KNOTS LANDING versus DALLAS versus the rest of them week by week

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by James from London, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    08 May 86: KNOTS LANDING: Thicker Than Water v. 09 May 86: DALLAS: Hello, Goodbye, Hello v. 09 May 86: FALCON CREST: Consumed

    As Soap Land business crises go, there’s something unusual about KNOTS LANDING's “arsenic poisoning at Lotus Point” storyline that I really like. It’s to do with the intangibility of the contamination itself. It’s under the ground, it’s in the water supply, it may even be in the air — but you can’t touch it, you can't see it. As such, unlike the various oil or wine-related dramas that occur on the other soaps, it’s a problem that no one on the show (with the possible exception of Greg Sumer) is equipped to deal with. At the end of the day, no one really knows what the hell to do, which only fuels the urgency and the unpredictability of the situation, and the friction between the characters. I guess one could draw a parallel between what has been going on beneath the surface of Empire Valley without anyone realising and what Lee Ying insists is about to occur in the Tuscany Valley without anyone else in FALCON CREST taking her seriously. “We are almost certain that you are going to have a minor earthquake in the next ten days,” she pronounces solemnly. “I’m not a big believer in earthquake predictions,” Peter Stavros smiles smugly. “This valley could do with a little shaking up!” jokes Lance complacently.

    Inbetween episodes of KNOTS, Gary has paid an offscreen visit to Dallas “to see if my family would finance the cleanup … There’s no oil under Empire Valley so they’re not interested.” And even if they were, JR’s not in any position to get involved. According to Marilee Stone, he’s cash poor. “That billion dollar loan is costing you almost two million dollars a week,” adds banker Franklin Horner, who this time last year was busy blowing his brains out on KNOTS as a result of his own financial problems.

    JR’s situation on DALLAS and Abby’s on KNOTS are similar. This week’s KNOTS begins with Abby holding a press conference to assure the public that, despite reports to the contrary, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the drinking water here at Lotus Point.” (Her Eva Peron-style, woman-of-the-people stunt of drinking a glass of Lotus Point water before the assembled media is a particularly nice touch.) Meanwhile, Karen is breaking the news to Lotus Point's employees that she is closing down the resort. Over on DALLAS, due to the drop in oil prices, attorney Alex Garrett has shut down the Marinos/Ewing oil wells — the very wells JR is depending on to stay afloat. Needless to say, Abby and JR are far from happy with these decisions. "Alex, I’m warning you. You’re making a mistake doing this to Ewing Oil … I want those wells uncapped and pumping right now!” barks JR over the phone. “How dare you, Karen — where the hell do you come off, closing Lotus Point? … I’ve got as much at stake here as you do!” yells Abby, barging into her partner’s office.

    Unlike JR, who stands to lose everything (“I’ve been counting on the income from the Venezuelan fields — I mean, really counting on it”), Abby still has what she terms “insurance”, i.e., her investment in Peter Hollister’s claim to the Galveston fortune. This storyline takes an unexpected turn when Greg offers Peter an intriguing ultimatum: he’ll acknowledge him as his brother (and make him an appropriate financial settlement) on the condition that Peter runs for the senate. "If you’re ever gonna be a Galveston, kid, now is the time,” Greg tells him. "I’m only gonna let it happen if it happens on my terms.” Abby’s all for the idea, as she indicates when she shows up at Peter’s apartment late at night with a bottle of champagne. ”The sooner you sign that document, the sooner you’re going to learn that being rich and powerful is a very nice way to live,” she says before taking him to bed.

    This also being the week that JR and Sue Ellen’s reconciliation is consummated, we are treated to scenes of post-coital pillow talk on both KNOTS and DALLAS. “Feels like New Year’s Eve,” says Peter, nuzzling Abby’s neck between shiny satin sheets. “You’ll never know how happy you’ve made me tonight,” pants JR as Sue Ellen lies beside him. From there, the subject matter of the two scenes diverge. While Abby’s mind is as much on power as passion (“Just think — all that Galveston money behind you,” she purrs to Peter), Sue Ellen makes a declaration of fidelity: “JR, when I came into your bed tonight and we made love, I made a total commitment to you.” JR doesn’t get around to discussing business with his wife until the following morning. “My company’s in trouble, Sue Ellen, and I just don’t know what to do about it,” he admits before dropping her off at her office.

    Like Abby and Peter, FALCON CREST’s Melissa Agretti and Eric Stavros are also mixing business with pleasure. They've opened up a winery at the same time as conducting a romance. Melissa’s attitude is more frivolous than Abby’s, however. She’s more interested in putting her enemies' noses out of joint than garnering wealth and power. “Did you see Angela watching us?” she giggles to Eric. "She was green with envy … The Agretti harvest is home to stay. Angela, Chase, Cole, Lance — they can all take a flying jump at the moon!”

    KNOTS LANDING’s Cathy and DALLAS’s Mandy are living in similarly self-absorbed fantasy worlds this week. As Ben watches Cathy scrutinising publicity photos of herself while listening to one of her own recordings, Mandy sends JR an album of sexy modelling shots of herself with the message, “Ready when you are, JR.” Each woman is determined to build a future with a married man, but seems to be in denial about the reality of the situation. Just as Cathy wants Ben to accompany her on her tour but refuses to face the implications this would have for Val and the twins, Mandy is still hopeful of a reconciliation with JR even though he is now back with Sue Ellen. By the end of their respective episodes, both have brought down to reality with a bump — Cathy by a slap across the face from Lilimae (just like Krystle and Claudia on last week’s DYNASTY, this pair of formerly close friends also part on bad terms) and Mandy by JR himself (“I only love and want Sue Ellen … goodbye,” he tells her) — and the last we see of either is them bursting into tears.

    As Lilimae tries to save her daughter’s marriage on KNOTS, her one-time Ewing-verse counterpart, Aunt Lil, similarly rides to the rescue of Ray and Donna’s family on DALLAS. The Krebbses’ petition to adopt Tony having been declined due to Ray’s criminal record, Lil speaks at an appeal hearing to explain the circumstances that led to the death of her son Mickey. She repeats the testimony she gave at Ray’s murder trial almost word for word and it proves to be just as persuasive as it was then — it prompts the judge to overturn the original ruling and grant the adoption. (Considering how slowly the wheels of justice have been grinding elsewhere in Soap Land of late — the Empire Valley pollution storyline on KNOTS, the Jeff Wainwright stalker scenario on FC — the law moves at lightning speed in this situation, with the Krebbses’ appeal being arranged, conducted and ruled upon all in within the space of a few days.)

    While Val begs Ben not to leave her on KNOTS (“I don’t want you to go,” she says, clinging onto him), JR gently suggests to Mandy on DALLAS that “the best thing for you to do would be to leave here, go somewhere where you might meet someone who’s not in love with another woman.” Over on FALCON CREST, Richard Channing orders Miss Jones to “make yourself scarce — as in London.” Whereas JR finally gets through to Mandy, Val and Richard are each met with refusal. "Don’t make this anymore difficult than it is — I have got to go,” Ben tells Val. “I’m not going halfway around the world just so you can forget about me,” Miss Jones tells Richard.

    This week’s KNOTS and DALLAS are their penultimate episodes of the season. It’s surprising therefore that both shows find time to introduce a new storyline, each involving a key character’s past. On DALLAS, JR learns that as a young man, Mark Graison was involved in the hushed-up death of a college freshman. On KNOTS, a young self-possessed blonde turns up in various locations looking for Mack, in much the same way that another young self-possessed blonde turned up various places looking for Alexis at the beginning of last season’s DYNASTY. Whereas Amanda Bedford chose the front page of the Denver Chronicle upon which to announce that she was Alexis’s daughter, Paige Matheson elects the Mackenzie living room as a suitable venue in which to smilingly inform Mack that she is his offspring. The dramatic impact is not diminished by the domestic setting.

    While Mack fails to recognise his own daughter — at first glance, he assumes her to be a friend of Eric and Michael — DALLAS newcomer Ben Stivers proves strangely familiar. “I could have sworn I’d met him somewhere before,” comments Punk Anderson, echoing Dex Dexter’s words about another Ben on last week’s DYNASTY ("I know your face, Carrington”). “There’s just something about him,” Miss Ellie concurs.

    DALLAS’s Angelica Nero and FALCON CREST’s Jeff Wainwright have both been hovering menacingly on the periphery of their respective shows for some weeks now. While Angelica’s actions have been deliberate and calculating — we’ve seen her do business with a bomb-making expert and a couple of first-class forgers — Jeff’s behaviour seems altogether more emotional and impulsive. This week, he enjoys romantic interludes with Fantasy Maggie while sending anonymous bouquets to her real life equivalent. Whatever their differences, Angelica and Jeff both end this week’s episodes the same way — by coming face to face with their prey with a gun in their hand. “Well, Mr Ewing, we have some unfinished business,” says Angelica while pointing a pistol at JR in an underground parking garage. “Come on, Maggie, it’s time to leave,” says Jeff as he steals into the Gioberti bedroom brandishing a hunting rifle. “This is something we both want,” he adds chillingly.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (2) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (4) DALLAS
    3 (5) FALCON CREST
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    14 May 86: DYNASTY: The Triple-Cross v. 15 May 86: THE COLBYS: Anniversary Waltz v. 15 May 86: KNOTS LANDING: The Longest Night v. 16 May 86: DALLAS: Blast From the Past v. 16 May 86: FALCON CREST: Captive Hearts

    Two shootings, three kidnappings, a couple of explosions, a wedding, a long lost daughter and an apparent return from the dead — with the season finales of DALLAS and KNOTS LANDING and the penultimate eps of DYNASTY, THE COLBYS and FALCON CREST, it’s been an eventful week in Soap Land.

    The centrepiece of this week’s DALLAS is Mark Graison and Pam Ewing tying the knot in a fancy ceremony which bears the distinction of being the series' most harmonious wedding to date. Thanks to the truce engineered by Jamie, even JR and Cliff are getting along. Elsewhere, Angela interrupts Emma and Dwayne’s wacky Vegas wedding (“I want you to come back to Falcon Crest and be married there, where you belong,” she insists) and DYNASTY’s Dominique plans a party at La Mirage (now run by Abby Ewing’s former consigliere James Westmont) to celebrate her forthcoming nuptials to Garrett Boydston.

    Over on THE COLBYS, Sable throws a surprise wedding anniversary party for Jason in spite of the fact that they are on the brink of divorce. (“Mom’s hoping it’s gonna bring them back together,” Miles tells Bliss.) Sue Ellen pulled a similar move in Season 2 of DALLAS — i.e, surprising JR with an anniversary party whilst hiding a secret agenda. Just as Sue Ellen also managed to get one over on her sister Kristin (aka JR’s mistress) by announcing that she would soon be returning to California, Sable likewise pulls a trick on her sister Frankie (aka Jason’s love interest) by ensuring that while the rest of the guests are done up to the nines, Frankie is dressed quite plainly. As a consequence, Frankie is rendered virtually invisible — no one at the party even acknowledges her presence. At the end of the DALLAS party, Sue Ellen revealed to JR how the evening was all part of a campaign for her to gain custody of her son by appearing to be a perfect wife and mother. Here, the situation is reversed: it is Sable who is surprised when Jason drags her into a private room and presents her with a tape of a compromising conversation between her and Zach Powers (“Sorry I didn’t have time to wrap it”). The scene that follows is another of those brilliant Jason/Sable confrontations that is somehow melodramatic and gritty both at the same time. Even though Jason clearly wants rid of Sable, he is still devastated by what he perceives as her betrayal. By the end of the scene, both actors have tears in their eyes. As fantastic as Larry Hagman and Linda Gray are together, they’ve never had a scene quite like this.

    An interesting sense of history recurs throughout this week’s episodes. “What a waste my life has been — twenty-nine years of loving you, and you loved her all the time," Sable tells Jason with magnificent bitterness. “It’s taken us fourteen years to get to a point where our marriage stands half a chance of working,” Sue Ellen tells JR on DALLAS. “Full circle, huh?” muses Gary on KNOTS and he and Val sit huddled together by the ocean. “Here we are on the beach, first place we came when we got to California.” “… What a mess we’ve made of our lives out here, Gary,” Val replies tearfully — an observation that causes Gary to start laughing hysterically. Less directly, Miss Ellie also reaches back into the past. "You’ve been like a daughter,” she tells Pam touchingly just prior to her wedding to Mark. Elsewhere on DALLAS, I find it very intriguing that when Ben Stivers is in the Southfork living room looking at individual photographs of Miss Ellie’s three sons, it is Gary’s picture which he picks up for closer inspection. Maybe he can finally identify with the outsider.

    Following her fight with Jason, Sable seeks refuge on Zach Powers' yacht. At the end of a season in which the shipping business has had such a strong, if mostly offscreen, presence — Marinos Shipping in DALLAS, Stavros Shipping on FALCON CREST, Powers Shipping on THE COLBYS — it’s fitting that the climax of at least one of these shows should have a nautical setting. (Granted, this isn’t quite the season finale of THE COLBYS, but it sure feels like it.)

    Zach and Sable are below deck when he presents her with a replica of “the dress you were taking off on Jason’s yacht the day I walked in on you” three decades earlier. He has her recreate the moment first by putting the dress on and then by slowly taking it off again as he watches. There’s more sexy stripping on KNOTS as Abby looks on approvingly while Peter Hollister slowly undresses for her benefit. Alas, both encounters are interrupted — Zach and Sable's by the noise of an intruder (which turns out to be Jason climbing aboard the yacht), Abby and Peter's by the sound of a car (Gary returning home unexpectedly with Olivia in tow).

