Dallas: The Enemy of My Enemy

Posted on July 12, 2012

Did you ever notice that there are a LOT of scenes on this show of people reading something? VERY intently? Entire plot points hinge on A FILE or A DOCUMENT. It’s funny because it’s actually so true to ’80s-style nighttime soaps, which were ALL ABOUT business deals (when they weren’t about adultery or secret pregnancies) and since business was conducted on paper back then, one got used to seeing a lot of DRAMATIC MANILA FOLDERS.

This stuck out to us partially because of the anachronism (relatively few scenes of people staring intently at computer monitors, after all) but mainly because it signals one of the many ways the creators behind this show really thought about what they were doing. We are, to our great surprise, enjoying this show far more than we thought we would and the reason for that comes down to one thing: the people involved in creating it know EXACTLY what kind of product they want to put out there. The biggest problem with most new shows is that they don’t have a mission statement in place and usually spend the first half of the first season floundering and flailing about, trying to hook an audience. The creators knew what they wanted to do: give you what you loved about Dallas and skip over the parts where it got silly or too complicated. Clearly, massive classic Dallas viewing marathons were the order of the day for everyone involved, because somehow they’ve managed to boil the world of Southfork down to its very essence and then took that as their starting point for this relaunch. In the world of Dallas, every office has a safe, every hotel room has a hidden camera, every member of the family has a scheme, and entire lives can be permanently destroyed by a piece of paper. That’s just how they roll on Southfork.

This is why Bobby is still a sap, J.R. is still delicious fun to watch, and Sue Ellen’s constant befuddlement is still hilarious. Because we don’t know about you, but prior to the relaunch, if anyone had asked us to sum up those three characters, we would have said, “Sap, delicious, and befuddled.” You don’t need to know anything more about them.

What you do need to know is what the hell is going on with all these damn kids running around. This has been our only true criticism of the show, but thankfully, it appears the show knew what it was doing there, too. The younger generation is finally getting a little meat to their stories and so far, we’re pretty okay with what’s going on. Granted, we still think the brittle Elena makes a poor choice for The Woman Who Got Between the Men of Southfork. A femme fatale she’s not, and it’s a little tough to hang the entire Christopher/John Ross feud on this one pretty but otherwise unremarkable young woman. Oddly enough, the weepy Rebecca, with her constant “I’m sorry’s” has turned out to be the more interesting character to us. We still don’t really know what the hell is going on with her and that creepy hipster douchebag brother of hers. Are they really siblings? Because they sure as hell don’t act like it. She pretty much broke up with him this episode and last time we checked, that’s not really a conversation one normally has with a sibling.

Oh, and we HOWLED with laughter at the nosebleed. How perfectly soap opera was that? Most ladies pee on a stick to find out they’re pregnant, but on Southfork, blood dramatically shoots out of the nose, resulting in a near-collapse on the driveway. You’ve gotta love the melodrama of it all.

The other thing they’ve done well with the relaunch is introducing new characters who feel like they fit in this world. Not-Pam’s sleazy, but kinda hot ex-husband, for instance. It’s rare that you ever encountered someone in the world of Dallas who seems like he could give J.R. a run for his money (after all, Cliff Barnes was about the biggest tool who ever tooled), but Not-Pam’s Not-Husband makes a deliciously evil addition to the cast. We hope he and J.R. get to face off to determine who has the most EEEEVIL facial hair. We’re gonna go out on a limb and predict that the whole deal with the necklace that made Not-Pam cry has to do with a dead child. Why else would she put that hideous thing around her neck?

As for the plot… are you kidding us? Shyeah. Like we can keep track of what the hell’s going on. There’s a new scheme or a new twist in an ongoing scheme in practically every scene at this point. Like we said before, this doesn’t bother us all that much. We suppose one could make the argument that the plot is confusing and thus indicates a flaw in the writing, but we’re pretty sure byzantine, confusing plots are a feature, not a bug. We tend to just let it wash over us without trying to figure out too much. For some reason, J.R. really wants to play high-stakes poker with Cliff Barnes in Vegas. Okay. We’ll go with that. For some reason, Grandpa Southfork ingeniously hid the key to the deposit box containing his will inside a replica of the average suburban garage, built right on the grounds of the estate, and told no one about it. Okay. Sure. That’s just how this family does things. Sue Ellen spent the ’80s crashing her car, getting committed to sanitariums, and getting arrested for shooting her husband, but she’s bound to be the next governor of the great state of Texas. Sure! ABSOLUTELY. It simply wouldn’t be Dallas without these bizarre contrivances – and we’re not ashamed to admit we love each and every one of them.

But don’t ask us to explain what’s going on. DALLAS is going on, and that’s all you need to know.

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  • l3icest3r

    Bobbeh!

  • http://twitter.com/SarahJLang Sarah Lang

    I have decided Southfork is like the Brady Bunch house. From the outside it is the palatial estate, while everyone inside lives in a some other house that has two dinky bedrooms, a den and a kitchen the size of closet.

