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Do You Consider Dallas To Be Art?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    It depends on the values of the person watching it. I wouldn't watch something I consider "trash." There needs to be at least some morality for me to enjoy it. If I don't find any of the characters in a story likable, then I don't care what happens in the story. I can't like a thug who lives by using force to steal or extort the fruits of the labor of productive men. That man is a parasite. I have no fondness for parasites.
     
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  2. The Holiday Whore

    The Holiday Whore Soap Chat Warrior

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    Ok but JR? Hardly moral. Or is his thuggery more palatable because he has goons to carry it out for him?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  3. Piggy It's Kermit Outside

    Piggy It's Kermit Outside Soap Chat Star

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    Actually I´d say that every TV show out there tries to manipulate us in one way or another. The best thing about "Dallas" even then, is that people KNEW they were being manipulated by the genre conventions, call it soap opera, melodrama or telenovela. It was famous around the world because despite all, there was an overall respect towards the viewer through great acting, attention to continuity, a sense of irony, and originality.

    After a few years, those virtues were lost and, after the Donna Reed debacle and the Dream resolution, the show kept most of its audience (especially worldwide, since they - us, in my case - were several seasons behind, and well, yo can read "none of that happened" and then, later on, SEE how lame that decision really was...) out of loyalty. But familiarity with the cast was a bigger thing for the "Dallas" viewership, and we all know how many original cast members were left in the last season...

    So in a certain way, and IMHO, manipulation was not the issue, but the fact that the people behind the show (producers and CBS) finally were seen as makers of a subproduct just for money, and at the end, only a few of us were there because, believe it or not, at late 80s and early 90s, the other, new TV shows were not that great and you know what the say: "Known Devil is better than Unknown Angel". Which of course led us to that awful "Conundrum"...
     
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  4. Kenny Coyote

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    I can see why you'd ask that, considering what I wrote earlier, but as I said " I can't like a thug who lives by using force to steal or extort the fruits of the labor of productive men." JR is a productive man who provides a product that makes our cars run and heats our home in the winter. He has a tremendous work ethic. He'd rather work than go on vacation. Yes, he plays hardball, but so does everyone else in his business, or they won't survive. Still, there are lines they will never cross.

    The mafioso that I'm imagining is the type of man who produces nothing of value. He has no work ethic, which is exactly why he chose to join the mafia. He would vacation all of the time except that he has to spend some of his time stealing and extorting. He doesn't want to work for his money. He and his other mafiosos live by going to oil businesses, for example, and extorting them. "Pay us X amount of money per month or some of your oil wells are going to start catching on fire." Then they decide to raise their price. The oilman says he can't afford to pay them more. "That's too bad, the mafioso says, because I know how much you love your little boy." That's right. The mafioso is such an absolute chickens*t that he won't even go after you if he's angry at you; he will go after your children.

    Now you understand there's a world of difference between JR and the type of man I'm describing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  5. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    But no-one says that the manipulation on Dallas was an issue. It's not about what made Dallas great and if/when/how it stopped being great.

    It's just that it could be the difference between being arthouse TV or not.

    Or is the "guilty pleasure" stigma based on the idea that viewers know and embrace the emotional manipulation?
     
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  6. The Holiday Whore

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    Yea... JR was a rapist, a blackmailer and a crook and all round scumbag. The fact that he went to work and "put petrol in our cars" doesn't negate that. You have a very skewed view of the world.

    JR was not a good or moral man. He was the man you were supposed to love to hate. Not the man you were supposed to aspire to.
     
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  7. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    If you had watched the show then you'd know that it's not always a matter of choice.
    But he was seeing a psychiatrist...
    That perfectly describes the men in the world of the Tony Sopranos.
     
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  8. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I didn't say he was. I merely described him as the show depicted him.

    The secure, well-adjusted man or woman does not "love to hate." Hatred brings him or her no happiness.

    The mature man or woman attacks the argument - not the person making the argument.

    The man or woman of self-esteem does not feel the need to take a friendly discussion and turn it into a personal attack on those who have the "the audacity" to not share his or her opinion on a fictional TV character.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  9. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'm curious about this.

