Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Sep 10, 2019.
For what reasons do you or do you not consider Dallas to be art?
I always thought "Trash with Class", the phrase Sue Ellen used when she was pitching the concept of the Valentine Girl, summed up DALLAS pretty well.
Not to get off subject, but that reminds me of one of the funniest Dallas related memories I have. No matter how I write this won't do it justice, but I'll give it a shot.This was at the time when The Nashville Network was airing Dallas episodes twice a day, every day. My girlfriend at the time and a couple friends of ours were having sort of a Dallas party. All of us had had quite a few beers. At some point in the episode there was a scene where Sue Ellen explained that she had a marketing or sales concept for her company: That she wanted to market her product as lingerie for women who wanted to be "trash with class." My girlfriend's friend immediately said "Yeah, that's exactly I want to be. Trash...but still...with class!" Everyone started laughing hysterically. I guess you had to be there. The way she said it was just so funny.
Season 1 - 8 & 10 I consider to be art, the less said about season 9 and the dream seasons the better.
Great question because the term "art" has been applied to so many things and is very subjective.
I define art as anything that ultimatelyelevates the human spirit. This can be done in many, many ways. Art can be "beautiful," or "disturbing" to accomplish this.
There are certain scenes and episodes that I would consider art yes. The rest O could go with the "trash with class" definition.
I don't consider any of the soap operas "art house" TV.
It's not created to challenge the viewer, or to make them think. It wasn't made for the purpose of "being" Dallas.
That doesn't mean it's worthless, a soap can be a very good soap, but ultimately it's escapsim for the masses.
Peyton Place had an affinity with literature and poetry, and sometimes it crossed over to the scripted dialogue.
There were moments that looked like art house, but let's not forget that it was a based on a novel which was considered absolute trash.
Yes, it can be tricky, how one applies the label of "art". For some people, it's a compliment and for others it's almost a criticism.
By 1983, for me, DALLAS began to feel like art, however briefly.
I recall the controversy in the late 80's over the funding the NEA was giving to certain artists. One of them was a photographer who had taken a picture of a crucifixion in urine.
There was also the movies of Pedro Almodovar and Peter Greenaway that led to the creation of the "NCAA" rating. The movies weren't considered an "X" as in pornography but definitely more extreme than an "R."
I do believe any medium can be elevated to art depending on the artist and what they do with it. In the case of Dallas, it's the actors, writers and directors.
There is, imho, one other factor: the viewer. How her or she perceives may play a role, I think. A crucifix in urine is not something I would consider art. Os it possible the artist, the medium and the viewer coming together could create an artistic experience? It's a controversial idea.
The word "trash" often comes up in descriptions of Dallas. That label may seem contradictory to some, or at least counterintuitive in describing such a well loved show.
For example, if Dallas was "trash" even in the years when it was the most watched primetime TV show of all, what does that say about shows which only had half the success (viewership) of Dallas? Were they trash that was twice as bad? Or is viewership unrelated to that term?
For those who claim viewership is unrelated to whether Dallas is quality art or not, if only the approval of an elite few, rather than the masses, dictate what constitutes "art', what makes those "elite few" anything more than snobs? Aren't all people of equal importance, and if not, who gets to make the distinction as to whose opinion is important and whose isn't?
Then "Dynasty" should be called "Garbage with Mirage"!!
I think that, at least in Spain, American soaps have also been considered as "trash" by the same people who must think now that "Lost" or "The Sopranos" are a gift from Heaven. I call that hypocrisy. When millions of viewers in Spain watched "Dallas" in the 80s, and commented what had happened the day after, there always was someone who added: "It´s fun but it´s a sh*tty show...! I remember a very wise reviewer who once wrote in a column: "If everybody actually hates "Dallas" because nobody does admit they like it or why (only that they watch it), then who are the millions of people who put it at the top of the ratings...?" That´s something to think about.
About the topic itself, I think it´s a generational thing: if someone calls "Dallas" names and such online, they probably are millennials (insert pic of eye-rolling Laura Avery here). They only care about the "flavour of the month" (to quote the most quotable soap writers, "Knots"´ of course...). Once the show is ended, they begin to say: "That show that I followed from beginning to end, actually was a piece of shitte and only episodes 2, 7 and 23 were good. And don´t get me started about the final season..." I find this kind of comments utterly stupid. Hey, if I don´t like a show´s Pilot, I don´t even continue watching, and the same goes for when I give them the first season (as I did with "The Sopranos", btw): not my "cup of tea". I don´t keep watching so I can beech about them endlessly on the net...Life is short (and then you die...) (Another (sort of) quote from "Knots"...).
Yeah, I'd say popularity and quality aren't necessarily the same thing.
I'm not sure what 'quality art' is. I think you can have good art and bad art. I personally don't think DALLAS qualifies as any sort of art; I don't think it's possible to make art under the conditions DALLAS was made.
I like the David Jacobs/Michael Filerman thing: Jacobs wanted to make art, Filerman wanted to make trash and together they made television. I'd say that applies to DALLAS as well as KNOTS LANDING. There's an exciting tension between art and trash; quality and crap. That's where DALLAS exists for me.
I don't know. That sounds like a separate question to 'Is DALLAS art?' though.
Perhaps the best place to start is by asking 'What is art?' I'm not sure how to define it, but I feel like I know it when I see it. It doesn't mean I necessarily always like it.
Everybody can visit a museum, and everybody can appreciate art.
Art is not the standard for entertainment, and the opinion that Dallas isn't art doesn't devalue the show at all.
You can say that Dallas was great, terrific, brilliant - but art isn't just about being good/great/terrific.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but is there some sort of need for validation going on here?
Like "would Dallas have been even more popular if…", "shouldn't Dallas have won more awards…"
Almost as if it needs to be bigger than it was. But why? There's nothing that can beat your love for the show. That's what makes it the best tv show of all times.
So, what comes after art? Was DALLAS divine? (and the answer would be NO because the Dynasty fans have already claimed the divine status. Sorry!)
Actually, I don't know if I always know it when I see it. I feel like certain things definitely are art (like The Godfather), and certain things definitely aren't art (like DALLAS). But there's a whole massive grey area in-between.
James probably phrases it best when he puts it like this:
DYNASTY may have begun with the greatest aspirations to be "artful" and then wound up coming up the most short, the "tension between art and trash; quality and crap" becoming much less exciting when the trash-and-crap part of it wins the arm-wrestle.
Which is what DYNASTY did: the best sense of initial "listening to nature" (which is kind of an art thing) in terms of near-perfect casting and a solid sense of sometimes-majestic identity, soon replaced by incompetent plotting, downmarket shlockiness, and listening to the reverse of what nature's whisper is telling them.
So, yeah, Garbage with Mirage.
Generally when it comes to Dallas, I'm with Jim Davis, who didn't consider what he did 'art' at all. It did get close to that territory, maybe, with the JR-Bobby contest season, and visually in the Bradford May period.
They say we ain't art, Miss Ellie....the bastards!
Trash... with class... My god, Ellie, why did it have to be both of them?
"Dallas? Really? Isn't that just The Waltons with notions?"
Well...actually, it is possible to hang Dallas on your wall.
You'd need a big wall, but still…
A set....or progressive art?
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