    Dominique Devereaux aside, each of Soap Land's singers bids a bittersweet farewell this week. Both THE COLBYS’ Wayne Masterson and KNOTS LANDING's Cathy Geary admit to wearing romantic blinkers which now have been removed. “A blind man only sees what he wants to see, not what’s there. My eyes are open now and I can see the truth,” Wayne tells Monica after realising that she’s in love with someone else. “I fell in love with you and ever since the moment I did, whenever that was, I haven’t been able to think straight," Cathy tells Ben. “You came through for me, not just as an artist, but as a friend," Monica tells Wayne tearfully. “I'm never going to be able to tell you what these last couple of weeks have meant to me,” Ben tells Cathy, as much in sadness as in gratitude.

    Just as Wayne intends “to take some time and drive around the country and see what I’ve been missing for the past few years”, DALLAS’s Jack Ewing is also off "to parts unknown.” He consequently pulls out of his business partnership with Clayton and Ray, but refuses to recoup his original investment. "You guys are gonna have to break both my arms for me to accept a dime from either one of you,” he chuckles. This from the man who swaggered into town a year earlier and immediately sold his sister out for ten percent of Ewing Oil. And while Lee Ying says goodbye to her father before returning to China on FALCON CREST, THE COLBYS’ Constance also has her cases packed. Ostensibly she’s off on a quick business trip to San Francisco, but the air of finality during her farewell exchange with Fallon (not to mention the sheer amount of luggage she’s taking) suggests otherwise.

    Trend of the week: the sighting of a car as a key plot point. On THE COLBYS, it emerges that Miles’s old Ferrari, which he totalled earlier in the season, holds the key to his innocence in the Mahoney murder case. He and Jeff join forces to track down what remains of it, finally forging a brotherly bond in the process. And it's after Eric spots Karen’s car abandoned at Lotus Point on KNOTS that the riddle of her disappearance suddenly becomes a lot more serious. “Let’s call the cops,” says Mack gravely. Elsewhere in the same episode, Gary’s discovery of Peter’s car outside his house leads him to correctly surmise that he and Abby are sleeping together. Meanwhile, Bomb Expert Guy reappears on DALLAS, this time masquerading as a valet at Pam and Mark’s wedding. The unexplained interest he shows in Jack’s car is paid off in the closing minutes of the episode.

    Whereas Mack takes out his frustrations over Karen’s disappearance on stepson Michael, Chase leans on his son Cole following Maggie’s abduction on FALCON CREST. (Like Jeff and Miles on THE COLBYS, Cole also plays detective, flying to Oregon to speak to the parents of Wainwright’s murdered fiancee.) Over on DALLAS, Sue Ellen doesn’t hear about JR’s joyride-at-gunpoint with Angelica Nero until it’s over. Police involvement in each incident differs. On KNOTS, the law moves more swiftly than it has done recently — Mack’s police connections mean the cops are willing to bend the rules and launch an investigation into his wife’s disappearance even before she’s been missing the requisite twenty-four hours. Conversely, even though it’s clear from the outset that Maggie has been kidnapped and by whom, Chase still has to wait the full amount of time for the FBI to get involved in the case. JR, meanwhile, refuses to tell the police about his encounter with La Nero. “Angelica may have something I need to keep Ewing Oil afloat,” he explains to Sue Ellen. "Now if the police scare her off or pick her up, I may lose the only chance I’ll ever have to turn things around.” It’s only in the penultimate scene of the episode, after JR and Angelica have met at his office to complete their business transaction and she has boasted of killing Grace and Nicholas, that the police burst in and arrest her.

    Even as he holds Maggie hostage in his cabin, Jeff Wainwright refuses to acknowledge that she is there against her will. Oblivious to her distress, he enthusiastically seeks her creative input on how best to finish his novel. In this regard, his behaviour echoes that of Roger Larsen, the photographer who kidnapped Lucy on DALLAS four years ago and had her pose for pictures even as she begged to be released. (Come to think of it, a significant number of Soap Land’s most dangerously obsessive characters come from either a creative or media-related background: DALLAS’s Lucy and FLAMINGO ROAD’s Lute-Mae were both stalked and raped by photographers, KL’s Cathy was nearly murdered by her televangelist husband while Ciji was murdered by her publicist. On EMERALD POINT, Maud Adams was kidnapped by an obsessive novelist. As a publicist and a would-be novelist, Jeff Wainwright is doubly qualified.)

    By chance, Roger Larsen pops up on this week's FALCON CREST as a one night stand of Jordan Roberts — or rather, her self-destructive alter-ego Monica. This time, with pleasing Soap Land karma, it is Roger who is held against his will as Monica follows in the tyre tracks of Lance Cumson, Miles Colby, Gary Ewing and Amanda Carrington to become the latest dangerous driver of the season. With Roger trapped helplessly in the passenger seat, she tears off at breakneck speed on a reckless drive through the California mountains. The sequence is very reminiscent of Miles and Fallon’s similar excursion on THE COLBYS earlier in the season, but with the genders reversed. It almost goes without saying that Jordan/Monica's car is another red-for-danger convertible, just as Lance’s, Miles’ and Gary’s were.

    There are no less than four variations on "the wrong character in the wrong place at the wrong time” scenario in this week’s Soap Land. Two years ago, the season finales of KNOTS and DALLAS ended with Karen and Bobby both taking a bullet meant (or apparently meant, in Bobby’s case) for someone else. Likewise this week, Sable Colby and Chase Gioberti are each unintentionally gunned down during a showdown between two other parties — Jason and Zach on THE COLBYS; the police and Jeff Wainwright on FALCON CREST.

    Both scenarios are familiar in different ways. Zach and Jason struggling over the same gun recalls Krystle and Claudia’s similar scene in DYNASTY Season 2 (even down to the enjoyably made-for-TV clumsiness of its staging), only this time the bystander becomes the victim rather than a witness. Meanwhile, the excitingly cinematic use of slow-motion during the FALCON CREST shoot-out recalls the climax of last season’s DALLAS finale when Katherine hit Bobby with her car (another variation on the “unintended victim” scenario). Only after Chase has been shot does the scene return to normal speed as Maggie crawls across the ground towards him and cradles his head in her arms in the same way Pam did Bobby's. She even says the same words — “Oh no!” — but this time in a whisper instead of a scream.

    Speaking of FALCON CREST’s Maggie, last season ended with her caught in a bomb explosion intended for someone else. At the end of this season's DALLAS, Sue Ellen and Jamie are similarly innocent victims caught in explosions rigged by Angelica to kill JR and Jack. (Hence Bomb Guy’s fascination with Jack’s car.)

    The traditional Soap Land cliffhanger is one where the drama steadily builds and builds, culminating in one event that somehow seems both shocking and inevitable — "Who shot JR?" being the classic example. This time around, however, both Ewing-verse finales deviate from this blueprint. Nothing that’s gone before prepares us in any way for what we’re presented with at the end of this season’s KNOTS and DALLAS. After remaining offscreen for the first two-thirds of this week's KNOTS, Karen finally appears, groggily regaining consciousness in a darkened room, her face and hands bruised. We have no idea where she is and from the expression on her face, nor does she. Then, just as the horror of what is happening begins to dawn on her, the scene is over. The effect is disorientating — it’s as if we’ve been sitting on the remote control without realising it and accidentally switched channels to some TV slasher movie starring Michele Lee.

    We cut back to Karen a few more times during the remainder of the episode. As she starts to take in her surroundings, it gradually becomes apparent that she has joined DYNASTY’s Krystle, DALLAS’s Pam and most recently FALCON CREST’s Maggie to become the latest wholesome leading lady to be held hostage this season. (Interestingly, this season also began with several female characters — Alexis, Krystle, Sue Ellen, Melissa — being locked up against their will.) Karen is trapped in a basement even more ominous than the attic that contained Krystle. While Maggie makes her nerve-jangling escape in the final scene of this week’s FALCON CREST by stealing Jeff’s keys while he’s asleep and trying to unlock the door without waking him, Karen attempts to lever open a window using an iron bar. She does not see a man (represented on screen by an arm in the foreground of the shot) watching her. "I wouldn’t,” he warns. She turns and dashes past him up the basement steps, only to realise when she reaches the top that the door is locked. “You want out, Mrs. Mackenzie?” asks the unseen man and right there the season ends. At least when Krystle and Maggie were kidnapped, we knew beforehand who had taken them and why — here, we’re as much in the dark as Karen is.

    There’s a similar “rug pulled out from under us” feeling at the end of DALLAS. Having remained offscreen since we watched him die a year earlier, Bobby Ewing is suddenly standing in Pam’s shower, smiling and telling her good morning. And just as there was no cutaway to the man speaking to Karen at the end of KNOTS, there is no reaction shot of Pam before the freeze frame, no clue as to how she, and therefore we, are meant to process this moment. As cliffhangers — and probably television moments in general — go, it simply has no precedent.

    And this week’s Top 5 are:

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (-) THE COLBYS
    3 (3) FALCON CREST
    4 (-) DYNASTY
    5 (2) DALLAS
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson Struck by boogie lightning 5 Nomination Wins 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat The Bachelor 2016

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    Her last scene with Sable seemed very underplayed, the opposite of her mega-dramatic last scene on "The Thorn Birds", but still there was the same sense of victory and superiority.
    Indeed!
    There are a thousand reasons why they shouldn't have done it, but there's something perversely exciting about it. As a tv event, I mean.
    Story-wise it was a disaster, although it mostly affected what happened before the dream, I think.
    I can watch the dream season as an exotic stand-alone, spin-offy thing.
    Maybe it's easier to process when the story is over, especially after so many years. I had never seen The Colbys season 2 on tv, so I honestly don't know how I would have reacted to that cliffhanger.

    But I loved the twist with Angelica's bombs, Sue Ellen's situation being the most significant. I found it very exciting when I watched it on tv, but, ironically (in hindsight, after so many years) I don't think it was a good cliffhanger.
    If she had survived the explosion, then it would have been just as lame as Richard and Maggie surviving their mega-explosion on Falcon Crest (The Kiss that should have triggered the earthquake).
    At the same time I didn't want these characters to die, so it was sort of a no-win situation to me.
     
  4. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Active Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    I read somewhere (probably here on Soapchat) that Sue Ellen was supposed to have been blinded so it would not have been entirely consequence-free. On the other hand hardly an original idea.
     
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  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    24 Sep 86: DYNASTY: The Victory v. 24/25 Sep 86: THE COLBYS: The Gathering Storm/No Exit v. 25 Sep 86: KNOTS LANDING: Reunion v. 26 Sep 86: DALLAS: Return to Camelot

    “Do you believe what they say about dreams … that they only last for a split second? They have to last longer than that, don’t you think?” asked KNOTS LANDING’s Val a while ago. On the evidence of this week’s Soap Land, the answer would seem to be yes and no. THE COLBYS' Fallon has only been asleep for a short time when she is awakened from a nightmare by her husband Jeff. Meanwhile, on DALLAS, Pam awakens from a bad dream to find her future husband Bobby in the shower. Fallon describes her dream as "too awful, terrible” to talk about. Pam calls hers as “a terrible nightmare”, but is anxious to share it with Bobby: “I dreamed that you were here and you were leaving and Katherine was in her car and she was waiting and when we started to leave she tried to run me down, but you pushed me out of the way and she hit you … and then we took you to the hospital and you died … there was so much more, Bobby, it seemed so real.” “It’s over. None of that happened,” declares Bobby firmly. And so it is we learn a dream can last a lot longer than a split second — it can last thirty-one episodes.

    Aside from the pop culture thrill of seeing an entire year’s worth of drama calmly swept aside in a few lines of dialogue, there’s also a real sweetness to this opening scene, as Pam (and we) slowly starts to accept that Bobby really is here and they really are back together. This is the happy ever after we were never meant to see.

    “It was a bad dream, that’s all … You’re safe now,” Jeff tells Fallon after her nightmare. However, it is not always easy to draw a line between one's dreams and one’s waking life. (As Olivia Cunningham informed us on last season’s KNOTS, “Dreams are about anxieties.”) “It’s not yours, it’s not yours,” we heard Fallon murmur in her sleep — a manifestation of her fear that Miles might be the father of her unborn child. And just as we don’t always realise we’re dreaming ("It seemed so real,” Pam insists), it can even sometimes feel like we’re dreaming when we’re awake: “La Mirage, it’s gone … The place is a nightmare,” Blake tells Krystle on DYNASTY.

    Previous end-of-season fires in Soap Land — the Southfork inferno at the end of DALLAS Season 5, the cabin fire at the end of DYNASTY Season 3 — have been pretty much over as soon as the next season begins. However, the blaze at La Mirage had barely gotten started at the end of last season’s DYNASTY and so is allowed to rage a while longer at the top of this week's opener — and very exciting it is too. As is traditional, it’s mainly the men who do the rescuing: Dex saves Dominique’s daughter Jackie and Amanda is rescued by a man who looks strangely familiar (which is more than can be said for Amanda herself who suddenly has a new face and accent) while Steven rushes around being generally heroic. Sammy Jo bucks the trend by helping boyfriend Clay Fallmont to safety. There’s more fire on THE COLBYS, where Monica is dragged from a burning plane by a kindly ranger, and on DALLAS where Bobby enlists the aid of renowned oil well firefighter Pinky Noonan (a fictional equivalent of the real-life Red Adair) to quell the flames of an explosion caused by an unknown saboteur at the Ewing 12 oilfield. Each of the fires in this week’s Soap Land looks pretty darn good, but DALLAS’s creates the most impressive spectacle.

