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

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by James from London, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Gosh - I can't remember this at all.


    Seeing this in writing immediately made me think of a line from Quint in Jaws (which in turn sort of echoes Greg's earlier "I never swim in shark-infested waters" line):
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    While Val and Gary are doing their giggly acting thing outside the Sumner Group, they recall a time when they were kids and Lilimae caught them making out in the garage, so Gary pretended they were looking for a pencil sharpener. JvA lowers her voice and slows down her delivery to quote her mama saying, “You’d have better luck finding it, sweetpea, if you turned the light on.”
     
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  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah yes. That's refreshed the memory. As a bonus it even made me laugh inside.

    It's apparently been too long since I've watched.
     
  4. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One of the (many) casualties of the tight-budget era of modern soaps is the Big, Splashy Wedding. Very, very few characters get one nowadays, and instead they get an elopement, a last-minute "come as you are" affair, or something bedside at a hospital--you know, the sort of 'cheap-out' like we saw with Gary and Val. Even the biggest daytime couples draw maybe fifteen attendees in a chapel the size of a living room; no outside remotes, no special guest stars, no extras to fill up the pews in many cases. The poor bride is forced to wear an off-the-rack wedding dress! :yikey:

    If KL's fortunes had been on par with, say season five or even eight, there would have been more emphasis placed on making their re-marriage an "event". CBS would likely have jumped on a publicity bandwagon and loosened the purse strings a bit more. As it was, I recall CBS's promos being more about it being the 300th episode than about "OMG! Gary and Val remarry at last!!!" I think TV Guide and especially Soap Opera Weekly were the ones who promoted the (cheap) wedding as it ought to have been promoted. Perhaps CBS was aware that if they hyped the re-marriage episode there would have been a lot of people criticizing the lack of frills/expense for a couple who deserved it.

    Granted, the big, splashy soap weddings are well known as the events soap actors hate the most, since it involves many late days/nights of filming for a relatively short series of scenes. So much emphasis on the wardrobe, the lighting, the set design--none of which really is an acting challenge per se, but eats up huge amounts of shooting time and budgets. Still, I think everyone would have been willing to do it for the couple everyone had been rooting for all that time, and lord knows the network could have milked the remarriage for its nostalgic quality alone to draw in many lapsed viewers (justifying the expense). I just think the show/the network could not justify such a financial outlay in their strained budget.
     
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  5. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Active Member

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    The old cartoon, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had an island for all the unwanted toys. There should be a tv show about an island for all the prime time soap characters who were significant in the lives of the characters, left and were never mentioned again. Think of it: Jason, Annie Fairgate, Amanda Carrington, that cousin of Pam and Cliff Barnes, Jeff Cunningham, Karen's brother, Linda Fairgate, Leslie Carrington, Dex Dexter, Sable and her "change of life" baby, the Fairgate's dog.
    Instead of doing reboots, a network could do that, maybe a surreal/satire kind of thing. In the right hands, it could be a hoot. Or not:confused:[/QUOTE]


    Yes, and who could forget the immortal Paul Fairgate from season two?
     
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  6. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The large number of 'forgotten characters' is something of a necessity when doing an episodic drama (as opposed to a serial drama). In the first three seasons, Knots had to rely on such characters to drive story (or at least accentuate it). Typically they were defined by being an "outsider" who intrudes upon their lives, someone who upsets the delicate balance and then is driven out in order to return things to normal. There were exceptions, of course, but the one-episode storylines were written with the introduction and departure of the guest-star(s) within the hour in mind.
     
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  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    02 May 91: KNOTS LANDING: A Horse is a Horse v. 03 May 91: DALLAS: Conundrum

    While last week's DALLAS did a satisfying job of wrapping up most of the series’ loose ends (more so, for my money, than FALCON CREST did a year ago), this week’s finale ep feels a bit like a school reunion where half the invitations have got lost in the post and the resultant celebrations have had to be cobbled together to accommodate the half dozen disparate guests who managed to show up.

    In a way, JR’s encounter with a magical imp who offers to shows him what life would have been like had he never been born is the equivalent of Angela’s little speech at the end of last year’s FC. Each is a tacked-on ending with a somewhat otherworldly quality — Angela’s disembodied head floating serenely above the land she loved; a morose JR journeying to an alternate universe. But whereas Angela’s soliloquy lasted but a minute or two, JR’s “vision” drags on forever. It’s not just that the feature-length finale of DALLAS is boring, it’s boring and pointless. From the outset, we know that nothing we’re about to see is real and so it can have no impact — it’s not leading anywhere, not even to Pam waking up and finding Bobby in the shower.

