Andrea's column: Giddyup!A person can not watch television lately without being reminded the popular night time soap opera, Dallas, is coming back.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Rosemount Town Pages
A person can not watch television lately without being reminded the popular night time soap opera, Dallas, is coming back. My deadline for this column is two days before the premiere and right now, I don’t know if I will watch it.
One reason to turn on TNT would be to see if Linda Gray, who plays patriarch JR Ewing’s ex-wife, has had more plastic surgery. Another … sorry, I can not think of a second reason to view the two-hour episode.
The ads promoting the series’ return do not make me want to see it. Scheming and screaming. Subterfuge and subplots. A one-minute commercial has my heart pounding and my head aching. Who needs that?
Well, I did once. When the show first aired as a five-part miniseries in 1978, my husband and I were stationed in front of the TV like groupies. When it became a regular Friday night show, we never missed an episode.
My favorite character was Bobby Ewing, played by handsome Patrick Duffy. Upright and moral, he was nothing like his unscrupulous brother, JR. I hated the way JR treated his younger sibling, even trying to break up Bobby’s marriage to the beautiful Pamela Barnes Ewing whose brother Cliff was JR’s archenemy.
I was a lot younger and smarter during the show’s first run. It was easy to stay on top of the rivalries, behind-the-scenes machinations, the bed-hopping. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was what every viewer wanted the answer to the summer of 1980: Who shot JR in the cliffhanger that ended season three?
Loyal viewers wondered and wagered for months over the identity of the person who fired two shots at JR in his office. I have read Britain’s Queen Mother wanted an answer to the query on everyone’s lips. Royalty, or peon, we waited until nearly Thanksgiving to find out because a Screen Actors’ Guild strike delayed production of season four for two months.
You can imagine my dismay when the long-awaited date of the first episode was announced — when I realized my husband and I had agreed to attend a church-sponsored square dance that same night. We considered pretending one of us was sick. But lying to get out of a church function? JR might chance it but not us.
Instead, we drove to Prior Lake after giving our kids strict instructions to watch the show and stay off the telephone. I had some quarters for the pay phone in the pocket of my denim skirt and kept calling home until I had the information everyone at the dance was waiting for.
“Kristen did it,” I announced when I returned to the barn. Kristen, JR’s sister-in-law, was played by Bing Crosby’s real-life daughter, Mary. She and JR had had an affair and he did not press charges after she told him she was pregnant with his child.
I don’t think that could happen in real life. But a lot of what happened on the Southfork ranch could only have been scripted by Hollywood writers. Which is why I have decided to skip the new Dallas.
Between the five-part miniseries and the subsequent 13 seasons, I think they covered every possible scenario known to villainous, money-grubbing oil tycoons and their family members. Let me know if I’m wrong, though, will you?