JR Returns

- I wondered how long it would take me to find something to nitpick in this movie. Usually it's at least ten minutes or so...but here it's only two. Cliff has a new secretary - not Jackie. Now, certainly this is because Sherril Lynn Katzman didn't want to [or perhaps couldn't] appear. It's not impossible, of course, but my nit is this: there's some other secretary out there who could stand to work for Cliff Barnes? Jackie had little choice because she was otherwise unemployable.
CORRECTION: Several people reminded me that Sherril Lynn Katzman was deceased at this time. Sorry about that.

- For someone who doesn't appear in the movie, there sure are a whole lot of nits surrounding Jock. First of all, who in the world could possibly believe that Jock invested in a software company in the early eighties? Yes, it's a really nice story, and it's a great way to explain how suddenly there is new wealth in John Ross's trust fund that was not there fourteen years prior; but I just cannot picture an old coot like Jock Ewing, who's maybe a half a step away from being the Archie Bunker of Texas, would give even the slightest bit of his hard-earned money to some college dropout with shoulder-length hair and wild ideas about futuristic gizmos.

- Let's move on. Anita tells JR that Jock's will still resides in Harve Smithfield's safe and for some reason is sealed. Now...why would that be? I seem to recall the contents of that will being made public in Episode 109. At the time we were told that there was a codicil added to the will, which pertained to the division of Ewing Oil and the subsequent battle for control between Bobby and JR. Now Anita says that there was another codicil about John Ross's trust fund being unavailable until the event of his father's death. So why the heck didn't that fuddy-duddy Harve say anything about this in 1982? Sure, it wouldn't have mattered then in light of the news of the more important codicil, but it might have been nice for Harve to have said SOMETHING. 

- And finally, Jock's "portrait", about whose return to the Southfork livingroom JR expresses gladness, is different than the old portrait which we saw during the series run. It's also a lot bigger. Not that I have a problem with that, but it might have been nice if someone had commented about having it redone for whatever reason.

- Cliff drives up to Southfork and he has a regular issue license plate. Whatever happened to the "Cliff B" license plate that his cars sported during the series run? Did his cheapskate nature cause him to forget to make the payments one year, only to have the rights gobbled up by some guy in Austin named Cliff Barnett or something like that? 

- Speaking of license plates, JR's 'EWING 3' plate is SO fake-looking. It's clearly plastic and not metal, and frankly looks like somebody hurriedly created it in Corel Draw and printed it out on an inkjet.

- This Steve Grisham guy gets around. In a past life, he was Detective Bussey, the nosy gumshoe who mercilessly heckled Cliff, McKay, and Liz Adams during the Johnny Dancer saga in 1991.

- Afton Cooper will probably never be invited to join MENSA or anything like that, but her decision to have her daughter stay in Dallas is downright boneheaded. Of all the cities in the continental United States, Afton can't find anyone outside of Dallas for Pamela to stay with while she goes to school? Why not with Mitch in Atlanta, for instance? Since she is obviously apprehensive about the two of them being found out by Cliff, what could possibly possess her to leave Pamela there?
Now, bear in mind that we have to give the producers and writers SOME latitude here. Obviously they change certain premises to suit the reality that they have to create. It's necessary to come up with some explanation of why JR has been away for five years and why he has suddenly decided to come back. It's necessary for certain characters to be in Dallas all at the same time and it has to be believable. I think the writers did a good job with it. But this one really stretches the imagination. If it's so important for Pamela to be in Dallas, then couldn't she just be visiting or something? This is just too strained.  

- Boy, it sure was nice to see Sly again. She sure brightens up a room. One problem, though: when JR asks her to find Judge Hooker in Waco, she does so and tells him that he's on Line 2. So what's happening on Line 1? Is she making personal phone calls, or is she perhaps making extra money on the side by talking to lonely guys as a 1-900 girl? [For the record, I'd pay to talk to her.]

- In order to make his fatal "accident" seem believable, JR calls the Auto Club to come and fix his flat tire. Okay, that's fine...but by my count, he's only been in Dallas for three or four days! Doesn't it usually take Triple-A a few days to process your application, even if you're JR Ewing? And since he's been out of the country for five years, his application would be treated as new, not a renewal. At least that's how it is in Canada.

