JR on a horse,” Bobby confirms. “This is the age of miracles.”

    During the drive, there are a couple of quietly momentous conversations where JR and Bobby discuss ageing and the passage of time, subjects they’ll revisit in New DALLAS. Over a campfire, JR’s thoughts turn to the recent death of Blackie Callahan, one of Jock’s wildcatting contemporaries. “Most of those old oil giants are gone now,” remarks Bobby. “Yeah,” JR replies, “Daddy, Seth Stone … Jordan Lee … even old Digger Barnes. You know, they were young vital men when we were kids. They were the ones who made the Texas oilman a legend around the world … The world I know is disappearing real fast.” As well as the wildcatting world JR grew up in, DALLAS itself and Soap Land as a whole are also disappearing. “What am I gonna do with myself?” JR wonders. “Can you imagine me sitting poolside at Southfork, just day after day?” Here, he sounds more like the viewer at home than he ever has before — just another working man nearing retirement age and facing the reality of his own obsolescence.

    “You and I have spent our entire lives trying to win Daddy’s approval by fighting with one another, neither one of us giving up till we were sure we were his favourite,” Bobby tells him. Exactly fifty episodes ago, when they were trapped in that elevator together instead of enjoying the wide-open plains, JR finally acknowledged to his brother that “you were his favourite from the day you were born.” Now it’s time for Bobby to concede the title: “I’m giving up the fight, JR. You are Daddy’s son. As a matter of fact, you’re Jock Ewing right now.”

    And this week’s Top 2 are …

    1 (2) DALLAS
    2 (1) KNOTS
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. kenneth

    kenneth Soap Chat Member

    Message Count:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Location:
    drammen, norway
    Ratings:
    +196
    I believe the There Stooges are highly regarded by children Stateside. At least back in the 90,'s.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

    Message Count:
    3,022
    Trophy Points:
    6,636
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Actor
    Location:
    Brixton
    Ratings:
    +5,097
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    Time immemorial
    28 Mar 91: KNOTS LANDING: Upwardly Mobile v. 29 Mar 91: DALLAS: When the Wind Blows

    “We can cut back. We can be like other people,” Nick tells Anne on KNOTS after their latest get-rich-quick scheme backfires in much the same way as all their preceding ones have. By “other people” he means ordinary folk who have to do mundane jobs for a living. There are a few such people in this week’s Ewingverse, but mostly they’re not very interesting. The staff and customers Nick and Anne encounter when they become, respectively, a waiter in an Italian restaurant and a shop assistant in a clothing store are pretty much one-dimensional comedic figures, who react with bemusement to the eccentric new arrivals in their midst. Both Nick and Anne are inappropriately opinionated towards their customers (Him: “Spaghetti and meatballs — that’s what you’re ordering in an Italian restaurant?” Her: “That colour makes you look like the walking dead”) and both get sacked on their first day. As comedy sequences go, their attempts to “be like other people” isn’t terrible, but it is predictable and does go on for ages — and, as the characters end up in the exact same positions they were in at the start of the ep, ultimately quite frustrating.

    DALLAS’s “ordinary person” is Debra Lynn, the small-town girl whom James eloped with some three years earlier. We don’t know too much about her background other than she used to work in a bookstore, but the show is less interested in Debra Lynn herself than what she represents — family — in contrast to what James’s other wife, Michelle, represents — Ewing Oil.

    Following in the footsteps of Pam Ewing, Terry Hartford and Krystle Carrington, James has become Soap Land’s latest unintentional bigamist. Like Terry, he stands to lose a fortune — his half-ownership of Ewing Oil is contingent on his marriage to Michelle — but he is blissfully unaware of the situation, as JR manages to keep him and Debra Lynn apart for almost the entire episode. In the meantime, JR urges him to pay Michelle more attention: “I really think it behoves you to be a bit nicer to her — until we can get a better deal.”

