The I Think Archive

Ten things I thinkI think this week:

Saturday, March 27

10. I think I want to let people know about why things appear to have slowed down somewhat with the site. Right now, I'm going through two moves [my home and my business] so as it is, I barely have time to keep the summary and nitpick pages going. Hopefully, things will calm down this week after everything is settled. Right now my greatest fear is that the cable guys won't arrive at my new house on Wednesday and I won't be able to tape the episode. Worst comes to worst, I'll go over to a friend's house and watch Dallas - but I hope it doesn't come to that.
In a week or so, once things get back on track, I'm going to devote myself to making some of the "extra activities" such as the Trivia Board and Poll of the Week more regular. Very soon, once Season 13 rolls around, I won't have to do a summary every night, so I'll have more time for other things. But be assured of one thing: the site will go on, as long as TNN decides to continue airing Dallas. We'll still be nitpicking and doing all sorts of other things. Keep the site bookmarked, and as always, thanks for your support.
On a side note: Duke vs. Connecticut Monday night. I called it at the beginning of the tournament! Go Huskies!

9. I think that I didn't mind seeing Ray Krebbs return to the show for a while. While we've all had moments where we've been bored to tears by Ray storylines, it's well worth pointing out that this was only the case when we were subjected to Ray's overpowering need to prove his worth to his significant other by being a good businessman or a good father or whatever, and failing miserably at it. This time around, he's a part of the family, united with them against a common enemy. Just doing his job and being a stand-up citizen. Don't mind this at all.

8. I think I'm of two minds about seeing Jeremy Wendell get his comeuppance. Yeah, it was neat to see Wendell get dragged away. It allowed Sue Ellen to get in a classic line. And it clears the way for the next conflict. But I'll miss The Jeremy. As I've pointed out in past columns, he's the perfect antagonist for JR because his character had been crafted with the right characteristics to challenge him. Well, so long, Jeremy. See you in twenty-five years, if you behave.

7. I think the booking of the show this week was kind of odd. Carter McKay managed to pull off the biggest face turn in the history of the show. It was well done, and I believe the key was the presence of Fred Hughes, who became the man we really hated. Can anyone recall a character ever going from a goon to a sensitive guy in a matter of two episodes? Kind of fits with George Kennedy's acting - we got a taste of his "instant tantrum" on Thursday. And soon, "Don't give me that CRAP!" is going to become a Dallas staple.

6. I think that there's another questionable decision: pairing up Lucy and April to try and get Casey over as a character? Who booked that? That was ridiculous. Memo to the producers: we're used to seeing Lucy make no real contribution to the show, but find April something to do - and fast.

5. I think that as far as Tracey's relationship with Bobby goes: same as Kay. Can anyone even remotely picture her as a Pam substitute?

4. I think it's about time for a FREE LINDA GRAY campaign again. Other than hang out in her office with Jeremy and take care of the kids, what did she do this week?

3. I think I was really glad to see Ellie stop being a wimp for a while. There's no question that Barbara Bel Geddes lays the best smackdown north of the Rio Grande when she puts her mind to it.

2. I think that Friday's episode was almost a classic. Not quite Episode of the Series material, but really good. Lots of action; lots of happenings and plot twists. Almost no boring segments, except for the Lucy/April/Casey storyline. Even this wasn't boring, other than the fact that no one cared about this plot.

1. I think that I'm going to hear a lot about how next week's episodes are kind of a let-down after Friday's fireworks. Well, it's true that there's going to be a few setup episodes, but they won't be too bad. And on Monday, another wacky madcap kooky Oil Baron's Ball happens. While not spoiling anything [I hope], I will make two predictions. First, you will want to vomit when you see what some of the women are wearing. And second, ten to one odds say that the Jock Ewing memorial scholarship will NOT be awarded. By the way, remember that there's no Dallas on Friday.

