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The Men of Dynasty

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Michael Torrance, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    The Men of Dynasty

    —in alphabetical order

    Joseph Anders

    He was the definition of the supporting character, his haughty demeanor adding layer upon layer in his dealings first with the new and then the former Mrs. Carrington. One look of disapproval was all he sometimes needed (as in, on anything Sammy Jo did) to express himself. But in an ironic demonstration of too much of a good thing, bringing his daughter along with a past rife with secrets actually reduced the character to a mere concerned father and erased his other sides, finally becoming what DYNASTY execs loved to call camp: a living, breathing cliché. The butler did it.

    Adam Carrington

    While he is my favorite, I always felt we got two characters in him. Michael Torrance was the evil one, the huge chip on his shoulder guy who had a usurper complex and schemed first, talked second. Unable to trust anyone and form genuine relationships with people, he either blackmailed his mother or raped the woman he liked or had sex with her while 15 and on drugs; and he was not above incestuous innuendo either. Adam Carrington was the decent guy, working on integrating into the family so hard he lost all personality and turning into a Krystle-like wallpaper in the process. The writers’ indecision on his character and the constant switcheroo were tiresome and made the character go in circles season after season, with season 9 turning him into a caricature of his season 3 evil self. (Note: my choice of alias has nothing to do with his two sides).

    Blake Carrington

    The patriarch of the family, Blake was an intriguing figure early on, clearly a ruthless mogul who worked with the mafia, had mafia ways himself (from beating up Walter to Michael Culhane) and had blackmailed his first wife into exile from Denver and her children after nearly killing her lover—and successfully killing his son’s former boyfriend. He did not mind the occasional rape of the wife, mind you. While Rita supposedly tried to poison his body in season 6, Krystle had him on some mind-altering wine by the fire season after season, so that pretty soon he was a dull shadow of his former self. While an opportunity for excitement materialized in season 5—Blake was again resorting to shady dealings and deal-makers, showing that when he was in a weaker position his newfound morality went out the window—once Kristina was born the tombstone was in place for any further character development. In season 9 Blake was once again a patriarch and one with possible shades of gray, and his conflict with his favorite daughter and his anguish over his family legacy showed that there was life after Krystle for him as a character.

    Steven Carrington

    In seasons 2-8, Steven changed every few episodes, from a new interest (nymphets! NASCAR!) to a new face (now with twitching!), to a new allegiance (Denver-Carrington! Colbyco!). The writers (and their apologists) often had the lame excuse that as a gay man in a homophobic world, Steven was pulled in all these directions, but of course why a man is on course in his early 20s and derails later in life made no sense. The real reason is that it is hard to write for a man like Steven from season 1, so they reverted to the stereotypes they knew. By the latter seasons he was a blanker moralizer like Krystle, and the worst sign of the character’s destruction is that there was not a single moment after he left where you could feel his absence.

    Steven Carrington Season 1

    This is my favorite character of the show, decent and quietly strong and tormented by his conflicts but still sure of his footing painful though it were; when people who know me find out I like DYNASTY they think it is a joke, and unless I can introduce them to this character there is no explanation. Season 1 Steven was not simply a ground-breaking gay character on network TV, he was a ground-breaking young male, period. He wanted to be accepted by his family, and found that simply being loved by them was not enough, and he was not afraid to question not only others but also himself. I think the single good action of the REUNION movie was bringing Al Corley back.

    Cecil Colby

    One of the biggest lies about DYNASTY pre-Alexis is that it lacked a villain. Cecil was a great villain: he was an old money plutocrat, barely hiding his disdain on former wildcatter Blake, and he had what all great villains need: he believed he was in the right. He was buying a wife for his nephew because the wife was sexy and smart and because his nephew was an idiot, for instance. He simply worked behind the scenes and his character’s villainy was more subtle, an adjective that became a four letter word as soon as the Pollocs and their Alexis walked in. In order to destroy all that was built on season 1 in terms of character, Cecil turned into a Dr. No kind of villain, looking from his camera as his opponent was shouting at the fake persona, popping pills for his heart, and finally having a heart attack just as he was having sex with Alexis. Many points of the show have been suggested as the end of good DYNASTY: when Pamela Sue Martin left; the Moldavia massacre; when Alexis served burned champagne. But in terms of narrative possibilities, Cecil’s death deprived the show of a strong male antagonist, and a two-family rivalry, and instead turned the show into a post-divorce screaming marathon between Blake and Alexis

    Jeff Colby

    As a viewer, I went through different stages with this character. I found him pitiful at first with his puppy love for Fallon and blind devotion to capitalism, first Cecil and then Blake. He developed a backbone somewhere around season 2 and I thought he had found his way, but then he was again under the Fallon spell and was developing major jerk elements. The laughable plot acrobatics on THE COLBYS (Phillip was your uncle after all/Jason is your father/but look Phillip is back) together with the fact that his half-brother was sex appeal personified completely turned me off him. He continued being a jerk in season 8, but in season 9 with a renewed Fallon/Emma Samms and with Monica and Sable to play with, he started morphing into human again—one you wanted to often smack, but human nonetheless.

