The I Think Archive

Ten things I thinkI think after the TNN fiasco:

Monday, September 18

7. I think I'm sorry I haven't updated the page in a while, but...come on, can you blame me? I mean, TNN throws as a meatless bone and shows episodes that we've seen ad nauseum anyway, and they expect us to be interested? I'm sorry, but I really can't get up for seeing Digger's Daughter AGAIN without some good reason.

6. I think that if you don't get the gist of what I'm saying, you might want to visit the schedule page to see what TNN has planned for the next few weeks. 

5. I think that there are those of you who want to know why TNN is doing this. Well, here's my two cents.

1. Because they can. They own exclusive rights to Dallas and they know the show is still popular so they have no intention of giving them up.

2. Because they don't care about their audience. TNN is a subsidiary of CBS, and their primary responsibility is to air what CBS tells them to air. CBS has dumped all sorts of old shows like Alice, Cagney and Lacey, Starsky and Hutch, etc. on them, forced the company to dish out money for them, and put them on TV. Some big shot made a decision that Dallas wasn't worth bothering with any more.

3. Because they don't need to. As you know if you've been following my column for the last few weeks, TNN is about to land WWF programming and get a whole pile of money dumped in their laps for doing nothing. Bill Clinton has more incentive to make foreign policy at this point than TNN does of making changes to their lineup.

4. I think that there might a very thin silver lining in this dark cloud, though. As you've probably heard me mention over the past few columns, the reason TNN has become more callous about their programming than ever is because they will have the World Wrestling Federation on board beginning next week. The WWF will likely change TNN's attitude towards its viewers. Here's why:

1. The WWF cares about ratings.

Ratings are what it's all about. TNN will have to do everything in its power to make sure that its audience knows when WWF programming will be aired and it will have to ensure that there are no lame lead-in shows and no lame shows coming after it. To this date, TNN did not care whether zero households were watching Matt Houston, because they answered to no one. Now it will have to care.

2. The WWF is serious about its fans.
I work with WWF Canada and these people CARE about their fans. Every piece of mail, no matter how insipid or vulgar, is read. If something is addressed to the President, then he reads it and he personally dictates a reply. If someone is unhappy about what the WWF is doing, their concerns will be heard and replied to.
So if someone is unhappy about what TNN is doing and lets the WWF know about it, something will be done. Case in point: TNN currently airs ECW Wrestling, which is maybe about 1/50th as popular as WWF and doesn't even have close to as much money. Earlier this year, during a televised main event match of ECW, TNN cut the main picture to a quarter screen so that they could advertise Rollerjam or something like that. ECW filed a lawsuit over this for breach of contract, which I believe was settled out of court for a decent sum of money.
If TNN were to do something like this to the WWF, we would not be talking a lawsuit in the hundreds of thousands. We would be talking millions, and the lawsuits would come not only from the WWF but its advertisers. That would indeed be a joyful day for Dallas fans, because TNN would be sued blind, lose their lawsuit and be forced to sell any assets they have at fifty cents on the dollar at best. And some other network is going to gobble up the rights to Dallas for a song. 
The point is that TNN is going to have to start CARING about what its audience thinks. No more of that stupid woman who answers the phone at TNN and calmly listens to your complaint about Dallas, only to read you back some drivel off of a sheet of foolscap that has been carefully prepared by the janitor who doubles as the PR director. If TNN starts receiving complaints of any kind about what they do, and the WWF gets hold of it, there will be hell to pay.

3. The WWF is serious about continuity.

The mood is going to have to change at TNN. These people have made a network out of a patchwork schedule generated by a combination of tarot cards and a dartboard. The WWF is not going to stand for that. They do not like change. Things are just fine the way they are for them. Don't monkey with the schedule. Don't rock the boat. Just enjoy the ride.
So TNN will have to make decisions. They will have to devote a lot of time and effort to making sure that things get done right by the WWF. So I don't think they will be able to afford keeping the rights to shows that they don't feel like airing. Or else [horrors!] they may actually have to start airing them...consistently.

Now, this is all speculation on my part. I have no inside information about any of this. This is just how I see it. I have been saying and saying over and over that once TNN got a big responsibility like the WWF, they would be forced to make intelligent choices. I still believe that. The next couple of weeks will prove whether or not I'm full of hot air.