    In the second of this week’s double helping of THE COLBYS, Fallon finally lets Jeff in on her pregnancy secret but asks him not to tell Miles. "He doesn’t know he could be the father. I don’t want him to,” she explains. Nevertheless, Jeff can’t mask his antipathy towards his half-brother and there’s an exquisite Soap Land irony in seeing the sibling bond that took an entire season to forge torn apart after just a couple of episodes. Miles may not understand the reason behind Jeff’s sudden hostility, but reacts snidely after Jeff orders him to stay out of his marriage: “What’s the matter, Jeff — the ratings come in and I’m ahead?” There’s a sibling parallel on DALLAS where JR’s yearlong devotion to his dead brother’s memory is immediately jettisoned now Bobby’s back from the dead and re-engaged to Pam. Like Jeff, Bobby warns his brother to stay out of his marriage: “I’m bringing Pam back here to the ranch as my wife and the first time you step out of line with her, JR, Sue Ellen will be a very attractive widow.” JR’s contemptuous response — “You’re a whole lot dumber than I ever thought a brother of mine could be, with the exception of Ray and Gary, of course” — is a classic. God, it's good to see the Ewing boys at each other’s throats again. In fact, resetting the DALLAS clock back one year means that nearly all the show’s relationships are far more adversarial than they were even an episode ago: Ray and Donna go from being the smuggest couple in Soap Land to the most poignant, Cliff and Jamie stop fawning over each other and start sniping at one another amusingly, former allies JR and Jack are suddenly bitter adversaries, and the recently well-behaved Sue Ellen is back to swigging cocktails at lunch and making cynical wisecracks about everyone in sight. In each case, it’s a big dramatic improvement.

    JR’s crack about Ray and Gary is the only acknowledgement on either Ewing-verse show of the other's existence. Now that DALLAS has wiped out a year but KNOTS hasn’t, the connection between the two shows' timelines is unclear. (As if fearing a similar schism in the DYNASTY-verse, Dominique Devereaux begins severing her ties with THE COLBYS — first breaking her engagement to Garrett, then selling off all her business holdings in California.)

    Without hitting the reset button as blatantly as DALLAS does, there are some curious alterations to the KNOTS LANDING narrative. Having started back a week earlier than the other soaps with a double bill of episodes, we’re now three instalments into the new season and any direct reference to Empire Valley — the prized piece of land everyone’s been fighting over since the beginning of Season 6 — has been studiously avoided. Nor, if memory serves, will it be spoken of again for several years. Not even Peter Hollister and Jill Bennett, whose family vendetta back-story is entirely based around Empire Valley, have mentioned it. “None of that happened,” Bobby told Pam (and us) clearly at the beginning of DALLAS. There’s no such clarity on KNOTS where it’s unclear if anyone even remembers Empire Valley’s existence anymore (and if they don’t, should we?). With E***** V***** suddenly verboten, that also means no more talk of legacies and birthrights and the sins of the father being visited upon the son. The trade-off for this loss of soapy gravitas is an infusion of playfulness and pace into the characters and storylines. Just two weeks into the season, Gary is suddenly running against Peter Hollister for the state senate and things are as knotty as can be: Abby is married to one candidate while sleeping with the other and Peter’s secret sister is both his opponent’s campaign manager and his mistress. (In fact, the senatorial race has neatly replaced E***** V***** as Jill and Peter’s main source of contention.) Meanwhile, Greg, Abby and even Laura are busy manipulating the election from behind the scenes, and all eyes are on Ben Gibson (last year a mere station manager, now rebranded as a respected political pundit) to see which candidate he'll endorse: his wife’s ex-husband or the brother of the man whose organisation he is under orders to infiltrate.

    This brings us to a twist almost as outrageous as turning Bobby Ewing’s death into a dream: giving Ben Gibson, one of Soap Land’s most soulful, thoughtful and believable characters, a terrorist back-story straight out of FALCON CREST. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition, but the tension created by placing such a three-dimensional character inside such a two-dimensional plot is precisely why I’ve always found this storyline so fascinating.

    Throwing off the shackles of a year’s worth of storylines means that DALLAS feels similarly liberated. Running parallel to KNOTS’ senatorial story (the lightness of which is best illustrated by the sequence where Gary gets a fit of the giggles while trying to film a TV ad for his campaign), DALLAS has its own political plot which is similarly fun while also incorporating a wide range of characters. In order to combat OPEC’s stranglehold on the oil industry, Jamie comes up with the bright idea of lobbying Washington to place a tariff on all imported oil. Cliff chauvinistically passes off this idea as his own, winning the approval of the Dallas oil community in the process. JR, in turn, steals Cliff’s thunder by persuading Donna to head up the lobby, a decision which threatens to impact her already troubled marriage to Ray, who has developed a bond with Jenna following her split from Bobby, … and so on.

    Following its bizarre yet sweet introductory scene, “Return to Camelot” is something of a slow burn ep compared to the other season premieres. Nonetheless, it has a power, a grandeur. The location scenes — a Fort Worth cattle auction, the anti-OPEC meeting at Energy Square — recall past DALLAS glories, while the familiar musical score takes the show back to its roots. Likewise, Bobby and Pam breaking the news of their engagement to their dismayed relatives recalls the aftermath of their elopement at the very beginning of the series. Ironically, while mocking his brother Steven’s idealism on last season’s DYNASTY, Adam Carrington referred to Camelot as a dream. According to the title of this week’s opener, DALLAS regards it as the exact opposite.

    Yet DALLAS also feels more aware this season — both of its own history (JR and Cliff’s eye-rolling reactions to Bobby and Pam’s news, while perfectly in character, are laugh-out-loud funny in a way they couldn’t have been in 1978) and of the outside world. Given that “South East Asia” was as specific as the show got during its offshore drilling and counterrevolution storylines of Seasons 2 and 3, JR’s passing wisecrack — “Any chance that Iraq/Iran war’ll spread?” — is surprising, as much for its specificity as its irreverence. Similarly, given how culturally parochial the Ewings have always been, Bobby quoting Woody Allen feels strange — but not strange in the stilted way that Donna and Ellie rearranging the Southfork furniture did last season — just looser and more playful.

    Another example of that playfulness is the new depiction of Sue Ellen. During what can now be referred to as "the dream season”, she solemnly underwent a lengthy process of recovery in order to get sober and “become my own person.” This culminated in her reconciling with JR once again, but on a far healthier and more mutually respectful basis than ever before. This week’s episode delights in throwing all of that of the window. Whereas JR stopped her in her tracks towards the end of last season with the simple statement, “There's a magic between us, Sue Ellen. I know that and so do you”, here it’s Sue Ellen who tells JR, “There’s something between us that I’ve never found with another man,” before getting him to admit he feels the same way about her. However, this time it is part of a mock seduction scene designed to humiliate JR. “Well, you’re never gonna have me!” she tells him. Forget rehab and AA and becoming your own person, “hating you the way I do’s enough to keep me sober.” Hallelujah.

    Fallon Colby pulls off a Soap Land first this week, appearing in no less than three flashbacks — one on DYNASTY, two on THE COLBYS — each conjured by a different person. On DYNASTY, Amanda’s familiar looking rescuer turns out to be Michael Culhane, the Carrington chauffeur from Season 1. He helpfully jogs viewers’ memories by flashing back to a scene from his murky past where he attempted to extort money from Fallon over their affair. Over on THE COLBYS, Fallon herself flashes back to the night she was raped by Miles — another reminder to the audience of the pregnancy dilemma she now faces. Later, Miles also has a flashback of himself and Fallon, this time in more romantic circumstances. That it takes place while he is on a date with another woman serves to illustrate that he is still hung up on his ex.

    Meanwhile, this season’s KNOTS introduces a new narrative convention: an ongoing series of flashbacks that tell the tale of Mack Mackenzie and Anne Matheson’s poor boy/rich girl romance back in 1967. As with DALLAS’s recent prequel “The Early Years", it’s not entirely clear whose memories these flashbacks are based upon. At times, it looks like Mack is thinking back. At others, Paige seems to be recounting the story as it was passed down to her by her late mother. And sometimes the story seems to be running independently of any one individual. Another parallel with “DALLAS — The Early Years”: just as Jock and Digger's friendship was forged while riding the rails back in the thirties so Mack and Anne’s courtship also begins on a train, on which he is a guard and she is a passenger.

    In the flashback of the scene between Michael and Fallon on DYNASTY, Old Fallon is played by New Fallon. Meanwhile, in the flashback sequences on KNOTS, Anne is played by her (fictional) daughter Paige while the young Greg Sumner is played by his (real life) son. There’s more duplicate casting on DALLAS where Wes Parmalee is played by Ben Stivers.

    I kind of love it when a brand new character shows up out of nowhere at the beginning of a season trailing an entirely new storyline behind them. On last week’s KNOTS’ opener, Ben received his summons from Jean Hackney, a mysterious redhead from his mysterious past. On this week’s COLBYS, Miles's eye is caught by an equally enigmatic redhead in a hotel bar, Channing Carter. What appears to be a chance encounter turns out to be no such thing when we later see Channing in her hotel room, looking through files she has prepared on each of the Colbys. “Nice to meet you too, Mr Miles Colby,” she says to an empty room. Likewise, Michael Culhane rescuing Amanda from the fire on DYNASTY isn’t as accidental as it first seems. “I got to Blake Carrington finally — through his daughter”, he informs someone over the phone. Whereas Blake isn’t pleased to be reunited with his former chauffeur, aka "the most arrogant opportunist that I'd ever come across,” Greg Sumner’s all smiles when "a guy I went to law school with”, Phil Harbert, shows up unexpectedly at his office at the end of this week’s KNOTS. The big reveal comes in the final shot of the ep when we realise that Greg’s old buddy and Karen’s kidnapper are one and the same.

    Channing Carter, Jean Hackney, Michael Culhane, Phil Harbert … there is no shortage of new faces with secret agendas. And there are a couple of familiar ones as well. FLAMINGO ROAD’s Claude Weldon shows up on THE COLBYS as powerful publisher Lucas Carter, uncle of the aforementioned Channing. Whatever she’s up to, he’s in on it too. “How you doing with the Colbys, making any progress?” he asks after she returns from a date with Miles. Meanwhile, Ben Stivers, aka Wes Parmalee, has somehow crossed the divide that separates Pam’s dream from the “real” DALLAS world. Again, he takes a job at Southfork. Again, he strikes up a bond with Ray. Again, he appears to have a strange affinity with the ranch. But he too has a secret. In place of the Colby dossiers Channing Carter keeps in her hotel room, he has a snapshot of the young Miss Ellie hidden in the bunkhouse. (In the photo, Miss Ellie is represented by a young Barbara Bel Geddes rather than the version of the character we saw in “The Early Years”.)

    Last season’s DYNASTY-verse ended with Alexis evicting her ex-husband Blake from his family home and Sable Colby falsely accusing her estranged husband Jason of trying to kill her. In this season’s openers, we get to see the reactions of their respective children. Blonde bimbettes Amanda and Bliss respond almost identically to their mothers’ behaviour. “How could you do something so horrible?” demands Amanda of Alexis. “Did you really expect me to believe that Daddy did these terrible things?” Bliss asks Sable. Both mothers attempt to justify their behaviour, but neither daughter is buying it. "I think your motive is hatred for my father rather than love for me,” Amanda insists. "I don’t think Daddy did anything. I think you’re doing this to hurt him,” accuses Bliss. Alexis and Sable’s golden-haired sons, while no less disapproving of their mothers’ actions, at least try to reason with them. "Mother, I know how much love you’re capable of,” Steven tells Alexis gently, "but somebody has … to get you to understand that what you’re doing is wrong.” “I’m not judging you, Mother,” Miles tells Sable with equal tact, “but you can’t force him [Jason] to stay with you anymore than I could force Fallon to stay with me … You know it can’t work … Let him go.”

    Miles eventually manages to get through to Sable and midway through the second of this week’s episodes, she withdraws her allegation against Jason — inevitable, perhaps, yet every dramatic beat the story takes along the way feels believable and satisfying. Zach Powers' refusal to back up Sable's story — even after she goes to bed with him — is particularly great: “My adorable Sabella, do you really think I don’t know what this is all about? You’re trying to hold onto Jason, get him to drop the divorce … I’m not going to help you hang onto him.”

    Alexis, meanwhile, carries on regardless. At the end of this week’s DYNASTY, she takes over as editor of the Denver Mirror. Her dismissive attitude towards the paper’s editorial style recalls Richard Channing’s when he took control of the New Globe on FALCON CREST four years ago. "This paper’s in the nineteenth century. It reads like the Farmer’s Almanac,” Richard complained then. “So dull even fish wouldn't want to be wrapped in it,” is Alexis’s verdict now. Just like Richard, Alexis’s first order of business is to employ sensationalist reportage to wage war against a member of her own family. “Blake Carrington Accused of Arson-Murder in Hotel Fire: 'You Killed My Wife!' Cries Grieving Husband” is her first headline.