    Dex Dexter

    Though a late addition to the show, he was a welcome testosterone addition. While others were waffling (Steven between gay and straight, Adam between creep and human, Blake between osteoporosis and arthritis), Dex showed a steadfast loyalty to Alexis, compromised only by Camille Marchetta’s daytime soap idea of having him in a triangle with his stepdaughter. In DYNASTY years 7 &8 he was veering off into irrelevancy in one of the tubes of the Carrington-Colby pipeline, but season 9 brought him back with a vengeance, essentially making him the male protagonist of that season.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  2. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    It also didn't work on Falcon Crest.
    Funny, I've always found Adam more evil than Michael Torrance. Well of course they also retroactively diminished all his Bad Michael Stuff with the explanation that he did drugs.
    A typical Dynasty cop-out: let's have them do strange or bad things but explain it away with drugs or a headache. There cannot be any serious consquences because if the audience dislikes the character too much they "can't keep him/her on the show".

    (it should be noted that quite a few fans on this very forum objected to the Blake-Krystle rape and the fact that she decided not to leave him because of that. But it is exactly how they showed the man "Blake Carrington", he did that and that's how the situation was. But it doesn't mean it has to be the end of their marriage or story - besides, wasn't Krystle better as the unhappy wife?).

    I think it's about control and uptightness which prevetend the characters to have their journey, as it were.
    One could argue that a soap isn't a story like a written novel, and that the only thing that really matters is the here & now. How they are dealing with the current situation.
    But then why does it feel so good when they do get the story right?
    Blake accepted Adam a littel too late, I can totally understand why that never worked out. Gordon Thomson was another example of Dynasty's brilliant casting choices, he could do smart & pompous & bitter like James Douglas (Peyton Place) but eventually most of Adam's pomposity was misplaced, and the result was often unintentionally hilarious.
    Adam S9 may have been a caricature but at least he was deliciously nasty. They allowed us to hate him again.

    He was kinda cute at first, almost like a newborn or cloned human. Chris Deegan with his Dynasty-face was the answer to The Problem, but alas it wasn't meant to be.

    I'm not sure if Cecil thought of himself as being in the right. I often found him so cheeky and he seemed so untouchable, as if everything was just a perverse game to him.
    He liked to torment Blake, and yet he never hated him enough. I don't think of Season 1 as a Carrington-Colby Feud.
    The real feud was between Blake and Matthew, with Krystle, Claudia and Steven in the middle. and Fallon on the sidelines adding feul to the fire. Was it all just entertainment for the mighty Cecil Colby, as if he were one of the Greek Gods?
    Yeah, I'm not sure why they felt they had to enhance Cecil like that. It's almost as if Blake had walked into an eighties computer game. So...maybe it does make sense after all.
    I don't think there's anything wrong with an epic post-divorce drama and Alexis with all her hatred and Carrington history proved to be an excellent villainess. But that still requires creative writing.
     
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  3. SantaCarrintonEwingsBells

    SantaCarrintonEwingsBells Soap Chat Addict

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    Excellent post @Michael Torrance!

    Adam was very complex for me, I see him as not only as a replacement for Steven but also he was a replacement for Cecil Colby
    Who had literally been killed off just two episodes before Adam's arrival.

    TPTB knew they were going to kill off Cecil and that Steven would be gone for a while so they needed not only a replacement son but a replacement male villain and who better to antagonise Blake than his long lost son, who narrative wise was closer to the Carrington clan than Cecil was.

    That said I think that TPTB wrote both Matthew and Cecil out way too soon, DYNASTY wrote itself into a corner when Blake's only nemesis was Alexis, The Carrington's like the Ewing needed more enemies and Matthew and Cecil were perfect for this, at least for a few seasons.

    As for Dex, I like him, he was an excellent addition to the cast, a much needed male to counter balance Blake and Adam.
     
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  4. Zara

    Zara Soap Chat Active Member

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    I have been reading on BC:s Wiki-page, and I have to say, the way the TPTB imagined and created Blake Carrington, makes him one of the most intriguing and charismatic TV-personality of all time. He is very complex, and almost feels God like in a way he could never really die. The creators did an amazing thing with Blake throughout the series, to depict all sides of an American tycoon lost in too many ways but the one that matters. Krystle had trouble seeing this in the beginning and underestimated the power and effect she had on Blake, much because he was a closed off man and human being, and put up a good fight keeping his island isolated. But once he knew about her, he could never go back to his lonely throne. Blake's biggest challenge was to gather his mind around The Fact of Krystle and that noting was ever going to be the same again. This wasn't easy for him to deal with. Being "quiet" for so long on his own.