Friday, March 19

10. I think that it has been an awfully quiet week with regards to audience participation, and this has led me to climb on my soapbox a little bit. First, let me start by saying, as I have before, that I always have and always will appreciate the tremendous response I get from everyone who visits this site. It's getting well over a thousand hits a week and nearly 200 hits a day, which is fantastic for a little old site like mine. I can still remember only a year ago when it would take almost two weeks for the counter to register 200 hits.
However, with the increased popularity comes an increased dependence on you, the patronizers of the site. To a ever-increasing extent, I am only able to get out of the site what others are putting in, other than the summaries and a percentage of the nits. Nitpicker Central will always be the major attraction to the site; but there's so much more we can do.
So here's my public service announcement/plea for the week, my worst nightmare is that this website be perceived as élitist or controlled by a small group of people who look down on everyone else. If you want that kind of atmosphere, go to the newsgroup. If you get this kind of feeling from visiting the site, then I beg of you to let me know so that I can take steps to change things.
I understand that everyone's busy with school or work or the kids or some combination of the three. But when you do get a chance to surf here, please contribute! Enter the main Dallas Poll, if you haven't already. Make your voice heard in the Poll of the Week. Try the trivia board. Try Six Degrees of Dallas. Suggest something new for the tote board or any other area of the site. The more you put in, the more you'll get out. You've got my word on that.

9. I think that bringing Cliff into the Ewing Oil "family" is the final nail in the coffin of the Dallas we once knew. When Pam left, it was obvious that things were never going to be the same. Now it's PAINFULLY obvious. Not that I mind Cliff's character taking a new direction, but it just seems so - out of whack.

8. I think that Rose McKay is totally disgusting. It doesn't help that Jeri Gaile seems like such a disinterested actress, but I just cringe every time I see her with her slutty clothes, makeup, or both. Even an ugly, sweaty slob like Carter McKay should be able to do better.

7. I think that some of us, myself included, might have a been a little bit hasty in judging the producers' decision to bring Charlene Tilton back to the show. She hasn't embarrased herself, certainly...and perhaps that has less to do with her than the decline in quality of the show, but I for one am certainly prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt here.

6. I think we can do without all of the sweat stains we've been seeing on people this week. JR and Clayton are bad enough...but the thought of Carter McKay's nasty body odor makes me want to puke.

5. I think we can also do without the thought of Jeremy Wendell having testosterone flowing through his veins. The whole premise of the Wendell character is that he's somewhat of an automaton - once he's focused on something, he's neither distracted nor disturbed by those around him. Having him become smitten with Sue Ellen is a huge step backward for The Jeremy.

4. I think I want to re-address the issue of Larry Hagman's creative control over his character. As I mentioned last week, Larry Hagman is an executive producer now, and he's always had a lot of say over what storylines occur and how they play out. So a lot of people are wondering why he would agree to the ridiculous storyline to which JR has been subjected to this week. Most of us will agree that we liked the JR Ewing who had the aura of invincibility around him; who always got what he wanted; and who, even when the chips were down, came up smelling like roses.
Well, let me say one thing from the get-go: whether or not you'd like to admit it, if JR's character were still that way, Dallas would get really boring in a hurry. I understand that some of you feel that Dallas IS getting boring in a hurry, and I also understand that many people feel that while JR doesn't always have to win, at least he shouldn't be turned into a bumpkin who essentially jobs to every character in an effort to get them over.
Let me try to sort it out using my knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes in professional wrestling [which is the ultimate melodrama, so it's good for explaining these things]. Other than the obvious reasons [introducing Cally to the storyline, etc.] I think there are a combination of reasons why Larry Hagman has decided to use this prison angle for the JR character, and I will expound below in items 3 and 2.