    On three of this week's soaps, there is a situation where a husband is involved in an extra-marital relationship which his wife knows all about. On THE COLBYS and DALLAS, Sable and Sue Ellen do nothing to hide their contempt for their husbands’ mistresses. “I must say, husband-stealing agrees with you, darling. You are a walking ad for adultery,” purrs Sable after seeing her sister Frankie with Jason the morning after their first night back together. “Don’t tell me JR let you out of bed long enough to have lunch?” Sue Ellen asks Mandy, aka “the Winger tramp”, after running into her at a Dallas restaurant. By contrast, Abby Ewing and Jill Bennett conceal their mutual dislike behind their roles of political wife and campaign manager and are all smiles when they meet at a function where Gary is giving a speech. Behind the scenes, Abby covertly hands Peter Hollister inside information on Gary’s campaign and Sue Ellen gives an unnamed man pictures of JR and Mandy with instructions to do … something to them. “I’ve done some strange things, but I’ve never done anything like this,” he replies enigmatically.

    With Alexis now installed in the Carrington mansion and Jason trying to get Sable out of the Colby one, each has an interesting speech about the memories their respective house, specifically the main bedroom, holds for them. Alexis admits to being overwhelmed to be standing in her former marital bedroom at the mansion. “Do you know, it was just twenty years ago that Blake threw me out of this house, out of this room?” she asks Ben. “I love this house,” Jason tells Frankie. "My mother died in that same room. I held her and said goodbye. I will not have those memories spoiled by lies and deceit."

    In the original feature-length edit of “Return to Camelot” (which differs from the two-episode version on the DVD), there is a discussion between Sue Ellen, Donna and Miss Ellie in which Sue Ellen declares that “any woman who builds her life around her husband is heading for disaster, and if you want a shining example of that, just look at me.” Or, alternatively, one could look at Sable Colby. Indeed, now that Sue Ellen has been restored to her former dysfunctional glory, it’s interesting how often her situation dovetails with Sable’s. “How can you stand to be with a man who no longer wants you?” Mandy asks her, but it could be just as easily be Frankie asking Sable. “She’s not going to be easy to get off Southfork, JR,” Mandy predicts in the final scene of this week’s DALLAS. Meanwhile, in the final scene of this week's COLBYS, Sable proves impossible to get out of the mansion.

    And it’s not as if she doesn’t try. “I wouldn’t spend another night under this roof if you begged me!” she snarls at Jason. Having packed her bags, she even manages to descend the staircase without falling down it. “It’s all yours — lock, stock and baccarat,” she tells Frankie as she heads for the front door, but as soon as she gets there, it’s as if a psychic forcefield has descended. She stops, then sways, then collapses into Jason’s arms in a dead faint. Like FALCON CREST’s Julia at the end of “Tony Comes Home” or one of the characters in Luis Buñuel's THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL, she literally can't leave the house: she is both physically and psychologically trapped. The frame freezes on Frankie's reaction as Jason carries Sable back upstairs, but the real cliffhanger here is: how many more weeks can THE COLBYS keep stringing out this storyline?

    If Sue Ellen won’t leave and Sable can’t, others can and do, albeit somewhat reluctantly. As well as Blake and Krystle moving out of the Carrington mansion and into the Carlton Hotel, Val and JR find Laura and Jenna preparing to move off Seaview Circle and Southfork Ranch respectively. (Laura carefully loading an oil painting into the trunk of her car recalls an amusing exchange between Krystle and Alexis where they discuss who owns what in the Carrington mansion. Alexis dismisses “the two oils in the West gallery” as “dreadful calendar art.” “Yes, the Monet and the Turner — pretty expensive calendar art,” counters Krystle.) While the KNOTS gals reflect ruefully at their lives have turned out (“Who would have ever thought things would end up like they did — you know, with you married to Greg and me married to Ben?” sighs Val. “And Gary married to — what’s that broad’s name?” Laura replies), JR is more concerned about the future ("You’re the one Bobby should be marrying,” he tells Jenna. "There’s always hope.”) Whereas Laura’s mood is bittersweet (“I’m really gonna miss this place. A lot of memories here, you know? Of course some of them aren’t so great, are they?”), Jenna is just bitter: “You can’t live on hope, JR. I tried it once. It doesn’t work.”

    And this week’s Top 4 is … very close — this is the strongest week in ages:

    1 (-) DALLAS
    2 (1) THE COLBYS
    3 (3) DYNASTY
    4 (-) KNOTS LANDING

    What do you mean by "it mostly affected what happened before the dream?"
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  6. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson Struck by boogie lightning 5 Nomination Wins 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat The Bachelor 2016

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    Oops:embarrass:

    I just meant to say that the Marinos and jungle adventures are kind of stand-alone storylines that don't interfere with the Dallas continuation, whether it really happened or not (well, apart from Angelica's bombs, I guess).
    But Katherine's plan to kill Pam was the result of previous storylines. It's a shame they had to un-do that exciting cliffhanger episode too (and didn't they show the blond-wigged Katherine before the season finale episode?...I'm not sure).
     
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  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    Sorry, that bold type made me "sound" more severe than I intended!

    Yeah, just at the end of the episode before.
     
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  8. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Active Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    This is perhaps the strangest and most unfortunate consequence of the dream decision, taking us out of the moment and reminding us its just a TV show. As an aside, I found great significance in the fact that, once inside the house, Ben/Wes seemed to make a beeline for Gary's picture. I guessed that he was going to claim to be Gary's father. In hindsight my Knots-centic viewpoint was showing; they would not have done a story singling him out - but in a way I was right.
     
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  9. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    01 Oct 86: DYNASTY: Sideswiped v. 02 Oct 86: THE COLBYS: Jason’s Choice v. 02 Oct 86 KNOTS LANDING: Past Tense v. 03 Oct 86: DALLAS: Pari Per Sue v. 03 Oct 86: FALCON CREST: Aftershocks

    A week after the revelation that Pam Ewing dreamt an entire season of DALLAS, three more characters — Blake Carrington, Sable Colby and Maggie Gioberti — have vivid nightmares of their own. They share a common theme, that of an outsider invading the family home and usurping one of its members. “I dreamt that I was back at the old house and I was walking through the halls looking for you and every time I opened a door, Alexis would be there — laughing, mocking me,” Blake tells Krystle. Sable’s dream, which plays out onscreen, is very similar. She too returns to the family home where she finds Frankie’s portrait hanging where her own used to. Like Blake, she runs through the hallways, eventually opening a door to find her equivalent of Alexis — Frankie — in the arms of her own husband. “Get her out of here, sweetheart,” Frankie tells Jason, as the necklace Sable was wearing suddenly appears around her neck. Jason also tells Sable to go. “This is my house, MY house,” protests Sable as she wakes up. Maggie’s nightmare on FALCON CREST deals with a similar kind of domestic violation, but this time it’s Jeff Wainwright who is taking her away from her husband and son.

    Whereas Sable’s nightmare resembles a dream sequence from a Hitchcock movie (oblique camera angles, a theremin on the soundtrack and a scene-stealing turn from Enid the maid as Mrs Danvers from REBECCA), Maggie’s is in the style of a mid-eighties soft rock video (lots of dry ice, cross-fades and echoey voices, all set in an abstract no man’s land). This contemporary approach is in keeping with the synthesised musical score favoured by both FALCON CREST and KNOTS LANDING this season. Whereas the orchestral accompaniments still used by the other soaps hearken back to the melodramatic "women’s pictures" of the 1940s and ‘50s (and/or the western genre in the case of DALLAS), FC’s and KL’s new scores scream 1986. Instead of emphasising the emotional nature of a scene in the traditional Hollywood way, they lend an oddly clinical, detached quality. I suspect this is one of the reasons I find the scenes depicting Karen’s kidnapping ordeal on KNOTS strangely uninvolving.

    The theme of an angry and powerless “little man” lashing out at the rich and powerful recurs in three of this week’s soaps. On DYNASTY, a man named Thorpe blames Blake for the death of his wife in the La Mirage fire. On KNOTS, a schlub called Phil Harbert blames Mack for the loss of his wife after Mack refused to perjure himself on Phil's behalf years before. We have yet to learn the identity of the Ewing oilfield saboteur on DALLAS, but his motivation is explained to Bobby by another character (played by one of my favourite Soap Land character actors, Vernon Tuttle): “When you got no job to go to, when you got no pay cheque to bring home to your kids, that’s when you start to feel it — like whoever it was that set fire to your Navarro field … Whoever did that was hurting so bad, he just had to let that hurt out the best way he could.”

    While KNOTS LANDING’s flashbacks to 1967 continue, giving us the background to Phil’s grudge against Mack, DYNASTY flashes back to a year or so earlier and the source of Alexis's vendetta against Blake — him ordering her to leave their house after finding her in bed with Roger Grimes. It’s Alexis who relives that fateful night, and it’s curious that even though she has achieved her objective of becoming Mistress of the mansion, instead of revelling in her new position, she seems more haunted by the past than ever. So if evicting Blake from his house hasn't provided her with the catharsis or sense of closure she was looking for, what will? Driving him out of Denver as he did her seems to be the answer. It’s noticeable that Denver itself becomes more of a presence in Alexis’s dialogue this week than it has been previously. In her new role of publisher of the Denver Mirror she describes herself as "the city's conscience”, and while we’ve heard her recount the story of how Blake banished her from her children and from Denver numerous times, we’ve never heard her phrase it quite this way before: "You humiliated me in front of my children, in front of this whole city.” (Meanwhile on THE COLBYS, Sable describes her present situation in similar terms: “I can’t very well stay in this town, not with everybody laughing behind my back.”)

    "This time tomorrow I will own Denver Carrington,” Alexis tells her ex-husband. "There’ll be no reason for you to stay in Denver anymore so why don’t you save yourselves a lot of misery and leave now?” Blake’s response to this suggestion is as predictable as JR’s when Jeremy Wendell offers to buy his company on this week’s DALLAS: “I’m not gonna sell Ewing Oil to you and you know it.” “You’re never gonna drive me out of this city,” Blake tells Alexis. While Jeremy merely smiles enigmatically in response, Alexis resorts to blackmail: “You sent me into exile once, Blake. Well, now I’m doing the same to you, or else I’ll see to it that you spend the rest of your life behind bars for starting that fire."

    We’ve already had Phil Harbert, Michael Culhane, Channing Carter and Jean Hackney appear out of nowhere this season and now FALCON CREST makes the boldest introduction of a Soap Land character yet. Twelve minutes into the season premiere, the action moves away from the aftermath of last season’s earthquake to a restaurant in New York where a group of people we’ve never seen before are having drinks. A news report about the quake playing in the background is the scene's only link to what has gone before. Following some inconsequential chit chat, a man abruptly guns everyone down in slow motion — everyone, that is, but for a glamorous looking middle-aged woman (played by Kim Novak, replacing THE COLBYS' Barbara Stanwyck as this season’s big name Hollywood actress). This is followed by a scene where the same woman is seen sleeping in her car with a gun for protection. Then we’re returned to the Tuscany Valley and FALCON CREST as we know it. If the effect of Karen’s out of nowhere hostage scenes at the end of last season’s KNOTS gave one the disorientating sensation of having accidentally switched channels, then the sudden imposition of this unrelated storyline and its unknown characters makes it seem as if FALCON CREST were being taken over by an entirely different programme — let’s call it “The Perils of Kim Novak" — in front of our very eyes.

    Later in the ep, when Peter Stavros casually refers to an estranged step-daughter named Skylar whom we have never previously heard of, the rules of television grammar lead us to assume that Kim Novak’s character and Skylar must be one and the same. The show cleverly subverts this expectation, however. It transpires that Kim Novak isn’t Skylar at all, but Skylar's friend with whom she seeks refuge in Palm Beach when she realises "the mob” are after her. (Presumably, this is the same “the mob” Phil Harbert got himself involved with during KNOTS’ 1967 flashbacks.)

    Trend of the week: Characters hurriedly noting down a licence plate as a car drives away, with dangerous consequences. On DYNASTY, we see Thorpe hiding in the Denver Carrington car park and surreptitiously writing down Blake’s registration number as his chauffeur drives off. Over on KNOTS, Greg notes down Phil Harbert’s licence plate after figuring out that he is behind Karen’s disappearance. At the end of their respective episodes, an angry Thorpe and a panicked Phil resort to homicidal measures. Thorpe runs Blake’s car off the road, rendering Krystle unconscious in time for the freeze frame, while Phil burns down his house with Karen trapped inside. Meanwhile on FALCON CREST, Kim Novak, hiding out at Skylar’s apartment, gives Skylar her car registration slip and asks her to sell the vehicle on her behalf. This leads to a case of mistaken identity when Skylar gets into the car and the bad guys blow it up. The shot of the car bursting into flames echoes both Gustav Reibman’s similarly fiery demise in FALCON CREST’s fourth season opener and the end of last season’s DALLAS when Jamie Ewing was also the unintended victim of an explosive-rigged vehicle. Just as there was a striking shot of Jack Ewing’s horrified face set against the flames so there is an almost identical one of Kim Novak’s shocked reaction. In each of these storylines, the primary casualty — Krystle, Karen, Skylar — is yet another innocent female in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught in the crossfire of a battle she knows next to nothing about.