    Granted, there’s no harm in being reminded what a knockout Kristin was ten years after her death, but the fact that JR cannot interact with any of the returning characters (he’s invisible and they don’t exist) is a huge stumbling block: there’s no opportunity for dramatic tension or conflict or any of those good things that made DALLAS, and the genre that grew out of it, so edge-of-the-seat exciting in the first place. Instead, JR — Soap Land’s primary mover and shaker; a protagonist and antagonist rolled onto one — is relegated to the sidelines where his main job is to jump to the wrong conclusion. He assumes Kristin to be a hooker, and then a cop pretending to be a hooker, until it turns out she’s really a con artist pretending to be a cop pretending to be a hooker! He assumes Sue Ellen to be a newsreader until it turns out she’s an actress playing a newsreader on daytime TV! He assumes Ray to be rich until it turns out he’s poor! He assumes Cliff to be involved with the mafia until it turns out he’s Acting President of the United States! And so on.

    In lieu of any genuine drama, the episode falls back on broad comedic stereotypes such as the screechy-voiced airhead stripper married to Bobby or the slimy, pony-tailed agent who has bungled Sue Ellen’s acting career. You wanna know what DALLAS would be like if JR never existed? A really bad episode of FALCON CREST: The Sitcom Years, that's what.

    At least Cally’s storyline, which ends with her shooting her abusive husband dead, has the decency to take itself seriously — but there again, the sight of her being knocked around while her weeping children look on feels as gratuitously grim as the sob story about Ray Krebbs shuffling about with a limp and a moustache does needlessly sentimental. It’s always nice to see Steve Kanaly, but I cannot bring myself to care about how much this nonexistent version of his character is adored by his nonexistent family.

    Ray, Cliff, Cally, Kristin, Sue Ellen, Bobby, Gary, Val, Carter McKay and Nicholas Pearce — they’re all wheeled on and off like Special Guest Stars on an episode of THE LOVE BOAT or HOTEL, the kind of shows where no situation is so complicated it can’t be resolved in a TV hour. The kind of shows, in other words, which DALLAS, KNOTS, DYNASTY and the rest once felt like a welcome antidote to.

    Meanwhile on this week’s KNOTS, now that Kate’s tennis career is over, she decides to work with horses out at Gary’s ranch. This leads to an argument with her mother that recalls Blake and Krystle during DYNASTY’s Rock Hudson period. “This dream you have of making a living working with horses, it’s unrealistic!” Claudia insists. “It’s my dream,” Kate argues. Claudia also finds time to plant a few doubts in new bride Val’s mind about the nature of Gary and Kate’s relationship. “All the attention and affection that he has shown her has just been wonderful!” she faux-gushes. “I was worried that Gary had a crush on Katie … Of course, Gary is not that kind of man.” Over on Alternate DALLAS, however, Gary is most definitely “that kind of man”. Somehow, JR’s non-existence has resulted in him becoming a slick Beverly Hills divorce lawyer who beds every sexy woman that crosses his path. These include an opposing attorney who bears a striking resemblance to Diana Farrington, JR’s extra-marital fling from last season. Indeed, one of the more diverting aspects of the DALLAS finale is spotting which actors and sets have recycled from previous episodes: Cliff is now married to the psychologist whom Ray and Donna encountered in Season 6 who had previously been molested by Edgar Randolph, Bobby is now living in Val’s house from KNOTS, and Sue Ellen’s dressing room has the same distinctively carved doors that once belonged to JR’s office at JRE Industries and then to Cally’s art studio. (You know how good an episode it is when you find yourself focusing on the door carvings.)

    Another face from Soap Land’s past, THE COLBYS’ Neil Kitteridge (Monica’s married man from Season 1) resurfaces on KNOTS as Brian Johnston, a rampantly flirtatious architect who kisses Paige (who just kissed Steve Brewer in last week’s tricentennial ep) and then sleeps with Linda Fairgate who has just moved in with Greg.

