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Miss Ellie Trying To Break Jock's Will

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, May 30, 2020.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    I am doing a rewatch of season 6 and I am amazed at how divisive Miss Ellie dared to be at that time and especially with recruiting Pam to be on her side to break Jock's will. That's hell of a thing to do - to try to break her late husband's will. How could she justify breaking Jock's will? A person's will is literally their last request!

    I bet she wouldn't have liked the idea of someone in the family one day breaking her will and thereby denying her the chance to make her last request.

    How could she even let Pam help her break Jock's will when she knew that would divide Pam and Bobby??? She was allowing Pam to help her which meant that Pam was doing her best to see to it that Bobby would never get his chance to prove that he was the brother most capable of running Ewing Oil. That's just a brutal thing to do to Bobby, especially after he told Pam how much it meant to him that Jock had the confidence in Bobby to give the the opportunity to be in a contest with the much more experienced JR to see which of the two brothers was the best suited to run Ewing Oil. Bobby sounded incredibly proud that Jock saw enough in Bobby that he thought Bobby was competition for JR, despite JR having spent his whole life learning the business from Jock so that one day he would be able to take Jock's place inuring Ewing Oil. Bobby was playing football and being a playboy while JR was studying the business while working under Jock. Still, Jock saw fit to give Bobby the opportunity and Bobby was just so grateful to Jock and so proud that Jock thought Bobby might be able to win the contest. That meant the world to Bobby!

    So of course when Bobby found out that Pam was going to try to take that golden opportunity away from him by helping Ellie break the will, their marriage wasn't going to withstand that! It's like you tell your wife you've just been given the opportunity of a lifetime and then behind your back she tries to make certain that you lose that opportunity! If Bobby had done something like that to Pam, can you imagine Pam's response? Imagine Pam was trying to adopt and Bobby tried to prove that Pam wasn't mentally stable enough to adopt, potentially costing Pam the chance to adopt! How betrayed do you think Pam would feel if she found out Bobby tried to make it so she wouldn't be able to adopt and then when she asked him why, he replied: "I really don't think that adopting a child would be good for your the child because you can't handle such a big responsibility." Pam would have been livid! Yet somehow when Pam told Bobby that a reason she wanted to stop the contest is because she was afraid he'd get hurt (the contest was too much for him) Bobby was upset but still stayed reasonably cool instead of blowing up and asking her how she could think so little of him that he couldn't be allowed make his own choices because he just didn't have the mental wherewithal to realize how bad he would get hurt. That's so insulting to Bobby.

    When Bobby asked Pam why she was helping Ellie, one of the reasons she gave him is: Money doesn't mean that much to me. I just want to live a nice ordinary life." Well imagine Bobby telling Pam "Another reason I tried to prevent you from adopting is because children don't mean that much to me. I want us to be able to spend our marriage spending romantic times with each other and not having the stress and the interruptions a baby creates."

    Bobby asked Pam why she was taking Miss Ellie's side against him and Pam replied: "I'm not taking sides and I'm not against anyone; I'm for what I think is right." Whatever she says, a court hearing would pit Bobby and JR against Ellie and Pam so Pam would be taking sides! She would be on the side against her husband. She'd be trying to make sure that Bobby never got the opportunity Jock wanted Bobby to have, the opportunity that Bobby was so thrilled about.

    That doomed their marriage and Ellie has to take some of the blame because she was bright enough to know that if she and Pam together caused Bobby to lose his chance to participate in the contest because she and Pam won out over Bobby's side, that would put Bobby and Pam's marriage in danger. Ellie should never have accepted Pam's help. She should have said something like: "I appreciate you wanting to help me, but if I let you help me, I could be contributing to some terrible consequences to your and Bobby's relationship."

    I also found it very hard to believe that Ellie was so monumentally distraught over her sons being in a contest against each other. Well, it was a contest between her two sons that didn't need to have anything at all to do with Ellie! She should have stayed out of it entirely, especially since watching it seems to upset her so much. If it bothered her, why didn't she just not watch? Instead of not watching, she just had to sick her nose in something that was none of her business.

    Bobby and JR had a troubled relationship many, many times - not just during the contest. It didn't tear up their relationship as brothers though; it wasn't like a brutal fistfight! Neither Bobby nor JR was going to get killed or crippled because it was just a business contest - not a physical fight. Besides, there had been so many times when Bobby had actually physically attacked or physically threatened JR that seeing them in an adversarial situation was hardly new for her!

