The I Think Archive

Ten things I thinkI think this week:

Saturday, May 29

8. I think I'm back to eight things for this week, because frankly, I don't have that much to say. That, and I am totally preoccupied with the World Cup of Cricket. [Yes, you read that right.] Since the Maple Leafs seem to be toast, and baseball is SO BORING right now, I have returned to my green and yellow roots and am watching my countrymen from Pakistan kick butt and take names.

7. I think I want to know which of the executive producers has a thing for British accents. Within the last fifty episodes, we've seen five characters from England or vicinity: Stephanie, Laurel Ellis, Brett Lomax, Alex Barton, and Vanessa Beaumont. What gives here? Why is no one partial to finding people with TEXAS accents, since these should be more prevalent?

6. I think I was a bit hasty in calling for a "most annoying character" poll a few weeks ago. I should have saved it for after the Melinda Carlisle saga. Who thought up this character? I hope he or she was fired.

5. I think I'm still waiting for James and Michelle to get past their [respective] bad acting and bad wardrobe and DO SOMETHING. That's two weeks and counting.

4. I think I want to comment about the whole Bobby/Jeanne thing. A lot of people expressed dissatisfaction at the way Jeanne, who seemed to a pure-hearted wholesome girl, turned into a "manipulator" of Bobby's feelings for his ex-wife. Well, she only did that when it seemed clear that the only thing he was interested in was revisiting those feelings. They were both using each other and it wasn't just one-sided. 

3. I think Tuesday's episode was absolutely outstanding. Other than the lame Stephanie subplot, there wasn't a dull moment and there was good balance of air time. Very hard to do with twelve people in the cast.

2. I think that while I liked the shows this week [for the most part], the endings were way too predictable. Having Curley Morrison die, then Rabbit, and then on Thursday revealing that JR was behind the trickery of Cally - the writers seem to be running really low on creativity here, resorting to canned and safe booking.

1. I think that next week is going to be...weird. The main plots that we've been seeing will continue, with a few interesting twists and turns. Nothing earth-shattering. I think the most interesting development will be the drawing of a name from the very distant past, in one of the most interesting [albeit contrived] plot twists we've seen to date. As always, stay tuned. 

Saturday, May 22

10. I think I don't have a "State of the Site" message this week. I originally thought that for some reason, there were fewer hits this week than in previous weeks, but my Excel spreadsheet tells me otherwise. I better stop looking this gift horse in the mouth.

9. I think this whole Jeanne O'Brien subplot is excellent. It certainly could have been better if the producers had decided to milk the whole "Is she Pam?" angle for a while, but I have a feeling that at the time they didn't want to risk any tongues wagging or rumors being generated. It would have been a letdown for people to anticipate Pam's return and then not have it happen. [Remember Wes Parmalee? We, as Dallas fans, have short memories.] It's a good way to further the rift between Bobby and April, although it lacks the ability to get more cast members together and involved in a common plot.

8. I think that, unlike Jeanne, Stephanie Rogers is a horrendous character. She's a really bad Leslie Stewart, as Analise says. I'm not certain who it is amongst the producers who feels that Cliff, as a character, can't get over without a woman in his life or in his business.

7. I think it's interesting how little of the show's action seems to be going on in DALLAS. Why is that? Every time you look around, we're in Austin, Pride, Oklahoma, or some other out-of-the-way place. The USA Grand Tour will actually continue next week, too.

6. I think the James/Michelle interplay has become downright pathetic. DO SOMETHING. As far as couples go, they're a couple of individuals who seem to feel forced to do stuff together. Yuck. The only significant things they're doing consist of consoling Cally and April, who have turned into the biggest whiner tandem since 1987, when Pam and Mandy held that honor.

5. I think I don't remember seeing Lucy at all this week...did I? Oh yeah, Monday, when she was wondering what this mysterious thing called "cash" was. Memo to the producers: if you're going to bring somebody back and pay them, at least make it worth your while.

