FALCON CREST versus DYNASTY versus DALLAS versus KNOTS LANDING versus the rest of them, week by week

Discussion in 'Falcon Crest' started by James from London, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    10,453
    Trophy Points:
    9,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +19,225
    Medals:
    12
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Aha, so there was some kind of closure.
    How bizarre!
    Everything is relative, I suppose. Michael Sharpe can't speak for every American, but it carries more weight when it's being said on a wine soap opera.
    To me it looks like an extenstion of the St. James brothers' unholy approach of what Falcon Crest stands for (or in this case, doesn't).
    I could interpret it as some kind of treachery towards the Falcon Crest fans, however, the show itself had squandered that precious legacy and wonderful Tuscany atmosphere a long time before season 9 happened.
    But it still feels very confronting.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. kenneth

    kenneth Soap Chat Member

    Message Count:
    81
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Location:
    drammen, norway
    Ratings:
    +189
    Michael Gecko is quite a piece of work, is he not?
     
  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    22 Feb 90: KNOTS LANDING: Wrong For Each Other v. 23 Feb 90: DALLAS: Dear Hearts and Gentle People v. 23 Feb 90: FALCON CREST: Walking Money

    Eric Fairgate makes his last appearance on this week’s KNOTS. In his final scene, Karen watches as he packs to return to his job, sadder but wiser, resigned to the fact that his marriage is over. For the most part, he puts on a brave face (“I’m better off without her … chalk this one up as experience, you know?”), but then sort of crumples into his mother’s arms at the end of the scene. “You deserve to be happy,” she whispers to him. This is immediately followed by a scene between Karen and Mack where she delivers her lovely “I wish I’d raised my sons where it snowed” speech: “They would have known what it was like to have to shovel the snow … feel the cold air, slip on the ice. They could have seen how pretty the snow could be and how dangerous … how inconvenient, how wonderful, how out of our hands. Snow would have been good for them.”

    This is Karen’s (and also KNOTS’) way of acknowledging, indirectly, how unusually meek and mild her sons have always been. As a genre, Soap Land is not especially interested in the ups and downs of conventionally boisterous adolescent boys, and so Eric and Michael have, by default, been muted — made conveniently placid and compliant. Perhaps, if they’d grown up somewhere harsher and grittier than glossy, sunny Soap Land, they might have been better equipped to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous storylines that now greet them as Soap Land adults. Not only does Karen’s speech — nay, aria — make dramatic use of this genre limitation, but it elevates it into something approaching poetry.

    Fascinatingly, Eric’s ex, Linda, then provides us with the flip side of Karen's perspective. Angered by Michael’s refusal to resume their relationship even after Eric has left town, she also addresses the brothers’ timidity. “You’re afraid of a good idea,” she tells Michael, “you’re afraid to enjoy life, afraid to fall in love. You’re just afraid. You’re as pathetic as your brother.” In a different context, Paula Vertosick makes a similar observation about Greg, Michael’s polar opposite, describing him as “sensitive, afraid of being hurt, so he alienates himself from the people who want to be close to him.”

    While Eric flies the nest on KNOTS, April returns to it on DALLAS, visiting her hometown of Springdale, Ohio to reflect upon her recent bust-up with Bobby. We meet her mother, who was also Ciji’s mother on KNOTS Season 4. Both moms are religious, but while Ciji’s was cold and judgemental, April’s is rosy-cheeked and apple-pie-wholesome, more interested in church socials and “singing some of those good old spirituals” than condemning her daughter from on high.

    Nevertheless, she, like Karen, has her own ideas of what might have improved her child’s life — only they don’t involve snow. “I think you’d have been happier if you’d never moved from Springdale,” she tells April. “You’d be raising kids by now, be married.” She urges her to consider “coming home to a small-town life. It’s still safe here, still decent.” Back in Dallas, Cally is no happier than April — her marriage to JR is going from bad to worse — but returning home is no longer an option for her. “I’m not a country girl anymore,” she laments. “JR’s changed me and now I don’t fit in anywhere.”

    The image we’re given of April’s picture perfect childhood doesn’t quite match up with the character who arrived in DALLAS three seasons ago and was willing to sleep with any man for financial gain, up to and including Jeremy Wendell. There’s a much clearer connection between Genele Ericson’s present way of life and the upbringing she describes on this week’s FALCON CREST. “I don’t need you to tell me what I am,” she tells Danny Sharpe during the best scene of a terrific episode. “Believe me, I’ve had a lot of help getting this way. Men have been coming on to me every day of my life since I was thirteen years old. They say they want me, but they don’t. They don’t see me, they don’t know me, they don’t care about me — just my body, and when they’re finished with it, they move on. You get used often enough, you become a user yourself.”

    While Cally has become increasingly disillusioned about life with JR — this week, he checks into a hotel just to get away from her — an even newer bride receives a rude awakening about her marriage on this week’s KNOTS. After Val puts an end to Danny’s plan to adopt the twins, he first sulks, then apologises, then loses his temper, then turns spiteful and sarcastic, and finally starts smashing furniture — all within the space of one scene. She looks astonished — this is a 180° turn from how Danny has presented himself to her thus far. When he informs her sneeringly, “If you don’t want your husband to adopt your fatherless children, you’re crazy, Val!”, it’s a shame Val’s daughter Lucy isn’t around to point out what she’ll tell her grandmother on DALLAS the following night: “Only poor people are called crazy; rich people are always called eccentric.” FC’s Genele, meanwhile, makes a brilliant observation about the rich: “Being rich might be a consolation prize for not being quite human.” This might just be the line of the week, if not the entire season.

    In the tense opening scene of this week’s KNOTS, a mute Greg eventually manages to convey to Mack that his IV has been tampered with. A subsequent analysis confirms that “it was heavily injected with Camaride … known to cause liver damage, kidney failure, blood disorders.” Meanwhile, autopsy results on DALLAS reveal that Clayton’s pal Curly Morrison did not die of a heart attack at the end of last week’s ep as had previously been assumed. Instead, he too was poisoned. In each case, a man called Robert is arrested for the crime — Mary Frances’s boyfriend, who hands himself into the police, and Robert, aka “Rabbit”, Hutch, who protests his innocence but was next in line after Curly to inherit Atticus Ward’s fortune. Clayton bails Rabbit out of jail, only to later find him hanging from a noose.

    Each of this week’s soaps includes a scene where a male character lays his feelings on the line for the woman he loves. For Tom Ryan, that means making a full confession. “I did everything your father said I did,” he admits to Paige. “I even arranged to meet you so I could find out what your father knew about Oakman Industries … I did these things before I fell in love with you … I’ve changed because of you … I’ll always love you.” For Bobby Ewing, it means following April to Springdale to try and make amends. “I said goodbye to Pam the other night,” he tells her, “and now I wanna make things up to you on whatever terms you want … I love you, April.” “I love you and I want you,” echoes Danny Sharpe, talking to Sydney on FALCON CREST, but in his case, it’s more of an ultimatum: “I’ve done everything I can to prove it to you … Do you want me or not?” Turns out she does.

    Two middle-aged blonde women return to the Ewing-verse this week. On KNOTS, Paige is surprised to find her mother Anne standing in her apartment. “I haven’t been the world’s greatest mother,” Anne concedes, “but I do know the importance of family — I was shocked to hear the news that Greg Sumner lost his daughter.” “It must have ruined a whole afternoon on the slopes,” Paige quips. “Where’d you drop from — Heaven?” asks JR when his favourite hooker Serena walks into his office after an absence of two years. While all Anne has to do is mention Tom by name for Paige to say, “He's too young for you, Mother”, JR blames his problems with Cally on their age difference. (“We don’t have anything in common and I can’t see that we’re ever gonna have anything in common.”) A slice of afternoon delight with Serena helps him put his marriage in perspective (“Why should old JR put up with incessant nagging and punching a time clock?”) and the episode ends with him making the symbolic gesture of scribbling out the ‘Ewing’ part of Cally’s signature on her portrait of him that hangs in his office.

    The “tycoon-defaces-art” theme continues at the start of FALCON CREST with Michael Sharpe unwrapping a $40,000 painting by “a hot young French painter” and then punching a hole in it — in order to access the $1,000,000 bearer bond smuggled within. “I bring these things in every week from overseas,” he explains to his son Danny. It’s some sort of tax dodge I don’t begin to understand.