    The sight of Kristin in a slinky dress notwithstanding, perhaps the highlight of the DALLAS finale is the scene where Alternate Gary meets Alternate Val for the first time and it is clearly love at first sight. “Don’t tell me he’s gonna marry her again?” JR mutters which, given Real Gary and Real Val’s re-re-marriage on last week’s KNOTS, is at least timely. Another point of interest comes when Alternate Val says to Alternate Gary, “You were recommended to me by a friend … Esther Mackenzie.” Might the implication here be that as Alternate Val never made it to Alternate Seaview Circle and so never became BFFs with Alternate Karen, she instead palled up with Alternate Mack’s alternate sister Esther?

    Original Mack, meanwhile, sucks on a lollipop this week for no particular reason. Perhaps it’s an in-joke reference to his days on KOJAK, just as Mark Harris and Barbara Eden on this season’s DALLAS were nods to Bobby’s time as THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS and JR’s stint on I DREAM OF JEANNIE respectively.

    As well as what remains of the cast of DALLAS, Nick Schillace also exits Soap Land this week. The Oceans 11-style sequence where he steals a pricelessly authentic artefact from the Sumner Group art collection is more visually impressive than anything DALLAS can muster for its final episode — and that includes the sight of Adam the imp walking on water across the Southfork pool (which actually looks more like one of Buck Henry’s hokey holograms from FALCON CREST Season 7).

    The one situation on DALLAS that should feel urgent — whether or not JR is about to shoot himself in the head — is stretched out for so long that when the gun finally does go off at the end of the ep, it mostly feels like an afterthought. The penultimate scene of this week’s KNOTS has a far more soap-tastic conclusion. Refusing to allow Anne Matheson to blackmail her, Claudia summons Greg and Steve to her office where she informs them that Steve’s father was, in fact, Paul Galveston. Steve then turns to his Uncle Greg. “That makes you …” he begins. “Your half-brother,” Greg replies with a smile. “What a family!” he concludes.

    And this week’s Top 2 are …

    1 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) DALLAS

     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I was afraid that Dallas wouldn't be listed at all this time.

    A Sopranos style ending in the previous episode, just before he shoots himself, would have been more effective than this Chistmas Carol episode, I think.
    Maybe they wanted to do some kind of "encore", but that should be about Dallas, not un-Dallas.
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes. This perfectly sums up the fly in the ointment for the Dallas finale. Or at least the most visible fly.


    I found myself nodding in enthusiastic agreement as I read this.


    This is a new fun fact to me with the UK airings of Dallas and Knots being so out of sync. Here I believe the Dallas finale ran concurrently with the Peter Hollister whodunnit.


    As my Mum used to say: he who laughs last laughs longest.



    I'm going to miss my regular Versus fixes.
     
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  10. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I know! It would be kind of fun to see Season 13 of Knots getting torn to shreds in the most polite way possible, but with nothing to compare it to...it'd be like shadow boxing.
     
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  11. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    And then there was one...
    I'm going to miss these. James. I got rid of my t.v. so my source of entertainment is old sitcoms on YouTube and Soapchat. You're rewatching/comparison threads are more interesting than a lot of entertainment today:dance:

    Regarding Dallas' finale, I would have liked to have been a fly on a wall in the writers' meetinm when they came up with this "It's a Wonderful Life" theme. I'd have loved to see the reactions of David David Jacobs and the original cast:think:
     
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  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I'm not so sure that was going to happen if the versus thread had continued.
     
  13. Franko

    Franko Soap Chat Member

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    I'm not sure how Jacobs would have reacted, but I think I'd heard Larry and Patrick were eager to do something lighthearted. Which would be okay for a Bob Hope special, but sticks out like a sore thumb in this situation.

    Unrelated, I'm also amused at the idea of Claudia trying to stir the pot ONE WEEK INTO Gary and Val's new marriage.
     
  14. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Active Member

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    Very sad to see these fabulous posts end. I’m very impressed by your commitment to actually doing this and finishing it, James. I have been on an extended vacation from my own blog where I talk Knots exclusively. I’m planning to get back to the blog on december 27th to celebrate Knots turning 40.

    One day when I’m old and retired I might do this week to week comparison myself. A few differences are that I would include Twin Peaks when it pops up and I would start doing 90210 in 1990 and Melrose in 1992 so that when the other soaps are done, I could continue on through the 90s and finish in 2000; there’s something that feels very proper about ending a huge marahon in that year.
     
