Dallas: What It Had And What It Lost

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Jimmy Todd

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    Great post, @Kenny Coyote!
    Has any show had so spectacular, if that's the right word, reversal of fortune as Dallas? Not just in terms of ratings such as Dynasty, but in quality. For me it didn't go from "must see" to "eh." It went from "must see" to "this is insulting and sad."
    I can't think of any show that had that dramatic a turnaround.
    Dallas and Dynasty could be seen in some ways as metaphors for empires or countries. Dallas built itself up with hard work and quality, achieved success, yet that very success led to bloated egos and cronyism which, imho, were the root of its demise. These were root factors in the fall of many dynasties, and in what unfortunately, we may be seeing occurring today.
    Dynasty reminds me of an economy that is celebrated yet no one is acknowledging that it's artificially created and can't last. It was at it's creative best when it wasn't as concerned with being no. 1 in the writings. When the amped up the publicity machine, the clothes and the outrageous plotlines, it was high in the ratings. Yet it couldn't last viewers grew weary of all that and the plots became insulting to the intelligence of most people. We have seen instances where economies or economic bubbles are doing wonderfully but burst because they weren't built on anything solid, i.e. when the housing bubble burst in the U.S. in 2008 leading to "The Great Recession." As a great Scandinavian philosopher:cool1once said, "When the mask falls off it really makes a thud."
    Knots Landing is a good metaphor for an economy with a strong foundation. It could weather certain slumps because it was built on solid writing, directing, and acting, not clothes and publicity.
     
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  2. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    OK, if we're going with your definition of a soap opera: "it's the continuous multiple-drama-structure that makes it a soap opera", then how does whether it's comfortable or on-topic make The Sopranos not a soap opera?

    Thanks @Jimmy Todd!

    My answer to that question is probably not, because no other show has had such a high place from which to fall, except maybe MASH which holds the viewing record just slightly ahead of Dallas and also had longevity similar to Dallas, but I don't know believe they ever fell so far from whenever they were at their peak.

    That's an interesting comparison. I really can see why they would have had "bloated egos." When everyone's telling you how your show is setting records and is the hottest show thing in pop culture, it must be easy to start thinking you can do no wrong.

    I haven't seen those shows, although if Knots Landing ever releases their whole show on DVD I might get it. I've heard great things about it. I started watching Dynasty but I couldn't get into it. I'll give it another try sometime.

    Nice comparison to the economic bubbles that burst. It amazes me that countries could be convinced that what they were doing was a good idea. There has to be a solid foundation. I think we should have stayed on the gold standard. Nixon took us off of that, didn't he?
     
  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Let me put it this way: disco is music you can dance to, but not every song you can dance to is disco.
    The Sopranos is a serial drama, but it's not structured as soap.
     
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  4. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Thanks. Good way to put it.

    I'm also guessing that the soap aspect you described of it being absurd that so many extreme things could happen to the same group of people weekly is nullified because it's about a mafia family. It's more reasonable that all those things could happen to a mafia family. Am I right?
     
  5. Jimmy Todd

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    Nixon took is off it, I think because the government couldn't afford the Vietnan War.
    I know some, such as Ron Paul have advocated returning to it.
     
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  6. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    But what happened to them was mafia stuff, not everything else that happened in soap operas. The Sopranos are a family so naturally there were family issues too, but not as melodramatic, far-fetched and conveniently plotted as the Dallas stories.
     
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  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    Also, soaps are more emotionally manipulative. There's no background music on THE SOPRANOS telling you how you're supposed to feel at any given time. A scene never ends with a close up of a character telegraphing what they're thinking or feeling, or informing you whose side you're supposed to take. Nothing is spelt out.
     
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  8. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Although many soaps are more effective the less music score they use.
     
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  9. Taylor Bennett Jr.

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    and I really think there could have been really gripping, gritty Texas independent oil content just as intense as mafia stuff in its own way.

    Larry said many times the stuff that really goes on behind the scenes at these companies would make JR look tame. (not sure if he had any actual experience or first-hand sources to back that up, but he did like to say it.) They just kept it superficial on Dallas in comparison.

    Not that I’m complaining - we’re all here as huge fans, after all!
     
  10. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Yes, but you also want to know about their wives and affairs and family feuds.
    TNT Dallas was actually more "Dallas" and less "Southfork".
     
  11. Snarky's Ghost

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    In fact, Larry said they'd blow up CBS. He worked in the oil fields, he heard gossip.

    JR was really quite tame (as was Alexis, Abby and Angela Channing). They were rich operators and a wee bit haughty, but no worse than the average person, actually. Not that I'm defending him.