    By far the most believable “ordinary person” of the week is KNOTS’ Steve Brewer. The highlight of the episode is his introduction to the Sumner Group. Kate has persuaded Greg to give him a job in spite of Greg’s dislike of nepotism and Steve’s dislike of Greg: “I hate everything I’ve ever heard or read about Greg Sumner and you’re telling me he’s my uncle?!” he asks her in dismay. But Steve is an ordinary person and ordinary people need to work.

    The first scene between uncle and nephew is really good. Steve walks into Greg’s office and introduces himself. “I don’t care if you’re Elvis Presley,” Greg replies, “no-one comes through that door without an appointment … You remind of someone … somebody tall and skinny. If you’re gonna work here, you gotta dress up.” “I am dressed up”, insists Steve, currently wearing a sweater and jeans — that’s how ordinary a guy he is! “You don’t own a tie?” Greg asks. “Oh, I see: wear a tie, mind my manners, laugh at your jokes, do a little generic sucking up.” “Yeah, but don’t make the sucking up too obvious.” “… With all due respect, sir, you are a pompous self-satisfied, potato of a — I mean, you could have anything, you could do anything you want … What do you do that’s original, that’s worth remembering? You buy a company here, you sell a company there. You don’t care if they’re selling plastics or plastique.” With this argument, Steve sounds like a cross between Laura and Mary Frances, but Greg lets the words wash over him. “Jimmy Stewart!” he says. “That’s who you remind me of. You remind me of Jimmy Stewart. But I don’t think my sister ever met Jimmy Stewart.” “I’ll do my best to find a nice tie,” Steve replies drily.

    Tasked with finding Steve a post, Mort assigns him to Paige as her personal assistant, in spite (or because) of him having zero office skills. Of course, Paige and Steve have already met cute when he dented her fancy car with his camper van a few weeks earlier. Like JR and Bobby fifty-one episodes of DALLAS ago, they end up getting stuck in an elevator together. This leads to the most gratuitous instance of on-screen disrobing since Jenny Agutter got naked in Logan’s Run as Steve persuades Paige to remove her blouse: “I can use the edge of one of those buttons to unscrew that panel there. You see, I figure one of the wires came loose when you pounded on the elevator buttons.” While Paige reluctantly undresses, Steve averts his gaze and delivers his theory about beautiful women: “Your whole life, people liked you because you’re beautiful … One day you’ll get old and nobody will notice you. That’s why I feel sorry for you.”

    Meanwhile, the best part of this week’s DALLAS is Carter McKay’s enjoyably soapy confrontation with Cliff. “It was you,” he tells him. “It was you who made me lose West Star. It was you who let me take the rap for a crime you committed. It was you who allowed them to brand me a murderer. And now it’s payback time … You’re going to find out what it feels like to lose everything, just like I did. Either resign [as National Energy Tsar] within twenty-four hours or I tell the world you’re a murderer.” To twist the knife a little further, McKay then tricks Cliff into believing it was Liz who betrayed him: “She gave me a copy of the confession you made to the police.” This, in turn, leads to a great scene between Liz and McKay where it’s her turn to do a little blackmail. “The mighty McKay shot down Cliff and me with the same bullet … Are you really such a miserable son of a bitch that you can’t stand to see anyone happy?” she asks before handing him a file containing “names, dates, places and times. You weren’t just a minor player with Dancer’s people back east.” If he goes public with Cliff’s confession, she explains, she’ll go public with the file. “Why aren’t you using this information now?” McKay asks her. “Because Cliff doesn’t deserve to be National Energy Tsar,” she replies. And with that, Liz is gone for good. It’s another low-key but effective DALLAS departure. Like Donna in Season 9, her parting gesture is to seal someone’s fate from afar: she both saves Cliff from prison and ensures his political career is over. I really liked Liz — she was part conventional love interest; part sexy secret agent in the same mould as FALCON CREST’s cool cartel girls Pamela Lynch and Diana Hunter. Liz’s exit also means that of the four DALLAS females in the current opening titles, Michelle is the only one still on the show.