3. I think JR's character is suffering from "Stone Cold" syndrome. For those who don't know, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is arguably the most popular wrestler on the planet today. The powers that be, in order to capitalize on his popularity, turned him into the World Champion after going through a series of 'trials' to prove his worthiness. Then, in order to maintain his popularity, they had to create new 'obstacles' for Austin to overcome. Every month, there would be a newer, bigger, challenger to the title, and the odds always seemed stacked against Austin. But somehow, he would always be victorious.
Same thing for JR. What's left for him to do? Become the biggest independent oil man in Texas? He did that. Bed more women that any man could hope for? Did it. Take on suitors for his wife and win? Did it several times. Get kicked out of Ewing Oil, only to find a way to get back in? Did that, too. Gain control of the company? Pam dreamed he did it. Have the company taken away from him, only to manage to get back from Jeremy Wendell what he lost? Did it. So there's nothing left for him to do in the business world, right? He's done it all. Everyone pointed out how the Laurel seduction was so similar to the Holly seduction. Everyone pointed out how JR winning Sue Ellen back in 1986 was so similar to the way he won her back in 1982. We've seen it all before. So the producers have to invent a new world for JR to beat: the world of Haleyville, where his money and power mean absolutely nothing. It's just a different mountain to climb.

2. I think The other dimension here is the "no-selling" of JR's arsenal. Remember back in the "good old days", when JR would be in trouble and he would blame Sue Ellen for all of the bad things that were happening on the planet? And then she would crawl into a bottle for the rest of the season? And remember when JR would mess up all of Bobby's business deals, and Bobby would cry and moan about it, but being his boyscout self, would never actually do anything about it? And remember when JR would insult Ray or Clayton or someone else about not being part of the family, and that person would angrily react, which made us laugh when we saw how good JR was at getting under someone's skin?
None of that is happening anymore. Everyone is "no-selling" JR's antics. When JR tried to blame Sue Ellen for Dr. Styles' death, she just laughed it off as one of his guilt trips. When JR went on his quest to get the Ewing Oil assets and name back, Bobby partially beat him to the punch. And when JR gets mouthy with Clayton, he's either just ignored or quietly told to hush up. No one is responding to JR the way they used to - and there's the real problem.

1. I think I want to remind everyone, again, to hang in there with the show. This is going to be a really interesting week. For those who have not seen it and have no idea what to expect, we'll have a surprise visitor from the not-too-distant past; a lot of interesting revelations about some of the new guest stars; and mercifully, the Haleyville plot will come to an end - and then, just when you think everything's back to normal again, Friday night will bring a great plot twist. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 12

10. I think that it's very difficult for me to concentrate on Dallas while the NCAA basketball tournament is going on. Right now I'm watching Florida and Weber State in a great game, and keeping one eye on the Hawks and Raptors, and another eye on the Leafs and Canadiens. So much TV, so little the way, if anyone wants to talk hoops with me or share their thoughts on the tournament, e-mail any time. The only thing I like discussing more than Dallas is March Madness. [On a side note: go Connecticut!]

9. I think that someone in TNN programming should be put in front of a firing squad. It was bad enough when these people started putting huge logos on our screen that cut off about one-quarter of the action, but just what are these people trying to pull? I mean, I can understand if someone made an honest mistake and got Wednesday's episode mixed up with Thursday's. It can happen. We would have been able to deal with it. But then to have only ONE airing of Episode 279 on Thursday [the 11 AM EST one]? That's ridiculous. I'm told that those who tuned in at 6 PM and 11 PM Eastern saw a repeat of Episode 280, which is a great opportunity to make a public service announcement of my own: if you, like me, cannot bear the thought of missing a single episode of Dallas, please heed my advice: tape the 11 AM Eastern showing every day. It's the only one that is consistent. If you wait till 11 PM, you may end up jobbing to tractor pulls, rodeo, or stock car races, especially on Fridays.

8. I think there were a lot of bed scenes this week, especially on Thursday. Everywhere we turned, couples were snuggling in bed. Even Ellie and Clayton. Except poor old JR. What was up with that?

7. I think I want to point out that I'm really going to miss Jack Scalia and the Nicholas character. After the Mafia storyline ended [or did it?] he basically became Sue Ellen's cheerleader, but I thought that Jack did a great job under the circumstances. Now if only he would have lost those sweaters...

6. I think I'm very glad to see that Bobby didn't start jumping for joy when he heard about the Pam sighting. To me, his attitude seems very mature and responsible. Pam made her choice, and he's dealt with it. Why go through it all again?

