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It's Become Obvious Why Dallas Went Downhill

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    Right around the time when Dallas fell from the top two shows in the ratings was when they started making JR weaker and trying to make it funny when Sue Ellen did something to hurt him. It went on until at time it reminded me of one of those sitcoms where the father of the family is the butt of almost every joke and of course the wife and kids are all much smarter than the man.

    Remembering when Dallas was great really made it frustrating to rematch the series and see JR's power diminished to the point he was no longer even feared, and instead was used for comedy purposes. I wonder whose idea it was to make JR so much weaker and if Larry Hagman ever warned them that this was a very bad idea? He put up with all kinds of things from Sue Ellen that he never would have when Dallas was at its peak. Dallas became the most watched drama series of all time on the strength of the JR character and when they took away his strength and ability to intimidate, the public realized "This isn't the same show anymore"!
     
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  2. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Agreed. My favourite quote is 'without Sue Ellen, JR was much less' - this is why I don't agree that the show wasn't the same after Pam left. It was NEVER the same without Sue Ellen, because of her direct loss yes, but also because of how it affected JR's character. Without powerful JR, Dallas wasn't the same. I remember that Larry Hagman said when the reunion movies returned he wanted to 'make things right between JR and Sue Ellen'.

    The sad thing is, with better writing it could have been so much different. The biggest mistake the show made in my opinion was pairing JR up with Kimberly Cryder. After Sue Ellen proved herself in business, JR and her should have gotten together in business. They would have been dynamite and I firmly believe the show would have lasted longer.
     
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  3. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    But if JR and Sue Ellen got together in business that would have got dull very fast and then they would have to breakup again. Then reuinite, then breakup and on and on and on. JR and Sue Ellen were great when they were broke up, when they were together it was pretty dull. The show was better when all the women were on it, Sue Ellen, Pam, Donna, and Miss Ellie. They all left pretty close together and the show died on it's arse.
     
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  4. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    J.R. was only weak after the Haleyville storyline in Season 12. The decline of Dallas came some time before that, beginning in Season 8 when they were retreading old storylines, changing those storyline events and making them last as long as possible. I'm talking here about the Jenna, Renaldo and Charlie's father storylines, all initially done in a total of 3 episodes in Seasons 2 and 3.

    I consider Pam going into the oil tanker to be the end of what really matters in terms of Dallas.
     
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  5. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    1st nail in the coffin, repacing the irreplaceable Barbara in s7 original, and having a robot stand in for her devoid of emotion
    2nd nail in the coffin - Bobby returning and Lorimar saying it was all Pams dream, most people i knew who watched it switched off then
    3rd - Larry Hagman and Uncle Lennie K getting too much control and power and losing sight off what made Dallas a success, SF, family, relationships
    4th Victoria leaving really was the beginning of the end, followed by Donna, Linda and Barbara - they WERE DALLAS
    5th - second rate substandard actors in the show and silly plotlines
    SJW/ April, Cally, Michelle, James, Rose, et al - like who cares?? not me
     
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  6. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    Yes. Donna Reed played Miss Ellie very differently in the sense that her Miss Ellie was a oil baron's wife first, with all the glamour. Donna Reed's Miss Ellie had Southfork and the land as a sentimental value of her distant past, but now she was a oil baron's wife before all else. On the other hand, Barbara Bel Geddes' Miss Ellie was a woman of the land before anything else, and tough as nails when she needed to be. The fact that she was an oil baron's wife never changed the fact that she was a rancher's daughter at heart.

    I thought Donna Reed lacked chemistry with everyone except Howard Keel and Susan Howard, too. For some reason, it fell flat with others.
     
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  7. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I agree. The previous season cliffhanger was brilliant. We are lead to believe J.R., is about to be shot again until Bobby collapses to the floor - I did not see that one coming. However, when the next season returns something is off. Where is Miss Ellie? Whether you believe the stories surrounding Barbara wanting more money or withdrawing from Dallas due to health reasons I could sense this wasn't my beloved Dallas anymore. We are introduced to - I believe one of the worst additions to Dallas - Jamie, played by Jenilee Harrison. I'll agree I liked the introduction of another Ewing into the mix as we knew little about Jock's family. I just could NOT stand THAT actress. Then we're introduced to Donna Reed. Poor Donna. I felt really bad for her taking on such a well established character as Miss Ellie. It didn't work. What the hell was happening?