    • MilaXX

       I am just amazed that apparently Jock & Ms Ellie apparently never heard of storage bins. They just littered the house with important family heirlooms.

      • Lilithcat

        Storage units weren’t real common back then.  Your garage (or your basement) was your storage bin!

        • MilaXX

          I was of age back them Plenty of people had them. As wealthy as this family is supposed to be you;d think they would have better places to keep vlubale thing for safekeeping, yet every week someone opens a drawer or a closet and find IMPORTANT VALUABLE AND/OR SENTIMENTAL THING

          • Lilithcat

            I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t stashed with the family lawyer.   Of course, considering the lawyers they’ve dealt with lately, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a good idea!

    • Jangle57

      If you’ve ever visited the real Southfork, and I have, you might be surprised to learn you aren’t too far off of the mark….

      • shopgirl716

        I was going to say the same thing.  I especially loved the “museum”, which was a bunch of newspaper clippings and  someone’s bathing suit on a mannequin.  Hysterical.

      • Pcatt

        I live about 5 miles from Southfork, and all I can say is the camera angles of the property are VERY creative. 

    • formerlyAnon

       LBJ’s “ranch house,” aka the Texas White House, (which is a National Historical Park) is something like that. Space added, but still designed & furnished as a comfortable family house of the time. (Caveat: the whole house is not accessible, Mrs. Johnson lived there at least part time until 2007 and only a few rooms are on the tour, so far.).

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/FEP56YB4DUIXBWSLIMSSSGQHWY jimmack

      Actually, I think the exterior shots make the house look very small…about 4,000 sq ft I would say. I wish they would stop those high angle shots of the house that make it look like a shack. Have you notices the little lights that outline the roos.

      So far we know the house has a kitchen, den, and two little bedrooms. How I long for the mansions of Dynasty.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CNDPMVO4W23R5TVC2QMTJ5BZE Heather

        4,000 square feet is “small”? I live in 850.

    • OneTwoThreeFashion

       lol! exactly…

    • grouchywif

      The house is actually pretty small in real life compared to how they portray it on screen. Having been to Southfork and toured the house, I have to smile every time I see a camera angle of it from the outside making it look like this huge mansion when really, it is a rather average farmhouse with a small pool area in back. A surprisingly small pool area. All hail the magic of cinema.

  • formerlyAnon

    Sue Ellen would fit right in among the run of Texas governors, even more so governor-candidates, lately.

    • OneTwoThreeFashion

       ha ha ha :-)

  • Bridget Dierks

    Sweet Jesus, when Not-Pam fell to the floor weeping over the sight of the Ugly Locket, I shouted “There’s going to be a DEAD BABY involved!” at the top of my lungs.  My husband (who was not paying attention to the show) looked at me like I’d lost my marbles. 

    This show and all its ridiculousness is becoming the highlight of my Wednesday evenings.

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

    I think that was a storage building on the Southfork property that all of Grandpa SouthWORTH’s property was put in after he passed.  Probably when someone decided to redecorate.

    Also, nosebleeds are more common during pregnancy, I don’t know why.

    Elena would be SO much easier for me to like if Jordanna Brewster would put on a couple of pounds.  She was on As the World Turns when she was younger and to see her so thin now is painful to look at.

    • Judy_J

      I had nosebleeds when I was pregnant. It was one of those annoying side effects.

  • Town

    If Rick Perry & Sarah Palin could be elected as governor, why not Sue Ellen Ewing?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/FEP56YB4DUIXBWSLIMSSSGQHWY jimmack

      Have you see the fine bunch in Illinois? Three  govs are in prison as we speeck.

      • Lilithcat

        No, only 2.  Ryan and Blagojevich.  On the other hand, we did have John Peter Altgeld.

    • OneTwoThreeFashion

       he he exactly!

  • MilaXX

    LOL, LOVED Rebecca’s nosebleed. Seriously it was so cheese I howled with laughter. This show is such delicious nighttime fun. Oh and I cannot wait for the next batshit thing that faux Martita or whatever her name is. I really hope she goes full on bunny boiling insane.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    LOVING. EVERY. MINUTE.

    So glad you guys are too.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    Yes!  It’s the silly ridiculousness of it all that makes it work.  There’s no point watching Dallas if you’re going to fret about realism.  I love my Wednesday night date with these insane people. 

  • gabbilevy

    I watched this episode after it aired, but I made sure to read along with your tweets from the show while I watched it. Your commentary, as always, is BRILLIANT.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    The nosebleed scene was funny. I said to myself, ok either she has a brain tumor or she’s pregnant. On this show, it could be either one or anything in between.
     
    My favorite laugh out loud moment was 80-year old JR in a massive hotel suite with a gorgeous view being rubbed down by 3 hot young chickadees. Best shit ever.
     