3. I think that given the recent Survivor craze, I'm surprised someone didn't bring up the thought of who would win if we put a whole bunch of Dallas characters on an island and had them vote people off. Then I realize that we sort of did that with the Battle Royale. So I guess the question is, in the end we'd have Jock and Sue Ellen - who would win?
Interesting note: I can actually find some interesting parallels between Dallas and Survivor. Both are really just relationship shows - you know, how well do you play with others? What are you willing to do to get your hands on the big prize? Are you willing to make friendships and then break them when push comes to shove? What would YOU do? And the best part is that it's wrapped up in an hour-long package. And then next week we roll up the ball and start again.
Just as an aside, since there's not much Dallas-related to talk about, let me just give you some of my thoughts about how I expected things to go down in the Battle Royale. I realized that this would really be not much more than a popularity contest, but I hope enough people would take it seriously to actually think about who might win a real death match.
On the men's side, I really had JR and Bobby figured for the final, and I really thought that Bobby was the only one who could have knocked JR off. Shame on me for discounting DA MAN. The women's side was lot more entertaining for me, not just from a personal standpoint, but also from a storyline standpoint - there just seemed to be more possibilities and fun ways to make things happen. All it took was one little point of conflict from which to get started, and the story sort of wrote itself. On the men's side, I needed to do a lot more thinking. I was really looking forward to a match between Katherine and Angelica semifinal - THAT would have been fun. But you, the fans, picked Sly and Mandy. Don't get me wrong - that was fun too - oh, the possibilities...but I digress. If anybody has any ideas on how I could do a "Survivor" thing without having it turn into a rehash of the Battle Royale, let me know.

2. I think that I am frankly overwhelmed at the popularity of my tapes! I have been getting requests from all over the US and Canada, and even overseas - this is totally cool! I'm very pleased to offer this to people, and since I haven't heard complaints [and I don't mind complaints, by the way] I assume their pleased with my product. I am [hopefully!] a week or so away from obtaining the few episodes I am missing to complete the entire collection, and then I'm sure lots of people will be interested.
I also wanted to mention that thanks to my friend Ross Dale at E!, I have obtained a copy of the E! True Hollywood Dallas Story, for those who missed it. E-mail me to get your copy!

1. I think that, if anyone's interested, you might want to get a Dallas fix by watching Victoria Principal's return to the small screen this fall, in a new show called Titans. I remember this show from a few years ago...when it was called Central Park West, or some other Melrose Place wannabe. If you're a Vicki fan, watch while you can because I give this series one season, and that's it. You can tell because the producers have just got a bunch of well-known actors like Jack Wagner, Perry King, Yasmine Bleeth, and the aforementioned Vicki, and tossed them together hoping it'll work. None of these people have ever demonstrated the ability to even partially carry a show. It seems more formulaic than an episode of Scooby-Doo. 

Monday, August 7

12. I think that my fears from a few weeks ago have come true. I said that without a good deal of audience participation, it was going to be difficult to put together any kind of column every week. It's taken me three weeks to get enough thoughts together to do this.
Before I go to far with this, I want to take a brief moment and have a sidebar with my AHNs. WHERE ARE YOU GUYS? I have absolutely no idea what is going on here...with few exceptions, everyone seems to have up and left me. Now, I know that you have lives and stuff, but is it a big deal to drop me an e-mail once in a while? Even just to say, "Sorry, I missed the show this week. How's life? Later." At least I'd know you haven't been run over by trucks.

11. I think that I can confirm something that I have suspected for a long time: no one in the programming department at TNN has any idea what the hell they are doing.
Okay, I take that back. Clearly they have an adequate amount of competence to do what they have to do to collect a paycheck. But it is clear that they don't care much about their actual product and how it appears to their audience. Sort of like people who work in the accounting department of a huge corporation - you can spend forty years crunching numbers and end up collecting a pension without having any clue what your company actually does to earn all that money.
For those of you who are wondering what in the world I'm talking about, take a look at the upcoming schedule. Because TNN's programming is in a total state of flux in preparation for prized WWF shows, they're just throwing darts at the schedule to decide what to air. On August 15th, they are planning a "Tainted Love" day, showing a whole bunch of episodes from all over the place, and figuring that we fans will just watch it anyway. Then on August 22nd, they plan to show a bunch of the "best" episodes - including that fantastic one where Lucy gets kidnapped by Willie Gust, and the stupid one from last week where they had that charity rodeo. Oh, yeah, those ones were sure better than Ewing-gate or Who Done It?.
And to make matters worse, it appears that in a few weeks, after following a set Friday schedule, TNN intends to SKIP airing Episodes 161 and 162, which are just the Season 6 cliffhanger and the Season 7 opener. I think in their twisted minds they figure that since these episodes were aired during the marathon, they don't have to show them again. What the hell are they thinking?
I think these num-nums really have absolutely no idea what's going on. They figure that all of their shows are just like the Dukes or the McCoys, where they can show episodes in such a haphazard manner and no one will care because ain't each episode its own thang?
I really don't know what to do or what to think. It's like they're goading us into getting sick of the show so we'll stop watching it and then they'll have another excuse to pull it off the air. But how many times can you watch Episode 141 before the sight of Donna's hair gives you seizures?

10a. I think that, to toot my own horn a bit, I have a partial answer to this nonsense: TAPES. For those who didn't notice, I have a "Tapes" button in the left frame now, and I've got just about everything available. E-mail me and get the tapes you want so you don't have to rely on TNN.