    If JR was as evil as they pretend, he would have been far more "respected" among Dallas society. People adore a real scumbag. They see genuine evil as being "strength", and they want to always align themselves with "strength" so they justify that by projecting benign and even saintly characteristics onto that person..... JR was held in open contempt by Dallas-ites, so he either was much nicer -- or much poorer -- than we're all led to believe.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I don't have any interest anymore in watching shows about people who are career criminals. I've seen it before and it gets old fast.

    As far as dramas, all that's left on on TV (I'm including Netflix), is shows about criminals and highly dysfunctional people. As people who like to see good stories get told, that's pretty much all that's available to us right now.

    It says a lot about our society, especially those in the most valued demographics, that TV producers think we can identify with these dramas about characters depicting the worst, most base elements of human nature but we can't identify with drama series about characters which exemplify the heroic, our best potential.

    "Peak TV" is a myth. There won't be any such thing until they balance out the number of shows about terribly dysfunctional people with shows about people who are on the other side of things in life.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
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  13. Jimmy Todd

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    I'm glad you made this comment, @Kenny Coyote. So many shows depict people who aren't merely flawed, they're reprehensible. Why would I want to willingly spend time with people whom, if I saw them on a subway, I'd get up and change cars?

    There were dysfunctional families on t.v. in the past, ( All in the Family, Roseanne, The Honeymooners), but there seemed to be a moral center to these shows and a character's bad behavior was pointed out them as bad. Seinfeld had amoral characters, but it was presented as a satire on social mores and so sharply written, it didn't bother me too much. You weren't supposed to like these characters.

    The first show I noticed this with is Friends. I'm not even sure why. It's a funny show and the actors were good, but there was something unlikable about these people that I could never quite put my finger on.
     
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  14. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Yes, and in the case of the increasingly plentiful shows about the reprehensible, all too often we're given the message that the character with whom we should identify with and hope he prevails, has earned that not because of any good qualities he possesses, but because he or she is the character in the show who is "the least bad." Talk about setting the bar low! How are we supposed to care about a character just because he or she isn't as bad as the rest?

    It's hard to imagine why such a show would appeal to anyone. The only explanation which comes to mind at the moment, is that the creator of the show has such a low opinion of the potential audience that he or she thinks the viewers who make up that audience are so miserable and so bereft of virtues, that they need such a show so they can watch it and say "At least we aren't that bad."

    If that's so, the increasing popularity of such shows is a sad reflection on the current state of our society and our culture.
     
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  15. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    That's an opinion of JR I haven't heard before, one that I thought was going to be pretty controversial here, but for whatever reason hasn't been.
     
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  16. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    They also had censors to deal with. They could only go so far on network TV.

    Even if they made an extremely violent, profanity filled, sex filled, Dallas type show today on HBO, it still wouldn't become the cultural phenomenon it did back then. Dallas was the right show, at the right time in history, with the right cast, and they told great stories. They had everything going for them and because of that they caught lightning in a bottle.
     
  17. Jimmy Todd

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    Wait a minute! JR was a baby stealing, rapist, who emotionaly abused his wife, lied, cheated and blackmailed friends, families and business associates. Alexis caused a woman to have a miscarriage, drove another man to commit suicide, stole, lied, and used her own children as pawns in her schemes. Abby broke up a marriage, lied and cheated on her husband, committed quite a few white collar crimes that actually got people killed, nd withheld information for a year about a woman's kidnapped children. Angela, blackmailed people, exploited poor workers, and bribed a woman to get that woman's baby for a business deal. Nome of these characters displayed much remorse. That's your idea of the average person???!?! I often lose my faith in humanity, but never to that degree!
    I don't know about anyone else, but yes, Kenny, @Snarky's Ghost's comment s a very controversial statement.
    If they represent the average person, then I really will believe God is getting ready to bring about the end times and start over again.
     
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  18. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    @Jimmy Todd, are you implying, in a subtle way, that you and all the people you know don't behave pretty much just like JR Ewing? You're saying JR's popularity as a cultural icon was not a result of how well we all could identify with him? I don't even know how to respond to that, Jimmy. I'm just...speechless!
     
  19. Jimmy Todd

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    I know quite a few people whose behavior appalls me, and I often lose faith in humanity, especially when I'm on public transportation. However, I don't know any proud rapists, kidnappers, or murderers. :confused:
     
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  20. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    He was an icon because he was the most popular TV villain. It's possible to understand a villain's motives and reasons, but I usually don't agree with it.
     

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