4. I think I like Margaret Michaels A LOT. I haven't felt this way about a guest actress since Merete Van Kamp. But those were different days. And I can't get the "I Dream of Jeannie" song out of my head...whoops, there it goes again.

3. I think that Cliff's sudden face turn, by declaring the tanker crash an accident, was really silly. It made his heel turn [leaving Ewing Oil and siding with Weststar] meaningless because it accomplished NOTHING for his relationship with the other characters. The producers created some excellent suspense and interplay with Cliff's committee and then had it go absolutely nowhere. The only thing that was accomplished was that Carter McKay became only a slightly more hated heel. However, he's done absolutely nothing with it other than cause trouble for Bobby and April. OOOOHHH...scary. Someone in the booking department needs to analyze these things better. Essentially, they spent six episodes putting the Ewings in and out of trouble, and then returning them to square one.

2. I think that I'm rather disturbed by the recent realization that the show has become Patrick Duffy's show rather than Larry Hagman's. Bobby seems to be getting all the good plots and angles; he always seems to come out of every situation as the winner; and JR continues to be a shameful shell of his former self. Clearly some of this was at Patrick's insistence when he came back in 1986, because he felt his character was boring before; but it's sad that in order to accommodate this, JR has to take a back seat to his little brother in terms of air time and in degree of depth of plot.

1. I think that next week might be a little bit slow. Certainly nothing would happen that I would call riveting, but a lot of things will change. Bobby and April make tough decisions about each other; Ellie and Clayton actually get a plot [yes, you read that right]; James gets into wacky misadventures, presaging Step by Step; Cally continues to channel the spirit of whiny Pam; and JR...well, frankly he remains his rather boring self for a while, but he does get a minor blast from the past to speed things along.

Saturday, May 15

10. I think that this week has plumb tuckered me out. This whole Kay Lloyd controversy...oh, well, you'll see below. I had this entire column written last night, with the exception of Item #2. My ambivalence towards the whole thing [coupled with a great Jazz/Kings basketball game last night] is what delayed this update.

9. I think that the new JR is getting more and more troublesome to figure out. Thursday, he's shown as actually having second thoughts about his affair with Diana, ostensibly because of Cally's vulnerability. I totally don't understand this. Didn't Sue Ellen play the victim like this from time to time, having virtually no effect on him? While she never tried to kill herself, most of the time she'd drink herself silly. Usually she would hide herself away, so JR didn't have to deal with the problem; but even when faced with it he would just try to brush it aside with a quick [and merciless] fix. If you're looking for a reason that this ain't your mama's Dallas any more, here's a good place to start. The show needs that ruthlessness that JR used to have.

8. I think that, speaking of things not being like the old days, JR's whiskaway of Alex Barton was just totally not the same as his old methods. Mike contrasted it to the way JR got rid of Alan Beam, and there's just no comparison. At least if Alex had tried to fight back by using his wealth, it would have been less lame.

7. I think that the Thursday episode left me very confused. It seems like all the tension that was created Wednesday [Cally's suicide attempt, Kay's arrival, hard times for Ewing Oil] was more or less unwound. What was the point? It almost made Wednesday's episode [the best of the season so far, in my opinion] seem like filler material.

6. I think Linda Gray's presence on the show is sorely missed. Had she stayed, the producers would have neither the need [nor the budget] to introduce James and Michelle to the mix. Sue Ellen would have provided the tough female presence that the show needs, and she would have negated the need to bring James in to create friction between JR and Cally. A very simple way for her to make a lot of waves this season would be to rekindle her relationship with Cliff in his fight against the Ewings. This would have certainly had the effect of infuriating JR, who would have taken steps to seduce her back to his side, while at the same time making him want her again. Presto: instant marital problems and a plot for Cally. And it would have spared us a LOT of bad acting.