    This episode of FALCON CREST is a brilliant hour of twisty-turny soapiness. It focuses on Genele who, like Kristin in DALLAS Season 2, is the seemingly ideal mistress who can’t resist pushing her luck a little too far. Having learnt of Michael’s bearer bond scam, she thinks it might be her ticket to freedom. So she seduces Michael’s dweeby assistant Brian — a younger version of Bob from the Sumner Group — into giving her the crucial information she needs to steal one and then bribes a clerk at the depot into looking the other way when she intercepts the next delivery. However, when Michael realises someone’s ripped him off, he puts a tracer on the bond which means Genele can’t sell it without him finding out. Meanwhile, she’s being blackmailed by both Brian and the clerk but doesn’t have the cash to pay for their silence. Desperate, she turns to Richard who agrees to sell the bond on the black market on her behalf. He then double-crosses her by keeping the money and — in his most devilish move of the season — frames Danny to make it look as if he was the one who stole the bond in the first place. Unable to bear the idea that his own son has betrayed him, Michael shifts the blame onto Danny’s girlfriend (“It’s the girl! I know it’s the girl!”) and pays a dodgy looking guy with a dodgy sounding name, Johnny Sacco, to tamper with her car. (“I don’t want her to get hurt. I just wanna send a message.”) Then he arranges to meet Sydney for lunch. Suspicious, Danny decides to take her place — and borrows her car to drive to the restaurant. The episode ends with a waiter delivering Michael the bad news: “We just got a call from the highway patrol. It’s about your son. It seems there’s been an accident.”

    It’s kind of ironic in that in its final year, FALCON CREST feels more like a new series than one that’s been running for almost a decade. Like DALLAS back in its second full season, when it was still writing the Soap Land rules as it went along, FC is no longer afraid to take risks, to explore its characters and see how far it can take them. It’s bold and reckless and not remotely interested in playing safe.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) FALCON CREST
    3 (3) DALLAS
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    10,453
    Trophy Points:
    9,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +19,225
    Medals:
    12
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Oftentimes, Knots is so beautiful I could cry.
    Gosh, was it really that good?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    Yes.

    It really was. And for some reason, I had no memory of the episode at all.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    08 Mar 90: KNOTS LANDING: Devil on My Shoulder v. 09 Mar 90: DALLAS: Paradise Lost v. 09 Mar 90: FALCON CREST: Vigil

    This week, KNOTS LANDING opens with Val stabbing her latest husband — Danny Waleska — in self-defence (thereby following in the recent footsteps of FC’s Sydney St James). The life of another Danny also hangs in the balance at the start of this week’s FALCON CREST where Danny Sharpe is in critical condition at Soap Land Memorial Hospital following his car crash at the end of the last episode.

    His father Michael attempts to bring his considerable wealth to bear on the situation, just as previous Soap Land tycoons in his position have done. But whereas Blake Carrington would demand “the best insert-field-of-speciality surgeon in the country” be flown in from wherever, Michael favours a more direct approach. “I will pay you anything to save my son’s life,” he tells the medic in charge, “anything. A castle in Europe, a yacht, whatever — you name it.” “Mr Sharpe, I’m a doctor,” comes the patient reply. “I don’t need to be bribed. Now please, let me do my job.”

    Two weeks ago, Anne Matheson returned to KNOTS after hearing about Mary Frances’s death. This week, Anne Bowen arrives in FALCON CREST after learning of her son Danny’s accident. There are several similarities between the two Annes. Just as Anne M knew Mack and Greg in the late ‘60s when the two men were still friends, Anne B knew Michael and Richard in the early ‘70s when they were business partners rather than deadly enemies. Mack is the father of Anne M’s daughter; Michael is the father of Anne B’s son (and also her ex-husband). Although both Annes are from New York, only one is a college professor. There is also an unanswered question about each of them: If Anne M is the rich heiress Karen describes her as to Paula, why do we then see her pawning her jewellery? If Anne B, as she claims, only knew Richard professionally when she was married to Michael, why is enigmatic piano music played on the soundtrack when the two are left briefly alone together?

    While a judiciously applied ballpoint pen saves Danny Waleska’s life on KNOTS, some vigorous earlobe tugging on DALLAS leads Miss Ellie and Clayton to conclude that Arlen Ward is his own twin brother Atticus come back to life and that he is responsible for the murders of Curly Morrison and Rabbit Hutch. There’s more marital sleuthing on FALCON CREST where Lance and Pilar deduce that Michael must have sabotaged Sydney’s car and is therefore responsible for Danny’s crash. When reminded that Arlen/Atticus has an alibi, Ellie suggests that “he could have hired somebody to kill Rabbit.” “Sharpe’s not gonna tamper with the car, he’d hire someone,” echoes Richard when Lance and Pilar tell him their theory. Whereas the Farlows’ murder mystery is disconnected from the rest of the action on DALLAS, Richard views Michael’s involvement in the accident as “a chance to get Falcon Crest back in the family … With the right information, we’ll have the power to make Sharpe do anything we want him to.”

    While Danny S undergoes life or death surgery, Danny W recovers sufficiently from his stabbing to sit across the table from Val at some sort of police hearing to determine which of them is responsible for the stabbing. Val is indignant. As far as she is concerned, she was protecting herself (“This man attacked me!”) and now wants to forget the marriage ever took place. But it’s not that simple. “It’s your word against his,” Mack explains, “and he’s the one who got stabbed.” Unsurprisingly, Danny plays for sympathy: “I don’t know why this happened,” he tells the hearing. “My marriage to Val is the most important thing in my life … I love you, Val.”

    Val and Danny aren’t the only Ewingverse couple to air their marital laundry in front of a professional third party this week. At JR’s suggestion, he and Cally visit a marriage counsellor: “Maybe he can get to the root of our problems.” Cally’s main grievance — JR neglecting her in favour of his business — chimes directly with Anne Bowen’s account of her life with Michael on FC: “I never understood how you could be gone so much and still expect to have a marriage,” she tells him. JR and Cally’s counsellor seems unusually pessimistic about their relationship. “Sooner or later, it was bound to go wrong,” he tells Cally. “I don’t think JR is going to change.”

    It transpires that JR isn’t really interested in making his marriage work. Rather, the visits to the counsellor are part of an elaborate plan to get Cally to leave him. But why doesn’t he just kick her off the ranch? Because that would upset Miss Ellie and John Ross, of course. “My family adores Cally,” he explains to Serena. “Mama loves her like a daughter, my son thinks she’s his best friend … If I kicked her out of the house now, I’d be the one sleeping in the dog house.” This explanation is so weak, even Serena questions it: “Don’t you think you’re overreacting?” It’s as if JR has become so addicted to his own deviousness that he has started inventing reasons to scheme. “When Cally leaves me, as I assure you she will, there won’t be a person on earth who doesn’t feel sorry for old JR!” he crows. But even though this storyline plays like a bargain basement version of his past attempts to drive Sue Ellen off of Southfork, there’s still an undeniable frisson in watching the old master plot against his nearest and (supposedly) dearest. The final scene of the ep where he visits the counsellor's office, ostensibly to tear a strip off him for the negative advice he’s been giving Cally, is a hoot. “You’re doing a hell of a job busting up my marriage,” he snaps, before tossing a bundle of cash onto the desk. “Keep up the good work!” he adds with a chuckle. KNOTS likewise ends with a last-minute marital twist — no sooner has Val finished explaining to the twins that “Danny’s not gonna be Mommy’s husband after all” than Danny himself walks through the front door. “I’m home!” he announces with a smile.

    While JR and Val want Cally and Danny gone, Bobby wants April back from her hometown of Springdale. But April’s had enough of living in a soap opera. “If I go back and marry Bobby,” she tells her childhood friend Beth, “I’ll be caught in the middle of all those battles and power struggles. I’m not sure I can do it anymore.” She’s not the only one. In the most abrupt Soap Land departure since Grace McKenzie disappeared halfway through an episode of THE YELLOW ROSE, it transpires that Sydney has run away from FALCON CREST in-between episodes, never to be seen again. It’s a most unexpected turn of events — for a while, she looked set to be the show’s new heroine.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (2) FALCON CREST
    3 (3) DALLAS
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    15 Mar 90: KNOTS LANDING: Home Sweet Home v. 16 Mar 90: DALLAS: Will Power v. 16 Mar 90: FALCON CREST: Dark Streets

    It’s hard to imagine how Jock Ewing would have reacted to one of his daughters-in-law discussing her marriage on a TV talk show, but that’s exactly what Cally does on this week’s DALLAS — and we’re not talking about a respectable series like OPEN MIKE (“the thinking person’s talk show” as it was described on KNOTS a few weeks ago), but the far more tawdry LIZZIE BURNS SHOW, with its provocative host and a studio audience primed to boo and cheer at the slightest opportunity. While Karen interviews someone about compost on this week’s OPEN MIKE, Lizzie Burns interrogates four young women who have married “rich and powerful Texans old enough to be their fathers.” Ironically, Lizzie is played by Susan Philby, Sid Fairgate’s ex-wife, who looked down on Karen so imperiously during KNOTS’ first season. As talk show rivals, they have now swapped positions: while Karen occupies the high-minded Oprah role, snooty Susan is now the lowest common denominator equivalent of Sally Jessy Raphael, Jerry Springer, et al.

