More Coffee Darlin'?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Angela's Mulled Wine, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Angela's Mulled Wine

    Angela's Mulled Wine World Cup of Soaps Moderator

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    Did Sue Ellen ever utter those words?

    I've heard Linda Gray say in so many interviews that when Dallas first started, the part of Sue Ellen was so small that all she used to do was say "more coffee darlin'. " As result, she and Larry used to bicker in the background in character and the producers liked them doing that so they expanded their roles.

    Is this really true or just some stuff made up a publicist? I've watched the first 2 seasons and I don't recall Sue Ellen ever offering anyone more coffee nor did she and JR argue in the background of scenes.
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    Yes, the idea that Sue Ellen was this overlooked character whom the writers only started paying attention to because of Linda Gray's acting has never quite made sense to me.

    Sue Ellen's role is steadily expanded throughout the mini-series and it's hard to imagine they started filming the show without those scripts firmly in place.

    There's a scene in the mini-series, either in "Lessons" or "Spy in the House", where Bobby and JR are both leaving for work. While the focus of the scene is Bobby and Pam being all lovey-dovey, JR and Sue Ellen are also there, bickering about dry cleaning. It certainly feels improvised.
     
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  3. garry

    garry Soap Chat Member

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    In the episode "Kidnapped" you can also hear that improvised dialogue at the Ewing dinner table where Sue Ellen and J.R talk in the backround about buying cufflinks.
     
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  4. Angela's Mulled Wine

    Angela's Mulled Wine World Cup of Soaps Moderator

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    I'm going to have to watch these episodes again. I thought their bickering was always done centre stage and not in the background. I must have missed this when I last watched those episodes.
     
  5. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah it's worth a re-watch but yeah, it's true. Larry & Linda did come up with their own improvised conversations in the background, trying to steal the spotlight from Bobby and Pam and it totally worked! ;)

    Then again I do think Sue Ellen and JR got some screentime in the mini-series too. They did have that first scene in "A Spy In The House" which showcased really well what JR/SE was all about. Also "Wind of Vengeance" pushed Sue Ellen front and center. So the "more coffee" comment was probably a general reference to how Sue Ellen didn't have much to do in the beginning. Yet I can't think of a time when she said those exact words. If she ever did.

    Another thing I've heard was how Sue Ellen was supposedly referred to as "Brunette On The Couch" in the first episode. But I guess maybe that's how the audience referred to her rather than in the actual script, since in the script for "Digger's Daughter" that I downloaded from Ultimate Dallas it clearly states that her name was Sue Ellen, she was JR's wife and she was sitting in a chair.
     
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  6. Miss Texas 1967

    Miss Texas 1967 Soap Chat Fan

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    Exact words? No. The background stuff is true though, you can see/hear it in the large family scenes, other actors will be delivering their character dialogue and Larry and Linda are there having an actual conversation rather than just doing that whole pretend conversation thing background actors like to do. You can actually hear it if you turn the volume up loud enough, they even subtitled some of it.
    For example, this is from 2x10 Act of Love; the scene opens, it's a family scene and everyone is having their own conversations, JR and Sue Ellen are the most audible though because they seem to actually be talking to each other, not just muttering random words.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    As for Linda/Sue Ellen's screentime, I think she wasn't written as a main character really, but she was nowhere near as secondary as it has come to be assumed in media reports (whether it be interviews or recaps of the characters). Sue Ellen is the first one to really say anything after Bobby explains how he and Pam ended up married, and then she and JR have a few scenes together where it's clear they're trying to show JR isn't a nice guy. Then she's quite prominent in the scenes in Winds of Vengeance, no lurking in the background there. IMO she is given more characterisation than a simple "JR's wife" description. She's clearly a bit of a snob and tries very hard to maintain an "in" with Miss Ellie, but she's also emotionally drained and damaged from her relationship with JR. That's all clear in the beginning. She's no Sam or Tilly, or even Ray. I guess she never had her own storylines until later in the full season though, so in that sense she was more of a supporting character.
     
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