The I Think Archive

Ten things I think this week:

Monday, December 27

10a. I think that I don't even know where to begin. If you haven't already guessed, I have had a major non-Y2K-related computer disaster this week. My notebook's hard drive crashed suddenly and without warning, and in trying to revive it so that I could get data off of it I made it worse and lost my window of opportunity. So I lost a whole day getting that problem resolved. Then while transferring stuff between my desktop and my laptop, the desktop computer fell on the floor and that hard drive is now non-functional. Not a good week for me.
The long and short of it is that I've lost a good deal of my personal files - poll results, trivia board scores, old mail, etc. [I was going to make a backup of it all...honest. :) ] So I'll have to see what can be done for the future of these site areas. The only good news is that this was the quietest time of year for the site so I may be able to recover in time. Oh well. Live and learn.

10b. I think I hope I don't trouble too many people by including today's [Monday's] episode in "This Week's Nits". It's just more convenient that way for me, and frankly, with all the trouble I've had, I need a little bit of convenience. I'm also including comments for Monday's episode in this column rather than next week's column.

9. I think I want to know why the heck every episode this week featured a stormy evening. Clearly it's a subtle hint of the quiet storm that envelops all of the show's characters [how's THAT for an image?] but I'll bet there's more to it than that.

8. I think I want to pass on a note from Steve Powers:

> As far as the Southfork set issue goes, Southfork is almost always a set for the episodes filmed during the latter part of the season. For seasons 1-11, the cast and crew would film on location in Dallas for a few months in the summer, and then return to Hollywood to film the rest of the season. (The first five episodes were filmed completely on location, and the last two seasons were done entirely in Hollywood.) Check it out -- you'll almost never see the real Southfork during the second part of the season.

7. I think that I was really sad to see Katherine get a push in the beginning of the week and then have her disappear all of a sudden. Then I checked the summary pages and discovered that she's going to be gone for a long time. I don't think Holly Harwood's appearance is going to make up for her loss in my books.

6. I think that I'll give one to Nate, a new submitter, for something a lot of us probably missed on the weekend.

> On this week's episode of Family Guy: this was their Y2K episode where the world ends and the family has to pick up the pieces. After dealing with nuclear mutations and other hazards the animated family walks into the sunset ....... the show then cuts to live action with Victoria Principal jumping out of bed and walking to the shower. Of course, Patrick Duffy is inside (recent dye job). She proceeds to tell Bobby about the horrible dream she had about Family Guy. Bobby responds "What's Family Guy?"

5. I think that it's Mike's turn. Val sent me something similar last week, but alas I've lost it.

> Maybe I'm wrong, but real world wives would not be nearly so forgiving of Ray's recent transgressions and adultery. Donna lets him off scott-free and kisses his ass to boot. My wife certainly wouldn't if I did what Ray did.
Val pointed out that Lucy was sort of in the same position - Mitch didn't actually cheat on her, but she thought he did. And both of you are quite right that this is totally unrealistic.

4a. I think that Friday's episode was yet another triumph for the unquenchable acting spirit that lives within Barbara Bel Geddes. Every once in a while she disappears for a week or so and you wonder whether maybe she's lost it. And then she comes back and proves you wrong. She is without question the most horribly underused character on the show. Until a few months ago I would have made that argument for Donna, but I was clearly wrong. While Donna is definitely an underused character who desperately needs to be freed from the shackles of Krebbsdom, Ellie is the most wasted presence on the show. How many other characters on the show can be triangulated with nearly any couple and create a reasonably decent angle? She even made Ray and Donna interesting for a few episodes.

4b. I think that I just had another thought while writing 4a. It's interesting how it always seems to be the female characters who get depushed for a week at a time, not the men. It gets me thinking to what I said last week about Dynasty. That show had the same problem as Dallas: more women in the mainline cast than men. But Dynasty always really focused on the ladies - it was the women who got into physical catfights, while the men just got into arguments. The opposite is true on Dallas - I don't think I can ever remember a real catfight until very late in the show, when Michelle duked it out in the pool with James's airheaded squeeze Dee Dee. I guess it's no coincidence that the Dallas producers and creators were all men, while the main creative force behind Dynasty was a woman named Esther Shapiro.