    To Cally’s dismay, it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie Burns is intent on portraying her and the other women on the show as gold-digging home-wreckers. At least one of the other wives, Nancy Ann, is only too eager to play up to that stereotype, referring to her husband’s first wife as “a dried-up old Texas matron” who “deserved what she got … It’s a fact of life — men don’t go for a diet of prunes if they can have fresh plums!”

    Women passing judgement on other women is a recurrent theme throughout this week’s Soap Land. “I didn’t realise that women like you still existed,” Paula Vertosick tells Anne Matheson on KNOTS, referring to the air of shameless decadence she exudes. It’s the same air Abby and Alexis used to give off in their first seasons before they started power dressing and taking themselves seriously. “I’ll take that as a compliment,” Anne smiles. “You would,” Paula replies.

    Anne makes an observation of her own: “I don’t see what the big deal is about women in the workforce — nobody seems to be having any fun.” This would certainly apply to Michelle Stevens, who argues loudly with everyone she comes into contact with — her boyfriend, her sister, her contractor — over her and April’s warehouse project on this week’s DALLAS. During an introspective moment, she admits to James she’s plagued by the fear that “it will all disappear and I’ll be on the outside again, my face pressed up against the candy store window. Everybody’s inside, they all have what they want, and all I can do is look.” This echoes what April told Casey Denault a couple of seasons ago: “You’re just all the other bitter little people on the outside — you’re just trying to figure out how to get what you don’t have.”

    Soap Land being what it is, it’s not just women who are criticising women in the workforce. JR makes a comment about Stephanie Rodgers which must rank as one of the darkest lines he’s ever delivered: “She’s the kind of woman a man likes to see kneeling at his feet, begging for mercy.”

    Even Miss Ellie is uncharacteristically mean-spirited when she hears that Arlen Ward’s squeeze (and alibi) Honey North is an actress and model. “Actress and model indeed!” she scoffs. “I can just imagine the kind of films she was in!” I’m pretty sure that’s the first time Southfork’s matriarch has made a reference to porn.

    Two of Soap Land’s wives decide to revisit their pasts this week, incurring their husbands’ disapproval in the process. On KNOTS, Pat Williams’ decision to resume the medical career she was forced to abandon when she entered the Witness Protection Programme prompts Frank to pack a suitcase and threaten divorce. Over on FALCON CREST, the race is on to find Johnny Sacco, the junkie Michael Sharpe paid to tamper with Sydney’s car and whom he now wants dead. Overriding Lance’s objections, Pilar volunteers to draw on her experiences as a teenage runaway and go undercover on Skid Row. (Her claim that she has “lived in the streets, in the dirt” requires some creative tweaking to her backstory. Previously, we’d been told she left the Tuscany Valley as a teenager to have a baby but was taken in by relatives.) This affords FC another opportunity to take one of its rich characters for a walk on the wild side. First, there was Lance playing Scorpion Roulette in Juarez, then Lauren slinging hash and delivering babies in Chinatown and now it’s Pilar’s turn to adopt the homeless-but-chic look. (As ever, Soap Land’s depiction of how poor people live is kind of wonky.)

    It doesn’t take long for Pilar to befriend Johnny’s girlfriend, Mooshy Tucker, “part-time waitress, part-time hooker and a full-time survivor.” Pilar doesn’t look down on Mooshy the way Miss Ellie does on Honey and neither does FALCON CREST itself. When Clayton and Ellie, in their capacity as self-appointed super-sleuths, visit Honey at a photo shoot, they find her posing provocatively in lingerie. So far so Mandy Winger, except that Honey looks to be at least forty. That, combined with her claims to artistic legitimacy (“You may think you’re talking to a dumb blonde with big assets, but I’ve got a BA in Theatre Arts, I’ve got talent!” she squeaks), makes her seem kind of delusional, like a low-rent Norma Desmond or Baby Jane Hudson. FALCON CREST’s Mooshy also has artistic aspirations, but FC takes them more seriously — perhaps a little too seriously. Just as FC’s last hooker, Samantha Ross, was also a photographer, Mooshy turns out to be a painter (of homeless people, obviously). Unlike Soap Land’s current artist in residence, Cally, she refuses to even consider selling her work. “No way!” she tells Pilar. “I do a lot of things for money, sell a lot too, but sell my paintings? That’d be like selling my soul and that’s something I ain’t never gonna do!”

    Back on KNOTS, Danny Waleska’s refusal to vacate the cul-de-sac results in Val, Ginny and the twins decamping to Gary’s ranch until further notice. Danny marks the occasion by throwing Val’s clothes and belongings off the balcony of “his” house in the same way JR did Sue Ellen’s off of Southfork’s the last time she left the ranch. “She’s not setting foot in here again — never again!” Danny instructs his lawyer. JR, meanwhile, is having a harder time getting rid of his present wife. “You hypnotise her or tranquillise her or do whatever you have to do, but get that woman out of my house!” he barks at the marriage counsellor he hired to break them up. Conversely on FALCON CREST, Michael Sharpe is determined to have his ex-wife Anne living back under the same roof as him and their son Danny. “She belongs with me,” he insists.

    KNOTS’ Harold Dyer also wants his wife back. He calls Olivia from Miami to deliver a speech that manages to be both anti-romantic and romantic at the same time. “I hate talking about feelings,” he begins. “I think it’s stupid, dumb, and I wanna gag when I hear somebody say that they’re always gonna be there for you. I wanna ask them, where are they gonna be — on the corner of 3rd and Hudson? But I have to say all those things I hate because I miss you …”

    Even though Karen is the one Abby asked to keep an eye on her daughter, it’s Val to whom Olivia turns in her hour of need. “I, me, Valene Ewing Gibson Waleska of the three husbands and the three broken marriages, I still believe in love,” Val tells her. “I still believe that love is the most important thing in your whole life. So I would still, if I were you, base my decision on whether or not I loved the man.” Whereas Val has been married thrice, April’s mother on DALLAS has been married only once, “to a man who died far too soon.” Nevertheless, she feels the same way Val does. “I’m glad I married him,” she tells her daughter. “I’m glad I had those years with him, no matter how few they were because I got to love and be loved back and you don’t ever want to walk away from that.” This sweet little speech becomes all the more resonant when one remembers how brief April’s own marriage to Bobby will be.

    Olivia and April each act on the advice they’ve been given. Olivia joins Harold in Miami, thus becoming the third young character to depart Soap Land in recent weeks, following her own cousin Eric and FALCON CREST’s Sydney. Whereas Sydney left a goodbye note behind for Pilar and Lance, Olivia leaves a five thousand dollar cheque for Gary — the same cheque she tricked him into signing, but then couldn’t bring herself to cash. April, meanwhile, surprises Bobby not just by returning to Dallas unannounced, but by filling his office with fake snow for good measure. Paige is even more shocked when she walks into her apartment to find her boyfriend and her mother together. “You were practically on top of her and she was practically naked!” she yells at Tom who promptly gets down on one knee and proposes.

    Starting with the freak drowning of Maggie in FALCON CREST, it’s been a remarkably grim year in Soap Land. Since then, we’ve seen a husband rape his wife, wives stab and shoot their husbands, three young characters fatally shot down in their prime and elderly people variously tossed out of windows, pushed down stairs, suffocated, poisoned and even hanged. This week’s DALLAS ends with the most luridly gruesome image in its history: Arlen Ward drowned in his own fish tank, mouth agape, eyes partially open. Nice!

    This macabre atmosphere even begins to permeate the studio of OPEN MIKE when Karen’s producer, Dianne, recounts the tale of a female newscaster she once worked with who was strangled to death by a sexually obsessed fan. There’s a ripped-from-the-headlines quality about this story — such tragedies have occurred in real life — yet KNOTS approaches it with an air of campy black comedy. Dianne is cautioning Karen against becoming too familiar with a particular fan — or she simply trying to keep her in line by making her paranoid? “Maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe he’ll bring a gun and shoot her,” she wisecracks to her assistant. Later, the overzealous fan does indeed sneak backstage where he is wrestled to the floor, but he then turns out to be a harmless dweeb who has knitted Karen a sweater. Meanwhile, we see another man lurking outside the studio. The episode ends with him watching Karen from afar as she reads a note he has apparently placed on her car windscreen. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen,” she reads. “I would love to have a photo of you … in your birthday suit … My love always.” Karen looks around nervously. At least she’s not dead in a fish tank with her mouth open. Yet.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (3) DALLAS
    3 (2) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    10,453
    Trophy Points:
    9,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +19,225
    Medals:
    12
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Oh, how terrible, how tacky. But I have a soft spot for Callie Ewing so I'll forgive them.
    That's one of my favourite Knots quotes.

    It's not really the same but it reminds me of Jock making a comment about the name Muriel, something like "I didn't know they still used names like that".
    I found it surprisingly catty (and also humorous).
    How very NuBlake Carrington of him.
    Yes, although - admittedly - I have my doubts regarding SoapLand's depiction of how rich people live.
     