10b. I think that I just want to remind everybody about the E! True Hollywood Story being shown this coming Sunday, August 13th, at 9 PM Eastern. And yes, I will have tapes available of this too for those who don't get E!

9. I think that it's time to talk about the last few weeks' worth of episodes. Okay, here's the first thing: for whatever reason, I remembered Ray's trial as being somewhat interesting and one of the more believable trials during the series. I remembered wrong. While it might have been the best from a strictly legal perspective, it was boring.

8a. I think that I liked the use of visual effects in Episode 139 - the quick scene cuts, especially. At one point, there's that scene where Sue Ellen comes to JR's room and turns out the light. Then we cut to Pam and Katherine coming into a room and turning the light on, and then they turn the light off and back we go to JR and Sue Ellen. Well done. And then there was the quick cut between the scene where Katherine tells Bobby he should have a date for the Oil Baron's ball and then we see him talking to Jenna instead of her. It's standard fare for today's dramas for attention-span-starved viewers, but I guess it was pretty rare fifteen years ago.

8b. I think that one other thing that I found interesting was how the writers brought Lucy and Sue Ellen together with the common "disabled mate" gimmick. It's funny how Sue Ellen tries to get Lucy through it by drawing on her experiences with Dusty, but without actually mentioning Dusty by name. I'm not too sure what to make of that.

7. I think that I really enjoyed this Oil Baron's ball. I especially liked the fact that Bobby got to take a shot at Mark. A long time coming. The moment where the Barnes crowd meets the Ewing crowd is a classic. Everyone looks at everyone else and JR has that great grin on his face watching the glares. Priceless.

6. I think that it's time for me to take my obligatory shot at Pam: after the big brawl at the ball, she tells Mark that she "doesn't like fights". Well, we all know this is true, but then why does everyone always say that Pam's a fighter?

5. I think that I'm surprised to hear myself say it, but I think the writers are doing a really good job at trying to get the Jenna character over. Bear in mind that they twice experimented with this, albeit for a different reason - to cause friction between Bobby and Pam at a crucial time in their relationship. Well, that relationship is over. Now they need Jenna for a different purpose but they have to tread lightly. Bobby is a babyface; so is Pam. How to interject a third babyface into this group without ruining it?
The answer is simple: you give the third person rough edges. You make her a no-nonsense, in-your-face type. It's very incongruous to the totally lame Jenna of later seasons, but it's a good way to get her started. She is a study in opposites when compared to Pam, that's for sure. 

4. I think that one thing that really bothered me out of the last bunch of episodes was that interlude where Paul Morgan started coming on to Donna. I'm trying to figure out exactly why it bothers me...let me see if I can talk it out.
I suppose on the one hand I'm thoroughly repulsed by Paul; on the other hand I think Donna is way too good for him - maybe that's it. Donna is too good for just anybody, especially the men she ends up with. I guess I just don't get the point of this whole thing. The only thing that came out of their talk was that Donna was unwilling to give up on Ray - but we already knew that. Why do we need a verbal proposition in order to establish something that we already know?
I guess the biggest problem is that this scene falls into the category of "stuff we're too stupid to figure out". Remember when I talked about this? Normally, when people say things that don't make sense on the surface, they're doing so to make sure we get the point of what the writers are trying to make us believe. You know - the whole "Leslie Stewart is pretty and desirable" thing, which wouldn't make sense unless everybody protested it was true. But frankly, do we need to be told that Susan Howard is beautiful? I knew that. Do we need to be told that she could do so much better than a cowboy or a loser like Cliff? I knew that too. The senselessness of this is rather disturbing. 

3. I think that another thing I have a big problem with is the Grand Canyon-size divide that seems to be developing between the "get-its" and "don't-get-its" on this show when it comes to intergender relationships. I'm seeing a whole lot of innuendos from a whole lot of men towards a whole lot of women, and vice-versa. Some, like Donna when Paul comes on to her, seem to get it right away. Ditto for Jenna when Katherine comes over to talk to her about Pam and Bobby. Many, like Sue Ellen, Pam, and Bobby, don't seem to get it even when they're getting smacked in the face with it. Some of this is quite necessary for the plots, of course - if everyone was a genius when it came to relationships, this show would get pretty boring. And it's quite life-like to see people make bad decisions or get maneuvered into making bad decisions, or just plain being dumb. But OVER and OVER and OVER again, while other characters around them seem to have a crystal ball? It's getting a bit on the ludicrous side. 