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  15. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    In fairness to Patrick Duffy, he approaches the role of Alternate Bobby very seriously in "Conundrum". I was half-expecting him to send the whole thing up but in fact he puts so much emotion into it, you end up thinking, "Why is he bothering? This never happened anyway."
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    KNOTS LANDING: Season 13: 12 Sep 91 - 09 Apr 92

    After Season 12’s jarring lurches in tone — from sitcom to After School Special to self-parody — what I appreciate most about this season is its willingness to let KNOTS be a soap opera again.

    Anne starts off the season living on the streets — for an episode and a half. You kind of get the sense that, having acknowledged the existence of homelessness, KNOTS is eager to tick it off its list of “Social Issues To Tackle” and move on. Brief as these scenes are, however, they do provide a strong sense of Anne’s isolation; the sheer loneliness of her plight. It’s the most human we’ve ever seen her. And without banging the issue-based drum too much, KNOTS successfully conveys how a person of no fixed abode is automatically regarded as inferior by those they come into contact with. And then along comes Benny Appleman!

    Without question, Benny is the worst thing about this season (if not the whole series). Fortunately, the show realises how unbearable he is and jettisons him at the first available opportunity. His sizeable presence does have an interesting knock-on effect on Anne, however. Rather than try to compete with his scenery-devouring performance, she stands magnanimously to one side and lets him get on with it, acquiring a quiet dignity in the process. She further reinvents herself when, following her nude magazine spread, she turns the tables on a morally indignant Karen during their OPEN MIKE interview by candidly admitting to having fallen on hard times. This newly honest, less pretentious version of Anne may not be as much fun as the brittle Mommie Dearest jet-setter who first arrived in Season 8 or the self-mythologising hedonist she returned as in Season 11, but is nonetheless preferable to the sitcom caricature the show seemed hellbent on turning her into during Season 12.

    When Michael Tyrone cheated on Lute Mae Sanders with her own daughter on FLAMINGO ROAD back in 1982, it was so unthinkably outrageous that it drove Lute Mae insane. When Mark Jennings ended up sleeping with mother Alexis and daughter Fallon on DYNASTY a year later, it was more of a campy romp than high drama. And this season, no-one really bats an eyelid at Greg flipping between Anne and Paige, least of all the characters themselves. Elsewhere, Alex Barth is sleeping with Kate and her mother and her best friend pretty much simultaneously, and it’s all good naughty sexy fun.

    Alex is sort of a Generation X version of Chip Roberts — an opportunistic young hustler who quickly ingratiates himself with the cul-de-sac women — only less driven, less focused and ultimately less psychotic than his ‘80s forbear. Alex’s scruffy, borderline shambolic appearance recalls that of the recently departed and much lamented Steve Brewer. Claudia is just as appalled when Greg gives Alex some unspecified job at the Sumner Group despite his lack of qualifications as she was when he did the same thing for Steve. First Steve, then Alex — it looks as if Greg has reached the age where he’s looking for a successor to mould in his own image. If Peter Hollister had bided his time just a while longer, he might not have ended up buried in cement.

    The chopping and changing between the end of Season 12 and the start of Season 13 means that Paige goes from kissing Steve Brewer to snogging Brian Johnston to almost getting back together with Tom Ryan to falling hook, line and sinker for Pierce Lawton in the space of about four episodes. I’m not sure if it’s the adaptability of character or the actress — most likely, a combination of the two — but Paige manages to make sense of anything the writers throw at her.

    And so the season kicks off with two loved-up couples — Paige and Pierce and Gary and Val — each blindly optimistic and intoxicated by their own happiness. If Soap Land has taught us anything it’s that too much happiness is a dangerous thing and that flying too close to the sun will get you burned. Either in an effort to sustain the high they’re already on or because they now believe themselves invincible, Pierce (with Paige’s help) and Gary (with Val’s blessing) jump headlong into a dream project of saving of the world by harnessing the power of the ocean. The first blot on the horizon come from Victoria, Pierce’s nutty ex, who brings rumours of a pregnant fiancee who drowned while sailing with Pierce on his yacht, the Daedalus. And who was Daedalus? A character from Greek mythology who made the wings his son Icarus was wearing when he flew too close to the sun and died, that's who. (I only know how to spell Daedalus because Alex Barth is shown reading a book on the subject — even though he has nothing to do with Pierce’s storyline.)