3. I think that it's Sara's turn. Several people said the same or similar things earlier, and I really apologize to those who did, but unfortunately my dead hard drive ate your mail.

> Just to state my opinion here, I totally agree with JR about Cliff's suicide attempt.  He did everything to himself and the suicide attempt is no one's fault but his own. He screwed up with the land deal and he screwed up with Sue Ellen.  I really don't like how everyone decided to forget that Cliff stole four million dollars from his own mother for no good reason.

I completely agree with your opinion and I think that we're in the majority. JR is being callous and unfeeling when he said that Cliff's greed is responsible for the tragedy, but he is correct. If Cliff was smart enough to do his homework and realize that the thing with Wally Hampton was a trap, then what are we to say about this? Did he suddenly channel the spirit of April? If so, it's his own fault. Heartily agreed.

2. I think that in light of what was just said, I agree with Bill Withrow and others who pointed out that JR walking into Cliff's office with a bottle of crude oil was one of the great moments of the show. Thoroughly enjoyable.

1. I think that the beginning of Season 5 is a whole lot of fun. It's got all the great stuff that we expect from the show, with the added bonus that everyone gets involved - even Ray and Donna. The Southfork staff is finally granted vocal cords; some way cool guest stars appear who actually last the whole season; and the week ends with the first Oil Baron's Ball, which is always good for a whole lotta laughs.

Monday, December 20

9. I think I'm glad I waited until today to write the column, because today's episode gave me a great idea for Item # 2. And I really needed ideas given that a lot of the AHNs are either busy, home for the holidays, or otherwise unavailable. [Hint: for those of you in the silent majority, now would be a good time to contribute!]

8. I think I really disliked the fact that Ellie was so horribly depushed this week. She got four Lucy awards! Free BBG! Now!

7. I think that, uncharacteristically, I have quite a few things to say about Lucy. First of all, her scenes with Roger disturb me. Big time. Roger is WEIRD and somewhat frightening. But frankly, her predicament [which gets much worse] is wholly her own doing. She's the one who walked out on her marriage because she couldn't bring herself to trust her husband. And then she really didn't care about her relationship with him until some other woman came along. I really don't believe that she's as hurt by losing Mitch than by losing him to Evelyn. Just like JR [despite his claims to the contrary] is more worried about losing Sue Ellen to another man than by losing her at all. Lucy is more of a Ewing thn she wants to believe.

6. I think that I'll give one to Bill Withrow, about Tuesday's episode:

> You have to hand it to J.R. Even though Donna knows the game that he is playing, he is still able to get under her skin. That was also a nice touch when J.R. came into the house before Donna could answer the door and helped himself to a beer without asking. That says to Donna that she's not even worthy of common courtesy. Even though Ray owns the land, he's treating her like a tenant on his land.

5. I think that I'll turn it over to Tina Niblett to discuss that balloon from Tuesday's episode that really bothered me.

> That balloon symbolism is definitely strange. I have to agree with Alett about it representing this fleeting moment of happiness for Sue Ellen and J.R. If you'll remember, toward the end of the series, when J.R. and Cally were married during the storm, the balloon was present again. When Sue Ellen pops the balloon after J.R. comes out in to the hall, we can figure out that J.R. and Cally's marriage is not going to last, and that J.R. and Sue Ellen are a thing of the past. I think it represents the fragile nature of the relationships that are portrayed in this show.

4. I think that I'm really glad that I received this one from AHN Matt, who's on temporary sabbatical. It's about Thursday's episode, which I really liked, but Matt was more eloquent than I was.

> First of all, this is one of the best regular episodes of Dallas ever. I mean regular as in, not a cliff hanger episode. I would easily give this episode 10 stars. The Scene between Bobby and Sue Ellen was great, as was the Donna Krebbs taking charge scene. I think Susan Howard should get some sort of recognition for today's epsiode, as Howard's adaptation as Donna Krebbs today was by far the best acting performance Howard gives throughout the entire run of the show. From the pre-dinner drinks scene with JR and the family, to her conversations with Ray, and her confrontation with Bonnie- Susan was in rare form. What was great about the bar room scene was that Donna wore the Fur coat (to show her as being higher class), never calling Bonnie by name (a condescending attitude at its best), and the fact that she never made Ray look bad (makes Bonnie look even more class-less). This show had another great scene, at the end of the show with JR and Sue Ellen.