5. I think that, despite what I just said, I was a little bit surprised at first to learn that people really want to see James and Michelle depushed. Then I thought about it and realized that there really aren't lamer plots going on right now than the interplay between these two. Nevertheless, for anyone who already feels sick of them, I'd ask you to give them another week or so before you make up your mind. So far it's been kind of boring but...well, you'll see.

4. I think it's a rotten shame that Barbara Bel Geddes, for whatever reasons, decided she didn't want to be as active a character any more as she was in the past. This week, in the polls, Ellie was declared most worthy of a push. Curious, I looked back at some of the old push/depush polls, and found that Ellie was at or near the top of just about all of them. She's still capable of carrying a scene or a storyline if given the opportunity, and I bet she could still lay a wicked smackdown if called for.

3. I think that having Rose McKay back on the show isn't as bad as I thought it would be. It's definitely necessary to complete Carter's heel turn, and Lord knows Carter is boring as a face. Using Rose to help him get over is better than bringing back...oh, someone like Tracey.

2. I think I have to get off the fence and say something about this whole Kay/April thing. First things first: I like April. And I don't particularly like Kay. Before anyone gets upset at that, let me tell you that there are LOTS of other characters who I don't particularly like. Clayton. Ray. Rebecca Wentworth. The list goes on. It doesn't mean that these are BAD characters, or that they aren't important to the show. I just don't particularly find anything likable about them.
I was very genuinely surprised that this topic has generated so much dichotomy. It's fascinating how someone like Kay can be such a controversial character. Usually a character like this would have trouble generating heat if his or her clothes were on fire. But Kay's presence seems to force people to take a stance: either you wish she would die, or you like her and wish April would go away. Not since the Pam/Jenna rivalry of 1987 has this happened.
I've left it out as a poll of the week question, and I've asked people to address this controversy in a very specific way. I'm really interested to know whether people are April-backers or Kay-haters, and vice-versa. Because I think that's important.
But now it comes down to it - I'm asking myself what I don't like about Kay. The only good answer that I can come up with is that she seems to me to be a very one-dimensional character. April, on the other hand, is one of the most multi-dimensional characters on the show. Most people who have told me that they don't like April have pointed out that some of these dimensions were [and still are] unflattering; very true. Her tenure on the show started her out as a greedy, self-serving bitch. She still shows flashes of that once in a while, and she certainly has not dropped the whiner nor the "I'm so lonely" attitude. It seems to me [and I'm perfectly willing to be corrected] that people seem to think Kay is a better match for Bobby because April brings so much baggage to the table. But to anyone who would say so, I must ask: what does Kay bring to the table? Nothing. Nothing at all, except her career and her apparent ardent love for Bobby. I don't want to say that Kay is boring,, wait. I DO want to say that. That's what I wanted to say all along: Kay is boring.
My logic is as follows: I don't think anybody would argue that Pam was the perfect woman for Bobby. She seemed an almost too-perfect combination of sweetness, strength, beauty and brains. She had her admitted faults; she wasn't anyone's fool. Despite her commitment to having a life of her own rather than just being Mrs. Bobby Ewing, her number one priority was her marriage [until she went psycho over her mother's death]. Every once in a while she would get vulnerable, just as all women [and men] are wont to do, and go through a stage where she would demand more attention than she deserved, but that was part of the character. I can see April being like that; she already has with her never-ceasing lonely girl act. I honestly cannot see that tenderness and appeal in Kay.
Val took it a step further and said [much more eloquently than I am paraphrasing here] that April is a better fit for Bobby's 'knight in shining armor' persona. She, unlike Kay, is in need of being swept off of her feet and taken away to a faraway castle and living happily ever after, just like Pam and especially Jenna. It's interesting to note how much of Bobby's TV time has revolved around taking care of his significant other - getting a child for Pam, getting Jenna out of jail, coddling April last season. I think Val is absolutely right. I don't think that Bobby would ever be able to really have a life with Kay - he wouldn't be able to get or give enough ego strokes to make it satisfying.
As a side note: can you imagine if Bobby brought Kay to Southfork, just to have dinner? What would his son, who typically says "I like her" about every post-pubescent young woman he has ever met, have to say? I'd be willing to bet that Christopher wouldn't really take to her much. I wouldn't if I were him.