2a. I think that I had better say some things about the only relationship which is even mildly interesting in all this: Pam and Bobby. Oh, man, was I ever proud of Bobby for laying the smackdown on Pam when she intimates that Jenna is not right for him. That's as is should be, especially after the way he handled that meeting just before their divorce - no words, nothing.
But then the next day, he goes and ridiculous ask Pam about her relationship with Mark? Why give her the satisfaction? Yes, certainly there is a need to have this teasing undercurrent that they still have obvious feelings for one another, but it is too abrupt an about-face. One day Bobby couldn't care less about what Pam thinks, the next day he's interested? Make up your mind, Bob. Either that Barnes woman is a part of your life or she isn't. If I was Bobby, I'd be upset that she still insists on keeping the surname.
And just one more thing: why in the world have Ray and Donna turned into commentators for the Pam/Bobby showdowns? Mickey's dead, there's nothing left for them to do?

2b. I think that, in this vein, I could certainly do without the bull-riding as a metaphor for sexual performance motif that pervaded Episode 141. Utterly pointless and lame.  

1. I think that I honestly cannot think of a way to end this column by looking towards the future, probably because the future of Dallas is so helter-skelter right now. I'm hoping that the end of September will stabilize things a bit, but I fear that I am hoping against hope. See you next week. 

Sunday, July 16

10. I think that it is REALLY great to be back. It's not quite the same as it was before, but some Dallas is a heck of a lot better than nothing. As you can see, the nitpick pages are back and will be updated as usual, and the "I think" is back as well. I really didn't realize how popular it was. I got at least a dozen e-mails asking me whether the column would return, and the answer is an emphatic yes. The only problem at this point is going to be coming up with ten things to say about three episodes. That's a bit of a tall order, so maybe I'll have to cut it down to six or seven or whatever I can come up with. Of course, with user participation [hint, hint] I might be able to come up with ten things each week.
I'm very serious about that last comment. Since I have most of the episodes taped already, my regular habit was to watch all of the week's episodes in one sitting and make notes, which would then comprise the bulk of this column. During the week, as comments filtered in, I'd add them and my responses to the column to fill it out. So while my routine won't change much, I think I'll be more dependent on user submissions to keep the column going and maintain a rhythm to the site. Already with this update I'm feeling very out of sync. So please send along your thoughts and comments about anything at all. 

9. I think that I might want to say a brief word about the possible future of Dallas on TNN. The fact that they have brought it back at all leads me to believe that it is here to stay, at least until this series run is finished. Anything else would be rather stupid. The only question is whether Dallas might return to a daily slot or whether TNN will continue to run a mini-marathon on Fridays.
I suspect that for the time being it is the latter. Change, if any, will come in September. For those who don't know, recently Viacom, which owns CBS and TNN, made a deal with the World Wrestling Federation to carry its programming, which is currently the hot commodity amongst cable networks. It's a 99.9% done deal that beginning in September, TNN will carry Raw on Monday nights from 9 to 11, as well as some of the weekend shows. Sunday Night Heat probably goes to MTV, and Smackdown will be largely unaffected by this.
What does this mean? Well, it likely means that TNN will move away from the traditional format of airing programs at the same time slot daily, because it will have to juggle its prime time schedule anyway. Which probably means that all of its dramas will be shown in a mini-marathon format whenever possible.
It's also possible that now that TNN will have a big ratings attraction, then they may be more liberal about bringing Dallas back permanently for a while. There will be less worry about where to put what program. As things stand now, WWF Raw is the highest rated program on cable - it draws high 6s, which means that about 7 million people in the US tune in to it every week. To put that into perspective, shows like Survivor and Millionaire draw in the 17s or 18s regularly on weekdays. During its heyday, Dallas would average a 25, but the TV landscape was very different back then. This is a big thing for TNN - the best it is normally capable of is about a 1.2, for ECW wrestling on Friday nights. For Dallas, I'm sure they'd be thrilled with a 0.2.

8. I think that I'd just like to pass on a little something that I just recently realized: Oops, I did it again. I'm assuming that everyone gets our in-jokes and has been through all of my nitpick pages. I got a message the other day from a visitor who apparently had just gone through my nits for War of the Ewings, in which I twice made the comment that something odd had happened to Christopher because he's adopted. The implication was that those amongst us who are adopted require special attention in school and don't get babes and what not.
Now, most of you out there probably know what I mean when I talk about this. In Season 10, we couldn't have a scene with Christopher in which he would not remind us of this fact. And so it became an easy joke to explain anything about him. It has absolutely nothing to do with being adopted in the real world.
Most of you are also probably aware that I don't care much for political correctness or anything like that. We're all just here to have fun, right? I'm sure that if you browse through the summaries and nits you're going to find a lot of un-PC stuff. I'm not going to apologize for that or anything. I try not to cross the line with any of it - believe me, I get a lot of submissions which have to be heavily edited for content - but if there's something that bothers you, please let me know about it. I can clarify anything and in many cases I'm sure that others can suggest better ways of saying things.