    Ellie shouldn't have gotten involved at all. At the end, one son would have won and the other would have lost. She could have congratulated the son that won and consoled the one that lost. Wouldn't that have been a far more sensible approach? That wouldn't have gotten Pam and Bobby in such a divisive situation where Pam was helping to take away something so precious to Bobby. Didn't Miss Ellie care if she damaged their marriage by allowing Pam to take her side against Bobby?

    Then in another moment that really makes you realize that Ellie was never a very good mother, she was talking to Donna and Donna said something like she (Donna) might have to stop JR. Miss Ellie gave Donna her blessing!?!? That's unreal. Ellie basically gave Donna a green light to join Bobby's side so Bobby and Donna could gang up on JR: Two against one. Ellie okayed that! Wouldn't you think she'd have said something like: "No, then you and Bobby would be ganging up on JR and I won't permit that. I won't allow any group of people to gang up on one of my sons like that"!

    At that point it became clear to me that the winner in the contest would not necessarily be the one that deserved the job the most; the winner would only be the one that had gotten the most people to gang up with him against his brother. What horrible sportsmanship! Didn't Ellie have any sense of fair play? The winner of the contest should have been the better suited man for the job - not the one with the biggest gang!

    Predictably, Bobby did win the contest, with the extensive help Donna provided him with, and with Rebecca also doing things to help ensure Bobby won, and with Ray helping him double cross Walt Driscoll and with the help that he got from Katherine voting for him to have the Tundra Torque drill bit.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
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  2. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Fan EXP: 1 Year

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    With all that being said, if I was Bobby, I would have made JR a secretary after he won the contest fair and square because if JR had won, he was ready to kick Bobby to the curb. Technically, they’d still be working together. Just as Jock wanted. Lol

    As for Miss Ellie, the contest had gotten out of hand after Bobby And Ray had to protect JR from that Cliff led mob at the Ewing BBQ. THREE people died as a result of that contest. Granted, Rebecca’s death was her own fault though.
     
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  3. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Fan EXP: 3 Years

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    Good post, Kenny. I’m currently on season 6 now, too (though it will always be season 5 to me!). The contest made for great television, but of course as we’ve discussed here before, it makes absolutely no sense for a multitude of reasons.

    Ellie was never rational when it came to family. This was a woman who practically had a nervous breakdown every time one of her grown sons wanted to leave home. And both Bobby and JR needed to cut the apron strings and get their own places. I loved my parents, but once I was an adult, I did NOT want to live with them and have them trying to tell me what to do.
     
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  4. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    It was great TV and that's an example of how good something is and how realistic it is not having much to do with each other. It was believable enough that Ellie would try to break Jock's will, in light of other things we'd seen her do.

    What do you think Ellie would have expected Jock's will to have said about who would own and run Ewing Oil after he died? She said she couldn't understand why Jock chose to do that, but she never once said how she expected Jock was going to handle the situation or at least described some ways he could have gone about choosing which of his sons would run Ewing Oil that would have seemed reasonable to her.
     
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  5. CeeCee72

    CeeCee72 Soap Chat Active Member EXP: 3 Months

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    I couldn't agree more with the original post. It always bothered me that Ellie was so upset over the competition. She had no problem pitting the boys against each other after JR was shot and she pressured Jock to keep Bobby in charge of Ewing Oil to keep Bobby at Southfork. Nor did she ever interfere with Jock favoring one or the other various other times.

    Ellie is one of my favorite characters, but I always felt she manipulated her sons in her own way for her own reasons whenever it suited her.
     
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  6. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    The way Ellie reacted, saying it was tearing her family apart, you would think she had never seen Bobby and JR act in an antagonistic way towards each other. There were very few times in Dallas when JR and Bobby weren't antagonistic towards each other.
     
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  7. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 12 Years

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    Great idea for a thread, Kenny!

    And here comes the Last Kid Picked to stir things up and (respectfully) take the opposing side.

    J.R. felt that Ewing Oil was his birth right, and was determined to win Ewing Oil no matter what. He was making deals that helped him in the short term even though it was doing long range damage to the company. J.R. would rather bankrupt the company trying to win the contest than to hand a healthy company over to Bobby.

    To put a finer point on it: J.R. would burn it to the ground just so he could rule over the ashes.

    So, just to ignite a little conversation, I'll provide Miss Ellie's side. She watched Jock build Ewing Oil and she knew that even though it was a big and successful company, it was always a few bad deals away from being in trouble. She's a smart woman and probably heard enough here and there to know that Ewing Oil might not survive this contest.

    Her other fear might have been that historically, J.R. and Bobby were antagonistic toward each other but they were always brought back together by Ewing Oil and Southfork Ranch. If one brother won the contest and the other brother decided to leave town and start over, then they wouldn't have Ewing Oil or even Southfork to bring them back together.