1. I think next week will be very interesting. I wouldn't have said so if it hadn't been for the mad controversy this week. The tanker subplot gets resolved and paves the way for the season wrap-up; tensions escalate around the ranch; and a very interesting plot twist occurs in the April/Bobby saga on Wednesday. The course of true love never runs smooth, does it?

Saturday, May 8

8. I think I'll have to go back to eight things for this week. But I would like to point out something: this week I'm actually glad that I get occasional junk e-mails. Last week I got one that turned out to be fantastic! It had information about how to get a web site up towards the top of the big search engines. Lo and behold, this web site is now EVERYWHERE! It's near the top of both Altavista and Yahoo if you look up sites related to Dallas. And the beat goes on, because as I type this, the site is approaching 32,000 hits. As always, thanks for all the support!

7. I think I must address what's on everybody's mind - why the heck is Sasha Mitchell getting such a monstrous push? Well, it's a combination of reasons, obviously. The producers are struggling to keep the show "fresh" and "exciting", while at the same time keeping people interested. I guess they figure that between Cally, April, and Michelle, there's enough to keep the guys watching; but I suppose they figured that they needed a new young hunk to keep the ladies interested. Not being a lady, I can't tell whether it's working or not.
Also, I'm sure that Patrick Duffy has a special place in his heart for Sasha because he also brought him along on Step by Step. Clearly this was not for his outstanding [cough] acting, so there must be something going on here.

6. I think the sexualization of the Ewing children is totally out of hand and out of place. Giving 8-year-old Christopher a girlfriend is a boneheaded move of epic proportions. If it's so important for the producers to come up with angles involving parenting, then certainly there are better ways of doing this. Certainly the situations that Christopher gets involved in over the next couple of weeks indicate that this whole thing was an ill-conceived idea.

5. I think that I'm glad that this "mystery keys" storyline came and went without much groaning. I expected to get comments almost every day about how pathetic the premise was. Believe it or not, the payoff of these shenanigans makes one meaningful contribution to the show - and you'll see it Monday.

4. I think I want to comment about AHN Mike's comment that Michelle seems to be carrying the show, much like Tommy did during the latter half of last season. While it's certainly that Michelle [literally and figuratively] has got her finger into everything, I don't think it's quite the same. Last season, Tommy was DOING almost everything - harassing April, getting his family involved in his wacky schemes, working on the sly for JR, and so forth. Michelle, on the other hand, seems to be passively involved in everything. Other than mildly manipulating Cliff, she's just kind of sitting back and seizing minor opportunities as they come. And I still don't like her.

3. I think that the Cliff heel turn was a fantastic idea. Let's face it, Cliff was getting downright BORING. Joining Ewing Oil didn't change that. Chasing after Afton and his daughter didn't change that. Turning against the Ewings and renewing the old bickering DEFINITELY changes that. Glad to see it because the character seriously needed a change of scenery.

2. I think that the scene at the Oil Baron's Club, where the world learned that JR was James's father, was extremely well done. Almost like the old Dallas. What was even better was the beginning of the next episode, where the big arguments ensued. Scenes like that are fantastic because they bring everybody together and do a great job of setting the stage for what is to come. The reason I often mention that "set-up" episodes are rather boring is because I know that the writers are capable of taking a whole episode's worth of conflict and putting it into one scene, just like we saw. I also know that they have television minutes to fill, but I wish they would come up with these kinds of things more often.

1. I think that next week...oh, what to say about next week? Let's see. Well, there will be a lot of beach blanket bingo, Dallas style. Trouble in paradise from all corners for romantically involved couples. And two friends from the not-so-distant past will return to share in the fun. And, in case you had any doubts, the James and Michelle pushes will continue.