3. I think that I want to take a moment to talk about the one thing that has always amazed me about Dallas. Some of things I've gotten used to in my head, such as the show's longevity [second highest number of episodes for a series in TV history], and popularity [#1 in the Nielsen ratings for three straight years, with Episode 59 being the third most-watched episode ever]. But one thing bears repeating because it is absolutely unparalleled, I believe, in television history. An hour-long serial drama whose core cast remained completely whole for eight years has never happened before or since and will probably never happen again.
This came into my mind given Jim Davis's untimely death. Other than his passing, and the additions of Susan Howard, Priscilla Presley, and Howard Keel, the seven mainline characters stuck with the show for eight straight seasons and nine of the first ten. How rare is this? I dare you to name any other drama for which this was the case. You can't. There hasn't been one.
Oh, sure, there have been quite a few half-hour comedy shows that can make this claim. All in the Family. I Love Lucy. There are others. But such shows have two things working for them: the production schedule is much lighter, involving minimal travel and easier working conditions; and the core cast tends to be much smaller [four or five people rather than eight or nine].
Look at ER: only two or three cast members will remain from the original after this season. Law and Order and NYPD Blue have become revolving doors. It's just a matter of time before this happens to newer shows like The Practice.
One tidbit I picked up last week was that for Dallas, this was actually a closer call than you think. I'm sure most of you know that after the 1979-80 season, when JR was shot, Larry Hagman was caught in a contract squabble with Lorimar and both parties were seriously considering terminating their relationship. Robert Culp was considered as a replacement after a complicated plastic surgery; and there was even talk of having JR die as a result of the shooting. That, my friends, is downright scary. Dallas...without JR? I'll tell you one thing for sure: if that had happened, there's no way this web site would exist because there's no way Dallas would have produced enough episodes to be syndicated. No way in hell.

2. I think that if you don't already, take some time out on Saturdays and watch the Entertainment Tonight specials where they focus on the behind-the-scenes happenings of popular shows. Last week they featured "Taxi", and this week it was "Dynasty". I'm hoping they'll do a feature on "Dallas" soon.
I found this week's feature very interesting because I've always been fascinated [for whatever reason] by comparing and contrasting Dynasty with Dallas. I was too young to have watched these shows in their heydays but I've seen enough of each to form an educated opinion. Here are a bunch of things which I find noteworthy:

  • Both shows were originally based on a similar premise: a rich family's world being turned upside-down by an outsider's arrival. In the case of Dallas, it was that Barnes woman breaking into the Ewing family. In the case of Dynasty, the Carringtons' peace was disrupted when patriarch Blake married Krystle Jennings. Both women were portrayed as princesses who had to fight to gain acceptance in their new surroundings.
  • Both ladies eventually do win the struggle to stick around, but have to contend with one malicious presence who just refuses to be won over. That's where the similarities end: in the case of Dallas, that presence is JR. So the focus of the conflict is on business, money, and power. In the case of Dynasty, the antagonist is Blake's evil ex-wife Alexis. So the focus of the conflict between Krystle and Alexis is more sexual and emotional. It's a contest between two women, rather than between two wills. Those ideas carried over to the rest of the show: on Dynasty, conflicts were about people, and control over people. On Dallas, conflicts are about things, and control over things.
  • Both shows were a combination of soap opera and drama but Dallas was more of a drama, Dynasty a soap. Dynasty was wacky; its plots were far-fetched; its popularity was attributable to wacky sexual antics and off-the-wall gimmicks. Where Dynasty would just pick names out of a hat and decree that these two people will have sex this episode, the Dallas writers took much more time to have their storylines make sense. Oh, sure. Dallas has a lot of BILC. There are a few scenes whose sole purpose it is to allow JR to get in shots at Ray, Pam, Donna, or whoever happens to be around. But I don't see a whole lot of scenes that contribute NOTHING to the plot. And Dallas lasted all those years without a single chick fight, which was a Dynasty staple. Dallas cliffhangers were more sensible and not overdramatized. Contrast them to Dynasty season-enders, one of which teased the whole mainline cast dying at the hands of gun-toting terrorists.
  • Dynasty was more about glitz and glamour than it was about substance. The Carringtons' world was a fantasy world. I can't ever picture a family like them existing, although I can imagine that a family like the Ewings could exist.
  • Both shows had spinoffs. Dallas spun off Knots Landing, which lasted twelve seasons. Dynasty spun off The Colbys, which lasted two seasons. What was the difference? Well, the Dallas writers laid a proper foundation for their spin-off, and after weaning it for a season by having guest spots, Knots was allowed to have its own identity and garner its own following. The Colbys was essentially an extra hour of Dynasty which wasn't as good as the original, and was mainly intended to capitalize on the show's popularity but ended up killing itself through overexposure.
  • As I mentioned above, Dynasty suffered from near-unparalleled cast turnover. Every season the mainline credits changed because disgruntled actors would leave. You know why? It was because of the wackiness I mentioned above. In order to keep the audience interested, the producers often had to switch horses in mid-stream. Every half-season, characters were given new angles and new gimmicks. It's tough to handle eighteen-hour workdays when you don't know what you're going to be doing as you arrive on the set. Contrast this to Dallas, where everyone had a pretty good handle on their role and the whole cast was in sync.
  • And the biggest problem Dynasty had, despite the delightfully bitchy Alexis, was the lack of a larger-than-life presence who was out to cause hell for everybody, like JR Ewing. Alexis was just out to bother Krystle and get her family back. She had soft spots for all sorts of people. JR doesn't have a soft spot for anybody when push comes to shove. Eventually, late in the series, the Dynasty writers were forced to tone down Alexis's role and bring in other characters to be the bad guys. I think it's fairly safe to say that JR never gave up his scheming ways until the end of the series. [He had less success towards the end, but he kept trying].

So what's my conclusion? I don't really have one, per se - like I said, I just find these sorts of contrasts to be interesting. Maybe in a few weeks I'll compare Dallas to another show and demonstrate why it's superior. :)

1. I think that I'm not going to say a whole lot about next week - you can pretty much see where this one is headed. All of the major storylines have been well established and will take a few twists and turns towards next Monday's cliffhanger. 

Saturday, December 11

10. I think that more and more as the weeks go on for Dallas, I find that a lot of my thoughts for the column are being echoed by other people before I write it. I guess everyone is more tuned in to the weird goings-on now after a year or so of hardcore nitpicking experience. It's nice to see.

9. I think we'll start with Mike:

 Lucy is dead wrong when she says "I'm just not good at anything". She is excellent at being a braindead, spoiled brat. Example? Most people who say they "want to do something with my life" do something that contributes to society. Lucy decides to become a model.

8. I think that Monday's episode triggered something interesting in my memory. A few seasons from now, JR and Sue Ellen will have a conversation in which he says that there are only two things that he really loves - Ewing Oil and his son. Sue Ellen commented, "Probably in that order." At the time, I didn't think she was right - but now I do. Given JR's actions on Monday, it seems clear the he figures he'll always have a chance to get his son back when he really wants to, but Ewing Oil isn't quite so firmly in his grasp.

7. I think that it's AHN Pam's turn to get one started here:

> Ray really is a loser, no wonder Donna can emasculate him at a whim.  He has one lousy deal and is ready to throw in the towel.  Even Punk said he'd made mistakes.  If Ray's willing to give up after one mistake, he DESERVES to be emasculated by his wife, and by anyone else for that matter.

Well said. The only thing I found interesting about Ray this week was that, even though I would not have deemed it possible, the writers succeeded in making him into even MORE of a neanderthal than is usually the case.