    • Funny Funny x 3
  9. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    26 Apr 90: FALCON CREST: Crimes of the Past v. 26 Apr 90: KNOTS LANDING: My Love Always v. 27 Apr 90: DALLAS: The Southfork Wedding Jinx

    FALCON CREST’s Michael Sharpe and KNOTS LANDING’s Karen Mackenzie are both under pressure this week. Richard Channing now has proof, in the shape of Johnny Sacco, that Michael was responsible for his own son’s car crash and makes him an ultimatum: “Have your lawyers draw up a transfer of deed of ownership [of Falcon Crest] or Mr Sacco tells his story … I wonder how Lauren and Anne will react when they find out, not to mention Danny?” Meanwhile, Karen’s self-proclaimed “truest fan” starts asking her to do certain things during the taping of OPEN MIKE — wish him a happy birthday, wear a certain scarf — so he’ll know she’s thinking of him.

    Even though the idea of giving into Richard is an anathema to him, Michael’s desire to start over with his ex-wife Anne and their son Danny (“Keeping the family together is what’s important now”) means he has no choice. Not so Karen: “I would no more wear that scarf than meet that man in a dark alley. If I gave him one clue I’d read those pathetic letters, I’d never get rid of him!” she barks.

    The toll this is taking on Karen is noticeable. She has grown insular, preoccupied, even harsh. She even refuses to sign autographs for waiting fans (although she immediately changes her mind). Only when presenting OPEN MIKE does the familiar Karen — warm, smiling, engaged — fully return. (I’m not precisely sure when I first saw this episode — sometime in the mid-nineties — but the tip Karen’s OPEN MIKE guest gives about snipping plastic six-pack rings before throwing them out, in order to prevent little fishies from choking on them, lodged itself in my brain then and I’ve never forgotten it.)

    Karen’s decision not to do her anonymous admirer’s bidding has consequences. “You didn’t wish me Happy Birthday. You hurt me, Karen,” he tells her over the phone. Shortly thereafter, one of the studio lights crashes to the floor, narrowly missing her. Is this a freak accident or the actions of a super-fan scorned? We can’t be sure. In fact, what sets this “psycho stalker” storyline apart from previous Soap Land ones — Roger Larsen’s pursuit of Lucy on DALLAS; Jeff Wainwright’s of Maggie on FALCON CREST — is that we’re almost as much in the dark as the Mackenzies are. Like them, we don’t yet know (for sure) where the threat is coming from — or how real a threat it is.

    The best scenes on this week’s KNOTS and FALCON CREST take place between a bad guy and his lawyer. Michael Sharpe’s attorney, Ed, has been a supporting character since the start of the season. He’s a vaguely paternal figure who retains his calm, businesslike demeanour in the face of Michael’s many explosive tantrums. Beyond that, we know little about him. He finds Michael, having signed over Falcon Crest, brooding alone in his darkened office and offers his sympathies: “I know how this must sting … admitting defeat. Never easy for a man like you.” Michael shrugs. “Richard Channing isn’t the issue anymore,” he declares. “Life is — a new life with Anne and Danny, weekends in the country, fresh air …” “Sounds great, but it doesn’t sound like you,” Ed replies. “Maybe I’m tired of being me,” suggests Michael. “You know what a burden it is being Michael Sharpe?” “You are so full of it, Michael," Ed scoffs. "I’d fall down laughing if I didn’t think you’d fire me.” “I didn’t know you were capable of laughter, Ed,” Michael replies, with an edge to his voice. “That was never a prerequisite to working with you, Michael,” Ed counters. There follows a tense pause — then both men start laughing. “Come on, Ed, be happy for me! You’ve been married to the same woman for thirty-three years. Why can’t I?” Michael asks. “Because that’s who I am,” Ed replies. “I have one job, one woman, one life. But you’re the future, Michael. It’s a cross you have to bear. This country’s economy depends on you and others like you. Guys like me, we just stand back and marvel — and try to be a part of it.” “I can have it all, Ed,” Michael insists. “Just watch me. Just stand back and marvel.”

    Like Ed, Danny Waleska’s lawyer Scott favours the plain-speaking approach when dealing with his client this week. This means refusing to accept the blame when Danny’s driver’s licence is suspended: “No, Danny — you get all the credit for refusing to take the breathalyser test and refusing to take the blood test … Refusing to take those tests means an automatic suspension of your licence.” “Now he tells me,” Danny mutters in reply, pouring himself a whisky. “You wanna blame your drinking on me too?” Scott asks him. “You wanna blame me for not knowing chapter and verse of the law?” Danny shoots back. “I blame you for evading responsibility for your actions,” Scott tells him — which is what we’ve been waiting for someone to tell Danny all season. “Take some advice,” he continues, before urging Danny to stay away from Val. “Don’t make things worse for yourself.” When Danny sneers at him in reply, Scott offers him one last piece of counsel: “Get another lawyer.” “Hey, you know what they call three thousand attorneys at the bottom of the ocean?” Danny yells to his retreating back. “A good start!”

    Michael Sharpe may have given into Richard’s demands, but that’s not the end of the story. Johnny Sacco then shows up at his front door, stoned and ridden with guilt. Michael’s not home so he mumbles his confession to Anne: “I’m sorry, lady, I’m so sorry … I didn’t know that he was gonna waste his own kid.” The threat against Karen likewise enters her home at the end of this week’s KNOTS when she finds a publicity photo of herself torn into pieces on her dining room table. When she puts the pieces together, she sees the message ‘I HATE YOU’ scrawled across it.

    What Michael craves on FALCON CREST — a devoted wife and son — is what JR suddenly has on DALLAS. “From now on, I plan on being the perfect wife for you,” Cally informs him in this week’s opening scene. “No more nagging or complaining, I’m gonna be one hundred per cent on your side.” James also claims to have seen the error of his ways. “You had every right to run Michelle out of town,” he tells his father. “You were just looking out for me.” “Our little family’s really coming around!” JR exclaims in surprise. “Your little family’s coming around all right,” James mutters once his father is safely out of earshot, “it’s coming round to cut out your heart!” The truth is that Cally and James have teamed up to get revenge against JR and are playing the roles of the perfect wife and son only to lull him into a false of sense of security. When Sue Ellen played the same game ten years earlier, the dramatic stakes felt a lot higher, but it’s still super fun to watch them glare malevolently in JR’s direction whenever his back is turned.

    Of course, JR doesn’t want a devoted wife. After the rest of the family have left for overseas, JR hands Cally a cheque for $200,000 and tells her to get off Southfork once and for all: “I want you packed and gone. I don’t wanna see your face again.” But she gets the last word: “I’m gonna have JR’s baby, James — only he’s never ever gonna hold it or touch it or see it, as God is my witness!” While Cally is making this promise, FALCON CREST ends with Anne revealing a similar secret she has kept hidden from Michael for over twenty years. Still reeling from the discovery that he caused their son’s accident, she strikes back by telling him, “Danny isn’t your child. He’s Richard Channing’s!”

    This is the third such revelation in recent weeks, following the twins’ discovery that Gary is their daddy on KNOTS and Lady Jessica’s casual admission that Atticus Ward was Dusty’s on last week’s DALLAS. Bobby and Betsy appear unperturbed by their paternal bombshell and are happy to run around their new father’s ranch playing with their new camcorder as Gary and Val look on contentedly — until, that is, one of their videos inadvertently reveals Danny lurking in the bushes (a spooky discovery reminiscent of Pat glimpsing Jill Bennett in Gary’s boathouse last season). Meanwhile, after visiting Dusty offscreen, Clayton expresses his surprise “at how calmly he took the whole thing” — the “whole thing” being the news that his father is really his uncle and his psychotic aunt is really his mother, the same mother who has just accidentally murdered his real father. Moreover, Atticus’s death means that Dusty inherits 25% of West Star, but for some reason, he is considered less competent to manage his affairs than his criminally insane mama who is given control of his voting rights. JR is somewhat less calm than Dusty when he learns that Clayton has petitioned to have himself made custodian of these rights with a view to running West Star alongside Carter McKay: “Are you out of your mind?!” JR barks. “He’s the enemy!”

    “You want my advice?” Harve Smithfield asks JR, following the latter’s attempts to gain access to the sanatarium where Jessica is being held in order to persuade her to sign over the voting rights to him instead. “Accept the fact that Clayton and McKay are gonna be partners and adjust your strategy accordingly.” Like Danny with his lawyer, JR ain’t listening. “Harve, there’s got to be some legal way of getting me into that booby hatch,” he insists. “Well, you could have your wife commit you!” chuckles Harve. He’s joking, of course — but a metaphorical light bulb just appeared over JR’s head.