7. I think that I'm really having trouble coming up with a good place to start while talking about this week's episodes. Probably because I watched them a few weeks ago when I was really bored with life, and so to me they're not anything new. I will say this though: yesterday's 9 AM episode has got to be one of my personal favorites. Not that it was a great episode in and of itself, but Morgan Brittany really stole the show. I can't recall any second-tier character carrying an episode the way she did. I really wish she had stuck around longer.

6. I think that something really weird happened to me this week. I was flipping channels the other night and I happened to come across a movie called "The Ice Pirates". It's one of those movies that has a really good cast but the plot is so boring that it's unredeemable - one of those futuristic things about a bunch of people who go out looking for scarce water or something like that. I couldn't really follow it. The only reason I watched parts of it at all is because it featured Mary Crosby as a princess of some desert world. And man, did she look good! Watching her on Dallas, I was never really struck by her, but for some reason she really opened my eyes being in this stupid little B-movie.
It really bothers me. Is it just because on Dallas she's surrounded by all sorts of other pretty ladies, and so she looks kind of ordinary by comparison? Maybe. Or perhaps it's just my princess complex kicking in - I don't know. I guess I just can't resist a beautiful woman in trouble. Such is my fate. Just wanted to pass this along for any Mary fans out there - and now I'm one of them.

5. I think that I want to pass along an important note - I have tapes for sale! Now that my collection is starting to round out and I have a little more time to do some dubbing, I'm putting the offer out to the public. I have the vast majority of episodes taped, so if someone wants a custom tape done, let me know; but here are the most popular items so far:

  • The Bloopers Video. It's about two hours or so, but it's not in great condition.
  • The Specials: The ET 1-hour special, and the TNN Life and Times special. No commercials.
  • The Movies: Early Years, JR Returns, and War of the Ewings. Again, no commercials.

I'm asking $ 10 for either of the first two tapes, and $ 15 for the movies reel. If anyone is interested, please e-mail me.

5b. I think that, before I forget, I want to let everyone know that E! has announced that the True Hollywood Story of Dallas will air on Sunday, August 13th, at 9 PM Eastern time. So for those of you who get it, do watch. I've made arrangements to get a tape for myself.

4. I think that I'll pass on something that Analise sent to me, which will probably jog some memories for the rest of you out there:

> Help me with the reasoning - why does Pam helping Bobby with the drill bit ruin their marriage? Where is the logic?

It's kind of twisted reasoning, but I think I sort of understand it. Pam cannot be with a man who does not make her the center of his universe - that's the real reason. Her logic is as follows: Ewing Oil has hurt my life because it divides my husband's affections, keeps my brother's career down, and is responsible for killing my mother. So if I help Bobby win Ewing Oil, I have to leave him forever because I don't ever want to be put in this sort of position again.
But remember, Pam's a "fighter". [Snicker.]

3. I think that a lot of people were probably really bored with the whole Mickey sub-plot this week. Frankly it wasted a whole lot of time and went absolutely nowhere. But as you probably guessed after the third episode on Friday, there is actually a point to it. It will create a real plot for the Krebbs clan as well as Lucy, which surprisingly is not boring. I just wish they could have brought it along a little bit faster; but I guess with the absence of Ellie and the fact that they need to get this Pam/Bobby divorce out of the way, they needed to drag this plot out as far as they could.

2. I think that it's a real shame that there probably will never be a third reunion movie, based on what Larry Hagman said on Larry King a few weeks ago. Had it been anyone else, I would have still held out hope; but if Larry doesn't want to do it, I doubt anyone will convince him otherwise. A real shame. I hope he changes his mind.
At any rate, here's what you folks came up with when I asked you to put together the final scene of the Ewing saga, which ideally should capture the essence of Dallas. I like all of them a whole lot, and if anyone has any further suggestions I'd like to hear them.

From Jan:  Perhaps the final episode should center on a wedding between Pamela Rebecca and John Ross. That would give everyone a chance to work through brotherhood, life, death. In the end JR would in essence become Jock for any grandchildren would be Barneses. As many family members could assemble for a happy occasion--especially this one. Pamela Ewing could even appear in a Providence type flash...something to think about.