    With so much else going on on DYNASTY, Alexis taking control of Denver-Carrington (again) is almost glossed over. Unusually, this plot is advanced on the following night’s COLBYS when Dominique informs Jason that Ben is now running the company on Alexis’s behalf and that it has been renamed Denver Colby. In an attempt to persuade Jason not to continue the business dealings with Ben and Alexis that he started with Blake, Dominique does my job for me by making a direct parallel between Blake’s situation with Alexis and Jason’s with Sable. “He’s a good man,” she says of Blake. "He’s fighting a bitter vindictive woman. I’m surprised you can’t identify with that, Jason."

    Nor is that the only point of identification between the two DYNASTY-verse shows this week. Just as Steven Carrington resigns from Colby Co in protest at Alexis taking over Blake's company so Monica does the same thing when she learns that Dominique has sold Titania Records to Zach Powers. The most unexpected takeover of the week, however, occurs on DALLAS. Inspired by JR’s prudish response to an unsolicited lingerie catalogue she receives in the mail (an echo of his angry reaction when she returned home with a skimpy nightie way back in the original mini-series), Sue Ellen purchases Valentine Lingerie for $50,000.

    Curiously, this is the second instance in this season’s Ewing-verse of a lingerie-related storyline arriving in the mail. During the KNOTS opener, Jean Hackney's invitation to Ben, scrawled on the back of another lingerie ad, showed up in the Gibson mailbox. But where Jean’s lingerie business is a front for what she’s really up to, Sue Ellen wants her acquisition kept secret and so keeps the store’s former owner, Ozwald Valentine, on as her front man. (A sweaty little fat man, Ozwald's kind of the comedic equivalent of KNOTS LANDING’s Phil — and the chemistry between him and Sue Ellen is instant.) God alone knows where this storyline is headed — a lighthearted plot about an underwear shop is certainly new territory for DALLAS. There’s a similar unpredictability about JR’s preoccupation with the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. He's gone from joking about solving the Texas oil crisis by blowing them up to appearing to seriously contemplate the idea. Even he wouldn’t go that far … would he?

    DALLAS does a fascinating job of placing the current oil slump in a larger context — from those references to the Saudi Arabians ("damn tent-dwellers," as JR refers to them) to Jeremy Wendell sounding the death knell for the independent oil industry ("it’s like a tree dying”) to Bobby's visit to Pride, a once thriving oil community (and, according to DALLAS: "The Early Years", the place where the Ewing brothers and Digger first struck oil) now on its way to becoming a ghost town.

    FALCON CREST is similarly effective in conveying the wider impact of the earthquake on the Tuscany Valley. Just as last week’s DYNASTY made good use of its extras in showing the scale and urgency of the fire at La Mirage, so prolonged scenes of casualties lining the streets on stretchers and taking refuge in Father Bob’s church make us aware that it isn’t just the glamorous people in FC's opening credits who have been affected by this disaster. And while Angela addressing an ailing extra as “darling" and giving her her jacket might be viewed as grossly out of character (we’re certainly a long way from the coldly imperious matriarch of the show’s early years), it can also be read as an indication of the extraordinary situation in which the town now finds itself.

    Both Adam Carrington and Ray Krebbs return to the familiar theme of their outsider status on their respective shows this week. “He wouldn’t listen,” says Adam of Blake, explaining to Alexis why he has quit working for him. "It was like that time I came down from Montana and went to see him, told him I was his son. He wouldn’t listen to me then either. Only you believed me. You were the only one who stood by me … and said, 'Yes, Adam, you are my son.’” “I never felt too comfortable up there at the big house,” Ray tells Wes Parmalee, explaining why he has moved off Southfork and onto his own spread. "I always figured that was theirs. When it came to business, they’re the ones that followed in Jock’s footsteps … When Jock died, I guess I felt more like an outsider again.” While Alexis responds to Adam by giving him a job as director of her legal affairs, Wes responds to Ray by insisting, “I’ll bet your daddy was just as proud of you as he ever was of them.” It’s an odd thing for a virtual stranger to say, but also quite touching. And it seems to embolden Ray to stand up to Donna during a small but beautifully acted, terribly sad encounter that’s right up there with KNOTS LANDING’s finest scenes from a marriage: “All those years, you made me feel like if I could only get myself together, if only I could make something out of myself, then maybe you could be proud of me ... I realise now that you need your freedom and I’d be willing to give it to you, but I need something too. I need someone to be there for me. You’re no longer gonna be that person.”

    Meanwhile on THE COLBYS, Jason and Sable strike a rather unusual (if not downright insane) bargain regarding their own marriage. He’ll let her stay on in the mansion, even after he’s married her sister. "We’ll live here too, of course,” he clarifies. "There is a price. I want our divorce to be uncontested. It should be now, right here in California.” There’s a similarly logic-defying moment on DALLAS when Pam casually mentions that she and Bobby will be living at Southfork after they remarry. While JR tactfully points out the practical disadvantages of her decision (“You won’t have the room here you have at your own place”), Frankie hits the roof at the prospect of living with her husband's ex-wife and offers him an end of episode ultimatum: “Dammit, Jason. You can’t have it both ways. You’ve gotta choose!”

    Last week, Michael the chauffeur returned to DYNASTY after an absence of five years. This week, Vicky Gioberti does the same thing on FALCON CREST after an absence of three. The last time we saw Vicky was in her father’s hospital room where he was recovering from a gunshot wound sustained at the end of the previous season. Rather neatly, Vicky’s first reappearance also takes place in her father’s hospital room … where he is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained at the end of the previous season. That’s where the similarity ends, however — just as like Amanda on DYNASTY, Vicky has a new head. But whereas the aloof, aristocratic Amanda has been transformed into a much more amiable, girl-next-door version of the character, Vicky’s metamorphosis has gone in the opposite direction. The original freckle-faced Vicky, who looked a bit like someone we'd all gone to school with, has now been replaced with a far more glamorous, sophisticated model. (Meanwhile, KNOTS sneaks in its own recast as the Notorious BAG makes a silent, under-the-radar debut as a new version of Abby’s twelve-year-old son Brian.)

    Last season’s Soap Land cliffhangers claimed two significant fatalities — DYNASTY’s Claudia, who died in the fire at La Mirage, and FALCON CREST’s Terry, killed in the Tuscany Valley earthquake. Fragile Claudia and bitchy Terry didn’t have much in common when they were alive, although each did marry her brother-in-law last season with a view to upping her status. (Whereas Claudia sought to become independently wealthy of the Carringtons, Terry was after respect within the Tuscany community). While Adam was shown frantically searching for Claudia during the fire in last week’s DYNASTY, Richard discovers Terry’s body almost by chance in the aftermath of the quake in this week’s FALCON CREST.

    Blake was arguing with a member of the press when Adam arrived at his office with the bad news: "Claudia’s dead. I’ve just come from the morgue.” Maggie is similarly preoccupied with Chase’s condition when Richard arrives at the hospital to tell her what’s happened to Terry. However, Richard doesn’t need to say anything for Maggie to realise the truth. The onscreen response to both deaths is somewhat truncated — Claudia simply hasn’t been mentioned since Adam and Blake’s conversation (although I swear I could sense her unacknowledged presence hovering over Adam's short-lived reconciliation with Steven this week) while Maggie goes through at least three of the seven stages of grief in the space of twenty seconds — first shock (“Oh, Richard!”), then denial (“No, no, no!”) and then acceptance (falling into Richard’s arms). Despite the odds, it’s a really touching scene.

    Whereas Claudia didn’t have a funeral (“No funeral — celebrate my life, don’t mourn my death,” she apparently told Adam), Terry’s takes place towards the end of this week’s FC. The ceremony is interrupted when Richard is arrested for Chase’s shooting. This feels like a natural end to the episode (just as Miles being arrested for murder at Jeff and Fallon’s wedding was on last season’s COLBYS), but instead we return to “The Perils of Kim Novak” where the explosion is followed by Novak’s character altering her appearance to resemble Skylar's and then calling Falcon Crest ...

    And this week’s Top 5 is ...

    1 (1) DALLAS
    2 (-) FALCON CREST
    3 (2) THE COLBYS
    4 (3) DYNASTY
    5 (4) KNOTS LANDING

    Me too, although I didn't really register it until this watch-around.

     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  10. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member 10 Nomination Wins 5 Nomination Wins 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    I share your feelings about the change in music. Even back in 1990 when I first watched Season Eight of Knots, Craig Huxley's music felt off - cold and intrusive - and that hasn't got any better with time.


    I had to look this up. Now I'm wishing Huxley had got his hands on one of these.
     
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  11. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    09 Oct 86: KNOTS LANDING: Slow Burn v. 10 Oct 86: DALLAS: Once and Future King v. 10 Oct 86: FALCON CREST: Living Nightmare

    La Mirage, Monica Colby’s plane, the Ewing 12 oilfield, Kim Novak’s car — three weeks into the new Soap Land season and all four have gone up in flames. Following the cliffhanger at the end of last week’s KNOTS, it’s now time for Phil Harbert’s house to burn. Karen's trapped inside, but after much gasping, coughing and plucky resourcefulness, she escapes. No sooner is she out of the fire than she's into a prolonged chase sequence which is when the action really takes off. Along the way, several horror/thriller movies are referenced. The ones I caught were THE HITCHER (a relieved Karen flagging down a car only to realise the driver is the man she’s been trying to escape from), DELIVERANCE (Phil stalking Karen through the woods), EXTREMITIES (abused woman overpowering her attacker via the judicious use of domestic cleaning products) and THE SHINING (madman chopping down a door with an axe). In his pursuit of Karen, Phil exhibits a clumsy relentlessness that evokes both Frankenstein’s monster and one of the creatures from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

    Following the departure of KNOTS LANDING’s Cathy at the end of last season and the demise of FALCON CREST’s Terry at the start of this one, DALLAS’s Jenna Wade is now the last of the four Soap Land working girls who arrived at the start of the 83/84 season. (The other was DYNASTY’s Tracy Kendall.) After residing at Southfork for the past two years as an honorary Ewing, she’s back to living something approximating an ordinary life after being jilted by Bobby. As if to emphasise her change in circumstances, she and Charlie are renting an old house far more ramshackle than the modern-looking condo she was somehow able to afford as a waitress back in ‘83. This week, a conciliatory Pam drops by to find her cleaning windows in a headscarf (while, admittedly, still looking great). “I just thought one of us should make the first move. We’re bound to run into each other sooner or later,” Pam explains. "Oh, I don’t think we’ll be travelling around the same social circles from now on,” Jenna replies bitterly. Charlie shows up at the end of the scene to scowl at Pam. It's a look every bit as dirty as the one Olivia gives Jill Bennett on this week’s KNOTS. The formerly squeaky-clean Charlie pulls ahead of Olivia in the teen rebel stakes by taking off on the back of a bad boy’s motorbike without her mom’s permission. Whether she’ll turn out to be as big a screw-up as FALCON CREST’s Vicky remains to be seen, however. “I have made such a mess of my life,” Vicky confesses to her family this week. "Two marriages, two divorces, more lies than I can count.” Vicky’s former KL counterpart, Diana Fairgate, who likewise left California for an artistic career in New York, makes an offscreen “reappearance" this week — she's on the other end of the phone with Eric and Michael when Karen (thanks to the timely but discreet intervention of Greg Sumner) finally makes it home from her kidnapping ordeal.

    Olivia’s hostility towards Jill on KNOTS is prompted by a gossip item, fed to the media by the Sumner/Hollister camp, about Gary’s affair with Jill. Abby orders Peter to kill the story. “What if I don’t?” he asks. “Well, then we’ll have another nasty scandal on our hands, won’t we?” she replies, conjuring up a series of imaginary headlines: "‘Candidate Peter Hollister a Fraud. Galveston Paternity Disproved. Sumner Vows Prosecution’.” Subsequently, when the subject of the affair is raised during a live TV debate between the candidates, Peter insists it should be dropped in favour of issues more relevant to the voters. Greg isn’t happy, but Peter points out the positive impact on his own campaign: “My statement is being applauded everywhere. I bet it winds up helping me a lot more than Ewing.” “But you’re not smart enough to have anticipated that,” counters Greg, guessing correctly that Abby was the one pulling the strings. For her own part, Abby points out the irony at the heart of her husband’s political success: “Nobody expected Gary to make a race out of this campaign, least of all Gary … and now, all of a sudden, just because he doesn’t give a damn whether he wins or not, he seems fresh and honest."

    Much of the enjoyment in Soap Land's political campaign stories — going all the way back to Cliff Barnes running for “Election” during DALLAS's first season — is the characters’ cynical attitude towards the voting public (that’s us, folks) in terms of how susceptible we are, how easily our opinions can be swayed. But whereas the likes of Abby and Greg manipulating public opinion is nothing new, it’s Sue Ellen Ewing who really surprises when she displays a media savvy previously unsuspected in this week’s DALLAS.