    KNOTS and DALLAS each end with a woman bursting unexpectedly into a room, followed by a nasty surprise. On KNOTS, the woman is on the receiving end of that surprise; on DALLAS, she’s the one delivering it. Following her elevator ordeal, Paige walks into Greg’s office (“Greg, I have been stuck in …”) to find him lying on the couch while Linda Fairgate stands over him wearing just her slip. Meanwhile, Debra Lynn, having realised JR has been fobbing her off about James’s whereabouts, barges into the Southfork living room in the middle of pre-dinner cocktails. Whereas Paige, Linda and Greg are all stunned into silence, JR can’t shut Debra Lynn up. “All bets are off, Grandpa! I am still legally married to James. I’m still his wife and the mother of his child and she’s out of here!” she yells, pointing at Michelle. In both scenes, a laugh out loud moment precedes the closing credits. There’s something about Paige’s jacket falling open to reveal her bra while Linda is also in a state of undress that feels like a perfectly executed bit of farce, while John Ross and Christopher smiling delightedly over Debra Lynn’s revelation also works really well. (They’ve now replaced Lucy as Southfork’s resident amused onlookers.)

    And this week’s Top 2 are …

    1 (1) DALLAS
    2 (2) KNOTS LANDING
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019 at 1:02 AM
  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

    Message Count:
    3,022
    Trophy Points:
    6,636
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Actor
    Location:
    Brixton
    Ratings:
    +5,097
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    Time immemorial
    04 Apr 91: KNOTS LANDING: An American Hero v. 05 Apr 91: DALLAS: Those Darned Ewings

    KNOTS opens with Paige not so much flashing back as flashing sideways to how she wished she'd reacted to Greg and Linda at the end of last week’s episode. Of the three alternatives presented, the most satisfying scenario has her pouring a jug of water over them.

    Over on DALLAS, Michelle is also reeling from an end of episode discovery — that James has another wife and a two-year-old son. As ‘90s girls are wont to do, Paige and Michelle both console themselves by eating ice cream straight from the tub. While Paige favours imitation Haagen Daz, Michelle goes for Blue Bell (a genuine Texas brand), which she laces with a dollop of honey.

    Things only get worse for both blondes as they are forced into close proximity with their respective rivals — Paige and Linda are assigned to the same project at the Sumner Group (“Mrs Richfield specifically asked for Linda … There’s nothing else behind this,” Greg assures Paige) and Debra Lynn and son Jimmy are invited by JR to stay at Southfork (“James, you kinda got two wives now, right? … Are you all gonna stay in the same room?” asks John Ross innocently). Whereas Paige deploys some first-rate glaring and pouting in Linda’s direction, Michelle is forced to make nice around Debra Lynn. “I can’t get into a spitting contest with Bambi. If I go toe to toe with her, it’d be like Jaws versus the Little Mermaid — James would take her side in her second,” she complains to Cliff, mixing her Disney metaphors in the process. While Paige has fun placing a sleazy small ad with Linda’s phone number attached — “Looking for love in all the wrong places? How about my place? … Ready, willing and able to take on all comers” (juvenile yes, but the moment where Mort calls the number and he and Linda recognise each other’s voice is really funny) — Michelle politely asks Debra Lynn to let her and James adopt Jimmy. “This family doesn’t just get by, we’re the people that everyone looks up to,” she reasons. Unsurprisingly, Debra Lynn responds about as positively as Jenna Wade and Adrienne Cassidy did when Pam Ewing and Sable Colby made them similar requests.

    Paige and Michelle’s ice cream binges aside, culinary highlights of the week include Debra Lynn serving up something called a West Point omelette for breakfast at Southfork and a broke Anne Matheson sitting down to a dinner of crackers with apple butter and cottage cheese. “You can never be too rich and too thin,” Nick tells her. “Yeah well, rich and thin is one thing,” she retorts. “Poor and thin is another.”