    Several characters have departed Soap Land recently — Sydney St James, Eric Fairgate, Paula Vertosick, Olivia and Harold, Michelle Stevens, Stephanie Rodgers — but none more notable than the original matriarch herself, Miss Ellie, who exits DALLAS this week on a tour of the Orient from which she will never return. “We won’t be gone that long,” she assures Cally, somewhat inaccurately. Indeed, one searches in vain for some sense of closure in Ellie's final episode. The closest we get is Cally referring to her as “the only mama I’ve ever had” and Ellie herself holding a pair of baby booties (a gift to April at her wedding shower) and asking, “Can you believe that JR was once little enough for these?” “Yeah, but I heard his little booties had spikes!” boom-tishes Lucy, who is also on her way off the show and has chosen to spend her last episode of DALLAS for twenty-two years delivering nonstop wisecracks. These include her usual shtick about the Southfork wedding jinx. However, naming the episode in its honour appears has lifted the curse: April and Bobby’s nuptials are DALLAS’s least eventful since Pam and Mark’s in the dream season. Whereas that wedding was billed as the most expensive in DALLAS (and maybe even Soap Land) history, this one is a strictly low-budget affair. It was unusual enough to see the Ewing Oil secretaries as guests at JR and Cally’s wedding, but here they make up 50% of April’s shower — and that includes Kendall the receptionist. (Kendall! In the actual Southfork living room!) Meanwhile, the cardboard patio has never looked cardboardier and a strategically placed wedding bouquet cannot disguise the fact that the actress playing the bride is heavily pregnant. On the plus side, Rose McKay displays some Sue Ellen-style cynicism (“Weddings always did make me cry, but I’ve got a feelin’ this one’s gonna take the cake,” she drawls) and there’s some enjoyable badinage between JR and Cliff’s new date, Liz Adams.

    Liz is an old acquaintance of Bobby’s who has returned to Dallas to sell her late brother’s company. She and Cliff immediately hit it off — she makes fun of his trademark handkerchiefs, he tells her she’s a breath of fresh air. And she kind of is; it’s refreshing to see Cliff hanging out with a woman vaguely his own age. “I don’t want you to go back to New York,” he tells her, “if only because I’ve never met a woman with such a high tolerance level for the real me.” Likewise on FC, Michael doesn’t want Anne to return to New York either: “This feels so right, don’t go home yet.” Conversely on KNOTS, Paige actively encourages Soap Land’s other Anne to go back to Europe. “This is a vacation, isn’t it?” she asks her mother hopefully.

    Meanwhile, everyone’s leaving Southfork — the newlyweds on their honeymoon, the Farlows on their never-ending cruise, John Ross and Christopher to visit Sue Ellen in England and Lucy to run an art gallery in Rome. “Why does this remind me of rats leaving a sinking ship?” she asks, getting in one last corny quip before it's too late.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (2) DALLAS
    2 (1) KNOTS LANDING
    3 (-) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 1
  10. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    03 May 90: FALCON CREST: The Return v. 03 May 90: KNOTS LANDING: If I Die Before I Wake v. 04 May 90: DALLAS: Three, Three, Three (1)

    A week after one no-nonsense matriarch bows out of Soap Land with the minimum of fuss (Miss Ellie embarking on a one-way trip to the Orient), another returns in a similar fashion. Remarkably, the revelation that Angela Channing has awoken from her coma is tacked onto the end of the “Previously, on FALCON CREST ...” recap section prior to the opening titles. “She wakes up like it was just a nap and demands to be checked out,” the nurse who fell under Charley St James’ spell is telling a colleague. “You should have seen her walking down the hall. She wouldn’t even let us notify her family.” The regular cast members don't find out the news until two-thirds of the way through the episode, and even then have no idea where she is. Richard’s reaction is interesting: “I almost feel resentment towards her … It’s like she’s deliberately coming back to interfere with my life.” And then all of a sudden, there she is, standing in the Falcon Crest living room complete with a new hairdo and glitzy evening gown and offering absolutely no explanation for her miraculous recovery. In short, her return is as abrupt and outrageous as her near demise was. In complete contrast, Pat Williams’ comatose state on KNOTS is played strictly by the medical textbook. “Her pupils are fixed and dilated,” her doctor tells Frank solemnly. “Your wife is clinically dead.”

    “I want things back the way they were,” Angela announces on FALCON CREST. “I think Gary and Val are gonna get back together again!” predicts Karen on KNOTS. But with JR and Cally competing to be the first to file for divorce, it doesn’t look there’ll be any such turning back of the clock on DALLAS.

    Each of the soaps has an unusual vibe about them this week. With Angela back and Richard having wrested Falcon Crest from Michael Sharpe, the characters on FC are now divided into two camps: the old and the new. In the former camp, Richard squabbles with Lance and Pilar over who should have control of the winery, with Angela appearing to side with her son. Such inter-family disputes are familiar FC territory, yet this one feels energetic and fresh rather than a tired rehash of old storylines. (I particularly like the way Richard equates his taking over Falcon Crest to the fall of the Berlin Wall: “The liberation of Eastern Europe, Lauren, the world is changing!”) In the “new” camp, Anne Bowen has skipped town after dropping her parental bombshell on Michael at the end of last week’s ep (“Danny isn’t your child — he’s Richard Channing’s”), exactly as Anne Matheson did after doing the same thing to Mack in KNOTS Season 8 (“You’re not Paige’s father, Mack, Greg is”). This leaves Lauren, Genele and Danny trying to deal with Michael, who has shut down completely. The scene where he rejects Danny without telling him why is just really sad. “Did I do something wrong? Dad, tell me. Just don’t shut me out,” Danny pleads, trying to hug the man he still believes is his father. Michael pushes him away and tells him to get out without even looking at him.

    The highlight of the Soap Land week is the scene where Genele finally manages to rouse Michael from his despondency. She does this with a speech that combines elements of the “Get off your butt, JR, we’ve got work to do” lecture Bobby delivered after Jock’s death and Dylan Thomas’s poem "Do not go gentle into that good night”, but with an added dysfunctional twist that could only belong to this season of FALCON CREST.

    “You’ll never change,” Michael is telling her. “Neither will you,” she replies. “Nobody does. We may talk about it and dream about it. We may even try it, but in the end, we can’t change what we are. We can only accept it.” “And what are you?” Michael asks her. “Me?" she replies. "I’m a creature that lives with the constant pain of destroying what it desires. In other words, I’m your twin. Our only hope is to desire something so strong, so cruel, so twisted that it can’t be destroyed. That’s what brought us together and that’s what will keep us together. Come back to life. Be angry again. Find a war.”

    Genele’s assertion that “we can’t change what we are” flies in the face of what we’ve been led to expect from TV drama — the idea of people “growing” from their experiences or, in reality TV parlance, “going on a journey.” Her outlook chimes instead with Shakespeare’s — the sense that characters cannot outrun their fatal flaw and/or the world they were born into. It’s also the common thread that links all of JR’s “fish out of water” escapades during the past couple of years. No matter where he finds himself — on a chain gang or trapped overnight in an elevator or on a mystery mission to Moscow or, as is the case this week, committed to a mental hospital, he is fundamentally unchanged by his surroundings. He remains resolutely convinced of both his own importance and his ability to bribe his way out of trouble. Much like a character from SEINFELD, a show that would help symbolise the ‘90s just as DALLAS had the ‘80s, he never learns from his experiences.

    Bridging the gap between FC’s “old” and “new” camps is Richard and Lauren’s big announcement: they’re engaged! The only apparent obstacle to their immediate happiness is Lauren’s curiosity about Richard’s twenty-year-old affair with Anne, which he is reluctant to discuss (“Who cares? The past is over, it’s gone!”). Nevertheless, Lauren is mere inches away from figuring out that he is Danny’s real father. Meanwhile, Paige and Tom’s wedding plans are underway on KNOTS, where the only obstacle to their happiness is the police allegation that Tom has pocketed a serious amount of cash from a drugs bust. He vehemently denies it — but then $100,000 mysteriously shows up in his bank account.

    Before learning of Angela’s recovery, Richard had invited Lauren to move into Falcon Crest with him (“our Golden Pond”). Now that she is back, Angela raises no objection to the idea (much to Lance’s annoyance). Conversely on KNOTS, Danny has taken out a restraining order against Val and Gary prohibiting them “from coming within one hundred feet of Daniel Waleska or his residence.” It already felt weird for Val to be living somewhere other the cul-de-sac, but now she’s banned from even visiting. Indeed, KNOTS suddenly feels very … un-knotty, with characters locked into their specific storylines — Val and Gary at the ranch, Frank and Julie at the hospital with Pat, the Mackenzies pre-occupied by Karen’s stalker, and Paige and Tom by the allegations against him — with very little overlap in-between.