5. I think I'm developing a theory about the Ewing men, after Dave O pointed something out. They have some weird complexes when it comes to women. Now, I'm sure Val and Anne and Susan and all of the other ladies who graciously help me out with the site day after day are going to remind me that ALL men have women complexes, but I think that the Ewing boys are special cases.
First, let's talk about Ray Krebbs and his need to "belong" to the family he never had, and prove his "worthiness" as a man. Aside from the fact this his explanations and excuses are pathetic, you've got to feel sorry for a guy who thinks he's not "worthy" of Jenna Wade. And since when have feelings of inadequacy been an excuse to be unfaithful to your partner?  As a side note, Dave got me thinking by asking me if I had ever seen Ray and Donna go out together while married. To a restaurant, or dancing, or something? Never, except with a third person or perhaps another couple. Have you ever seen Ray and Jenna go out together while married? Uh, no. But Ray doesn't have a problem going out with his playthings and being seen in public. Weird.
Next, let's move on to JR. JR's one of those macho guys who thinks it's fine for a man to have as many flings as he wants because boys will be boys. But a woman who does that is a drunk, a tramp, and an unfit mother. He married Sue Ellen as a dolly wife to be put on a pedestal, and one of the early premises of the show was that JR would rarely, if ever, make love to Sue Ellen because he saw her as something that should remain "untarnished". Of course, he's never had a problem sleeping with other women, because they're not his wife. Oh, and did I mention that sexual conquest is another way to get a power trip?
And there's good old Bobby. Bobby has a Madonna [not the singer] complex about any woman he wants to be serious with; he won't even look sideways at anyone his brother has been with. Self-righteousness is a nice quality to have, but not when used to put other people down. And it's not like Pam hadn't been around the block before they were married.
Gary [on Knots] had a similar thing going with Valene - could never treat her right, no matter how hard he tried. I never watched Knots as closely as I should have, I guess. Jock and Ellie never seemed to have this kind of problem, so I wonder where these weird genes come from.

4. I think it's very interesting that Ray's affair caused Jenna to see "visions" of him with another woman. Especially since she evoked the same kind of visions for Pam a season ago. What comes around goes around, huh, Cilla?

3. I think I had better make up my mind on how I feel about JR's sexual blackmail of Laurel, but I'm having a lot of trouble. I've turned this into a Poll of the Week question so I can get some feedback. The only thing that comes to my mind is that it bears a striking similarity to the way JR had his way with Holly Harwood many moons ago. Others have pointed out that JR pulled the same thing with Katherine, and my research has reminded me that Sue Ellen also suffered this fate after Peter Richards found himself in trouble.
I didn't make the initial connection with the Katherine thing, and even though I am a Katherine mark, I'll freely admit that that situation was totally different because Kathy was just selfishly after Bobby's body. In the other's tough. I felt bad for Holly at the time, but in retrospect I find myself remembering that Holly kind of got herself into her own mess. Laurel was completely innocently caught in a situation beyond her control, so somehow this conquest seems more contemptible. It was suggested by some that this might qualify as rape, but I can't bring myself to believe that. None of the women I've mentioned ever said "no", nor did they put up anything more than a token struggle. I certainly don't condone JR's methods or motives, but in all cases, I can't help but think that each woman made her own bed [pun intended].

2. I think that the booking of this week's episodes was rather weird, especially on Larry Hagman's part. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Larry had a big say in the storylines, as did Patrick Duffy. I daresay that if Larry didn't want a plot to turn out a certain way, then it didn't turn out that way. So I find it interesting that Larry would be okay with having JR look like a complete loser on Tuesday, jobbing to Sue Ellen, Kimberly, and Jeremy Wendell, and then allow himself to go on a history-rewriting tirade the next day, in which he basically gets to spend three television minutes insulting Clayton, his mother's marriage to Clayton, his mother's heritage, and Bobby's Ewinghood. There should be some consistency here. Obviously, JR can't win ALL the time anymore - it would get rather boring in a hurry, despite what some might think. But it doesn't make sense for him to look like a bumpkin one day and then knock the tar out of everyone the next.