    And “rich and fat” is yet another. “You are overweight,” JR’s physician informs him. “Your blood pressure’s only a few points lower than your cholesterol which is practically off the chart. You are about to explode …” “Year after year, you yell at me for the same thing,” JR complains. We haven’t been privy to any of these previous discussions, but considering we didn’t find out about Krystle’s terminal diagnosis for years either, that doesn’t seem too big of a deal. The doctor’s words only add to the sense that time, i.e., mortality, is finally catching up with JR. A strict regime of exercise, no red meat and only one ounce of alcohol per day is prescribed. Impressively, JR sticks to the no drinking rule, even if James does catch him sneaking a few chocolate chip cookies. Meanwhile, Greg Sumner, who has likewise been placed on a strict health regime since his liver problems began, ditches the apple juice in favour whisky this week following a run-in with his sister. He accuses her of using Kate to get close to him (and his money). In response, Claudia plays her trump card: “[Kate] is not your daughter and I don’t want you seeing her anymore.” “You wanna know what the problem is with families?” a boozed-up Greg later asks Carlos. “They know where the weak spots are.”

    If Greg’s weak spot is his niece (to the point where he offers Claudia a job running the Sumner Foundation to prevent her and Kate moving back to Pittsburgh), JR’s is his new grandson (“Boy, you are just one cute kid,” he tells him. “Why is it that I think I’m gonna have to make a choice between you and the company I’ve been fighting for all my life?”). Whereas the sight of JR trying to feed Jimmy is possibly a step into cutesville too far, there’s something refreshingly spontaneous about Greg and Kate’s scenes together — he becomes less aloof and she seems less all-purpose perky.

    Both Jason Lochner and John Ross Ewing struggle with their homework this week. When John Ross turns to his father for help with his English, JR isn’t very sympathetic. “I’m afraid I’m gonna have to ground you till your grades pick up some,” he says while cradling Jimmy in his arms. “Bet if it was him, he wouldn’t be grounded,” John Ross replies resentfully. “Now John Ross, you’re a little too old to be jealous of a baby,” JR chides. “You’re almost a man now. It’s best you start acting like one.” Mack is more supportive of Jason’s struggles with Advanced Trigonometry but can offer little practical help. However, an intriguing tension develops between them as Jason continues to sing his father’s praises. “He’s a mathematical genius … He could do this whole sum in ten-seconds flat.” “What did he do, race you?” Mack asks cynically. “Sometimes, yeah,” Jason replies. “You’re kidding!” Mack scoffs. He continues to needle Jason about his dad, making him defensive (“Just because my father showed me how to do something doesn’t make it bad”) and the tension only increases when he and Karen find out from Julie that a composition Jason wrote, on the topic of “An American Hero," has won him the chance of a scholarship to study abroad. The more excited they become, the more Jason squirms with discomfort: “I’m not really sure I want it … I really don’t think I deserve it …. It’s not worth it.” Mack keeps on at him (“Jason, that’s ridiculous! … You’re gonna give up a year in Sweden because you don’t want to read an essay in public?!”) as if he can bulldoze him into submission by the sheer force of his own enthusiasm. This brings back memories of the brash, overbearing Mack we first met in Season 4 who kept trying too hard to ingratiate himself with the Fairgate kids. He badgers Jason to show him his essay. At first, Jason refuses but then he angrily hands it to him. Mack starts to read it aloud: “I, Jason Lochner, am the luckiest kid on earth. I don’t just read about American heroes, I live with one. If a hero is defined by his feats of courage and his willingness to sacrifice …” And here, in a brilliantly human moment, Mack smiles bashfully, assuming the essay is about him. But then he reads on: “… then the greatest American hero of all is my father.” Jason snatches back the paper. “The son of a bitch,” he mutters, as much to himself as to Karen and Mack, “he was my hero. I would have done anything for him. I would have done ANYTHING for him. He had no right to treat me like the way he did, he had no right to treat me like dirt and he sure had no right to not love me … ”