    I have thoughts about him as never truly happy before he met Krystle and could be human in more ways than King Midas collecting scalps and gold. The Midas, just a way to exist, until a patient woman comes along to whom all walls break down. A woman with a silence to expand your mind, and force you, as a man, to exist as something else in order to have something else.

    This is all clear in Virginia's kitchen when she fixes Krystle's shirt and Blake pours his heart out about Before and After Krystle.

    There is much to say about Blake, and he belongs to an era of men that just isn't present in today, the idea of Blake Carrington has faded and he is portrayed as everything wrong with a man. I kind of miss him, even though I never knew the type.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  5. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    When I look at that post now, all I can think of is "how sad that Ben Carrington was used so little, I was able to forget him-and nobody noticed!"
     
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  6. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    It's not too late - write about him now! :D In fact, who are other male characters you can write about?

    Luke Fuller
    Bart Fallmont
    Clay Fallmont
    Buck Fallmont
    Michael Cullhane
    Prince Michael
    King Galen
    Brady Lloyd
    Daniel Reece
    John Zorelli
    Father Tanner
    Gerard
    Sean Rowan
     
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  7. Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

    Snarky's Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come Soap Chat Oracle

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    Or Rita --- because I think she might have been trans.
     
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  8. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I think I would have included Ben if he had not been so ill defined, he escaped my mind. First he was an instrument of Alexis and hell bent on revenge for ...what exactly? Blake did not wrong him. So it was all plot, and much as his portrayer was magnetic, I did not feel I ever got to know Ben. Then after Singapore he was wandering around from plot to plot until he was finally exiled.

    Luke Fuller I would have included if he had not been a one-season note to die in Moldavia. Or if he was not paired with the lousy Jack Coleman's Steven. Or if they had not insisted they direct/dress/coif him as neutered as possible, unlike anything else the mesmerizing Bill Campbell has ever played in.
     
  9. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Exactly. Though they could have had it so that Ben was in denial over his responsibility of their mothers' death that he convinced himself that Blake was really the one at fault. *That* would have been the way to do it. It would have been simple but nuanced.

    Imagine this:

    -Steven still played by Al Corley in Season 5
    -Luke Fuller dressed/directed/etc much better/favorably/flatteringly
    -Luke does *not* die in Moldavia and Blake, realizing that he has almost lost Steven a third time, welcomes Luke into the Carrington family
    -Bart Fallmont played by Jack Coleman
    -after the emotional love-triangle between Steven, Luke and Bart plays out, Bart ends up getting introduced to Steven's friend Christ Deagan. The two hit it off and become a recurring couple for Steven and Luke to occasionally hang out with.
    -Also, Blake gets to show off how much he's grown and changed over the years when he advises Buck Fallmont when Bart gets outed, drawing on his own experiences and urging Buck to accept and continue to love his son. "Take it from someone who had to almost lose his own son three times before it finally got through his rock-hard head what was really important!"
     
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  10. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    It's funny because we are discussing that in another thread, but Blake did actually grow when it came to Steven. @Willie Oleson posted this video in another thread


    and if one looks at the whole arc of Blake and Steven, from Blake calling him a disgusting fag*ot whose opinion is worthless, to killing Ted Dinard in rage because he was holding Steven in his arms, to going after Danny's custody because he thought Steven would live with Chris as lovers, it is amazing that he invited Luke Fuller to the mansion, and that later he actually leaves Steven at the helm of Denver Carrington. It is one of the few arcs of growth the show actually had.
     
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  11. Wintry North Poleson

    Wintry North Poleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    LOL
     
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  12. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Well, he *was* a priest. :D Heh, plus, I couldn't remember Tanner's last name... which I *just* remembered was McBride. D'oh! :lol:
     
  13. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Between the "Thorn Birds" rip-off of Tanner/Sammy Jo, Virginia the former call girl (who mercifully exited), and the pizza-loving NYC cop in Denver, Paulsen had quite a smorgasbord of cliched plots and stereotypes for his new characters, unlike the richness (and exploration of the past) he brought to many of the established ones. So it's sad he wasn't around when there were so many established characters to write for: imagine season 7 with Ben, Caress, the Fallmonts, with plots written by Paulsen.
     
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  14. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Y'know, that could have been justified by Zorelli mentioning that he'd been transferred, and that on occasion he missed New York... "But there's plenty to like here in Denver. I never would have gotten to meet you, Fallon."
     

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