    I'm not saying she was right, but in her mind the only way to save the family was to end the contest for Ewing Oil before the contest tore everything apart. And the only way to end the contest would be to break Jock's will.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
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  8. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    Thank you @Lastkidpicked.

    That's an interesting perspective. The part that I don't know about is how JR could have won the contest by bankrupting the company. The winner was decided on the amount of profit he generated. Your total revenues minus total costs give you your net income - your profit. It's not often that I hear of a business going bankrupt by making too much profit, but I'm not familiar with the oil business and maybe there is some explanation for how being too profitable could be seen as a liability. I'm not saying I don't believe it's possible he could have been bankrupting the company but I'd like to know what your explanation is. I want to see if it's the same thing I'm thinking it is.

    At the time Ellie wanted to break the will, JR was making a ton of money by opening up a chain of gas stations and doing such a high volume of business that it was the perfect strategy to win that particular type of contest. At that time, the way her to sons were handling the contest, I saw no need for her to get involved and I actually found it highly destructive.

    The problems with the contest really started later on, when Donna got involved in it with the specific purpose of helping Bobby win by getting JR's variance taken away so that he'd have to shut down his gas stations. Then the contest became no longer a matter of which son was the better oilman but of instead it became a contest of which son had the bigger gang helping him. It wasn't until after Donna interfered with the natural course of things that JR started selling oil to Cuba. I don't condone that at all, and it was dumb as hell to take a risk like that, but it was unrelated to Miss Ellie wanting to break Jock's will because it wasn't something that was happening at that time.

    Regarding Miss Ellie's reason for breaking the will, I found what she was trying to do far more destructive than what her sons were doing. For one thing, it created a situation where Pam was actively trying to prevent Bobby from even having the opportunity to compete for the right to run Ewing Oil. When Ellie accepted Pam's help, putting Pam and Bobby on opposing sides in court, that was bound to wreck their marriage.

    There's another reason why I found Ellie's approach destructive: A will is sacred. It is not just a legal document; it's someone's last request. How could she take away her dead husband's last wishes? He built his company and it was right to determine which son would get to run it! Ellie had no plan whatsoever for how to better decide which son should run Ewing Oil. That's typical of something we see in real life all the time: people who complain something isn't good enough but offer no real substance as to how to make it better.

    In most seasons I think Ellie did come across as a smart woman, but in that particular season the way her character was written was...not what she usually was. When she went to talk to Harv Smithfield and ask him to help her fight Jock's will, knowing Jock was his client and he'd written the will for Jock, and then she claimed she couldn't understand why he had a legal obligation to defend that will, it showed just out of her depth she was.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
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  9. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 12 Years

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    Smart question, and I should have phrased it differently. What what I meant was J.R. would rather bankrupt the company then to hand a healthy company over to Bobby.

    We saw a precedence for this in an earlier season. I enjoy that cliffhanger and remember it because Larry Hagman and Linda Gray perfectly nailed the Texas accent on the scene.

    When you think back to the scene, remember it with JR in the perfect Texas accent saying,

    "I'm going to bring Bobby down. I'm going to cut him out. . . If I have to destroy Ewing oil to do it."

    When you re-watch the contest for Ewing oil, you'll notice that Bobby is concerned with the long term health of the company. JR is completely focused on short term and winning the contest at any cost. I think the writers did this to give JR the advantage.

    One example of this was that J.R.'s own experts warned him that he was pumping so much that he was depleting the wells and not bringing new ones on line. J.R. kept pumping those wells to depletion.

    "So what? As long as they are buying new wells then what's the problem?"

    Glad you asked!

    The problem was that buying new wells, which needed to be done, would cost money now and you would not see the profits for over a year. So JR didn't do it because he didn't care what things looked like two or three years down the road, he only cared about winning the contest.

    This was an example of JR hurting Ewing Oil on the long term because he was willing to deplete those wells to win the contest, even though it was hurting the company.

    Now, I'm not saying JR was wrong. I'm just saying that if one brother is willing to do whatever it takes, even if it damages the company in the long run,the to win the contest then that brother definitely has an advantage over the other.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
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  10. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    OK, I'm glad you answered that question because while I'd considered that he was depleting their wells, I figured that he's making so much profit, he'll have plenty of money for buying new wells the next year. What I didn't know was that after buying new wells, you don't see the profits for over a year! That's one of those things that's specific to the oil business that I thought you might have had in mind, but I didn't know for sure. That's very interesting. Thank you!
     