- There are a lot of continuity problems during the crash scene. First, there's a wide angle shot and we see three cars about to pass the truck of doom. Then there's a close-up of the truck, and there's only one grey pickup truck in the other lane. Then a wide shot and we see all three of the first set of cars go by, and there are two cards behind the doom truck. Then a close-up of the truck veering towards the shoulder and suddenly there are NO OTHER CARS on the road. None. The whole road is abandoned for half a mile as the crash occurs. Bizarre.

- When Anita comes home and treats us to a striptease, she's wearing a black teddy as she gets into bed with JR. Suddenly, after some pillow talk and who knows what else, she's wearing something with a floral print. Odd.

- At the memorial service, Bobby holds out a hand to introduce Pamela to Sue Ellen. There's a cut to a closeup and by the angle of his shoulder, Bobby has managed to retract his hand in less than an instant.

- Couldn't help noticing that none of the cartel members came to JR's memorial service. Or if they did, they were really quiet.

- The Southfork dining room is VERY different from when we last saw it. Much brighter, which is good. The livingroom and bedrooms certainly haven't changed that much.

- When Christopher answers the phone to take Pamela's call, he answers "Hello" rather than "Southfork Ranch". Things HAVE changed. Never used to be that way. [The old convention, if you've forgotten, was just to say "Yes", or "Yeah".]

- Now this one is just plain ridiculous. A bunch of teenage girls are having a slumber party. So what's the natural thing to do? Call over two guys that you've only known for a matter of hours, of course! Doesn't that totally defeat the purpose of having a slumber party - to talk about guys' private parts, do each other's hair, and gossip? I can't believe that these chicks are so horny that they have no qualms about turning their slumber party into an orgiastic love-fest. [Well, it is for John Ross... poor Christopher just gets to snuggle with Pamela. Probably because he's adopted.]

- There's a very minor continuity blip when JR and Sue Ellen talk after dinner. He says something as she's walking away, and she partially turns around. Then in a close-up she's instantly completely turned around.

- When Bobby and Julia are basking in their afterglow with coffee, it's clear from the way Bobby carries the mugs that they're empty.

- When Afton was picked up, she was wearing a silver blouse and a maroon skirt. As she prepares to leave the sanitarium, she's suddenly found a maroon jacket to go with her skirt. The problem is that she wasn't wearing this jacket when she was arrested. So where'd it come from? Did the cops let her pick it up on her way down to the station?

- In the final scene, it seems kind of dumb for JR to park right next to the basketball hoop in the driveway when he can see that John Ross and Christopher are practicing their free throws. There's plenty of room on the other side, JR.

From Dallas Online Matt:

- The guy who plays Cliff's private detective also played John Savory (JR's banker) in War of the Ewings.

- OK, what are Julia and Pamela Rebecca doing riding on Southfork? We later see Julia's house, and it is not a ranch. What is she doing riding on Ewing land, with (I guess, who knows?) a Ewing horse, since it's unlikely she had her own. Doesn't make much sense. I suppose it's POSSIBLE that her house is nearby, but that's a really good point. The only counterpoint would be that this is a way for Bobby and Julia to meet, which is necessary to the plot...but it's way over the top. Agreed.

- Christopher was born in 1981. This movie was made in 1996, but judging by the line that "John Ross' eighteenth birthday is next week," we can assume that this is 1997. So Christopher should be only 16. But Bobby is talking to him like he's ready to go to college. Perhaps he just means within the next few years. Well, John Ross was born in the 1979/80 season, so I suppose this is a BIT of a stretch. Maybe because Christopher's so smart, he skipped a few grades. Or because he's adopted.

- Pamela Rebecca was born in 1984. If this is 1997, she should be 13. She's pretty big for a 13 year old (though she could pass as one) but I think the writers have aged her. Excellent call. That went right over my head.

- What is Cliff so paranoid about JR getting Ewing Oil back? He hasn't officially sold to Westar yet, so why does he need to sell to Bobby before going to Waco? He says if he doesn't get to the meeting, JR's "gonna get in there and get Ewing Oil back." How, exactly, if Cliff owns it? And it's not like JR wasn't going to be able, ANYWAY, if Westar had bought it. It's the whole "I got beat by JR Ewing again" thing. Maybe Cliff had a deal in principle to sell the company which would have gone ahead even in his absence or something like that.

From Bill Withrow:

- Sly and J.R. parted company on bad terms back in 1991. Is it surprising that she would have worked for him again? I'd say it is to a certain extent. But since she said she was going to Europe and he ended up going to Europe...well, it's not unreasonable.