    For me this was the beginning of the end of Dallas. By season end we lost Bobby only to be resurrected. Then Pamela leaves. That was the nail in the coffin for me. I loved Victoria Principle as Pam. She went from this lost/shy (but with spirit type) to a powerhouse. The character of J.R., did become silly. How many more times did each episode have to finish with a smiling J.R.? I'm not sure who to blame here. Was it Larry's demand to inject some humour into the show? There is no denying Larry commanded huge wages playing J.R.. I believe this was pivotal in the loss of characters we came to love, Donna, Miss Ellie, Sue Ellen. The budget could no longer afford them. The producers thinking was to inject some youth into the show, Cally, James etc. Who was the casting director at this stage? Lord those actors were terrible.

    I prefer those first several years when Dallas had a more serious tone, with some humour. I loved the dark side of J.R., when he was at his most manipulating, menacing best - not the punching bag he became.
     
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  8. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    i'm sorry i like Donna Reed as an actress but her acting was simply awful when she played her. i haven't seen the whole series yet but no doubt you are all right, did Hagman ever admit later that he got too much power? cause we all know he did
     
  9. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Addict

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    It was frustrating because I thought that the whole idea of the show was supposed to be that JR won everything.
     
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  10. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    i dunno about that but it sure felt like it though
     
  11. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Larry's influence began after the season ending "Who Shot J.R.?," episode. Other posters will correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Larry was in Europe holding out for more money when the return season was about to commence. I will need to return to my beloved DVD's but I'm sure the first scenes we see of a wounded J.R., it's a body double - not Larry.

    Characters can become so polarizing to the viewers that it puts the actors portraying them in a strong position to command higher wages, but at what cost to the overall series. The character of J.R., was only as strong as long as Miss Ellie, Bobby, Pam, Sue Ellen, Ray, Donna and Cliff were there for J.R., to bounce off. Once these characters began to disappear J.R., really had nothing to fight for or against. His character became weakened because of this. My feeling is the producers were too paranoid to reign in Larry, in fear he may walk.
     
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  12. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    the thing is the 1st time did that was yes after that happened i get why he did that. but after doing that every season damn near after that he got greedy. granted he was over-paid as JR as the years went on but so is tv actors today that moron from the big bang theory is making i think i saw today $25 million bucks for that awful show is way too much money. i like when you have stars do shows not for the money but they honestly love the show and it's not about the money. like Nathan Fillion he i don't think made that kind of money for Castle but than he also didn't demand it either his show wasn't #1 either but he also really loved doing his show and it wasn't just the show it was the people as well he worked with. with most of the cast of Dallas it was prolly like that but with Hagman it wasn't about the love of the show it was about the love of money
     
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  13. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    How about Sue Ellen being able to ruin his attempt to takeover Westar in season 11? Even the way he reacted to her deliberately doing that to him was pretty disappointing since he did nothing to her. Then she shot him and he didn't even press charges! I think the JR of the early seasons would have handled Sue Ellen during that whole storyline quite a bit differently. Sue Ellen claiming self defense afterwards "stretches the imagination a bit too far" as Scotty Demerest would have said. She and Nicholas illegally broke and entered JR's home, Pearce assaulted JR even after he drew a gun on him and asked them both to leave. You cannot break and enter into a man's home, have your gigolo assault him, and then get away with it by claiming self defense after the man does just that - defends himself in his own home against violent intruders. Even by TV standards it's just too much to believe.

    Sue Ellen was an important part of the show in the first 8 or 9 seasons but after that she just outwore her place on the show. I actually felt embarrassed for JR because of his constant pleading for her to "give him a divorce." The JR of when Dallas was the number one show on TV would have remembered his father saying "Nobody gives you power; real power is something you take"!