  11. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 12 Years

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    One of the great things about Dallas is that even though we've re-watched the show many times, some of the twists and turns still surprise us.

    Think back to the contest for Ewing Oil. Remember at the reading of the will the look on Miss Ellie's face as she said "Oh Jock, no!"

    Whatever was foreshadowing in that scene was nothing compared to the destruction we saw during the contest for Ewing Oil. People killed, many more people had their lives ruined. It was tragic, but it was great television and holds up even today.

    Now, I'm going to lay a bombshell on you. . .

    Remember again the great scene a few years earlier of J.R. telling Sue Ellen,. "I'm going to bring Bobby down. I'm gonna cut him out, (pause) if I have to destroy Ewing Oil to do it."

    And as the contest went on, it was clear that if it looked like J.R. was going to lose, he would rather destroy the company than hand over a healthy Ewing Oil for Bobby to run.

    Here's the bombshell. . .

    What if a second codicil said, "We all learned the lesson of King Solomon growing up. Two women claimed the same baby. King Solomon said cut the baby in half and each woman can have half the baby.

    One of the women immediately said "No! I would rather give up the baby than see her cut in half."

    King Solomon new that was the true mother.

    (The second codicil goes on)

    "I knew that at some point in the contest, one of my sons would realize the harm being done by the other. And if my prediction is correct one of my sons has at this point said, "I would rather step back and surrender the contest then to allow it to be destroyed.

    The son who says this is the one who truly understands the sacrifice I made building Ewing Oil. That is the son who truly understands that Ewing oil is a living breathing thing. That is the sun who will inherit my company."

    How would that be for a bombshell?
     
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  12. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    Hey @Lastkidpicked, that was very creative! I like it! It would have been a hell of a swerve and also still remained very much in character for Jock to do. The looks on JR and Bobby's faces when they heard that read would have been priceless.

    That really would have changed the direction of how things went after that. Instead of urging the boys to work together, Jock specifically wants the son who gets that concept to be the son to get complete autonomy in running Ewing Oil.

    That also would have been quite a bombshell for Pam, who presumably would have stayed married to Bobby had he stepped back from the contest. She stays and is happily anticipating the "nice, ordinary life" they're about to have, now that Bobby has stepped back from the contest for Ewing Oil, but now she finds out that Bobby is going to get to run it himself anyway! Not only that, but now there's JR to contend with, as envious as he would be of Bobby now. JR would be be capable doing just about anything, feeling like he has been cheated out of rightfully winning the contest and proceeding with the attitude he has nothing left to lose anymore.


    One of the great things about this forum is when after re-watching the show, people are creative enough to come up with new ideas for things that could have been done and present them to the forum so we can get the reactions of the various people who post here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
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  13. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 12 Years

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    I agree! And this is one advantage of doing a re-watch. It is fun to watch and think, "Instead of Dusty doing this, what would happen if he did that?"

    Fun to look back and consider alternate storylines.
     
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  14. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    I love to consider alternate storylines! I can't tell you how many times when I've been re-watching Dallas, I've thought to myself: "I wish that character had said that or done that instead." I think of something different I'd have rather seen them do or say and wonder what the response would have been from the other person the other people in the scene.

    @Lastkidpicked presented his excellent, King Solomon style second codicil alternate storyline for The Contest For Ewing Oil. I'd like to know: How many of you have also got an idea of something Jock could have done as an alternate way of handling the problem of who does he choose to run Ewing Oil? Which of you have some ideas on how you'd have handled the situation if you'd been in Jock's position?

    Do any of you think you could have handled the situation any better than Jock did? What are your ideas on what you think Jock should have done to decide who gets to run Ewing Oil?
     
  15. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    While people are deciding if they have alternate ideas for Jock's will they'd enjoy sharing, I've got an idea of my own.

    If I were going to use an alternate way for deciding who gets control of Ewing Oil, this is how I'd have done it:

    The contest would be given to them just as in the show and at the end of the contest, the following would be read. Unlike what was read in the show, which was just a request, the following is a binding portion of the will:

    Dear JR and Bobby,

    Now you boys understand that you are far better off together than either of you would be alone. You have both learned over the last year that each of you has unique talents and gifts. Hopefully now each of you realizes that the other is and always will be better at certain aspects of running the business than you. You're both very talented and Ewing Oil needs each of you for it to thrive.

    Bobby, I didn't try to stop you when you wanted to go to work instead in solar energy or construction or politics because the best way for you to learn that you're my son, that you've got oil in your blood and always will, was to let you try other careers and let you experience for yourself how far they fell short of excitement of the oil business. You always quit those other jobs and came back so you learned what I had hoped you would learn. Over the last year, Bobby, I hope you've learned you can't be idealistic and run a company like Ewing Oil. Ideals are good. Being idealistic isn't.