    In contrast to Tom Ryan’s blue-collar cop, Pierce Lawton is a rich boy in the ‘80s Soap Land tradition — only his wealth is presented in a less grandiose way, this being the 1990s and all. There’s a suggestion that Pierce and Gary are kindred spirits, each overshadowed by their more successful elder siblings. It’s interesting to hear Pierce make reference to Ewing Oil and describe Gary as “the Ewing that never happened”. As Tidal Energy gets underway, a dynamic emerges between the like-minded Pierce and Gary on one hand and the slightly eccentric Joseph on the other. It’s kind of a surprise when Joseph turns out to be the biggest shit of them all. (At least Pierce has the decency to go nuts before he starts shooting at people.)

    After her S12 brain virus, KNOTS wisely dials down the fluttery, neurotic side of Val’s personality by finding other people for her to focus on for a change. While the brief storyline where she teaches Lynette the waitress to read doesn’t really go anywhere, it does serve as an effective palate cleanser for the character. She also finds time to act as a sympathetic sounding board for Karen and Kate in their respective hours of need. This all helps to restore Val's credibility, so that by the time Gary has become so consumed by Tidal Energy that he’s on the verge drinking again, she has become the stronger (or at least more rational) partner in their relationship (just as she was when we first met them on DALLAS fourteen years earlier). It’s fascinating to see Gary’s ambitious, obsessive side manifest itself again, especially as Abby is no longer around to harness it, and I’d have been happy had the show continued to explore this aspect of his personality for the rest of the season. As it is, he soon comes to his senses but loses the ranch anyway.

    Ted Shackelford is so good in the scenes where Gary’s forced to let go of the ranch — heartbroken but in a very understated way. Coming as it does just a few months after the end of DALLAS, the loss of his fortune really feels like the last of Jock Ewing’s empire going up in smoke. It also means the end of “KNOTS LANDING: The Wealthy Years”. As the Ewings return to the cul-de-sac, Val flashes back to the beginning of the series, to Richard Avery and missing light bulbs.

    With Paige defecting to Tidal Energy, Linda dead and Michael off travelling, the Sumner Group is no longer at the centre of the series. (Instead, the focus, along with Gary and Val, reverts to Seaview Circle.) Mort’s still around though, and there’s a cool reveal where we learn that underneath all that buffoonery, he’s up to his neck in insider trading. So corrupt is he that Pierce is able to blackmail him into passing along confidential Sumner Group information. Suddenly, Mort feels like a real character and not just comic relief.

    The loss of Gary’s ranch coincides with the end of Karen’s TV career as she resigns in protest at her producer's attempts to exploit Gary and Val’s misfortune. The irony is that, shortly afterwards, Val refuses to abandon her Greg Sumner biography in spite of the potential damage it might do to Karen and her family. The Sumner book is Val’s version of Tidal Energy — her chance to throw caution to the wind, follow her heart and, ultimately, fly too close to the sun.

    Mary Robeson, an intriguingly unsavoury character right out of a low-budget Australian soap opera, approaches Val with a story that echoes the mystery at the heart of DYNASTY’s final season. It involves an adulterous liaison between a man hired by a rich mogul to do building work on his property and the mogul’s neglected wife. In place of Roger Grimes and Alexis, we have Mary’s son Joe and our very own Laura Avery. This story later turns out to be a lie to cover an even more outrageous truth: Mary is Laura’s real mother and Greg has had her imprisoned since Laura's death. Much like Blake secretly knowing about Krystle’s terminal illness for years, these events have occurred during the run of the series, but without our knowledge. This gives the story a slightly fan-fictiony vibe that’s kind of weird and kind of fun at the same time.

    Anne’s surprise pregnancy in the final episode of the season also echoes Sable’s “change of life baby” at the end of DYNASTY. It looks as if Greg’s vasectomy wasn’t any more effective than Richard Channing’s or Cliff Barnes’s before him.

    I used to consider this season’s yuletide episode, “Holiday on Ice”, to be KNOTS’ worst hour — and indeed, Karen lip-syncing to Michele Lee’s rendition of a Barry Manilow song in the middle of the Mackenzie living room is never not gonna be weird. This time around, however, I picked up on a sense of dark foreboding lurking behind the festive schmaltz: the cracks are beginning to show in Pierce and Paige’s romance, the writing is on the wall for Joseph, and Jason is off to Sweden with a heavy heart.

    Some of my favourite scenes of the season deal with the fragility of Paige and Pierce’s relationship as she begins to realise that this man she’s completely fallen for is a total stranger (Danny Waleska to her Val Gibson, if you will). I love the scene where she wakes up in the dark to find him sitting on the edge of her bed ready to confess (almost) all about his fiancee’s mysterious death, the only light coming from the static playing on the TV screen in the background.