- I have to disagree with the nitpick about Jock buying stock in a high tech company. Yes, Jock was rough cut. But he was also savvy enough not to invest all of his fortune in the speculative oil business or cyclical ranching business. He was a very shrewd man. I don't find it out of character for him to invest in a Microsoft or Intel equivalent. You don't? I don't know...I guess I just think of Jock as being a "safe" investor, not one to dabble in blue chips. I see him investing in things like mining companies or big manufacturing concerns.

- As much as Cliff hated J.R., it was horrible for him to show up at the funeral and almost bust out laughing in the mourner's faces. Hey, at least he showed up. JR's own mother did not. And I totally see your point. I kinda wish John Ross had slugged him when he gave him that pathetic condolence.

- J.R. has every reason to be happy about Sue Ellen buying 50% of Ewing Oil. This ensures that John Ross will inherit 50% of the company. Otherwise, Christopher would have inherited the entire company. Yes, that's a great point. Hadn't even considered it. But I think he's more happy that he has a better chance of getting a share of the company if it's split between two people than if only one person controls the whole thing.

From AHN Val:

- Check out JR's car.  It's a silver mid-80's Mercedes--just like the one he drove during the series run.  Well, JR got rid of that car in 1987-88 in favor of a Cadillac Allante convertible (remember his "gotta buy American" mantra?).  And I believe he even had another car after that.  So how did he get the old Mercedes back? Maybe it's a rental. He's only been in town for a few days, right? 

From AHN Pam:

- I vaguely remember Bobby mentioned that he called Gary and Ray. That's great, they were ACTUALLY REMEMBERED...of course they didn't show. Bobby didn't mention anything about Val or Jenna, i.e. I talked to Gary and VAL or I talked to Ray and JENNA. It was almost as if they didn't exist or something. Gary was with Val (possibly married) at the end of 'Knots' and I believe was also married to her in the reunion movie. Ray was also married to Jenna at the end of 'Dallas' and Ray himself mentioned her in 'War of the Ewings' saying he was keeping it from her (to protect her I guess, I'd want to know I'd kill my husband for keeping this kind of thing from me) that they were very close to being broke. Again, mentioning Val and Jenna might have been nice. Good call. I think Bobby also said he spoke to Lucy and Mitch.

- Mitch?? Two things bother me here. 1. Lucy wasn't with Mitch at the end of the series, at least not that we know of. The last time we saw Lucy she was leaving Southfork to go to Italy to check out art galleries or something lame like that. I suppose it's POSSIBLE that she hooked up with him later and they again (gag) realized they couldn't live without each other. I guess that's what's to be assumed. 2. How does Mitch manage to get a mention when neither Val nor Jenna do?? This was stupid! One more thing, Bobby also mentioned (I believe) talking to Miss Ellie and the big dumb ox Clayton who were also NO SHOWS!!! This whole thing was ridiculous! The characters Bobby mentioned were all FAMILY MEMBERS!!! I can't believe they 'couldn't get back' to attend J.R.'s 'funeral'. Besides having money up their roody-pooh you-know-whats, (with the possible exception of the stupid half-breed cowboy) these people should be there no matter what the circumstances. Gary and Ray are his brothers, Lucy is his niece, and due to the nature of their relationship over the years, I would think would want to make sure he was really dead and Ellie is HIS MOTHER!!!! Maybe the big dumb ox kept J.R.'s 'death' from Ellie to 'protect' her because she's so 'fragile'. That's the only reason on earth that I would think Ellie would miss the 'funeral' of her first-born son. No mother and I mean NO MOTHER would miss their son's funeral. PUHLEEZE!!! It's not even like Bobby had to worry about preserving the body until everyone arrived. There was NO BODY so the memorial service could be have been held as soon as everyone was there. Somehow I just can't believe there were no flights to Dallas from California, Paris, wherever Lucy is now, Atlanta I assume and possibly even the Ukraine where the big dumb ox probably has Ellie locked away in seclusion. I also can't imagine that anything would be so important as to keep any of them from the 'funeral' of an immediate member of the family. Money, business, whatever the circumstance, IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! These people are family and should be there for this. Did everyone really hate J.R. that much? Even his own mother?? Quite ridiculous and egregious. I think the "mentioning" part of this has to do with copyright issues. For instance, it's possible that just to mention Jenna might mean some money for Priscilla Presley which the producers were unwilling to give. Maybe.

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