    Dick Lochner isn’t the only parent who finally gets knocked off his pedestal this week. Bobby Ewing is surprised to find Jory Taylor waiting on the cardboard patio at Southfork. “I’ve seen my mother,” she explains. “She told me everything … Everything I believed in is a lie! … How could she do something like that? I mean, she actually planned someone’s murder! … What kind of a woman is she, Bobby?!” Whereas Jason’s outburst about his father is messy and real and heartbreaking, Jory’s about her mother is overwrought and shrill and kind of amusing.

    While Jory is shocked to learn that her mother was responsible for April’s death, Steve Brewer is stunned to discover who was responsible for the deaths of his adoptive parents. They were forced out of their lumber mill by a large corporation and lost their pensions, he explains to Kate. “Dad had to go back to logging but he was too old for the work. He wasn’t on the job three weeks when he was killed. Then my mom died six months later.” And the man behind that large corporation? You guessed it — one Gregory Sumner. Next thing you know, Steve’s showing up for work with his hair slicked back, wearing a snazzy suit and ingratiating himself with Linda behind Paige’s back. It’s Peter Hollister redux.

    As Steve gets acclimatised to life at the Sumner Group, he also finds time to encourage meek and mild (and slightly irritating) Bob to assert himself, in the same way that JR, after he grew acclimatised to life at the sanatarium at the start of this season, encouraged Bob’s identical twin, Donio, to assert himself. When Mort starts taking credit for Bob’s office recycling initiative, Steve suggests he “tell Mort you sent Mr Sumner a copy of your proposal by electronic mail.” Electronic what now?

    Both Ewingverse episodes end with a son surprising his father (or father figure). Along with family, friends and bloody Peggy, Mack arrives at Jason’s school for the formal reading of his essay. When Jason gets to the part where he identifies his American hero, he amends it to “my foster father.” Mack is taken aback and clearly touched. (This moment wouldn’t have worked nearly as well had it not been for the previous scene where Mack assumed the essay was about him, before realising it wasn’t; he may be a genuine hero, but he still has an ego the size of a house.) Meanwhile, James turns a lecture from JR about his fatherly responsibilities on its head. “You already let one child get away from here and by God, you’re fixing to do it again!” JR snaps at him. “What are you talking about?” James asks. “You let Cally walk out of here with your child.” “The hell I did … I’m not the father, you are!”

    Back on KNOTS, Jason’s testimonial about Mack is immediately followed by another tribute, as the words “We remember Steve Shaw who was Eric Fairgate on Knots Landing” appear on the screen. This is followed by a montage of various shots of Eric from the past twelve years, not unlike the Gary/Val montage earlier in the season, accompanied by Michele Lee singing ‘Look at That Face’ by Anthony Newley. This is the first time a Soap Land actor’s death has been acknowledged on-screen since Jim Davis’s on DALLAS nine years earlier. Of course, Davis’s character has remained an ongoing presence ever since, with scarcely an episode going by without some reference to Jock or “my daddy”. This week is no exception. JR, eager to pacify Debra Lynn in the opening scene, invites her to join the family for dinner. Bobby suggests she and Jimmy take “a seat right there, at the head of the table.” “I thought you needed a dispensation from God to sit in that seat,” Michelle remarks. “Not if you’re blood,” replies JR. “My daddy’d be real happy to see his great-grandson sitting in that big old chair of his.”

    And this week’s Top 2 are …

    1 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019 at 3:39 PM
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Fan

    Message Count:
    420
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +634
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    2019
    Thanks for taking the time to do these, James. Dallas in this late season may not be as enjoyable as it once was, but your write ups are great fun to read.
    Someone in these forums, maybe even you, once said KL was becoming something of a comedy of manners at this point. Seems to be true.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1

Share This Page