    JR, you've shown tremendous dedication to Ewing Oil your whole life. You've proven your work ethic and dedication to the business. When you tried to take shortcuts, you inevitably found that they came around to bite you in the ass (sorry Harv). Whether or not the shortcuts ended up creating money, they always created problems. Over the last year, hopefully you've learned from Bobby that no matter how much you know about the oil business, it doesn't do you any good if you create a reputation for yourself that makes it so nobody wants to do business with you.

    The preceding explains why in life I always asked the two of you to work together. I never pushed the issue because I wanted to give you both the opportunity to make decisions for yourselves and find out what worked and what didn't work. I also never pushed the issue because I had to make my marriage work. Your mother wanted me to allow you the freedom to make your own mistakes when that's what you were set on doing, and you learned from those mistakes! You're wiser now. So, now that are wise, more mature, more experienced adults, you are ready to hear me say:

    I want both of you to run the company together now more than ever, except now it's not a request. I'm not asking anymore. I'm telling you both, that is exactly what I want. Work together and take Ewing Oil to new heights.

    If one brother should quit, full control of the company automatically goes to the other.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
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  16. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 12 Years

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    This would have been a great idea! And it is similar to the letter that Jock wrote, which was read by Punk.

    It was funny, because we get to watch J.R. pivot quickly as the situation changes multiple times.

    A few days before, it appeared that Bobby was going to win the contest, so J.R. agreed with Jock's letter to share the company with Bobby.

    Then, J.R. took the lead, and on the last day of the contest J.R. was about to be declared the winner, but he already agreed to share the company with Bobby.

    Punk: J.R. is going to be the winner. But it doesn't matter because of this letter from Jock that asks the boys to share the company.
    Harv: Yes, and even before the letter was read, the boys agreed to share the company. Right, J.R?
    J.R.: Well, yes, there is some truth to the idea that we agreed to share the company. But that was special circumstances . . .
    Punk (Interrupts him): J.R!
    J.R. That was in the aftermath of what happened at Southfork. Bobby and I were very emotional.

    The whole room looks distressed because it is clear that J.R. is not going to honor the letter from Jock and will take the entire company for himself.

    **BUZZER sounds from Harv's desk**

    Harv: What is it, Janet? I told you I didn't want to be disturbed!
    Janet: There's a Thornton Mcleish here, and he says it's urgent.

    And of course, Thornton is bringing the news that the Canadian fields hit, and this makes Bobby the winner of Ewing Oil.

    J.R.: Congratulations on your win, Bobby! I've never been a sore loser. Not that it makes any difference since we decided to share the company.

    BHWHAHAHAHAHA! That magnificent bastard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
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  17. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    What a great scene that was! Bobby's gamble on the Canadian fields payed off! Interesting how in Conundrum, Bobby has become a professional gambler. Do you think they got that idea from this, or are there other storylines where Bobby's strategy involves a gamble, to some degree?
     
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  18. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 12 Years

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    Good observation! I didn't even pick up on that until you mentioned it.

    The whole business is one high stakes gamble after another. As Jock Ewing said, (Imagine this in his gravely voice):

    "You know this business-- it's a crap shoot. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Jordan, you've made a lot of money with us before, and you'll make a lot of money with us again."
     
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  19. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    I like Jock's attitude. He understands not every deal is gonna make money. Hopefully the aggregate of his deals make more money than they lose. They did, which made Ewing Oil the biggest of the Texas independent oil companies. Jock is the kind of guy you love to do business with because he's experienced, he's among the best of the best at what he does, and he has a sense of cool about him. You're either cool or you're not. Cliff is an example of a guy who never would, never could be cool.
     
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  20. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    I don't remember what people were thinking at the time, but considering Miss Ellie's plan was to sell Ewing Oil and divide the money equally among JR, Bobby, Gary and Ray, did anyone think she was going to be successful in breaking Jock's will? The outcome of contest and court cases is usually to make sure that every character stays relevant. It's why Bobby wins Ewing Oil. If JR wins he keeps it for himself and then where does that leave the JR and Bobby rivalry? It's why Sue Ellen won the custody hearings. If she's not married to JR anymore and also doesn't have John Ross, then what keeps her relevant to the show?

    Here, if Miss Ellie wins there is no more Ewing Oil. A Dallas without Ewing Oil is like a Dallas without Southfork. It doesn't work.
     

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