    JR would have had Sue Ellen committed as soon as she started drinking again while he and Mandy were seeing each other, filed for divorce while she was in the sanitarium and easily won custody of John Ross as a result. He would have taken everything he wanted in that situation, including then marrying Mandy. That would have added a much needed change in the dynamic of the show. It would have kept the show fresh and interesting. They just replayed that break-up and reconciliation of JR and Sue Ellen to death! Choosing Cathy Podewell to play JR's next wife instead of Deborah Shelton was a travesty. It turned the show into a comedy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
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  14. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    If Larry Hagman had gotten too much power why did JR end up as "the punching bag he became"as Rove put it? Are we supposed to believe he was tired of JR winning and Dallas being #1 in the TV ratings?
     
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  15. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    IMHO, "Dallas" went downhill when the Duffster said to Pam: "Good morning!".
    Secondly, when Pam got b-b-qued. No Pam, no conflict.

    I respect all opinions, but I think that Sue Ellen´s last season was stupid beyond belief regarding her storylines. She as a character sort of "died" (or got to the climax, to make it sound "sexier") when she and Kimberly voted J.R. out of WestStar and Jeremy back in. All that happened from that moment on, was total lameness (is that a word?):

    - After what she went through with her first divorce, Sue Ellen lets things go the same way: J.R. gets the boy out of the ranch and into a private school so she has to search for him, and she needs a man to do that...Finally, Nick Pierce is good for something. Lame. Chauvinistic. Repetitive from the writers.

    - Sue Ellen shoots her husband after Nick falls off the balcony. She shoots him three times and fails. Lame.

    - Her (very hot) boyfriend Nick is dead, and she doesn´t even cry once, until his mafioso father comes to town for a little revenge. At least, she told him the truth about the "accident"...but she shouldn´t have. Lame.

    - Then she relies on Lucy (you know, her longtime friend...) to bring her John Ross, since Pam is not available anymore. Lame.

    - Sue Ellen sells out Valentine Lingerie after all that time invested in it. Then she begins to do business with Jeremy, who begins to court her. She gets the creeps every time she talks to him, but whatever for a revenge. Lame.

    - Sue Ellen takes John Ross back to Southfork. It wasn´t only another plot twist stolen from the Dream Season (watch "En Passant") but a pathetic way of making her knee at J.R.´s feet. And then she says that she will devote all her life to get even on him. Lame.

    - Sue Ellen finally boos away Skeletor but agrees to date Carter McKay...Lame.

    - Then she is enlightened and realizes that a movie about J.R.´s life would be the perfect revenge plot. What was her inspiration, one of Jackie Collins´ (RIP) trashy novels? Lame.

    - She hires a writer, who becomes the director of the movie too. He´s not only British (which might be a good thing after all), but probably one of the co-stars Linda Gray had the least chemistry with. Not blaming Ian McShane, who deserved a much better role (lucky him, he doesn´t even remember he was on "Dallas"!). Showing what a mess of a woman she is, she mixes business and pleasure, and begins an affair with the guy. Lame.

    - The movie about J.R. is staged so pathetically that the actress who plays Miss Ellie looks more like Donna Reed. Besides, writing the script allows the show´s writers to include some flashbacks from the golden years which will remind everybody how good the show was. Lame.

    - Now Linda Gray has got a sort of look of Adams matriarch and wears scorpion-shaped pins a la Angelica Nero. Lame.

    - To make things even worse, Sue Ellen lets his son decide if he wants to stay with Daddy or move with her to London. John Ross wants to stay (who wouldn´t?). Lame.

    - The infamous threat of turning J.R. into the riot of all Dallas is just a bookend for the Sue Ellen character. If years of scandalous headlines on the "Dallas Press" didn´t affect the Ewings´ reputation, then a crappy movie that looks like a Hallmark Channel flick won´t do it either. Lame.

    All in all, a whole year of lameness. In my opinion, I think that Mr. Katzman got even on Ms. Gray for wanting to leave and made her weaker and weaker...despite the apperances.
     
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  16. darkshadows38

    darkshadows38 Soap Chat Fan

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    we didn't say it was just him, because as it's been said the show became less and less the show it once was and i think he cared more about money than he cared about quality. i think all he saw was the color green.
     