6. I think that it's Alett's turn, for her take on the Sue Ellen situation:

> Sue Ellen is too dependent to even trust her own judgment on which furniture to buy. She makes this big speech about being independent and making mistakes on her own. It seems the first one was moving in without anything. Just stay in a hotel until you at least have some basics. It seems like she and John Ross would have been sleeping on the floor. Since this is her chance to actually be a grown-up, she blows it immediately by getting help from Ellie too.

Val took this a step further:

> When Didi was telling Sue Ellen off for coming on to her husband, Sue Ellen just stood there, beside herself. She should have stood up, gotten in that girl's face and defended herself!!!! It was plain as day that Fred was putting the moves on Sue Ellen, not the other way around. In fact, Sue Ellen appeared quite disturbed about it. Now, I know Didi probably doesn't want to believe that HER Henry could EVER possibly look at another woman, but how can this dense little woman ignore the facts?

Both of these interludes are actually the result of the same problem: Sue Ellen simply just does not know how to exist in the real world yet. She thinks it's just because she's never been on her own; that's part of it, but the main problem is that she's about as street-wise as a toddler, always believing herself to be in a magical world on Lollipop Lane. Her self-worth is still tied to how other people feel about her, and as much as she tries to deny is, she is a product of her mother's upbringing: she can only seem to function normally while being attached to a man. Helpless Dusty was perfect for her, because he fed her need for co-dependence; independent Dusty could not do that.
Three weeks ago, Sue Ellen mustered up the courage to leave JR and Southfork with her son, because she had somewhere to run. That courage is gone again, because she's turning back into that scared little girl she used to be. JR was right when he figured that getting Sue Ellen off the Southern Cross would bring her crawling back - he just didn't count on Ellie going into smackdown mode.

5. I think that, speaking of Sue Ellen's "Time of Your Life" saga, the Tom Plintoff character we saw on Thursday is the biggest jabronie I've seen on the show since Rudy-Poo Millington in Episode 38. I truly wish JR would have shaken out of his funk for just a minute to lay the smackdown on this guy's candy ass. What a moron.

4. I think that there were a lot of mixed feelings about Ellie dressing down JR for trying to blackmail the Farlows, especially when she knows in her heart that she wants John Ross back at the ranch as much as he does - and given what happened with Lucy those many years ago, you know she's not exactly above doing something underhanded to keep her family together.
I don't mind Ellie being tough or laying the smackdown on whoever happens to deserve it that day - I enjoy it. Ellie is at her BEST when being tough. What I mind is her being alternately tough and then becoming, for lack of a better term, a sniveling wimp. If the writers want to turn her into a feared presence, then she should stay that way. And I don't see the need for her to be overly sensitive, sentimental, or wishy-washy when something needs to be done. For instance, I would have been much happier if, while Ellie was rallying the troops to vote JR out of office, more had been made about how JR cost Ewing Oil millions of dollars rather than focusing on his vendetta-chasing. Later this season, Cliff is going to pull a stunt like this on a lesser scale, and he is quite properly chastised for being financially irresponsible. JR should be as well.
And by the way, I'm quite certain that Ellie would have voted JR out of office if Bobby had enough guts to concur.

3. I think that I've hit on another bit of Dallas symbolism. Actually, we see it so often that it might be a bit gratuitous to point it out, but you know me...
That Southfork livingroom. A lot of important stuff goes on in there - mostly arguing. But it's actually a great indicator of the way things are going for the Dallas landscape. I've noticed that characters who are not in living room scenes are depushed in general, and characters who do a lot of sitting down tend to be mired in boring subplots and just watch the action go by. Characters who are standing are the ones generally involved in the interesting storylines; and that extends towards the rest of the show in general. For instance, think back to Monday's episode when Ellie called her impromptu Ewing Oil board meeting. Ray is seated; Lucy is seated; even Bobby is seated. Only JR and Ellie are standing, and they're the only two characters who really matter in this scene. It's no accident that about 70% of Monday's air time was devoted to them.
This is going to be rather interesting to watch over the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for the seating arrangements and judge for yourself whether or not I'm right.