    The vibe on DALLAS is even odder. For the first time in the series’ history, no-one (with the possible exception of James) is living at Southfork. JR is in the sanatarium, Cally is lying low at April’s and everyone else is overseas. Fortunately, Cally and James — whether he’s ministering to her pregnancy cravings (shaved ice and tomato juice) or they’re both sneaking into Ewing Oil in the dead at night to forge letters from JR to Sly — make an extremely likeable whatever-they-are. The idea of them getting together romantically seems both soapily inevitable and morally unthinkable. Despite their shared desire to strike back at JR, they're both too gosh-darned nice to cross that particular line. In fact, it doesn’t even seem to have occurred to them. It’s kind of sweet that that sort of innocence still exists in Soap Land.

    The “old” and “new” come together very satisfyingly in the final scene of this week’s FALCON CREST. Angela’s and Michael’s cars pull up alongside each other and, Michael having mimicked Angela’s “back window of a limousine slides down to reveal …” pose throughout this season’s opening credits, they both now repeat that same pose simultaneously. “Well, if it isn’t the incomparable Angela Channing,” Michael begins. She cuts him off: “Spare me the chit-chat … Your sister intends to marry my son and together they wanna run Falcon Crest … You can’t stand the idea of Lauren spending the rest of her life with Richard, and I want Falcon Crest for myself … I think we have something in common — to see to it that that wedding never takes place.” He smiles in agreement.

    While Angela plots to prevent her son’s marriage on FALCON CREST, Anne Matheson is anxious for her daughter to tie the knot on KNOTS. Mack is surprised by her concern, which provokes an unusually angry response from Anne. “Everybody judges me,” she snaps. “You judge me. Don’t deny it. You think I’m a joke. Paige calls me a cartoon character whose sole interest in life is shopping. Well, I have never had a facelift and I don’t intend to. And yes, I have compensated for the mistakes that I have made by having fun. But I don’t want my daughter to have to compensate for anything. I want her to do it right the first time and she will do it right if she marries Tom!” It’s an impressive speech (and one that contains what I think is Soap Land’s first reference to cosmetic surgery) — but then the other shoe drops when we hear Anne on the phone to a lawyer and it becomes apparent that she is being just as devious about her daughter’s nuptials as Angela is about her son’s. “They’ve set the date, May 17th,” she informs the lawyer. “Father didn’t want her to know about the trust fund until she got married … Would it be possible to transfer the money directly into her account?” We’ve already seen Anne stealing Paige’s driving licence to open herself a bank account. Twenty-nine years later, Paige, in the guise of Future Alexis, will go one better by simply stealing her daughter’s face.

    Elsewhere, KNOTS demonstrates Karen’s paranoid mental state via the use of thriller-style fantasy sequences. She is shown going about her daily business when she suddenly “sees” her floor manager advancing towards her with a gun or her make-up man doing the same with a knife or, most explicitly, an autograph hunter forcing his way into her car and climbing on top of her. For some reason, whereas the Amanda/Danny rape plot from earlier in the season was given the earnest “social issue” treatment, the not dissimilar threat to Karen is deemed ripe for gimmicky exploitation. This attitude is mirrored within the plot itself by Dianne who leaks the story of Karen’s ordeal to the press, in the hope that the resultant publicity will prompt Karen to quit the show, thereby enabling Dianne to replace her as host of OPEN MIKE.

    Karen subsequently arrives home to find a TV crew harassing Meg on the front lawn. She then launches into an updated version of Miss Ellie’s “get me the shotgun out of the hall closet” speech from twelve years earlier. “You hear a rumour that a plane is down, my two boys missing and with no respect for human feeling or private grief, you come circling around here like a vulture,” Ellie told the reporter she found on her doorstep back then. “There isn’t any tragedy, any accident, any personal grief, no matter how terrible, that can’t be made worse any the presence of reporters,” Karen tells the reporter outside her own house now. Both reporters respond the same way: “I’m just doing my job,” in ’78; “We’re only doing our job,” in ’90. “Then find another job or a better way of doing this one!” barked Ellie. “Doing your job does not mean terrorising a four-year-old. What I saw today is child abuse and I won’t stand for it!” snaps Karen. Had she a shotgun in her hall closet, Karen would undoubtedly call for it at this point, but as she has already made clear earlier in the episode, keeping a firearm in her home is an anathema to her. While there’s not a syllable of Karen’s speech I disagree with, within the context of this episode, there is nonetheless a whiff of hypocrisy about it — KNOTS has clearly been having a ball with all this sensationalistic “woman in peril” stuff, but still feels the need to wag its finger at the press for doing the exact same thing.

    In her imagination, Karen has already faced guns and knives and would-be rapists during this episode. How can reality possibly top that? There can only be one way — “Snakes in a cul-de-sac!” The slithery critters appear in a box of flowers Karen opens. She then wails her head off and disaster is soon averted.

    Unsurprisingly, Dianne’s plan works and Karen quits the show. She is not the only character to forego their celebrity status this week. “Whoever you thought you were on the outside, Mr Ewing, doesn’t matter in here,” Dr Wexler, chief psychiatrist at the sanatarium where JR is currently residing, informs him. Yes, it’s Haleyville all over again — they didn’t know or care who he was there either. At the risk of damning with faint praise, JR’s obligatory psychiatric sessions are the highlight of the sanatarium scenes in this week’s DALLAS. Inevitably, the subject of his father arises. “My daddy was like a god to me,” he declares. “And made you feel inferior by comparison?” ventures Dr Wexler. “No, not inferior,” JR replies. “I just wanted to make him proud of me.” Over on FC, Michael Sharpe mentions his father for the first time. Whereas JR owes his success to a lifetime spent trying to emulate his daddy, Michael owes his to a life spent doing the opposite: “What’s a father? I had one, a scared little man, a three-dollar-an-hour bookkeeper. He taught fear by example. His life scared the hell out of me.”

    JR’s fellow inmates include Bob from the Sumner Group, Harris Ryland from Future DALLAS and a man who laughs maniacally while playing chess with himself, even switching seats between moves to argue with his “opponent.” In other words, this is multiple personality disorder played for yuks. While bemusing, it’s too feeble and creaky a gag to niggle one in the way the double standards on this week’s KNOTS do, or to grate like Melissa’s high-pitched “isn’t mental illness hilarious?” histrionics used to on FALCON CREST. In any case, JR is too focused on his primary objective — securing Jessica Montford’s signature on an all-important document — to pay his new dorm mates much attention. But in order to gain access to Jessica in the women’s wing, he must first tangle with the amorous Anita.

    So it is that JR and Karen end up in similar predicaments at the end of their respective shows. Spooked by the snakes, Karen summons Wayne the Security Guard to her house for protection — unaware that he is the person most likely to be her stalker. While she naps in her bedroom, Wayne the weirdo lurks downstairs. JR, meanwhile, ends up in the clutches of Anita, who is sort of a cross between Marilee Stone and Hannibal Lecter, “a woman with insatiable sexual appetites — by the time the authorities caught up with her, she had disposed of four husbands … They were unable to satisfy her needs.”

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (3) FALCON CREST
    2 (1) DALLAS
    3 (2) KNOTS LANDING
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 1
  11. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    10 May 90: FALCON CREST: Danny's Song v. 10 May 90: KNOTS LANDING: The Fan Club v. 11 May 90: DALLAS: Three, Three, Three (2)

    It’s kind of fitting that the second-to-last episode of FALCON CREST should open with a newly invigorated Michael Sharpe looking towards the future (“Forget about Germany. Reunification, diversification — who cares? I tell you where the money is, in all those Eastern bloc countries whose names you can’t pronounce — Latvia, Albania, Lithuania, Transylvania”) while also hearkening back to the past (“These people are hungry for everything and talk about cheap labour!”) — a reminder that Falcon Crest itself was built on the backs of poor immigrant workers.

    The penultimate episode of DYNASTY a year ago contained a major paternity revelation. So does FALCON CREST’s this week. Whereas Alexis’s announcement that Jason Colby was not Miles and Monica’s father resulted in a glorious punch up, the consequences of Lauren telling Richard and Danny that they are father and son are far more emotionally driven.

    In the same way that Richard Channing was first introduced as the ultimate unloved bastard son, now he rejects his own illegitimate child. “You don’t belong to me,” he tells Danny. “I have never been responsible for you in any way — legally, financially, ethically. You are Danny Sharpe. You are Michael Sharpe’s son.” Tell that to Michael Sharpe. “Danny, we can drop this thing because there was nothing there to begin with,” Michael says, referring to the fact that he abandoned Danny as a baby. “That’s not true,” Danny replies. “You were in my head. I used to ache for you.”