  17. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    You have an interesting list of lame things about Sue Ellen. I'd like to add a few things:

    - After Sue Ellen's history of being in sanitariums, being an alcoholic who got sober but then relapsed multiple times, was partially responsible for Mickey Trotter's death because he wouldn't have been in the car with her if she hadn't been trying to drive drunk, leaving John Ross alone when he had appendicitis and would have died if it hadn't been for Miss Ellie being home, not even knowing who the father of John Ross was until the paternity test, etc, etc we still never got to see a good nasty divorce case where JR drags her through the mud and wins custody of John Ross. How could he possibly fail to win custody in at least one of the two divorces? It would have been hard to find a mother with a worse history than Sue Ellen. So I don't know what is more lame, that she did all those things or that JR fought so timidly in court that he failed to win custody of John Ross in both divorces in spite of Sue Ellen's history.

    -She actually holds a grudge right into her last season for JR having her committed to a sanitarium in season 2 for her own safety and the safety of their unborn child considering she was drinking heavily while pregnant and driving while drunk. She even crashed into a telephone pole because she was driving drunk and almost lost her baby. It would have been irresponsible of JR to not have her committed at least for the sake of his unborn son even if Sue Ellen didn't care about her own health or hurting some innocent person because she was driving drunk (which she did).

    -Her affair with Peter was disgusting. That whole storyline was in bad taste.

    -She turns a $50,000 dollar lingerie store into a lingerie chain worth 30 million dollars despite having absolutely no experience in running a business or even holding a job. Lame.

    -She said "I've earned the right to live at Southfork." Who does that? Stays somewhere they're miserable because they've "earned the right to live there"? Very lame.

    - Worst of all, her philosophy towards life was basically "I'll ruin my own life and any chance for happiness just so I can stay with JR and make him miserable." That is beyond lame! One of the reasons JR was so popular is that he always tried to enjoy his life to the fullest and would never sacrifice his own happiness just to make someone else miserable. I can picture this exchange between JR and Sue Ellen:

    Sue Ellen: What do you think you're doing?

    JR: I'm having a good time! Why don't you?
     
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  18. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Completely disagree. JR and Sue Ellen are my favourite couple and they are dynamite together or apart. I would have taken them in business anyday over the introduction of Kimberley Cryder and what subsequently happened to the show as a result - and I do feel it is a direct result - of JR and Sue Ellen parting for the last time (until JR Returns!). I disagree that it was souly down to Pam leaving that the show went downhill - it was a complete combination of all the women from the original Ewing family.
     
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  19. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    @Kenny Coyote - He did nothing to her?! What show are you watching??! The real travesty is that the writers had him cheat on her again with that idiot Cryder woman and then parted Sue Ellen and JR for the final time - nail in coffin. Without Sue Ellen, JR descended into madness. It worries me that someone can pass the buck onto Sue Ellen, ignoring JR's behaviour.

    I also think it's time to stop blaming Larry - Larry rightfully became the true star because he was just THAT good. I don't think it's necessarily greed, but talent. There are loads of early articles that suggest Victoria didn't take well to 'playing second fiddle', but who knows what is true.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  20. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    You're mistaken. This is what I wrote regarding WHEN JR did nothing: "How about Sue Ellen being able to ruin his attempt to takeover Westar in season 11? Even the way he reacted to her deliberately doing that to him was pretty disappointing since he did nothing to her. Then she shot him and he didn't even press charges"!

    Regarding "Without Sue Ellen, JR descended into madness", that was only one episode and it was two seasons after she left. As far as I'm concerned, the writers had him go crazy because they couldn't think of anything better to do, but it certainly wasn't because he was no longer in an absolutely horrible marriage. If you thought JR and Sue Ellen's marriage was a good one, so good that without her he'd go insane, then I'd have to wonder what show you were watching. How many times would JR and Sue Ellen have to break up and then get back together before you'd find it repetitive and boring? By season 8 or 9 I'd had all of the marriage between JR and Sue Ellen I needed to see.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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