2. I think that I want to take the number two spot, which is supposed to be the one nearest and dearest to my heart, really seriously this week. I'm going to say something that will probably shock most of you: I'm sick and tired of hearing about Jock Ewing, especially from his wife.
Yes, you heard me right. I am completely against the way the writers have tried to turn Jock into a godlike figure. For several reasons. First of all, it detracts from everyone else's character development, just like it did in The Early Years, or as I like to refer to it, "The Dallas according to Jock"; second of all, it's not true that the man was a saint or a colossus bestriding the world; third and most importantly, it does irreparable harm to DA MAN's ongoing status.
Here's what I mean. A rule of thumb about all TV drama dialogue is that it falls into four categories:

1. Dialogue that furthers the plot. Some cabbageing is necessary, of course, in any serial drama, and that's okay as long as it doesn't get excessive.
2. Dialogue that gives us information that is not obvious from the setting. For instance, when JR meets a guy we've never seen before and it turns out he's a Congressman who owes him a favor, the writers will have to take a few minutes and let us know that.
3. Dialogue that is filler material. Generally designed to give people scenes when they have nothing to contribute to the plot. Lucy gets a lot of this.
4. Dialogue that is designed to hornswoggle us. For instance, every time the writers have someone tell us that "Pam's a fighter", they're selling us a bill of goods. Pam is most definitely NOT a fighter, but in order to convince us that she is, the writers have other characters say so.

Generally, dialogue that is designed to hornswoggle is repeated many times by many different people - if everyone says so, it must be true, right? Another example that comes to mind is the way that a lot of women on the show are called "attractive" by all sorts of men, when they are most definitely NOT all that attractive. Several characters on the show referred to Leslie Stewart as attractive; the same was true of Vanessa Beaumont, Angelica Nero, Kimberly Cryder, and others. Now I'm not saying these women are necessarily ugly or anything like that; it's just that the writers feel the need to beat us over the head with comments like "Wow, you're even more beautiful than JR said", because otherwise we won't get the point. You don't hear characters commenting every day about how beautiful Pam, Sue Ellen, April, or Sly are, because such dialogue is unnecessary. We all KNOW they're beautiful.
But I digress. Here's the point: when the producers tell us something over and over again, it's usually because it's not true but they want to make us believe it. Or they've done such a poor job making it happen and are now scrambling because they have no choice but to do so. And that is what they did during the final scene of Thursday's episode. By having Ellie tell Bobby that everything in the Ewing world exists because of Jock, that "he's Jock's son, she's Jock's woman, and the rules are Jock's rules", guess what the writers are doing? They are painting a picture of Jock which is overblown and patently untrue. They didn't take the opportunity to turn Jock into a noble family patriarch while Jim Davis was alive, so now they're cramming a whole year of character development into two minutes.
I don't think I'll shock too many people by saying that I'm a big Jock fan. Even if you are not, I think most of you would agree that without him this show wouldn't be half as good as it is, because this is JR's show, and JR is what he is because of Jock. But as a true Jock fan, I'm upset that the writers are turning him into more than what he was. He was a man of honor and integrity who stretched the rules when he had to; he had a heart of gold but knew when to be tough. He wasn't a saint; he had his faults; and that's pretty much it.
If the writers want to make Jock Ewing into a dominating figure whose legacy pervades every nuance of his family's existence, then I don't necessarily have a problem with that; what I do have a problem with is hearing it in the form of words rather than seeing it in the characters' actions. I shouldn't have to be told what Jock Ewing was all about. I should be able to see it with my own eyes and draw my own conclusions. I shouldn't be forced to endure hearing a distorted view from Ellie and being told to throw away my own conclusions and accept what the writers want me to believe, just to make it easier for them. I should feel it every time JR talks to that portrait and draws strength from it. And I do. That's the Jock I want to remember.

1. I think that it's time to talk about next week. I think it's pretty obvious where things are headed on some fronts: JR finally shakes out of his funk and continues to try and insinuate himself back into Sue Ellen's life; Bobby is forced to deal yet again with the pesky Jeff Farraday; Lucy and Mitch continue with their off-again, on-again sham of a marriage, complicated by Lucy's involvement with Roger Larson; Donna is fortunate enough not to be dragged into the black hole surrounding her husband; and Pam...plays with Christopher. Gee, there's a surprise.  