Saturday, May 1

10. I think I'm very glad I rattled the cage last week. Good response for the poll of the week, though I suppose it could have been better...anyway, no more complaints. Keep those cards and letters coming.

9. I think that I'm really glad to get this whole Afton and Pamela Rebecca thing out of the way. Not that I didn't like the angle; I think it's a great plot device to introduce "another Pamela Barnes" into the mix of potential characters. But the storyline was getting totally ridiculous. The whole premise that a guy as shady as Harrison Van Buren could exist totally killed it for me. The only good thing about this storyline was the Dave Wallace character: the first serious-looking private investigator I've ever seen on the show.

8. I think Dallas seems to be moving much faster than I remember. During the first run, things seemed to take forever. For example, the Haleyville storyline seemed to drag on for weeks, whereas it was really only five episodes. Same thing with this boring "mystery keys" storyline. I can only attribute it to life in general moving faster these days.

7. I think that it was a VERY bad idea to turn Cally into a whiner à la Pamela Ewing. I've never gotten that horrendous week two seasons ago when all Pam would do is whine about Bobby's relationship with Jenna. "Every time I see you, Bobby, I think of you with her." It's the same thing with Cally. Please, ladies, get over yourselves!
Whereas the Pam character was multidimensional and established enough redeeming to successfully pull off this insecurity gimmick, Cally does not. Cally's success as a character relies on her naivete, warmth, joie de vivre and wholesomeness. Whining about what her husband did before they were married somehow manages to kill most of that. Hanging around with Lucy is the final nail in the coffin.

6. I think that Tuesday's episode, which was a quintessential "setup", kept me really busy. A lot of things happened and I remember furiously banging away at my keyboard to create a summary. But...what happened? Two weeks from now, if someone asks me about Episode 309, I'll draw a total blank.

5. I think that while bringing back Tommy McKay was a good idea, the writers haven't done enough to make him charismatic. Right now, I'd say Tommy is generating "bad heat" rather than "heel heat" - you just wish he'd go away, rather than hate his character. Simply put, Tommy hasn't actually affected the lives of anyone we care about. Oh sure, he's killed off Rolf Brundin. I cheered. He scared the heck out of Rose. I felt sorry for her, but it passed. April's scared of him, but so what?  If the writers really wanted to make Tommy into a believable heel, they should have worked harder at making us dislike him. The worst thing about this is that the whole "bomb in the briefcase" storyline loses much of its appeal. Contrast Tommy's plans for revenge with Angelica Nero's - there's no comparison.

4. I think that while we're on the topic of character booking, let's talk about Michelle. Just like April when she first came to Dallas, Michelle's booking as a heel is necessary in order to get us to care about her character. It's VERY difficult in a drama such as Dallas to get a new character over as a babyface. As a rule, babyfaces are boring unless they are juxtaposed with well-established heels to embellish their "goodness". Michelle has many traditional heel characteristics: she acts in her own interests, she works behind the back of her sister and her friends, and is generally a troublemaker. Someone commented that the way Michelle made a play for Bobby creates a similarity between Katherine and herself. True enough, but I really liked Katherine because of her ruthless edge; I don't like the Michelle character at all - yet.

3. I think my final question about the booking is with regards to April. I have yet to understand what purpose is served by having her be nothing more than Bobby's love toy.

2. I think I don't really want to get started about how bad it makes JR look to get caught in the middle of all of these oil deals. On the one hand, come Monday, all of his problems are going to get rolled into one big ball of wax, which makes for some interesting television. But don't you wish, like I do, that one week JR would just have his way and roll over some people the way he used to?

1. I think that...oh boy. Episode 312 is here. Hmm. I need to gather my thoughts.
I know this episode well, because somehow I still managed to keep part of the episode, from the first series run, on one of my tapes. Because of my ardent belief in not spoiling anything, it's hard to comment. Let's just say that many things happen. A high-profile character will leave. A character from the not-too-distant past will return. A new character will be added to the mix. It will be an interesting week, spoiled only by the odd lame plotline.


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