    I had never come across the term "arthouse TV" until this discussion, but as far as I know, all TV dramas have this goal:: To get an emotional reaction from the audience. How does arthouse TV accomplish that without manipulating the emotions of the viewers?
     
  10. Wintry North Poleson

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    I guess that's why they call it art.

    I can be fascinated by something without knowing why. I didn't feel particularly emotional about Mad Men, but in its own strange way it was compelling and very addictive.
     
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  11. The Holiday Whore

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    It's ok I get it now. It doesn't really matter what I say. You clearly have a very set viewpoint. A sort of hero worship of JR and Dallas's universe as you saw it. Which happens to be a different universe to what the rest of the world was seeing. I'll leave you to it. Enjoy the view.
     
  12. Kenny Coyote

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    What happens to one of them of he decides not to join the mafia? Would it have been pretty much like Gary to wanting to work in the oil business? Could he have just left in search of a new life, and come back to visit once in a while?

    With what result?

    I was describing the men in the oil industry. Do you see the men in the mafia as their equals?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  13. Kenny Coyote

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    What did you like about the murderers?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  14. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    Their complexity, their humour, their relationships to one another, their use of language, their etiquette, their unpredictability, their humanity, their hypocrisy... you know, the usual stuff. But I’d say that applied to all the characters in the series, not just the ones who killed people.
     
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  15. Kenny Coyote

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    Did any of you Sopranos fans like the TV show "The Untouchables"?
     
  16. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    They have to, if they're going to be successful. After all, they're trying to make us care ( at the time we're watching the show) what happens to people who don't even exist!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  17. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Actually, he wanted a better life for his children.
    Those who were already in, and wanted out...that's a different story.
    The scenes were more important than the result of those therapy sessions.
    My point was that there's motives and pressure everywhere.
     
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  18. James from London

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    On the subject of viewer manipulation, a few key Sopranos scenes come to mind.

    After Dr Melfi is raped, you’re willing her to tell Tony about it and for him to then mete out his own brand of justice on her attacker: it would provide a catharsis for both the viewer and the victim, and would be the ideal way for Melfi and Tony to finally become something more than doctor and patient. But she doesn’t.

    Then when Christopher’s girlfriend Adrianna, whom all the characters love, is forced to become a snitch, you’re willing for her to somehow escape her grisly fate after her ‘betrayal’ is discovered. But she doesn’t.

    Then there’s the final scene of the series which apparently annoyed a lot of people but I really loved.

    In each case, you could argue that the programme makers are deliberately toying with audience expectations and then subverting them at the last minute, or you could argue that they are simply being true to those characters and how they would naturally behave in that world - as opposed to how they would behave in 90% of TV dramas. And I think both arguments would be valid.

    It reminds me of the Undertones, who didn’t want to have an image like every other band so they went onstage in their everyday clothes. But then that ‘anti-image’ became their image by default.
     
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  19. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    But does a character have to be moral in order to be likeable? And is morality the presiding reason for someone's likeability?




    That's not a person that I would gravitate towards in real life, and as one dimensional as you make them sound I doubt I'd enjoy watching them on television. But I would hope that such a flawed character as your "thug", if well-written and well-rounded, could be fascinating to watch.

    I don't watch TV to see people who share my life philosophies and code of morals. I'm curious about the human condition and its flaws most of all.

    Consider this quote from E.O. Wilson:
    As children we see things in black and white. Good and evil. Cops and robbers. Heroes and villains. But if we hold on to that philosophy we're going to be disappointed by the people we revere and miss out on relationships with the people we fear or "other".

    At the very least we could miss out on some great TV.




    Fascinating. I've only seen the Pilot episode and this has piqued my curiosity.
     
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  20. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I like plenty of characters who aren't entirely moral, but there have to be a certain amount of redeeming qualities in a character to be likable.

    Yes, as opposition for the lead character, he could be very interesting. How the protagonist overcomes him or his gang could be interesting to watch. Seeing the thug or his gang as the lead character or characters is something that doesn't interest me.

    I learned long ago that there is real life and then there's TV. TV is show business. That's why I don't watch TV shows out of curiosity to find out about the human condition.

    The ordinary is evident all throughout life. I don't consider it the purpose of art (movies or TV in this case) to show me the ordinary. I consider it the purpose of art to show me the extraordinary.
     

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