When this series was good, it was GREAT

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Lastkidpicked to be Santa's Helper, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Fan

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    Ray's attitude over Mickey/Driscoll stank to high heaven in such a 2 faced way. For me this is where the character of Ray really changed, after this he went really downhill IMO and writers didn't know what to do with him.
     
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  2. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'd say they both used some dirty tactics but nothing too out of line except if course selling oil to Cuba. If that'd been discovered by the coast guard, they would have both lost Ewing Oil. So Bobby doing what he did to try to stop that deal was justified. Bobby had a much easier time during the contest for Ewing Oil because so many people ganged up on JR to help Bobby.

    Rebecca tried to help her son-in-law but I never agreed that her death was the result of the contest for Ewing OIl. She died because her pilot or the pilot of the other plane, or both pilots, made a terrible mistake. It's human error and it happens to people all the time who are not in a contest like the one for Ewing OIl. She was in the plane because Cliff wasn't reliable enough to make his flight and she took his place.

    Also Bobby made a tremendous amount of money based in a sale he was only able to make because of a contract which JR wrote, giving Bobby the right to demand the Wellington Fields either be uncapped or the cartel buy his share for 5 times market value! He actually said "Thank you JR!" although he wasn't big enough to say it to JR directly.

    The Walt Driscoll storyline was interesting. He was mad at JR so clearly JR had some influence in what happened to Mickey, but if Bobby had been his usual self-righteous self and not bailed Driscoll out of jail, Walt couldn't have ben able to run into Mickey's car on purpose.

    All this leads me to think the writers wanted people to have ambivalent feelings to both JR and Bobby during yhe contest, and they accomplished that with the help of great acting by all involved. There was more substance in the contest for Ewing Oil alone than most TV series have in the entire run of their series'!
     
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  3. Piggy It's Kermit Outside

    Piggy It's Kermit Outside Soap Chat Star

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    I think we tend to oversee the fact that Bobby learned the bidness tactics from the master (his daddy). He was given the "3 B´s" because Jock and J.R. were probably too lazy to spend their time traveling and bribing people all over Texas (and other parts of US too, I'd say). Bobby was young, good-looking and a bit naive, which might be used on his own behalf. Besides, I'm sure that Jock and "Junior" preferred to be alone at Ewing Oil to wheel and deal...

    Once Bobby married "that Barnes woman", she clearly influenced him to go work to the office instead of "gallivanting around", and let´s be honest, she made a better man of him without annulling his personality. 5 years after that, Jock is deeaaaad! And his will puts him on a dangerous place: Jock had to be thinking that Bobby really HAD TO refresh his old habits and what he taught him to ensure he might run the company successfully on his own, if and when that happens. It´s old-fashioned upbringing...

    Bribing someone was a lesser evil (not that I think it's correct) but all that Bobby (and also Ray and even Donna) thought, was that giving the company back to J.R. would be a tragedy for the whole family (as later proved with the B.D. Calhoun incident...). If Bobby hadn't done all that, he'd been labeled as the stupidest guy on this side of Mississippi...

    But great writing as was that season´s under the cynical eye of David Paulsen, elevated the show´s drama to another category, almost biblical. Cain vs. Abel bring the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, almost the end of the world as we knew it on "Dallas", with a touch of Dante´s "Inferno" in Southfork´s fire. Can you get more genius in a primetime soap?
     
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  4. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Jock was anything but lazy. Even his enemies never even denied he had tremendous work ethic. He founded Ewing Oil and built it into a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars (well over a billion dollars in today's money). Ewing Oil's success was not made a committee. It was made by Jock Ewing having total autonomy in running the company. He taught JR the business by first having him in the oil fields and then having JR in anyplace he wanted him. He wanted his sons to have appreciation for the tremendous opportunity and responsibility they were given. They wouldn't have had that appreciation had the been able to start right at the top.

    In some ways Pam did maybe make Bobby a better man. It's hard to judge since we never saw him before he married her. Bobby would have been much happier had Pam not pressured him into running the company. He told her he liked the job he had at Ewing Oil at the time he married her. After starting to work in the office instead. He didn't like it. He tried to run away "as far as I can get from here" at the end of season 3 and the start of season 4. A happy man doesn't do that. When he came back he had control of wing Oil while JR was healing and then Bobby became devious.

    His job at Ewing Oil was intended to only last until JR recovered. Jock, Bobby and JR all greed on that. Then Bobby found out that he could use his mother's neurotic fear of "losing him" ("losing a son" os what she termed a grown son's despite to live independently). Bobby used his mother's fear to keep from having to give it back to JR as he had already agreed to do. Ellie secured Bobby's stay at the top of Ewing Oil by emotional extortion. When Jock said JR was ready to go back to his job, Ellie said to Jock to let Bobby keep JR's job. She added "If anything happens to make Bobby leave I will never forgive you."