From Joe Stanganelli: I think it would be a neat idea if at the end, J.R. died (he's my favorite character, don't get me wrong -- just stick with me here), and at the funeral, the entire Ewing clan (and Cliff and Afton, too, I suppose) is leaving at the end of it, and as they're pacing out slowly, Sue Ellen just sort of remains there, standing over the casket, with an expression filled with many mixed emotions, making us (the audience) think about all that she's been through with J.R., good and bad, and the shot cuts to Bobby, who turns to Sue Ellen and says "Sue Ellen?" And then the shot goes back to Sue Ellen, who comes back to reality (sort of), and walks over to Bobby. The shot goes back to Bobby, and Bobby and Sue Ellen walk off, behind the rest of the family. Then the camera pans back to where Sue Ellen was just standing, and we see J.R. standing there (obviously his spirit), watching the most important people in his life walk away. The camera cuts to the Ewing clan walking away, and John Ross stops, looks back, and continues on. The shot returns to J.R., who has a lone tear running down his cheek. Then he slowly turns and walks the other way (his left), and then the shot cuts to an over-the-shoulder, with J.R. facing, and the back of a familiar person showing. J.R. looks up at the person, and says "I'm ready, Daddy." The shot cuts to over J.R.'s shoulder, and we see that it is Jock (Jim Davis digitally reanimated), who is half-smiling. Then the two put their arms around each other, and walk off into the distance, while proud music plays in the background (the theme that played in the "John Ross, THIS is Ewing Oil" scene, that we've heard several times over the years), and then father and son slowly fade into nothingness...Fade to black.

From Mike Eastwood: Hi. I'm a first time contributor to the site. I was thinking about the question you posed about the final scene and the essence of the show. My thoughts on this matter are even through all the episodes that gave us J.R. vs. Bobby, J.R. vs. everyone, Bobby & Pam, etc., the one constant to me that rises above all else is THE EWING FAMILY. It all, and I mean all, comes back to the living room, the family and some bourbon and branch. If I had to pick a final scene, I'd have the family discussing their day in the living room before dinner with a drink in hand, and a picture of 'daddy' on the wall. That how Dallas would end for me. That's what it's all about.

From Darnell Anderson: Oh to be sure the final moment will involve not Bobby and not J.R. for I see J.R's death coming in this film. In this film, unknown to any of us until the last half hour maybe, J.R. is ill and knows his time is drawing to a close. There is another challenge to Ewing Oil, perhaps led by a vengeful Jeremy Wendell or his scion.  While the head of Westar, J.R. is really concerned about Ewing Oil for he sees that as his legacy to John Ross who will FINALLY come into his own in this film. 
In typical Ewing fashion, Bobby, Sue Ellen and J.R. join forces to rid themselves of this usurper and receive help from another unlikely source, Cliff Barnes. Why? Because Cliff is protecting Christopher and Bobby (who, let us be real, Cliff really does like) and perhaps Pam asked him to. I like the idea of Cliff helping because DALLAS is about family and like it or not, the Barnes and Ewings are so closely connected that family is what they are. 
Anyway, as the end draws near J.R. sits, not in his office, but at Southfork. He talks to Bobby and it is then that he learns that Bobby knows J.R. is dying. The brotherly words of love are expressed and at some point J.R. and Bobby recognize that they were both the embodiment of Jock. But J.R. recognizes that over time Jock made himself into a man of great honor in a way that only Bobby exemplified, but J.R. makes only one apology to Bobby and the world: that they never worked together enough. 
The final scenes come after J.R.'s death and the family is stunned. Enemies and Friends come to pay their respects or make sure it is no trick. Wendell or his kid try to make a snide comment or two and John Ross tells him, "Any time you want to play with ol' John Ross, you're welcome to try." setting the stage for a new feud....Ewings vs. Wendells (MAYBE NOT) 
The scene then goes to Ewing Oil where the family gathers for a personal moment. They reflect on Wendell's challenge and the days ahead. Some wonder about Ewing Oil and if the battles are worth it, when Bobby and John Ross put up a painting of J.R. Ewing right next to the picture of Jock "THIS is Ewing Oil. This family, those men. It's never dying because we're not dying. Ewing Oil goes on because we do. All of us. Its the way Granddaddy and Grandma wanted it. The way Daddy wanted it. The way you all want it. For better or worse, Ewings endure." 
Close-up on the pictures of J.R. and Jock. Pull back camera from pictures to see the family as the Dallas theme starts to play. Pullback continues outside of the office and out of the city limits and the camera pans over Dallas and Southfork. 

From JCS Clement: I think that the last scene should have the whole family Bobby, Pam, JR, Sue Ellen, Chris, John Ross, and Ray. I think the family should be having their after dinner drinks. Bobby makes some sweet toast to his daddy and then JR has to butt in and then finally the family toast the picture of Jock.

These are great submissions. Of course, I think we all agree with the general gist of them: the final movie should tie together a whole bunch of loose ends. It would be wonderful to have a full circle effect of another Romeo and Juliet wedding between Pamela the Second and John Ross the Third. Certainly there would have to have to be a "bad guy", probably Carter McKay. Some very nice touches would include the return of Victoria Principal, even if only for a brief moment, and Barbara Bel Geddes which would be a near impossibility. JR's funeral would certainly bring a sense of finality to things but I think it would be difficult to make a movie that would focus on two such memorable events; you could have a wedding or a funeral, but it would seem really strained to have both, and I think we as the audience wouldn't really know whether to be happy or sad. If you have a wedding, then the ending would have to be the new happy extended family having buried the hatchet amongst them, looking towards the future. If you had a funeral, then the ending would have to be much more sombre, reflecting on the past.
As I said above, it's a shame we will likely never know.