    “I want a campaign that puts Valentine Lingerie right into the laps of the respectable,” she declares during a meeting with her advertising expert. To that end, she explains, she wants a specific kind of model to front the campaign. It takes the ad guy a little while to grasp the concept of the Valentine Girl, however. “By day, she’s an executive, a modern woman on the go, and by night, men are her slaves,” is his interpretation. Sue Ellen’s eye-rolling response to this is fascinating. After all, the '80s cliché of the sexually voracious ball-busting businesswoman is one that has has been popularised, in large part, by the Soap Land genre itself. DALLAS started the ball rolling with Sally Bullock, Leslie Stewart and Marilee Stone before DYNASTY and KNOTS LANDING took it to greater heights with Alexis Colby and Abby Ewing. These women spawned both imitators — PAPER DOLLS’ Racine and FALCON CREST’s Cassandra Wilder — and wannabes, as everyone from Laura Avery to the recently deceased Claudia Blaisdel Carrington and Terry Hartford Channing demanded their “piece of the pie” as if it were a basic human right. Ironically, it’s through this storyline that Sue Ellen herself will be reinvented as a variation of the exact archetype she so readily dismisses. In spite of her protestations — “Please, spare me ‘Today’s modern woman on the go’!” — a modern woman on the go is precisely what she is about to become.

    For now, however, she makes it clear that “I am selling sex … The Valentine Girl — and let’s call her that — the Valentine Girl should exude sex. The suggestion should be that she is in every way available … a sex symbol, a sex object. The look should say, ‘That’s what she’s there for, that’s what she’s good for.’” Placed in a real world context, Sue Ellen’s words — “she is in every way available … a sex object … that’s what she’s there for, that’s what she’s good for” — are breathtakingly misogynistic. Within the world of Soap Land, however, her lack of hypocrisy feels bracing, even exciting. Here is a former beauty queen and trophy wife dismissing the feminist fantasy Soap Land has been paying lip service to (i.e., “today’s modern woman on the go”) in order to expose — and exploit — the sexist reality underneath. “Chauvinistic for the eighties,” nods the PR guy, beginning to get the idea. Indeed, the phrase “chauvinistic for the eighties” might apply to Soap Land’s depiction of women in general. For all Alexis Colby’s rhetoric about being a pioneering female role model in a man’s world, she is fundamentally depicted as an irrational woman scorned. As Sue Ellen says, “some things never change.”

    I also love Sue Ellen’s “Trash with Class” slogan. To me, that feels like a pretty fair summation of the entire Soap Land genre.

    This season of DALLAS was always a favourite of mine, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it and I was a little concerned it might not live up to my memories. So far so good, however. This episode is crammed full of scenes that give me the same frisson today as they did when I first saw them. Ray, in particular, has some great moments. He and Bobby haven’t exchanged a harsh word since the aftermath of Jock’s death almost five years earlier and so it's fascinating to see him bristle when his younger brother somewhat tactlessly asks him to “look in on [Jenna], make sure she has whatever she needs … whatever the expense, just let me know.” It’s been an even longer period of time (about eight years) since Ray last recalled his pre-series relationship with Pam, but this week, he does. “You wanna hear something funny?” he asks Jenna wryly during a bittersweet late night conversation. “Way back, once upon a time, Pam was my girl. I lost her to Bobby. I guess all God’s children got something in common, huh?” (There’s a very different, but also satisfying call-back on this week’s FALCON CREST. “You are the bastard son of my late husband,” Angela reminds Richard. "I always wondered how much you had to do with that — driving him into the arms of another woman,” Richard replies. Ouch.) Ray also delivers a wonderfully poetic line to his wife as she heads off to Washington to do battle on behalf of the Texas oil community: “Donna, oil goes up and oil goes down and the world goes round and round, but all that really matters is that little baby that you’re carrying."

    Then there’s the excellently KNOTSian scene where Mrs Scotfield, the wife of the man who set fire to the Ewing oilfield (played by Karen Carlson, as pregnant here as she was as Roy Champion’s ex-wife on THE YELLOW ROSE), pays a visit to Bobby (and Pam) at Ewing Oil and pleads with him to visit her husband in prison. She explains that he is full of remorse for his actions, that he even surrendered to the police. “He couldn’t bear that he had done that,” she tells them. "That’s why he turned himself in … He was crying. I’d never seen him cry before.” By way of contrast, KNOTS LANDING's equivalent "angry little man”, Phil Harbert, refuses to take responsibility for his crimes, even when caught axe-in-hand by Greg. “It’s not what you think,” he insists. “She’s the one that’s crazy … it wasn’t my fault … it was an accident.” “… You’re the one that’s the accident, Phil,” Greg replies in that laconic way of his. "You burn a house to the ground and you leave your car on the highway in plain sight? … That’s always been your problem, Phil — no master-plan. You were never able to think things through … I guess you’re just an East Coast guy, huh? Lots of cloudy days.” Rather than alert the authorities, he suggests Phil "head back east and set up shop there … because I don’t ever wanna to see you again, Phil. I even don’t wanna hear from you. I don’t even wanna to know you exist."

    Bobby doesn’t want to see Mark Scotfield either. “It’s a criminal matter now,” he tells Mrs Scotfield coldly. “I guess you haven’t been laid off in quite a while,” she snaps back. "I guess all your bills are just paid ahead.” “Mrs Scotfield, you’re out of line!” scolds Pam, but in fact this episode of DALLAS is littered with casual, unthinking references made by the Ewings to their own wealth that stand in stark contrast to the Scotfields' tale of hardship ("The bank sent us a letter. They were gonna take our mobile home back. We just got it.”) “Money is no object,” Sue Ellen assures the advertising exec regarding the Valentine campaign. “I'll write a cheque for the whole damn thing if I have to,” boasts Bobby at a meeting of the anti-OPEC lobby. JR doesn't bat an eyelid when his ex-CIA contact tells him he’s "gonna have to have a lot of cash ready at a moment’s notice” if he decides to go ahead with his mysterious plans for the Arabs' oil supply. We later see him casually buy himself what Mandy describes as "the most beautiful car I've ever seen.” Meanwhile, Pam consoles herself over her unfortunate encounter with Jenna by also going on a shopping spree and Jack is decidedly unimpressed when Cliff makes him a gift of $50,000 ("Is it a cheque with my name on it supposed to make me turn into jelly? Come on, I’m not that big of hick!”). To quote Kim Novak’s character in another context on this week’s FALCON CREST: “Isn’t it almost immoral to be that rich?” In fact, the only major DALLAS character who doesn't appear to take his wealth for granted this week is Cliff ("When I was poor, when I was out there grubbing around, I took a lot of guff from a lot of people, but not today — people smile, they tip their hats”) and he is depicted as a penny-pincher instead.

    Bobby is unusually tough and unyielding in his scene with Mrs Scotfield. This interesting, three-dimensional interpretation of the character is more in keeping with how he is portrayed in New DALLAS than in the original series. Pam’s involvement in the situation puts her in an unusual position too, that of appealing to Bobby's conscience, Karen Mackenzie-style. “You can’t just disregard that woman,” she tells him. "Maybe I’m just being female and sentimental, call it whatever you want — just talk to the man."

    The leads to a later scene where Bobby has to tell Mrs Scotfield that her husband has committed suicide. This is the third scene as many weeks where a Soap Land character has broken the news of someone’s death. First Adam told Blake about Claudia on DYNASTY and then Richard told Maggie about Terry on FALCON CREST. Remarkably, given that Claudia and Terry were long term characters and Mark Scotfield never even appeared onscreen, the DALLAS scene is by far the more emotionally powerful of the three — a testament to both Karen Carlson’s gutsy performance and the sharpness and clarity of the writing of this ep. I keep coming back to it, but the DALLAS characters seem somehow more “real” this season — but, crucially, not at the expense of their quintessential larger-than-life DALLAS-ness. It’s a tricky balancing act which last year’s “dream season” also attempted, but largely failed, to pull off.

    Despite knowing it's coming, Wes Parmalee’s line to Miss Ellie at the end of this episode after she discovers Jock’s buckle, knife and letters in his possession still feels jaw-droppingly momentous: “They’re mine, Miss Ellie. Always have been.” While the frame freezes on Ellie’s expression of astonished disbelief at the implication that this stranger is her dead husband come back to life, Kim Novak manages to convince everyone at Falcon Crest that she is Peter’s step-daughter with relative ease (no pun intended). There are echoes of Rita pretending to be Krystle in the Carrington mansion, but while Rita had the advantage of looking exactly like the person she was impersonating, Peter hasn’t seen Skylar since she was a kid anyway. “I’m embarrassed to say I wouldn’t have recognised you,” he admits. And as ditzy as she may appear, Novak aka Kit aka Skylar is resourceful enough to eavesdrop on Peter recounting anecdotes about “her" childhood and then appropriate them as her own.

    The most tantalising moment of last season’s FALCON CREST finale was Jeff Wainwright taking Greg Reardon and Jordan Roberts hostage. That cliffhanger is resolved this week when we learn, via a brief, one-sided phone call, that Greg and Jordan escaped offscreen and won’t be returning to Falcon Crest — or indeed, FALCON CREST — because they’ve decided to start a new life in Boston. It’s interesting to compare this storyline resolution to that of Pam’s dream on DALLAS. Even though that explanation rendered an entire year’s worth of storylines nonexistent, the principal characters who suddenly evaporated into nothingness had at least each been given a conclusive onscreen ending. While Angelica Nero received her comeuppance at the hands of the police, good guys Mark Graison and deaf kid Tony were each granted a happy-ever-after, as Pam’s husband and Ray and Donna’s son respectively. This begs the philosophical question: is it better to achieve onscreen closure yet, retroactively, never to have existed (like Angelica, Mark and Tony) or to burn brightly and significantly and then just fade away quietly offscreen, as Greg and Jordan have?

    KNOTS and FALCON CREST end almost identically this week, with a reminder that Karen and Maggie’s respective kidnappers are still at large. While Phil Harbert sits brooding in his car listening to classical music (I think it’s the Winter section of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but I can’t be sure), Jeff Wainwright alights from a truck at a gas station in the Tuscany Valley. “It’s so good to be home again,” he declares happily.

    And this week’s Top 3 is …

    1 (1) DALLAS
    2 (2) FALCON CREST
    3 (5) KNOTS LANDING

    Wes picks up Gary’s picture again this week — I wasn't expecting that!


    Ha! I'm now thinking they could have the opening title music on a theremin!
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  12. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member 10 Nomination Wins 5 Nomination Wins 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    It would be perfect for The Three Sisters. And perhaps each time Mack and Karen investigate and open up a can of worms.
     
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  13. TommyK

    TommyK Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    I was so looking forward to your reaching the fall of 1986, James; sorry I'm a few weeks late in posting. These are obviously pivotal seasons for Knots, Dallas and Falcon Crest (the only three soaps I watched during this period), and heaven knows, I have strong opinions about all three. I look forward to seeing how our thoughts match up (or don't). I knew you were a fan of this season of Dallas, as am I. (It might well be the one I most enjoy re-watching.) I happen to love the Freilich seasons of Falcon Crest; as I recall, you do not. And I have absolutely no idea what you'll make of Knots Season 8, so I'm anxious to find out.

    Longest aside ever: ever since I was a teenager, I quoted from the TV shows I watched; memorable phrases from them became part of my everyday vocabulary. When I met my (now) husband, he slowly adopted my penchant for quoting. After 25 years together, it's become commonplace. So that, for example, if we're driving along, and someone slowly crosses in front of our car, we both scream, "What are you doing in the middle of the road?" (Danny to Pat, Knots Landing, Season 11). If the lights go off during the winter and they tell us it'll be 10 hours till the power is restored, the word "power" triggers us to either go "Power is something you take" (Jock Ewing, Dallas) or "Power. We have it. They don't. This bothers them." (Buffy to the Watchers' Council, Season 5). However, no phrase gets used around here more than "That's what she's there for. That's what she's good for" -- except we've adopted it for use in first person singular, and usually with an air of exasperation. "Can you pick up some ice cream on your way home?" "Sure. That's what I'm here for. That's what I'm good for." Or, "Thank you for changing the light bulb." "Yup. That's what I'm here for. That's what I'm good for."

    I would actually wager I've seen "Once and Future King" more than any episode of Dallas, simply for the pleasure of watching Linda Gray in that scene, revitalized and unleashed. The only thing better is the following scene, where she runs into J.R. at a restaurant and flaunts her newfound sass. When he mentions that Mandy's at work, she responds, "Is there a convention in town? Or maybe the fleet's in." And when he counters that she's with her agent talking about a modeling job, she's quick to one-up him: "Modeling... Let me guess: mattresses?" Of course, it's not only a chance to revel in her independence, but also to plant a seed in J.R.'s mind: a side of Mandy that Sue Ellen intends to exploit, to drive a wedge between them. The cultivation and liberation of Sue Ellen -- which occurs without her losing any of the qualities that made her so much fun, unlike the previous season's reimagining of her -- remains one of Dallas's great achievement. It ultimately, as you've noted before, dead-ends her, but what fun it is while it lasts!

    On a different note, many many moons ago, in the summer of 1988, I did a rewatch of the first nine seasons of Knots, all of which I had (and still have) on VHS. The moment Season 8 began, I was struck by how the characters started behaving "naturally" again; they instantly sounded like they were once again scripting their own dialogue (one of Knots' great strengths) and not reading lines written by another (i.e., David Paulsen). So yes, indeed, I understand your saying that at the top of Season 8, we suddenly welcome the restoration of "playfulness and pace." The oppressive writer-driven plotting of Paulsen disappears instantly; you sense that Lechowick and Latham understand these characters in a way he never quite did. Unfortunately, what they don't yet understand is how to tell a good story: how best to have it unfold without seeming confusing or slightly disorienting. It's telling that, so far this season, Knots has finished last in every one of your weekly rankings. I'll be curious to see if and when it starts to rise.
     