    So we found out what kind of a man Bobby was. He eventually found himself over his head though and gave the job back to JR when he found the job more than he could handle. When JR asked Bobby why he gave the job back to him, Bobby replied "You;re very good at running Ewing Oil. Much better than I ever want to be at it." Once again, Bobby quit Ewing Oil entirely. His wife had pressured him into taking on the kind responsibility he had never wanted before she pressured him to take it.
     
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  5. Piggy It's Kermit Outside

    Piggy It's Kermit Outside Soap Chat Star

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    Here I´m talking about the Jock we knew when the show started. He wasn´t in the office nine to five, we hardly saw him in parties (I can remember him only at Dave Culver´s fund-raising), only in cattle auctions, or in bidness trips. Hell, he even made everybody have dinner at 6 pm! Of course, he was a man in his 70´s. But that´s what I got from him in the beginning. J.R. was more dynamic and out-doors loving, though I can´t see him on a pleasure trip either (Sue Ellen said once that they only left the States for something business-related). Having a son in his 20´s gave Jock the opportunity to enjoy his time with Miss Ellie and, especially after his heart attack, to take things more quietly. Also, even in "The Early Years", we see Jock with other associates (Digger, Jason, Sam Culver...) so I´m not sure if he preferred the oil field action to the boardrooms (or the social corruption for that matter). Anyway, it´s the way each of us see the immediate past of the Ewings. I love seeing them that way...and also, for instance, teenage Lucy watching the Muppet Special with Elton John...

     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  6. Lastkidpicked to be Santa's Helper

    Lastkidpicked to be Santa's Helper Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Re-watching "Eye of the Beholder" now, and there is an amazing scene between Linda Gray and Howard Keel.

    Sue Ellen feels Clayton needs to know about Miss Ellie's cancer, as she knows it has stalled the relationship between Miss Ellie and Clayton. She needs to gently find out if Clayton would have seen enough to know about the mastectomy.

    Sue Ellen: What has Miss Ellie told you about her life with Jock?
    Clayton: I think I know most of it. We've spent a lot of time together.
    Sue Ellen (choosing her words carefully): But not as together as you would if you were married?
    Clayton (slowly realizing Sue Ellen's meaning): Well, no. . .
    Sue Ellen: Then don't give up on her.

    A very nice scene where a delicate subject is discussed without embarrassment. And both amazing actors, just underplaying their parts and completely trusting the writing.
     
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  7. Walking in a Winter Guzzlerland

    Walking in a Winter Guzzlerland Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    It seems to me that Bobby might have been happiest continuing with the Ewing Construction venture he started in season 1. He seemed pretty enthusiastic about that, as long as JR and Jock didn't try to control him beyond maybe doing something that was obviously damaging to the organization at large. Maybe he could have eventually spun that off into its own company completely independent of Ewing Oil. Not enough drama there for the show, though!
     
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  8. Lastkidpicked to be Santa's Helper

    Lastkidpicked to be Santa's Helper Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    This is something I think about re-watching what happens to Bobby during the battle for Ewing Oil. He would have been so much happier running his construction business or running Southfork.

    And let's zoom out a bit:

    How many times, when Cliff tries to get the best of J.R., do you think:

    "Geez, Cliff! You have money now. And a law degree. Why not move into a new town and start a new life for yourself instead of battling J.R. all the time?"

    But you are right, those options would have been good for Bobby and Cliff, but not good for drama.
     
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  9. Laurie Marr

    Laurie Marr Soap Chat Active Member

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    This:
     
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  10. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Do you think that may be the difference between soap operas and more serious drams? That the characters in soaps don't necessarily act intelligently or rationally; they do whatever will create the most drama? Is that why Dallas wasn't taken seriously by the Grammy Awards and the critics?

    The points you made about Bobby and Cliff are very good. JR was capable of being an excellent oilman. He had the education -both university and from Jock - he had a great mind for the business and he loved the business. Yet he continually made deals which put his entire company in peril. A rational businessman wouldn't make deals where the risk to reward ratio was so bad! The risk to reward ratio is the first thing I consider when making a major decision.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  11. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Great eye. Yes it was once excellent at those details that made it so incredible to watch.
     
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  12. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    And Jock before both of them.
     
  13. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Interesting how JR’s the villain for providing cheap gas to the masses as the free market intends but Punk and Bobby are good guys for participating in illegal collusion. Says a lot right there as to who America is as a nation.
     
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  14. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    A lot would probably be different in real life or among ideal people that would kill the drama. The whole contest for Ewing Oil was great but among healthy brothers they’d have said there’s no way they’re fighting each other and shared the company - like two of the four Koch brothers. But then no drama as with the other two Koch brothers - where set aside the ideal and the world is full of intense real life drama.
     