1. I think that next week's episodes are probably going to get me interested once again. The battle for Ewing Oil finally comes to a close; Ray gets into a heap of trouble for what happens to poor Mickey; the perplexing Jenna Wade returns to the Dallas landscape in her third incarnation; and it all gets up topped off by a kooky crazy nutty wacky Oil Baron's ball.
And for those that are interested, don't forget that Tuesday afternoon you'll be able to see the first and last episodes. Check the schedule and set your VCRs.

Wednesday, April 26

10. I think that it's been a long time since I've done a column. More than two months! Gee, I hope I remember how to do this...
It's been nice to have a little bit of time off because I've become quite busy with increasing business and other activities. Sometimes I miss taking an hour every night to update the page and read user submissions, and believe me, I can't wait to start doing that again.
I've had the good fortune to recently obtain a copy of JR Returns from a gracious visitor to the site, and then came Monday's hour of "The Life and Times", so the time was definitely ripe for an update. My intention was definitely to update the site more often than I have been, especially stuff like the trivia board. Unfortunately a few months ago my notebook crashed and all my data from past trivia rounds is capital-g Gone. I think fairly soon I'll try and come up with a new format - maybe a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" thing, if I can figure out how to make it work. That'll probably be a lot of fun.

9. I think that, before I forget, let me shout it out to the world: GO RAPTORS! I still believe they'll beat the Knicks. No offense to you good people in New York City, but your team is a bunch of pylons in sneakers. Very tough, experienced pylons. But pylons nonetheless. Wednesday night you will feel the Vinsanity.

8. I think I should get a few general things out of the way before I get into specifics. Those of you who caught the "Life and Times" on Monday night were probably as struck as I was to hear some unknown TNN voice talking about how the show is attracting a new generation of fans, especially after the network's boneheaded decision to stop airing the show. Clearly this special was destined to be aired while the series was being shown, but some TNN suit came up with a different idea.
Well, there are a lot of things going on which will probably be important to the future of the show in North America. I've had a lot of people ask me what the current situation is and why we shouldn't try and convince some other station to air the show and things like that. Let me make it perfectly clear for everyone: TNN, as a subsidiary of CBS Cable, has exclusive rights to air the show in North America. Nobody else can do it at this point without the expressed written consent of CBS Cable. Specialty channels such as Soapnet would probably gave any amount of money to buy the rights to air the show, but CBS probably wouldn't allow it because they know that the show is a moneymaker. I've heard rumors that Nick at Nite could possibly convince CBS to allow airings because they've done it before, and that station claims that their schedule is dictated almost entirely by user requests. But for some reason I also think this is unlikely to bear fruit.
Now, I have no inside knowledge, but I think I understand what's going on here. Some executive at TNN purchased the rights to some new shows. Quite possibly, this was done as a favor to some higher-up executive for whatever reason. To air these shows and justify the investment, something had to be sacrificed. It ended up being Dallas, perhaps because some other executive doesn't really like the show. If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. This sort of thing really goes on. True story: Gilligan's Island was cancelled because the president of CBS's wife didn't like it and thought that the network would be better served by adding more dramas to their schedule.
Why do I think this? Because if, as TNN claims, ratings for Dallas were falling and it was becoming unprofitable to air it, they would probably sell, or at least sublet, the airing rights, so that they could at least get SOMETHING for their investment. But they won't. This is analogous to the increasingly common situation in professional sports where a team will sign a player not because they necessarily want that player, but to keep him away from a rival team.
Based on this reasoning, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the only way that Dallas will hit the airwaves any time soon is if TNN is hit with another airing responsibility. And it may come sooner than you think, in the form of the World Wrestling Federation. Right now, the WWF is in negotiations with several networks, including CBS, for the rights to their Monday Night Raw program starting in September. If CBS does obtain the rights, it will probably fall to TNN to air the show. And that will mean that TNN will have to dump programming to accommodate the change. And that means that they will be very inclined to make intelligent decisions about what to keep and what to give up, and so they will either put Dallas back on their schedule or give it to someone else. I really think it's just a matter of time.

7. I think that it's really nice to see Victoria Principal come back to television. In recent weeks, she's guest starred on both The Practice and Providence. It makes me believe, despite what Patrick Duffy intimated on the TNN special, that she might be gearing up for the final Dallas reunion movie.