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  14. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    There is certainly a detectable change in "outlook," for lack of a better term. I was struck by how this was reflected in changes to the opening credits. The second half of season seven had that highly-synthesized, over-the-top version of the theme that, combined with lots of darkened shots of characters/actors in their fanciest clothes and hair, was trying hard to keep up with the wealth and drama of the other nighttime soaps. In season eight, they gave the opening sequence a makeover, increasing the amount of screen-time for naturally-lit, outdoor locations (especially beach-side and/or wooded locations), with characters wearing more everyday clothing and doing everyday activities. They even elongated the first few seconds of the "zoom-in" on the coastline (effectively stressing the "seaside town" concept once again) and introduced a simplified flute/woodwind element to the music that cancelled out the over-produced synthesized music of the previous season. The overall effect was to give back the show's unique SoCal personality that had been de-emphasized in the effort to compete with the other soaps. It was as if the directive "Why can't you be more like your soap cousins?" was dropped in favor of "Be Yourself...and be the best you can be at it."
     
  15. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson Struck by boogie lightning 5 Nomination Wins 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat The Bachelor 2016

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    As if being trapped inside a fake-house in the middle of nowhere wasn't horrific enough.
    Unlike most soap characters who were magically rescued from an inferno, Karen was literally chased by the fire, and the situation looked pretty grim imho.
    They squeezed every opportunity out of this one, there's absolutely nothing more they could have done.
    Fascinating indeed, and modern too, considering that this was an episode from 1986. It's quite sarcastic, a line I would have expected from a character like L.A. Law's Ann Kelsey.
    I'm not suggesting that this scene was an historical moment in serialized tv drama, though it makes me wonder if there was a time that the classic soap genre started to outgrow itself. And if it did, it had to start somewhere - with something. I'm probably reading too much into it.
     
  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    15 Oct 86: DYNASTY: Focus v. 16 Oct 86: THE COLBYS: The Matchmaker v. 16 Oct 86: KNOTS LANDING: For Appearance's Sake v. 17 Oct 86: DALLAS: Enigma v. 17 Oct 86: FALCON CREST: The Stranger Within

    While Krystle Carrington is rushed to the hospital at the beginning of this week’s DYNASTY, Karen Mackenzie and Maggie Gioberti are also both recovering from their recent ordeals at the hands of dangerous men. But whereas Maggie is still suffering from nightmares on FALCON CREST — “You’re not eating. You’re hardly sleeping. You’re distracted all the time … Jeff Wainwright’s still holding you hostage,” Chase tells her — Karen puts on a brave face. “I don’t wanna be a victim again. I want to lead a normal life,” she insists.

    Meanwhile, the men responsible are all still on the loose. While the police helpfully advised Blake to "keep a low profile", Karen’s and Maggie’s houses are put under twenty-four-hour surveillance. Despite this, all three assailants succeed in making contact with members of their victims' families. Blake receives a call in Krystle’s hospital room from Phillip Thorpe, the man who drove them both off the road at the end of last week’s episode. "So help me God, I am not through with you yet,” he tells him. These sentiments are echoed by another Phillip — Phil Harbert — in the card accompanying the roses he sends Karen but which are intercepted by Mack: “You won’t get away next time, Mrs MacKenzie.” While Harbert's face is splashed all over the front page of the KNOTS equivalent of the New Globe, his FALCON CREST equivalent, Jeff Wainwright, is still able to move freely through the streets of San Francisco. So it is that he approaches Maggie's unwitting daughter Vicky and, using an assumed name, starts flirting with her.

    Despite the cops assuring Blake that Phillip Thorpe has “gone back to his hometown somewhere in the east" and Greg’s order to Phil Harbert on last week’s KNOTS to “set up shop back east”, both Phils resurface towards the end of this week’s episodes. While Phillip T surprises Krystle by pulling a gun on her in her hotel suite — “Your husband murdered my wife. Now he’s gonna come here and find his wife dead!” — Phil H shows up in Greg’s office after hours with an ultimatum: “You help me get out of the country … Otherwise, I am gonna have to tell them that you put me up to it, that you hired me [to kidnap Karen].”

    Both scenes acknowledge the class divide between the rich Soap Land character and the “angry little man” confronting them. “You never knew her,” says Thorpe to Krystle referring to his wife, "and if you had, what would she have meant to you — a Carrington? Who are we to you? A couple of people you couldn’t care less about.” “You marginal people are extremely difficult to deal with,” Greg tells Harbert witheringly before pointing out the difference in their stations: "Who’s gonna believe an ex-con over an ex-senator?”

    For all that KNOTS is the more liberal-minded soap, DYNASTY and DALLAS have portrayed their “angry little men” this season — Phillip Thorpe and Mark Scotfield — with far more compassion than KNOTS has Phil Harbert. DYNASTY’s Thorpe is a truly tragic figure. As if losing his wife in a fire and having his anguish exploited by Alexis’s newspaper were not enough, he tells Krystle that he is also grieving the death of his twelve-year-old son. During their encounter, Krystle succeeds in making the kind of connection with her captor that Karen Mackenzie, for all her dime-store psychology, spectacularly failed to do with hers over the course of three episodes. Such is Krystle’s empathy that she finally manages to persuade Thorpe to relinquish his gun. Over on DALLAS, no one disputes a minor character’s conclusion that Scotfield — the unemployed roughneck who set fire to the Ewings' oilfield and then hanged himself — was “a poor son of a gun". Bobby even pays for his funeral. Phil Harbert, however, is firmly depicted as a dumb ass, albeit a dangerous one. “You’re more stupid than I thought and I thought you were pretty stupid,” Greg tells him.

    A week after Cliff Barnes gave Jack Ewing a cheque for $500,000 on DALLAS, Dominique hands one to Blake for $50,000,000 on DYNASTY, which enables him to settle his debt with Alexis. Meanwhile, on THE COLBYS, Sable’s discovery that Jason has set up a $10,000,000 trust fund for Jeff and Fallon’s unborn baby triggers a chain of events culminating in Miles eloping with Channing Carter against her wishes. Back on DALLAS, Cliff’s extravagance last week means that when Jordan Lee asks him for a mere $2,000,000 to shore up their deal, he’s obliged to admit that he’s cash poor. (The scene where he subsequently asks Pam for the money is very funny — “Family? I’m more your own personal banker!”) Over on FALCON CREST, Chase, Richard and Melissa are likewise short of cash which leads to some very soapy business dealings. Chase is in competition with Angela for Melissa's harvest, but the price she is asking is more than he can afford. Meanwhile, Maggie has inherited her sister’s shares in Richard’s racetrack. Chase, who doesn’t approve of Maggie’s friendship with Richard, persuades her to give him power of attorney over the shares which he then sells to Angela (“You wouldn’t be [Richard’s] partner, you’d be his master,” he tells her persuasively). Then he uses the money Angela pays him to beat her to the Agretti harvest. Richard then accuses Maggie of betraying him to Angela while Maggie, in turn, is angry with Chase for manipulating her.

    As characters gradually begin to look towards the future and away from the traumas of last season’s finale episodes, a newfound optimism begins to creep into some of the soaps. There are parallel scenes on DYNASTY and THE COLBYS where Blake and Jason excitedly show their lady loves, Krystle and Frankie, around an unspoilt parcel of land for which they have big dreams. “I’ve always loved it here,” enthuses Blake. "There’s something about this place. I can feel it in the dirt.” “The sun goes down behind that ridge,” points out Jason. "In the spring, it’s all covered in wildflowers.“ “It’s beautiful out here!” exclaims Krystle. “It’s beautiful,” echoes Frankie. While Blake aims to rebuild his business empire (“This could be the biggest thing we have ever done!”), Jason’s plans are more personal. ("I’ll build you a house where every day can shine on you,” he promises Frankie.) “You seem happy, Blake,” Krystle observes, “happier than I’ve seen you in a long time.” “I have never seen your father so happy,” Maggie tells Vicky on FALCON CREST. Indeed, now that he has recovered from his shooting, Chase seems like a new man. “There’s so many things I haven’t done,” he tells his wife. "I don’t wanna die saying that … I wanna have a party, a big party … make it a celebration to a new beginning for both of us!" Likewise, on DALLAS, JR and Bobby react to the current oil crisis positively by deciding to buy up smaller companies that are going out of business. "Like Daddy used to say, 'When things get tough, buy don’t sell',” quotes JR, once again adhering to the principle laid down by Fallon Carrington in the first season of DYNASTY: “The poor cut back in hard times. That’s why they’re poor. The rich know that’s the time to spend.” To this end, the Ewing boys pay a visit to their friendly banker, Franklin Horner, to request a loan of $500,000,000 — and are mortally offended when he insists on Ewing Oil as collateral.

    This situation becomes kind of ironic when one recalls that Horner only recently extended JR a line of credit for twice that amount as part of the dream season. In fact, there are a few scenes in this week’s DALLAS that strangely echo moments from Pam’s dream. Jack Ewing uses his windfall from Cliff to purchase a red convertible strongly reminiscent of to the one he bought and then gave away to Jamie (with explosive results) during Season 8. (Chase Gioberti takes a similar looking car for a test drive on this week’s FALCON CREST.) And just as Marinos lawyer Alex Garrett made his onscreen debut via some old news footage JR was watching on his office VCR, mercenary BD Calhoun makes his first appearance in the same way. This time JR is watching a PBS documentary about a rescue mission Calhoun undertook in the Persian Gulf. The narrator introduces BD as “a man one state department spokesman termed a rebel who should be hunted down, a man others have hailed as the spirit of America reborn, the embodiment of the word hero”, while the accompanying footage of burning effigies and bombed-out buildings is grimmer than anything we’re used to seeing in Soap Land — and indicates the darker side of the kind of heroic derring-do Daniel Reece and Daniel Reece embarked on during last season’s DYNASTY. After watching the footage, JR is convinced: “He’s the man I need.”

    While THE COLBYS' Frankie has a change of heart about living with Sable after she and Jason are married (“I was wrong. I’ve had to cope with her all my life. I can still cope"), JR hasn’t changed his attitude towards the idea of living with Pam after she and Bobby are married. "If there’s anything to give me indigestion, it’s looking across the table at her every morning,” he grumbles. As for Pam herself, her mixed feelings as she prepares to return to Southfork echo those expressed by Laura Avery on KNOTS while she was preparing to leave the cul-de-sac a few weeks ago. “I’m really gonna miss this place,” said Laura then, “a lot of memories here, you know? Of course, some of them aren’t so great, are they?” “I miss Southfork,” says Pam now. "I have some good memories here. Well, not all good memories.” Meanwhile, on DYNASTY, Steven decides to move out of the family mansion and into his own apartment. Alexis, upset as any other Soap Land mother would be when her fully-grown millionaire son attempts to leave home, accuses him of betrayal.

    This week’s KNOTS and DALLAS both feature unusually sexy scenes which might be described as playfully fetishistic. A pre-coital bedroom scene between Abby and Peter Hollister becomes a succession of close-ups of body parts as they undress: her eyes, his eyes, her mouth, his chest as he unbuttons his shirt, her waist as she undoes her robe, his feet kicking off his shoes, her bare shoulder as she opens her robe, etc. The DALLAS scene is less stylised but possibly even kinkier. For her Valentine Girl audition, Mandy poses in black lingerie and matching headdress as the offscreen photographer urges her to “think about all those men you’re going to turn on, think about last night.” Even though it's already been established that Mandy spent the previous night with JR, we cut to a reveal of JR’s wife watching the photo shoot, which she herself has arranged, and smiling in approval.

    In keeping with this playful post-Pam’s dream/post-Empire Valley atmosphere, both Ewing-verse shows take a conventional Soap Land scenario and then overturn our expectations by having the characters react flippantly rather than melodramatically to it. Last week, JR learned that he and Mandy were being followed a detective hired by Sue Ellen. The last time he made such a discovery, back in Season 2, all hell broke loose and Sue Ellen ended up physically attacking him in front of the rest of the family. This week, when he angrily confronts her, she is simply amused. “So does this mean that we’re not gonna make love?” she teases. Only when she speaks to the detective on the phone at the end of the scene do we realise that she wanted JR to realise he was being followed. It’s all part of a grand scheme we are not yet privy to.

    Meanwhile, on KNOTS, Gary enters his marital bedroom to find his wife in bed with his political opponent. Unlike previous characters in his position (e.g., Sue Ellen when she walked in on JR and Holly Harwood or Val when she discovered Gary himself in bed with Abby), he does not flee the scene in distress. Instead, he walks calmly across the room, stepping over Abby and Peter’s discarded clothes as he does so, and picks out a tie from his closet. He then turns to ask Abby and Peter — who remain frozen in mid-coitus — for their opinion on his choice. They don’t reply. After reminding Peter not be late for their televised debate that evening, he retraces his steps and leaves the room. If either the musical score or the acting in the scene was in any way heavy-handed or self-consciously comedic then the humour would be killed stone dead. At is, thanks in large part to Ted Shackelford’s straightforward performance, it works. As with the DALLAS scene, it’s hard to imagine it taking place any earlier in the series. Gary, Sue Ellen — these are battle-scarred characters who have spent several years living inside a soap opera and have now started to learn from the experience.