1. I think that the upcoming season will still be very watchable for the first three weeks. The Krebbs clan is gone, and Ewing Oil is back, so there will be some semblance of return to the older days. This season's guest stars have their moments, and even Lucy makes some minor contributions to the plot. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 5

10. I think that everyone should repeat after me: FREE LINDA GRAY! What happened to you this week, Lin? I know you've got a big week coming up, but don't take a powder on us like this!

9. I think that I'm not really that impressed with Bobby's storyline right now. What real purpose does it serve at this point? By Friday, it will mean something, but to this point the only thing it has done is take him away from Christopher and get him together with Kay Lloyd. The consensus [and I acknowledge there is much dissent here] is that Kay is bad news.

8. I think that the last thing we need to be subjected to is another storyline where someone has a drug or psychological problem. If the writers want to make public service announcements, that's one thing. But what purpose is served by turning Cliff into a tranquilizer junkie? I don't get it.

7. I think that this week of Dallas should be required viewing in all parenting classes, as a perfect example of what not to do with your children. How stupid is this Jenna/Ray/Charlie situation? Ray has been Charlie's stepfather for a few months and he thinks he knows what's best for her? How does that work? And why in the world would Jenna just step aside and forego her parenting duties, only to have a guilt attack at the last minute over the way she's let her child down? Egregiously moronic.

6. I think I've said it before, but I also think it bears repeating: yes, April is that dumb. And wishy-washy. Come to think of it, if you added a touch of paranoia, some red hair, and about three cup'd have Pam.

5. I think that the Laurel Ellis storyline is not too bad right now. A few people who haven't seen the payoff yet have already guessed what is going to happen; it's not rocket science, I suppose. There will be a few good twists in this plot, so it's worth paying attention to.

4. I think that Kyle is absolutely right about the ridiculousness of this Weststar takeover thing. Don't get me wrong: it's a great storyline and it's been very well done. But the sheer bogosity of the premise is overwhelming.
Here's what I mean: remember Ewing Oil? It was worth about 2 billion dollars, depending on what day of the week it was. It was the largest independent oil company in Texas. Comparatively, Weststar is an international oil giant. So it should be worth several times more than Ewing Oil, right? So where are JR and his cohorts supposed to come up with enough money to bring Weststar tumbling down?
Let me put it to you this way: suppose, for sake of argument, that Weststar is worth 10 billion dollars. This is a ridiculously low figure, but it'll do. That means that if you wanted to have control of Weststar, you'd need at least 5 billion dollars. Clearly JR does not have this much money on his own. Remember during the dream, when he bought Pam's share of Ewing Oil? He needed financing to come up with the cash, and that was only about half a billion dollars or so.
Things have changed a little bit: since Ewing Oil was dissolved, JR probably got about 400 million dollars cash from the Justice Department to add to his personal fortune. Again, let's say for sake of argument that JR is a billionaire. So that means if he used every available penny, as he claimed to Casey, he might be able to own about 10% of Weststar. Through Sly and his dummy corporations, he might get a small piece. April has about 100 million dollars; that's only good enough for 1 percent. Cliff and Casey combined can't have any more than April, so JR just might be able to match Dr. Styles if he tried really hard. That's assuming, of course, that Weststar is ONLY worth about 10 billion dollars. Certainly Dr. Styles should not be having trouble breathing because little old Cliff Barnes mouthed off to him.

3. I think that, despite what I said above, the Weststar plot is definitely THE thing going on. Don't touch that dial or hit fast forward when people are talking about it. And as Tuesday rolls around...hold on to your hats.

2. I think I liked the Mafia storyline, although it did have the unique characteristic of providing a storyline which basically only involved two minor characters. Ordinarily, at least one mainline character gets thrown into the mix, but I wouldn't say that Sue Ellen actually did anything here.

1. I think that Friday's episode went by awfully quickly. I was watching the tape and making my summary notes, as always. Here I was expecting the third commercial break, and suddenly it was over. Jeepers! Is Dallas actually getting INTERESTING again? Dare I say that next week is truly worth watching? I think so.


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