    A lot of that dark brooding atmosphere is lost after Pierce finally flips out and shoots Paige. The following two or three episodes — involving a hospital vigil, a short-lived paralysis, romantic flashbacks and soppy montages — feel far too conventional for characters as idiosyncratic as Paige and Greg. And then Pierce kidnapping Paige and sailing away with her thinking she’s his dead ex, as Mack and Greg chase after them in a speedboat, is all kinds of MELROSE PLACE.

    The final scene of the season is pure TWIN PEAKS, however — a wild-haired, dementedly smiling Pierce emerging from the back seat of Paige’s car as if he were Killer Bob’s younger brother (he’s even borrowed Bob’s denim jacket) as Paige emits a weird, slowed-down animalistic howl of terror.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  17. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    This also felt very Melrose Place to me, except that on MP it seemed to be the only thing they had to offer.


    Gosh, it's like one of those hidden clues from Twin Peaks and Lost that encourages the viewer to find out how signifcant it is. But it's very possible that you're the only one who noticed it.
     
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  18. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I always liked the concept of Bernie. The idea of Anne being forced to associate, ans possibly becoming friends with someone she normally wouldn't even notice had great Knotsian possibilities. He was just....
     
  19. valkaren

    valkaren Soap Chat Newbie

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    I have always been fascinated by Season 13. Not just the content itself, but people's interpretations of it. Because KNOTS doesn't have as secure of an identity such as Dallas or Dynasty, it's always difficult to try and (as logically as possible, which is impossible considering this is all subjective) rank it alongside the other seasons. Is it best to compare it to the previous season? Its glory '80's years? Well, for a show that's reinventing itself yet again to fit in with it's '90s counterparts, it's a bit unfair to compare it to either, really. It was supposed to be a whole new chapter.

    Obviously, many people, including the own shows canon (producers and actors) call this the worst season of them all, but have always paused on that. It sometimes feels like an easy bandwagon to jump on. I find it a welcome improvement from the lazy last half of Season 12 and it seems like James you also have a fondness for some of the season. It's been a while sense I've watched it but from what I remember I felt refreshed by the sharpness coming back into some of the stories, and there was once again effort behind digging deeper into character motivation and providing a consistency of tone. I recall the references to Ewing Oil, the mention of Empire Valley, the 'back to basics' feel of some of the plotting. I loved Paige and Gary working together, Gary finding motivation with Tidal Energy (there was a clear 'anti-Dallas' character motivation that I wished was explored better), Karen racked with guilt over the car chase cliff-hanger from the previous season, and the heart-wrenching end of episode scene where Gary loses his ranch. Of course, I can never tell if it's because Season 12 deteriorated so badly that anything was a welcome refresher, or if there is actual quality there (I've never watched the show out of order).

    Sure, it often felt like fan-fiction, undoubtedly because the producers didn't really know what the show was supposed to be. And can you blame them? The previous 12 years have had an large number of tonal and format shifts, from '70-esque stand-alones, slow-burning character drama, over-the-top 80's soap opera, and a Desperate Housewives-y sort of dramedy.

    It's interesting, and I know James you do not reference the behind-the-scenes aspect of it all, that when Marcus comes back on board to the 'retooled' version, that the show once again wobbles a bit and struggles to find itself again until Season 14.

    I wonder what would have happened if Romano and his team had a bit more time to breathe to tell the stories that they wanted to tell. Jacobs said he pulled the show after he felt people weren't talking about it (some waitresses or something), but I believe that is because the viewers did not return for the 13th year, not because they tuned out during it. Of course, maybe I'm wrong. The seasonal rating showed a sharp drop from season 12. Did the year's ratings start in-line with Season 12 and then fall dramatically? Did the re-tooling disrupt the flow and shed more viewers? Or did the season never have the viewers to begin with? Of course, I know there were some macro factors (i.e. CBS was struggling as a network at the time, soaps were out of fashion), but it would be interesting if anyone with the episodic ratings could shed some light on that aspect as commercially these were core reasons behind the disruption this season faced and ultimately the year's legacy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  20. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I agree with James on this:

    Is your opinion influenced by this knowledge? Personally, I have no idea who's responsible for what part of Knots, I only rate what I see.
     

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