Saturday, December 4

9. I think I'll have to cut my column to nine this week. But that's better than seven.

8. I think that showdown at the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday was probably the scene of the week. Certainly it was BILC, but a lot of great scenes are. The symbolism in this scene is rather poignant. Tina Niblett pointed out the interesting way both combatants enter the stadium - JR in his car, but Dusty in a helicopter, descending to JR's level for the confrontation. The metaphor of two guys standing in the middle of a football stadium preparing to butt heads is relatively straightforward as a symbol of the battle to prove one's ability to "be a man", and it's no accident that Dusty, after being all fired up, has to turn tail and walk away.

7. I think I'll give Alett the floor, for something I realized immediately but others might have missed:

> I found it interesting that among Pam's list of things a baby of hers could count on is knowing 'that I would never leave it.'  This seems to be a case of never say never since she will repeat her mother's history in a few years with possibly worse results since she was really too young to remember her mother, but her child will know her.

6. I think that I found another interesting metaphor. Remember how Cliff always talked about the Barnes family having to walk around "hat in hand" and asking for favors. Well, I noticed that when JR comes to Cliff's office for his loan extension, he's the one with his hat in his hand.

5. I think that I even amaze myself that I didn't really have anything bad to say about this week's Ray/Donna angle. Maybe I'm partially numb to the whole thing but I actually thought it wasn't that badly done. At least they managed to get Ellie involved in this whole thing, and have it tie in to JR's attempt to get John Ross back. Ray and Donna only become truly boring when their relationship becomes isolated from the rest of the cast.

4. I think I would have liked to have seen Bobby be in a tougher position to deal with Pam's illness, just as Jock was with Amanda those many years ago. Not that I cared a jot for Pam's psychobabble sessions, and unfortunately this idea would have moved Pam out of the spotlight. I guess I'm just really disillusioned by Pam as a babyface right now, and I really think that the writers are hampering Bobby's character development by turning him into a cheerleader for his wife. It really should be the other way around.
The way the writers went about is VERY good, nonetheless, and I'm sure everyone can see that the current situation paves the way for one of those great angles which affects a whole bunch of people, just as the John Ross paternity angle did. 

3. I think that, speaking of cheerleaders, I had better define what I mean by them. As the title suggests, a character who is someone's cheerleader is sort of standing on the sidelines watching their angle develop - like Sue Ellen is for Dusty. You'll notice that Sue Ellen did nothing this week except hang around and watch Dusty do his thing. She was supportive as far as she could be, and concerned when she needed to be. I guess the best example of a cheerleader is Afton for Cliff, once their relationship gets more serious.

2. I think that there's more to say about Sue Ellen and Dusty. Here's what Pam had to say:

> Dusty's been watching old footage of himself riding and Little Dusty is unable to satisfy any of his own or her carnal needs. All of which is making him feel like less of a man. This is pretty clear to anyone with half of a living brain cell. Apparently two years of Dr. Elby's psychobabble taught this chick NOTHING since Dusty and Clayton had to spell it out for her.

Frankly, I think that Sue Ellen doesn't WANT to understand Dusty. She thought she understood him when he said that all he wanted to do was to be with her, and she figured that was that. As usual, Sue Ellen just created another fantasy world for herself where she's the center of Dusty's universe and now it's all being shattered. I have said it before and I'll say it again - at this point, Sue Ellen is her own worst enemy when it comes to being happy.
Then again, this is true for all the Ewing women, as I discussed a few weeks ago. Donna wants Ray to just be a cowboy; Pam wants Bobby to pretend Ewing Oil doesn't exist; and Ellie's always upset at what Jock's legacy does to the family. What a cast of characters we have here.

1. I think that I've said this before, but the next week of Dallas is truly going to be the best week we've ever seen. Non-stop action with none of the dead spots that constantly plagued us...well, maybe some of Pam's stuff is going to be a bit boring, but we're used to that. An unpredictable Ewing barbecue changes a whole lot of things, and Wednesday's episode, "The Search", is a sentimental favorite for a lot of people. Oh, and by the way, I don't think I need of Line of the Day for Monday - it's taken care of.


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