    Richard’s coldness towards Danny causes Lauren to have second thoughts about their upcoming wedding. “I don’t feel good about this marriage,” she tells him. “Our marriage has nothing to do with Danny,” he argues. “Yes, it does,” she insists. “You are always talking about family. Well, Danny is the only family I have.” Tom Ryan is in a similar position on KNOTS. “This wedding is beginning to sound a little silly to me … It’s not every day you have a groom walking down the aisle in handcuffs,” he tells Paige. “So what are we supposed to do — call off the wedding because you’re under investigation?” she asks. “Maybe that’s a good idea,” he replies.

    “Forget about the Sharpes, all of them … it’ll be for the best,” advises Angela, mother of the groom, on FALCON CREST. Of course, she doesn’t want the wedding to take place anyway — unlike Anne Matheson, mother of the bride on KNOTS. “Darling, everyone gets the jitters before a wedding,” she assures Paige, before adding for good measure: “I’m not taking the dress back.”

    Several Soap Land characters have been in comas over the years, but Angela is the first one to come back and tell us what it was like — a million laughs apparently. “It was like a dream,” she tells Chao Li. “Everybody was there. There was Maggie and Chase and Stavros and all the fighting and the bickering was gone. There was just laughter. Everything was filled with laughter.” Let’s hope Krystle Carrington is having as much of a giggle during her Swiss slumber. Once again, KNOTS provides us with a somewhat less romantic perspective on the subject. “Her body won’t continue to function indefinitely, even on life support,” Pat’s doctor tells Frank. “Her heart will fail within two weeks.” “Miracles happen,” Frank argues. “I wish I could tell you that were true. There has never been a single case of a brain-dead patient reviving,” replies the doc. Frank is convinced — but before he agrees to have Pat’s respirator turned off, he must find a way to break the news to Julie. In the event, Danny Waleska saves him the trouble, shouting at him in front of his daughter, “If you pull the plug, you’re the one who’s gonna be killing her, man, not me!” Terrified that Pat’s death could result in him facing a homicide charge, Danny starts packing his bags to leave town — until the sound of a rifle being cocked stops him in his tracks.

    In each of this week’s shows, the youngest character (toddlers excepted) takes matters into their own hands with dramatic results. While twenty-two-year-old James Beaumont pulls off an outrageous stunt that earns him DALLAS’s season finale freeze-frame, KNOTS concludes with schoolgirl Julie Williams aiming Danny Waleska’s own shotgun at him: “They’re taking my mother off life support tomorrow, but you are gonna quit breathing before my mother does!” Meanwhile, the centrepiece of this week’s FALCON CREST is nineteen-year-old Danny Sharpe threatening to jump off the roof of a building.

    Danny’s ultimatum — “I want Michael Sharpe and Richard Channing in front of me … or else I fly” — obliges Richard and Michael to set their differences aside and work together to save “their” son. If the resolution is somewhat inevitable, the three characters involved are each so well-developed and idiosyncratic that the journey towards that resolution is still a dramatically and emotionally satisfying one.

    This week’s KNOTS and DALLAS both pick up where they left off, with Karen and JR at the mercy of Wayne the weirdo and Anita the nymphomaniac mental patient respectively. While Karen naps in her bedroom, Wayne overhears an answering machine message from Mack and realises that his guilty secret has been discovered: “He’s got, I don’t know, a shrine to you in his bedroom.” Panicked, Wayne steals into Karen’s room and sits on the edge of her bed. Karen is startled when she wakes up to find him looking down at her. He grabs her by the shoulders to prevent her from escaping. Anita puts JR in a similar position when she pins him down on her bed and climbs on top of him. But whereas Anita proceeds to then ravish her prey, Wayne tries desperately to convince Karen that all he wants to do is protect her.

    Like Michael and Richard on FALCON CREST, Dianne Kirkwood manages to overcome her feelings of animosity towards her nemesis, Karen, long enough to try and save her from Wayne.

    When JR first entered Anita’s room, he made a discreet search of her dressing table, looking for any sharp or potentially dangerous objects. On KNOTS, Dianne enters the Mackenzie house and searches through their kitchen drawers for something similar with which to arm herself. The large knife she settles on, combined with Wayne’s landlady’s assertion that “I can’t imagine Wayne hurting a fly”, serve to put one in mind of Norman Bates in PSYCHO. Dianne then heads upstairs to investigate.

    Passageways play a significant role in each Ewingverse scenario. Wayne and Dianne are both shown creeping down the Mackenzies’ upstairs hallway towards the main bedroom. This is a familiar setting but shot in an unusual, sinister way to feel creepy and disorientating. The corridor that separates the male and female wings of the sanatarium, meanwhile, is shot more prosaically, but JR is shown sneaking down it several times in his efforts to complete his mission.

    Dianne succeeds in “rescuing” Karen. The only snag is, Wayne turns out not to be the stalker. (I always thought his shrine wasn’t big enough.) While Dianne overpowers Wayne with Soap Land’s first knee in the nuts since Sue Ellen showed JR what for during Season 7 of DALLAS, JR himself eventually manages to subdue Anita by chloroforming her. He then creeps into Jessica’s room and sits on her bed before waking her up, just as Wayne did to Karen. JR then smooth talks Jessica to signing her West Star voting rights over to him.

    While JR manages gets in and out of the women’s wing without anybody noticing, Sumner Group Bob goes one better by escaping from the mental hospital on DALLAS altogether, making a brief appearance on KNOTS, and then returning to DALLAS in time to overshare in the day room. (“I have a streak of sadomasochism," he informs JR. "That’s what the doctor says. He says that I enjoy pain.”)

    Bob is back on KNOTS long enough to join Paige and Mort in regretfully declining Greg’s request for “a volunteer from the Sumner Group to work as a liaison with the West Coast Conservationists.” This leads to the task being assigned to a “defenceless underling”, aka Linda Fairgate, who then comes face to face with Karen for the first time since splitting up from Eric. I really like how Karen, in the mistaken belief that her stalker problem has now been resolved, immediately throws herself back into the middle of the Linda/Michael storyline — now that’s soap opera! “My sons never fought until you came along,” she tells Linda. “Stay away from my family.” But Karen’s interference only makes Linda more determined to land Michael, and she starts reeling him in with tales of how his brother used to beat her up. “I’ve held this in for so long,” she tells Michael passive-aggressively. “I didn’t want your sympathy. I wanted you to like me for who I am, not for what I’ve been through.”

    There’s further female manipulation on DALLAS where Cally puts on a tight, low-cut dress and poses as a ditzy divorcee-to-be in order to charm Mr Berman, the lawyer whom JR has entrusted with the task of getting him out of the sanatarium. These scenes are very light and frothy, especially for a season finale, but at least they’re not as over-the-top awful as when Melissa put a Dolly Parton wig and a thick Southern accent during a similar scenario on FALCON CREST a couple of seasons ago. In fact, Cally’s little wiggly walk is actually quite funny.

    Cally lures Mr Berman back to April’s apartment where James proves to be a chip off the old block by leaping out of the shadows to photograph them in a misleadingly compromising position — the very scam JR pulled on Pam and politician Ben Maxwell back in ’79. James then blackmails Berman into handing over JR’s release papers.

    Like last season’s KNOTS finale, the last episode of this season's DALLAS features only a handful of regular cast members (for the first time since he returned in the shower, there’s no sign of Bobby) and only two storylines. In place of Greg, Paige and Ted Melcher fighting over a key, we have JR in the sanatarium with Cally and James plotting against him. In lieu of the Mack/Paula/smelly skunk subplot, a murky connection emerges between Liz Adams, Cliff’s new girlfriend, and Carter McKay, which is certainly more intriguing than watching a bunch of comedy mental patients playing cards.

    DALLAS only really catches fire in its final scene, when JR is surprised but relieved when James shows up at the sanatarium with his release papers. Then comes the double-cross: James will use the papers to get him released only if JR signs Cally’s divorce settlement first. (“Why, you little turncoat. You’re no son of mine,” JR tells him.) Then comes the triple-cross: After JR signs the property settlement, James rips up the release papers. “You get me the hell outta here, you little bastard!” JR shouts. “No way, Daddy, It’s payback time and you’re in here for good,” James informs him. JR’s response — a mixture of disbelief, rage and fear — is great. James watches as he is dragged away by in the men in white coats, just as JR watched the same thing happen to Sue Ellen eleven years earlier. Cool.

    And this week’s Top 3 are …

    1 (3) KNOTS LANDING
    2 (1) FALCON CREST
    3 (2) DALLAS
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    10,453
    Trophy Points:
    9,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +19,225
    Medals:
    12
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    I know this is not the very best of Dallas, and the cheesy 70s cop show music used in this season's finale scene makes it a little, well, cheesy - but if you watch the first seasons then it's very satisfying to know that JR himself, as the victim of his own masterpiece, is going to end up in a sanatarium. If it was done in a more sinister tone then it would have been a great series ending, imo.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    17 May 90: FALCON CREST: Home Again v. 17 May 90: KNOTS LANDING: Let's Get Married

    This time last year, DYNASTY ended — except it didn’t so much end as stop abruptly. The closest Soap Land has come to a proper series conclusion thus far is THE YELLOW ROSE, but given that show had already adopted a self-contained episode format by the time of its demise, I’m not sure it counts. So the final episode of FALCON CREST has a unique job: not just putting a finishing point on a nine-year saga, but giving each of its characters a happy ending in the process.