    Oh and I seriously want to tie Elena down and cut those ridiculous bangs of hers. I’m getting tired of her one look: parted lips, furrowed brow, three inches of hair in her eyes. I’m also not getting how this girl scored the role of Southfork’s femme fatale. Girl has no sex appeal whatsoever.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      What about Sue Ellen’s bangs that moved every time she blinked her eyes?  It made mine twitch just looking at it.

    • BuffaloBarbara

       No, don’t cut them!  They’ll never grow out, then.  Just, I don’t know, send her a barrette or something for this in-between stage.

  • Lilithcat

    She pretty much broke up with him this episode 

    I know!  Handing him her rings?  WTF?

    As for the nosebleed, I was betting on leukemia or something.

    • TheOriginalLulu

      Yeah, I thought maybe a brain tumor. Which of course, would have involved surgery followed by a ridiculously short two days in the hospital recovering and maybe two episodes of limping around before she’s back to her old self again. Nah, they can milk more drama out of a pregnancy storyline. Now the big question is will she lose it or will she have it?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/FEP56YB4DUIXBWSLIMSSSGQHWY jimmack

        Or, will she SELL it!!!!!!!

        • TheOriginalLulu

          Good point! hahaha

    • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

      my daughter just finished her second pregnancy (with another beautiful baby granddaughter, thank you very much) and she had the most hideous nosebleeds ever all through it.  she kept sending me gross photos from her phone saying “is this normal?”  WTF do i know, she’s adopted.  anyways…

      • Lilithcat

        I did a little Googling, and apparently it is normal, though I’ve never seen a show signal a pregnancy that way.  So points to the scriptwriters for originality!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sierra-Delta/100003182924700 Sierra Delta

          We knew I was pregnant the second time when I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, clapped both hands tightly over my mouth, but involuntarily threw up on my husband anyway as I frantically tried to make it out of bed and into the loo before it was too late.

          That’s also original, Lilithcat, but I doubt the screen writers would have found it photogenic…

        • annrr

          It is normal. My gums bled when I was pregnant, it was like a crime scene whenever I brushed my teeth.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FEP56YB4DUIXBWSLIMSSSGQHWY jimmack

    You forgot about the memory stick that has been passed around. And now they use disks instead of paper files. Of course, the disks can be tucked in a pocket, sat upon, thrown on a table and they work perfectly every time.

    I enjoy the show as the summer confection that it is. I think some of the casting is a bit off…such as the guy playing John Ross. I sure would like more Sue Ellen. And “Bobbeh” is as handsome as ever.

  • Courtney St.Julian

    Love this show! The actor playing John Ross is so pretty, he looks like a woman in drag. Larry Hagman hasn’t lost a step.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QYNAGYILEHAIYAZP2BEIPGJJIQ Cindy

    SueEllen also killed Mickey, or at least contributed to his death when he attempted to stop her from drunk driving.

  • BayTampaBay

    It is wild and carzy to see “Assistant Director Skinner” playing Not-Pam’s sleazy, but kinda hot ex-husband.

    Agree with TLo that Not-Pam’s sleazy, but kinda hot ex-husband is a foil for JR.  Cliff Barnes is just too long in the tooth.

  • Amy_R

    I knew Bobby was gonna come out swinging sooner or later. JR is too old to be on the receiving end, so I figured out it was going to be Not-Pams Ex. But a backhanded bitch slap? Really? In front of a bunch of guys? Bobby isn’t that old..

    • Pcatt

      That’s EXACTLY what I said!  I yelled out “I can’t believe he bitch-slapped Mitch Pileggi” and of course my husband thinks I’m nuts. 

  • http://twitter.com/karenwalsh Karen Walsh

    Love the addition of Mitch Pileggi from X-Files as Not-Pam’s Ex.  Always thought he was hot!  And I love how JR can be on the show for just a few minutes and still be absolutely hilarious.  I am loving this show! 
    lovemesomejr

  • Modern Belle

    I have vague memories of my parents watching Dallas in the 80s. When I read the TLO review of the pilot, I knew that I had to watch it.

    One evening, I got together with my mom, and we watched a couple of episodes. She is the harshest TV critic around, yet she loved it. She claims the new show pretty much captures the magic of the original series.

    I have issues with Jesse Metcalf playing Christopher. Between Desperate Housewives and John Tucker Must Die, I just see him as a tool rather than the son of a sap.

  • OneTwoThreeFashion

    loving the show – my husband just got all the old original episodes and we will watch them asap! he was a fan, but i never watched it… getting hooked!

  • butter nut

    omg i am loving this shit so much i can hardly stand it.  

  • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

    I loved the shout out to Uncle Garrison when Bobby found his discharge papers in the safe deposit box.  The original guy who tried to take Southfork from JR!

  • Judy_J

    Listen, the great state of Texas has elected that douchebag Rick Perry as governor multiple times. Sue Ellen would be a totally qualified candidate for governor, and I can say that ’cause I live in Texas.