6. I think I want to talk about JR Returns for a bit. I think that this is definitely the best of the three movies so far, which is not saying a heck of a lot. It's watchable even if you're not a Dallas fan. The plot is sensible and not overly strained; the movie went by quick enough to avoid putting me to sleep, which is more than I can say about the other two. 
I really like the premise of this movie. It seems like a real continuation of the series and embodies its spirit, unlike War of the Ewings which came off as more of a contractual obligation filling thing. And I didn't just like it because JR got what he wanted in the end [which was good]; there was real CONFLICT in this movie, and it was really ABOUT something - JR complicating people's lives. Not all of the questions that were raised in the movie were answered, which is also good, because some things should be left to the imagination. How much of what happened was do to JR's manipulation and how much was just luck? IT DOESN'T MATTER. Just enjoy the movie.

5. I think that only two nuances of JR Returns really bothered me. The first was at JR's memorial service, where Cliff give John Ross his condolences. John Ross just graciously accepts them. WHAT? Wait a self-respecting of JR Ewing is going to let Cliff Barnes walk by without some kind of snide comment. Doesn't John Ross know who this clown is? Somewhere Jock is spinning in his watery grave. The other thing was the pathetic way that Sue Ellen got fished in by JR's old "The only thing I could think about was that I wouldn't see you again..." thing and sleeps with him after he returns from his "accident". Come on, Sue Ellen...have you learned NOTHING?

4. I think that finally, let me not leave this topic without making some babe comments. For the record, I'm not too crazy about Tracy Scoggins as Anita. Yes, she's pretty and she's stacked, but she just comes off as way too much of a skank, which is probably deliberate. I much prefer Deborah Kellner as Pamela Rebecca Cooper, whose overall wholesomeness is very attractive. And I was not impressed in the least by Rosalind Allen. She's pretty too but she's just so ordinary, and the wardrobe guys made her look like Delta Burke's long lost twin.

3. I think that it's time for a comment about the "Life and Times" special from AHN Pam:

> Interviewed were Bobby, Ray and Lucy, which was great to see. We even got an interview with Katherine (she ROCKS, still one of my fave characters from the show!) which was cool and she's a supporting cast member. But couldn't they find ANYONE else from the cast to interview besides the SHERIFF?? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the sheriff or the actor or his acting abilities, but c'mon!! He's not exactly the most prominent character ever to have been on the show. Where the hell was Pam, Sue Ellen, Cliff, Donna, Jenna, April, Cally, Kristin, how 'bout J.R. himself, hell even Afton or (not that I want to see her) Mandy! Many of these people don't seem to be doing much of ANYTHING else to speak of, you'd think they'd jump at the chance for a little exposure. Hell, Vicki could have tried to hock some skin care products! But the SHERIFF!? Why didn't they just interview Louella in her butt-ugly purple dress too?

I think that TNN just took what they could get. It's a damn shame because I would have loved to have seen some of those people.

2. I think that as far as my thoughts go about Monday night's special, I'd just like to say that I was really impressed by what I heard from Patrick Duffy. Other than creator David Jacobs, producer Leonard Katzman, and Larry Hagman, I don't think there is anyone - dead or alive - who could be more authoritative about the spirit of the show. 
I was really pleased to hear Patrick talk about Barbara Bel Geddes and Jim Davis the way he did. It all sounded eerily familiar because it's the same sort of thing I've been saying all along about the impact that Jock and Ellie had on the show and on the other characters.
It also make me believe that, unlike other self-exalted fountains of (mis)information out there, that I get it. I understand what this show is all about. I understand what the actors and actresses are trying to do. I know better than to make ridiculous statements such as "Jock was an ass." Anybody who would say such a thing [and you know who you are] simply does not get it and has no business being considered a reliable source of opinion on the show.

1. I think that I really can't think of a good way to wrap this up, except to perhaps look ahead at the possibility of a final reunion movie. Despite what Patrick Duffy hinted in the special, I'd be willing to bet that one more movie will be filmed, probably because Larry Hagman wants to do it. There really should be a fitting end to the series, one way or another.
That got me thinking: what should the final scene of the Dallas saga be?
I would really like to hear some comments about this. Here's something to get you started. The final scene of a show should really be a microcosm of *what the show is REALLY all about*. For instance: remember the last scene of Cheers? It's all the regulars sitting around the bar talking about life, and then Sam Malone comes to the realization that the bar, of all things, is what he really loves more than anything else, and that's what the show's about.
Remember Dynasty: the final scene of the Reunion movie showed us Krystle and Blake dancing in their mansion. And the music plays matter what else happens, their love will see them through [Aww...]
Remember Seinfeld: The gang ends up in prison, of all places, and yet they continue to just talk about the weird nuances of social situations.
There's more examples I could give, but you get the idea. So what should the final scene of Dallas be? What IS this show all about anyway? What is its essence? Is it all about JR and his machinations? Is it the conflict between JR and Bobby, with Jock's shadow looming over them? The Romeo and Juliet backdrop of Bobby and Pam? 
Joe Stanganelli sent me a scenario which I really liked, and if I still have it in my e-mail archives, I'll post it, or if not I'll convey the gist of it. I'd really like to know what people think about this.


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