    Of course, none of the ‘80s super-soaps was constructed with an endpoint in mind. Instead, they have been fuelled by endless hate, endless passion, eternal feuding and unfulfilled ambitions. Wrapping things up neatly seems to suggest a blunting of those passions, a loss of momentum and urgency. Indeed, during the FC finale episode, there are only a couple of flashes of intense emotion: Pilar’s anger over Angela’s treatment of Lance (“Why do you let her use you? Can’t you see she’s dangling Falcon Crest in front of you like it’s a mirage?”) and Danny’s shock when Michael finally confesses to causing his accident (“You arrogant selfish bastard!”). Mostly, the ep is about characters growing up, learning about themselves and coming to terms with their lives and relationships.

    This is in stark contrast to the opening scene of this week’s KNOTS where the sound of gunfire in the cul-de-sac alerts Frank Williams to the fact that his grief-stricken daughter Julie is aiming a rifle at their neighbour, Danny Waleska. Frank persuades her to hand him the weapon — and for a second it looks like he then might be about to use it on Danny himself.

    After last week’s wobbles, both Soap Land weddings — Richard and Lauren’s on FALCON CREST, Paige and Tom’s ON KNOTS — are back on. In each case, the man giving the bride away despises the groom-to-be. Whereas Mack comes right out and tells Paige, “I think you’re marrying the wrong guy”, Michael Sharpe works behind the scenes with Angela to put Richard under as much financial pressure as possible, in the hopes that Lauren will see how preoccupied with business he can be and call the whole thing off.

    But instead of leaving him, Lauren forces Richard to look within. “You have another enemy,” she tells him. “Who?” he asks. “Richard Channing,” she replies. “Somehow you always end up in the middle of a battle and I am asking you, ‘Is it always someone else’s fault?’ … It’ll never change unless you do.” Richard sees the light (again) and sells Falcon Crest back to Angela, with the provision that his sons will inherit fifty per cent of it when she dies.

    A frustrated Pilar proposes to Lance that they move away, “start over again … we don’t need Falcon Crest and we’re not gonna get it … It’s time to cut the cord.” He’s initially reluctant but then comes round to the idea: “I had a dream about this place, but the dream is over. It’s time to wake up.” Over on KNOTS, Danny suggests the same thing to Val: “Let’s leave.” “Leave Knots Landing?” she asks. “Why not? We’ll go where nobody knows us, where’s there’s no responsibility, no expectations,” he replies. To our surprise, she readily agrees — but it turns out to be a trap set by her and Gary to ensure Danny is caught by the police driving without a licence. Just as Cally and James teamed up last week to ensure JR ended the season under lock and key, so Val and Gary have done the same thing to Danny — although the KNOTS character who ends up restrained by the men in white coats is actually Dianne, who succumbs to an LSD-induced freakout after she is accused of being Karen’s stalker.

    Richard and Lauren’s wedding takes place towards the end of FALCON CREST with all the central cast members in attendance. It’s presented in a stylised, dreamlike way: soft-focus, slow-motion, Father Bob’s voice echoey and disembodied and a synthesised version of the Wedding March. It feels strange, as if we are watching the scene from a distance or as if it has already happened. It also has the effect of, if not eliminating, then at least blurring any remaining antagonism between Richard and Michael.

    The KNOTS wedding is altogether soapier. When Michael arrives with Linda on his arm, Karen becomes the third Soap Land parent to disown her child in the past two weeks. “You don’t belong to me,” Richard told his son Danny on last week’s FALCON CREST. “You’re no son of mine,” JR told his son James in the DALLAS finale. “Tell her you don’t want to see her anymore … or you will not set foot in my house and I will not treat you as part of my family,” threatens Karen. “Mom, I’m gonna marry her,” Michael replies solemnly. Later on, Val and Gary dissolve into giddy laughter in the church after he suggests they re-tie the knot. With an organ version of the KNOTS theme playing discreetly in the background, this feels like a more natural, unforced “end of series” moment than what we get on this week’s FC.

    All this talk of weddings on KNOTS is somewhat ironic, given that Tom and Paige’s marriage doesn’t actually take place. Shortly before the ceremony is due to start, Greg approaches Tom in a vestibule where they have their version of James and JR’s showdown at the end of last week’s DALLAS finale — only this time it’s the older guy calling the shots. “You set me up,” Tom realises. “If you disappear before this corny little ceremony,” Greg tells him, “I’ll get the charges dropped against you. If you decide to stick around for the festivities, well, it’s up to you — you can be a single free man or you can be a married convict.” Unlike JR’s noisy reaction to being double-crossed by his son, Tom mutters just four little words to Greg, “You still love her”, before silently disappearing.

    Mother of the jilted bride, Anne Matheson, immediately zooms off in one of the wedding cars: “Central Bank please, I’m in a hurry!” Meanwhile, the mother of the FALCON CREST groom, Angela, also steps away from the wedding festivities, to look out over her vineyards one last time.

    THE YELLOW ROSE concluded its final episode with a prayer and FALCON CREST does something similar, with Angela voicing a eulogy to her grandfather's legacy over a montage of familiar Falcon Crest locations. The way her face is super-imposed in the top right hand corner of the screen, a smiling, benign presence watching over her kingdom, gives it a somewhat ethereal quality — almost as if she were not here among us, but still somehow existing in that comatose idyll she described last week (and where she appears to have picked up the habit of referring to her former husbands solely by their surnames: Erickson, Stavros).

    There are a few moments in the KNOTS finale that dovetail with the theme of Angela’s eulogy. “I think of all the people who have passed through these vineyards,” she recalls. “There’s Chase, Maggie, Cole and Vicky — and that feisty Melissa Agretti.” “When you’re young, your whole life is new things, first times — your first date, your first prom, the first time you fall in love,” Karen reflects, “and then one day, you look up and your life is full of last times.” “We can’t go back,” Val tells Gary as they discuss their relationship. “So let’s go forward,” he suggests. “The past has its place, but I’ll keep looking to the future,” echoes Angela. As Pat is disconnected from the life support machine on KNOTS, Frank quietly sings an old spiritual song: “Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world … I’m going home to live with my Lord.” For Angela, that home, that Higher Power, seems to be the land itself. “Always the land. People come and go, but the land endures,” she concludes.

    KNOTS finishes off the season with another montage, as Jeff Cameron, Karen and Dianne’s trusty middle man at OPEN MIKE, helpfully flashes back over his crimes and misdemeanours of the past several weeks, thereby revealing himself as the psycho who’s been terrorising Karen. Nor is it the first time: turns out he’s bumped off even more female news anchors than Jessica Montford has guffawing good old boys.

    And this week’s Top 2 are …

    
1 (1) KNOTS LANDING

    2 (2) FALCON CREST
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019 at 4:14 AM
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    10,453
    Trophy Points:
    9,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +19,225
    Medals:
    12
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    Bye-bye Falcon Crest :(
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Franko

    Franko Soap Chat Newbie

    Message Count:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    20
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Dakota
    Ratings:
    +8
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    2019
    So, do Lance and Pilar end up leaving Falcon Crest? And does Angela know? Out of context -- one of these days I'll watch it in-context -- her farewell speech makes it sound like she's expecting the family affair to continue.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

    Message Count:
    2,798
    Trophy Points:
    6,327
    Ratings:
    +4,659
    Medals:
    4
    No they don’t- Lance eventually negotiates himself a piece of the pie. And yes, Angela’s speech is generally an optimistic one.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

    Message Count:
    10,453
    Trophy Points:
    9,250
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    somewherie on the prairie
    Ratings:
    +19,225
    Medals:
    12
    Member Since:
    April 2002
    This made me think, what if Jacqueline Perrault had popped up in an similar bubble on the left, and then tried to montage-show Angela's worst moments.
     
    • Funny Funny x 3
  18. Falcon Crest I

    Falcon Crest I Soap Chat Active Member

    Message Count:
    218
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Ratings:
    +740
    Medals:
    1
    Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran probably didn't even know who Jacqueline Perrault was. However that would have been funny between the two old grandmas, notwithstanding Jane putting her foot down if there was a slightest chance such a scenario arose. The finale as it was provided a satisfying though cheesy bookend to nine years of drama and intrigue. What it did as well was to provide more familiarity to long term fans hearing a good few of the names associated with the show in better years. Of course Jane as Angela Gioberti Channing Erickson Stavros Agretti coming back to the surroundings she loved dearly. "A toast to you Falcon Crest and long may you live!"
     

Share This Page