    By way of contrast, DYNASTY offers more traditional Soap Land behaviour when Blake walks into what was until recently his marital bedroom to find his ex-wife in his brother’s arms. “My, what a pretty sight,” he says, “the scorpion and the cobra.” However, he is less concerned with Alexis’s relationship with Ben than with the role she has played in sending Mr Thorpe over the edge. “If Krystle doesn’t come through this, I’m going to finish what she stopped me from doing. I am going to kill you!” he vows as the music builds and swirls madly around them and the screen fades to black. It’s a deliciously quintessential Soap Land moment. Nor is Blake the only DYNASTY-verse good guy to harbour murderous thoughts this week. “I’ll love this baby,” Jeff tells Fallon on THE COLBYS, "but when I think that Miles could be the father because he raped you, I could kill him." Back on DALLAS, I’m not sure if JR’s line about Sue Ellen — “I oughta string that woman up by her thumbs!” — constitutes a death threat, but it certainly made me laugh.

    Fallon’s fear that Miles will find out that he could be the father of her unborn child is central to her current storyline. Jeff comes dangerously close to blurting out this secret after he accuses Miles of raping his wife. “That wasn’t rape, we were married … What happened between Fallon and me is our business,” Miles insists. “Not when she is maybe going to have —“ Jeff begins, only to be interrupted by Fallon. “Jeff, stop!” she orders him furiously. A similar situation arises on FALCON CREST after Maggie admits to her daughter that she too was raped while being held captive by Jeff Wainwright. (This revelation echoes the one Lucy made on DALLAS four years ago about the rape she endured at the hands of her kidnapper. Neither rape was alluded to during the kidnapping itself, only coming to light afterwards.) Vicky implores Maggie to tell Chase about the assault, but Maggie cannot bring herself to shatter his newfound optimism and finds herself planning a party instead. Vicky is incredulous. “A party? To celebrate what — being raped?” she asks. Maggie’s instinctive response to this is to put her hand over her daughter's mouth, almost as if she were trying to push the words back inside it. “Never say that again!” she orders. It’s the most powerful moment of the Soap Land week. Maggie’s distress is compounded at the end of the episode when she discovers that she, just like Fallon (and Lucy Ewing and Kirby Anders before them), is pregnant, possibly as the result of rape.

    While Jason and Sable’s divorce progresses in a civilised manner on THE COLBYS (“That’s like you — to do the decent thing,” says Sable when he hand delivers her copy of the relevant papers), Gary and Abby have postponed their divorce due to the impending election on KNOTS. Instead, they are once again living under the same roof for the sake of appearances (hence this week’s episode title). Also concerned with appearances is JR on DALLAS who explains to Mandy why, now that Sue Ellen’s stuck a private detective on them, they have to keep a low profile in public. “Sue Ellen knows that I would give her the quickest divorce this side of Juarez … She’s gathering evidence … she’s trying to get custody of my boy.” This puts Mandy in the same position she was with Cliff two seasons ago when all he wanted to do was stay home home and eat take out. “I wanna get out of here for a change!” she complains. “I will not be kept in a prison. I don’t care how much caviar there is.” Just as Cliff’s behaviour drove Mandy into JR’s arms in the first place, JR’s leads her into Sue Ellen’s trap as she begins to seriously entertain the idea of becoming the Valentine Girl.

    There are parallel discussions involving THE COLBYS’ Bliss and KNOTS LANDING’s Olivia regarding the women they blame for breaking up their parents’ marriages. “I didn’t cause the split between your mother and father. There were problems long before,” Frankie patiently explains to Bliss. “I wish for the sake of your brother and yourself that your mother and I got along, but we don’t and we haven’t for some time,” an equally patient Gary informs Olivia. “Problems are part of a marriage ... If it weren’t for you, they’d still be together, working them out,” snaps Bliss. “If it weren’t for [Jill], you and Mom would still be working things out,” huffs Olivia.

    Since Empire Valley became a dirty word, John Coblentz has washed off the pan-stick he wore in a failed effort make him look older than Greg Sumner and made his way to DYNASTY where he appears as Gary Tildon, a former business associate of Michael Culhane. Surprised to find Michael, now a millionaire, slumming it as Blake Carrington’s chauffeur, he surmises that Michael is planning to avenge himself for past wrongs by seducing Blake's daughter Amanda. “I’d watch out for that Carrington girl,” he warns. "She’s beautiful, very beautiful, and if you end up really falling in love with her, where’s your revenge?” In other words, beware "The Spy Who Loved Me" syndrome, the latest victim of which is Channing Carter on THE COLBYS. This week, she attempts to defect from her controlling Uncle Lucas’s camp to elope with Miles. "You had a job to do for me and it had to do with Jason Colby, not his son,” Lucas reminds her. “I quit,” she replies. "What’s more, I don’t give a damn about Jason Colby and his business with the Red Chinese … I’ve found someone who loves me, who can take very good care of me.”

    It is implied that Channing, like Jordan Roberts on FALCON CREST, is also a victim of another kind. “You’ve had everything you could have wanted from me,” Lucas tells her. "I’ve had more than I wanted from you, Uncle Lucas,” she counters bitterly. "Honey, I tried that once a long, long time ago,” he replies.

    Michael Culhane isn’t the only first season returnee. This week’s FALCON CREST sees John Saxon returns to the role of Tony Cumson almost exactly two years after he was gunned down as Rashid Ahmed on DYNASTY. Like Michael, Tony is now a rich man, having struck it big in the oil business (Rashid would have been proud) before cashing in his assets and narrowly avoiding the crisis currently afflicting the oil communities on DALLAS and DYNASTY. Angela and Lance are no happier to see Tony back than Blake was to see Michael. And just as Blake has tried to keep Michael away from his daughter Amanda, Angela attempts to keep Tony away from her daughter (and Tony’s ex-wife) Julia, each with a similar lack of success (although to say Julia is happy to see Tony wouldn’t be technically correct as FC's recent earthquake has rendered her blind).

    With La Mirage burnt to the ground and Lotus Point closed for business, there’s a gap in the Soap Land market for a swanky new resort or two. Indeed, no sooner does THE COLBYS’ Zach Powers purchase Dominique’s hotel and rename it in his own honour (“How does the name the Powers Excelsior strike you?” he asks Sable) than FALCON CREST’s Angela acquires the River Oaks Spa and renames it Del Oro (“and which I will try to turn into a first class resort,” she promises). Meanwhile, we get our first proper look at the interior of the Carlton Hotel, DYNASTY's comparatively modest replacement for La Mirage, and very nice it is too.

    Three major Soap Land characters are currently under suspicion for crimes they didn’t commit. While this week’s DYNASTY ends with the police taking Blake in for questioning over the possibility of arson at La Mirage, KNOTS ends with Mack demanding answers from Greg about his role in Karen’s kidnapping. Meanwhile, on FALCON CREST, Richard is still trying to prove he didn’t shoot Chase.

    A week after Vicky Gioberti admitted that her apparently successfully dance career ended in failure, Sable Colby launches a new dance company. Her previously idle daughter Bliss starts working for the company’s public relations department, thus following in the footsteps of the previously idle Amanda on DYNASTY, presently working in PR for her father’s new corporation, Carrington Ventures. Despite their newfound work ethics, both blondes are ineviatbly drawn to unsuitable men they encounter in the workplace — even if neither choice is quite as disastrous as that of Vicky G, currently dating her mother’s rapist. Instead, Amanda and Bliss are attracted to Michael the chauffeur and Nikolai the Russian ballet dancer respectively. While Blake threatens Michael (“If I open a door, any door, and I see you within ten feet of my daughter, I’m gonna see to it that you get booted out of Denver and that you stay out this time"), Nikolai’s choreographer also makes his disapproval clear. Thus far, the DYNASTY scenario is more fun as it contains fewer prolonged ballet sequences and Russian stereotypes.

    In what I believe is a first, DYNASTY dips into KNOTSian territory by cross-cutting between Krystle and Thorpe's confrontation and Michael driving Blake back to the Carlton Hotel (Blake threatening him over Amanda as they go). KNOTS itself goes one better by cross-cutting between three different conversations: Paige and Michael (Paige worrying that Karen doesn’t like her), Karen and Mack (Karen insisting that she does like Paige) and Val and Lilimae (Lilimae saying that she doesn’t trust Paige: “Call it a premonition — she’s up to something”).

    While Lilimae is the first character to voice suspicions about Paige, Angela heavily hints to Skylar aka Kit that she has outstayed her welcome at Falcon Crest. Meanwhile, Miss Ellie couldn’t be clearer when she orders Wes aka Jock to "get off my land! … I never wanna see your face again!"

    Wes’s presence triggers memories of Jock for Ellie just as Paige’s has of Anne for Mack — memories so personal that they cannot be expressed to another character. Instead, they are conveyed to us by extra-diegetic means. Whereas Mack’s state of mind was indicated via flashbacks to his romance with Anne in '67, Ellie’s memories are evoked through a voice over of her reading the letters she wrote Jock in South America in '81.

    A recurring theme so far this season: an alteration in hairstyle and/or colour to denote a change of identity. First, Phil Harbert cut Karen’s hair while holding her prisoner in order to make her look more like his late wife. (Although this aspect of the plot wasn’t further developed, the hair-cutting was a physical violation, a rape substitute in the same way that Luther Frick forcing Sue Ellen to parade in her bathing suit or Joel Abrigore watching Krystle take a bath was.) Then Kim Novak cut and dyed her brunette hair blonde in order to transform herself into Skylar Kimble. And this week, we see Wes Parmalee doing the same thing in reverse — washing the brown dye out of his hair until it’s completely white, making him appear, in Ray’s words, “fifteen years older”. Given his claim that he is Jock Ewing back from the dead, the fact that this transformation scene takes place in a shower feels significant. Even more intriguingly, Bobby — who has yet to learn of Wes’s declaration — uncharacteristically refers to Jock in the present tense during his argument with Franklin Horner: "Our daddy’s been doing business with this bank since before we were born … Daddy’s always been loyal to this bank, Franklin. Is this what he gets for his loyalty?”

    Speaking of double identities, FALCON CREST is full of them. Not only has Jeff Wainwright adopted the alias of Larry Miller, but Skylar Kimble is interviewed by a New York cop about the murder of her friend Kit Marlowe in Palm Beach. What we know, but nobody on screen does, is that Skylar is really Kit and Kit is (or was) really Skylar. However, the real twist comes when we learn that the cop questioning Skylar/Kit isn’t really a cop but a reporter hired by Richard to dig for dirt on Peter Stavros.

    And this week’s Top 5 is …

    1 (1) DALLAS
    2 (2) FALCON CREST
    3 (-) DYNASTY
    4 (3) KNOTS LANDING
    5 (-) THE COLBYS
     
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  17. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Well-Known Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    Sorry for not replying before but my laptop's at the menders!

    Well, I thought I didn't like this era of FC much. but so far so good. The shift of dynamic in the Gioberti household -- the change in Chase's personality, Maggie's rape/pregnancy and her growing bond with Richard, Vicky's return -- is fascinating.

    That's funny! For some reason, during the job I've just finished, whenever anybody mentioned their wife, I would automatically shout out Bobby Ewing's line from "Spy in the House": "She's my wife! Isn't anybody gonna defend her?" It caught on and pretty soon everyone was doing it. Also, one of the songs during the pre-show music was People by Barbra Streisand, which prompted me to start quoting Brian Dennehy in "Winds of Vengeance". The first time I heard someone else saying, "Now you start singing, Miss Texas, because I like to be entertained!" was a proud moment indeed.

    Yes.

    Well, in this regard, Knots had the "disadvantage" this season of starting back a week earlier than the other shows with a very strong double bill of episodes. When the other soaps returned, they were equally impactful and so KNOTS kind of got pushed to the bottom -- not because it was bad, but because the competition was unusually strong. That said, although I think Karen's family's reactions to her disappearance are very relatable and well done, and I really like how Phil Harbert is integrated into the rest of the show via the flashbacks to 1967 and his scenes with Greg, the depiction of Karen herself as a kidnap victim is oddly uninvolving. Once she's out of the creepy basement and and into the one-room apartment which feels more like a set from a TV show than an actual room (I'm not sure why), the ominous atmosphere seems to evaporate and all that's left is Michele Lee emoting in a vacuum. As I say, the new synthetized music score doesn't help.

    Yeah, once she gets out of the fake house (and it really does feel fake!), her predicament comes alive again.

    There really does seem to be a major shift in the Lorimar soaps at this point. For better or worse (and mostly for better at this point), none of them quite feel like the shows they were even just a few months earlier. And the new Sue Ellen is a major part of that.
     
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  18. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    This was an obvious example of how the impact of a plot point can be blunted by budget constraints. So much of her kidnapping drama was done on a set--that oddly domestic/frilly set*--and their set-bound banter didn't convey anywhere near the level of menace or jeopardy that the outdoor/chase sequence managed to do. That plotline didn't really take off (for me anyway) until she escaped the housefire and got to run around the countryside like that. If they had lessened the period of her captivity and elongated the post-fire/chase period, it might have been a more memorable plot, but I can't help but think the show couldn't afford to do as much exterior location work like that.

    * I always thought it was highly unlikely that an ex-con with questionable taste in clothing and grooming would have such Martha Stewart-esque detailing in his décor choices for a glorified dungeon.
     

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