  15. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Though I do think moving Bobby and Cliff to D.C. and a second spin off would have made sense far over and above Bobby’s death and the horrible twists and turns which followed. Dallas at that point needed another jolt like with Jock’s death except they had to do it to themselves. And they did but that was stupid - never kill a main character unless the actor really dies.
     
  16. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I think sometimes people get so caught up in the contest for Ewing Oil as per Jock's will - and it was great, that they sometimes forget the real purpose of the contest. When the letter from Jock was read at the end of the contest, the real purpose was revealed. Jock wanted them to compete for Ewing Oil, but not because he wanted to make sure he had the best man for the job. He set up the contest so that by the end of it they would both respect each other's capabilities and realize that both of them were very capable oilmen and formidable adversaries. Jock wrote that he wanted the contest to make them realize they were far better off working together than working as competitors. He asked them to put any personal differences aside and run Ewing Oil together - as brothers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  17. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Thank you I forgot. That certainly was a fitting conclusion.

    At that point Bobby should have realized this wasn’t him, that he couldn’t do what Jock wanted. JR could have arranged for the governor to give Bobby a recently vacated senate seat until a special election, with out Binby knowing his involvement. Then off to D.C. he goes with Pam and Christopher, Cliff as his chief of staff. Immediately they go into election mode going back and forth to Texas for crossover scenes. Immediately Bobby faces compromising issues in the game of politics - a second spin off.

    While in Dallas Bobby puts Donna in control of his trust and she goes to work with JR. Add more Wendell and we’re off. I’d have changed JR’s motivation to be more like Jock focused on one son as JR had wanted to be. Maybe even focus on being loyal to Sue Ellen so she could become more like Miss Ellie. As they developed and faced other challenges Donna would play a greater role in the business and in story lines with Ray. Then added a son and/or daughter from a secret family JR kept from Sue Ellen from before they were married (H. L. Hunt like) - maybe add to the diversity of the show as well in this. These other children playing a role in Ewing Oil - beautiful, twenty somethings with a lot of greed and sex. Bring on a major actress as the children’s mother to fight JR. Make this as major of a shake up as Jock’s death was for Dallas. As Jock was always the ghost in the room, this other family would be the elephant in the room.
     
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  18. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    It was the most important lesson neither learned from Jock.

    I agree that Bobby would have probably been happier doing other things. That wouldn't have been what the genre of soap opera required though. It requires characters to make choices which are sometimes not in their best interests simply because it creates the type of drama which that genre needs.

    Seeing Donna run Ewing Oil with JR as equal partners would have made somewhat of a mockery of it. Donna's background was in politics - not running an oil company. It would have made a mockery of it because it would have sent the message - anyone who is reasonably intelligent can run this company as Jock's or JR's equal and whether or not he or she has been taught the business, whether or not he or she has any expertise in this business, and whether or not the person has a love for the business is inconsequential.

    It also would have been condescending to Donna to basically say: Put your whole life n hold for me so that you can be JR's partner in Ewing Oil. After all, you can't possibly have any dreams and ambitions of your own which are as important to you as doing this favor for me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  19. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I agree regarding the need for drama but the point wouldn’t be for Bobby to disagree to end the drama but to finally leave and create a spin off. His character was beating its end as part of Dallas a s needed a new venue. Instead of agreeing to him being killed off PD might have agreed to how own show.

    As for Donna I completely disagree. While she loved politics she also has an interest in oil and business. She certainly wasn’t a homemaker. Regardless of Bobby was a US Senator he’d have to put his business holdings in trust and who else would he hand them to buy Donna? Someone he could trust. That being said, she wouldn’t go immediately into business with JR but be dragged into it. SH was a great actress, much underused by Dallas. And Dallas need strong women like Abbey, Angela and Alexis. Many politicians get into business and visa versa (Dick Cheney, George Bush I and II) - this isn’t a stretch at all. Donna was more than reasonably intelligent. She was a very bright woman with much to be explored in her character. I also don’t think Dallas was attempting to send the right message anyway by having someone like JR run the business, as if you have to be a sociopath to run a business, even the oil business. Donna was raised in Texas and certainly could have had a family background in some aspect of oil. Her late husband certainly did. I’m not sure how much of her background had been revealed.
     
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  20. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Who are they? Abbey is someone from KL, I've read here. Are the other ones from other prime time soaps? If so, I couldn't disagree more. Dallas was the innovator. The last thing they needed to do was copy the people copying them. Dallas did NOT need to be changed. Dallas needed no change. It was the most successful prime time drama in history. There is a reason Dallas was at the top and the rest were where they were.
     

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