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Was Bobby A Bully?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    There must have been dozens of times in Dallas where Bobby threatened to physically hurt someone if he didn't get what he wanted. There were also a substantial number of times when Bobby did physically attack someone, but it was almost always someone smaller, weaker, and/or older. Mark Graison is the only exception to that who comes to mind, but even with him, Bobby was pretty careful about what he did, since Mark was about Bobby's own size and age. The one time Bobby and Mark fought was at the Oil Baron's Ball, a fight Bobby knew would be broken up quickly, and he also had a lot of family right there to help him if things went badly for him. There was never a time when Bobby chose to fight Mark when there was nobody else around but them. Bobby and Pam were still married when Mark started pursuing Pam and Bobby didn't so much as throw one punch. He punched other, weaker adversaries for far less. Mark took Bobby's wife from him! If I'd been Bobby I would have kicked Mark Graison's ass every time I saw him for exactly that reason.

    Bobby punched people for far less than what Mark Graison ever did, but again it was almost always someone smaller, weaker, older, etc. Bobby's terrible temper was well known and people knew he wouldn't hesitate to start a fight, so a lot of the time, all Bobby had to do to get was way was threaten somebody. It was almost always exactly the same threat: "I'll take you apart" is what he'd say.

    Usually, "I'll take you apart" was a physical bluff that Bobby ran, over and over, to make people scared enough that they'd do whatever he said without him having to actually throw a punch. Just the possibility that he might follow through on it scared people enough that they'd give Bobby whatever he wanted. Using a physical bluff like that is typical of bullies, especially when they've already established a reputation for being violent. When that threat is coming from a big, strong guy like Bobby, it's intimidating. I think Bobby was a bully.
     
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  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Giving Tommy McKay a hiding was different, though. McKay deserved that.

    Swami
     
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  3. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    Bobby is a superficial match to the description of a bully, just overlapping on the "quick to fight" element. Bullies are narcissists who believe they are always right and deserve to get their way and never reflect, or care to, on how their actions affect others. JR, despite the lack of the physical element, is much closer to that than Bobby.
     
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  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Although JR would get someone else to do the physical stuff (Harry McSween etc).

    Swami
     
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  5. Taylor Bennett Jr.

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    At least early on, Bobby only resorted quickly to physical violence with JR - and he did that when JR deserved it by going way over the line with Pam, like when he went on that speech about how Pam's dad was a saddletramp and her mom was a whore. He jumped in to help out Kit Mainwaring when he was outnumbered 4 to 1 and then to fight off the cowboys who were looking to take Sue Ellen to a 'party' to do god knows what, but those were cases of a being a tough physical guy jumping in to help out in a situation that had already escalated to the point of physical violence.

    They may have come from money, but Bobby (a former Braddock High football superstar and UT Longhorns quarterback and a top-notch cowboy in his own right) and Ray were a handful in any bar brawl situation. I wouldn't be surprised had Bobby been there if he and Ray would have come out victorious over the corrupt roughneck Charlie Waters and his 3 friends when they jumped Ray.

    Later on, maybe he indulged in some more unfair fighting situations (I haven't watched some of the the later seasons), but Bobby was pretty noble early on. Also, let's not forget he was the son of Jock, who was just a rough tough old Texas man who would just as soon knock you on your ass as argue with you verbally, if you were man enough. Even at 70, Jock had about the strongest punch in Texas this side of Houston's own George Foreman, as Tom Owens and his boys found out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
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  6. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    I wasn't referring to barfight situations. Those were justified, especially the one where he probably saved Sue Ellen from being raped at that "party."

    Jock was tough and he enjoyed a good bar fight from time to time but he didn't walk around Southfork punching family members. There is no excuse for punching family members, especially when you live with them. Jock always got angry when Bobby would jump JR over a word he said and Jock would jump right in to break it up. If Jock had approved he would have let them fight.

    Bobby should have been a big enough man not to resort to violence just because he didn't like what JR said. Say something back to him! Don't escalate the situation to violence. Bobby's in his 30s and can't rise above a word? I might expect that from children but not a man in his 30s doing it to his 50 year old brother. Besides the considerable age difference, Bobby was bigger and stronger than JR and a much better athlete. Bobby knew it wasn't a fair fight and I got the feeling Bobby enjoyed that.

    That's what bullies like - to be able to intimidate and punch guys they know don't stand a chance with them in a fight. They pick and choose who they can get away with using those tactics. That's why he didn't ever fight Mark Graison one on one despite Graison taking his woman from him.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
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  7. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    Bobby Ewing's short temper is legendary. I'd be winding him up all the time if he was a relative of mine. With Bobby, just say something a bit close to his bone and he's grabbing you and threatening you with physical violence. Bobby is somebody you can usually rely on to help you out, especially if it involves something physical or financial.

    When Jock died, Bobby was brutal with J.R. and Ray, who took longer to come to terms with it.

    In the Battle for Ewing Oil in Season 6 DVD, I sided with J.R. a lot more than Bobby. J.R. starts pumping out oil at full capacity, and everyone wants his blood because he won't tell them what he's doing it for. Bobby falsely accuses J.R. of selling oil to a country on the embargo list. J.R. then opens up cheap gas stations and acts as a man of the people, and they have a go at him for that. Bobby resorts to planting cocaine next to George Hicks on the Texas Energy Commission to change his vote and take away J.R.'s variance. Then J.R., remembering what Bobby accused him of before and having an offer from Walt Driscoll, then starts to illegally ship oil to Cuba. Why was J.R. blamed most for Mickey Trotter getting paralyzed? For me, Sue Ellen is most to blame for it because she drank drived, then Walt Driscoll in the other car, and then Bobby and Ray for setting up the sting operation on Walt Driscoll which set in motion a tragic chain of events.

    And yes, Tommy McKay deserved that beating that Bobby gave him. What Tommy did to April was disgusting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
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  8. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Some people just try to justify the JRs of this world at every turn. As if they need that support.
     
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  9. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    Some people have a hard time seeing Bobby as less than perfect. Pam certainly did. Bobby claimed he hated lies and secrecy but he used them when they suited his desires. I think all the characters in Dallas were flawed. Before Dallas, the "good guys" and "bad guys" on TV shows were more clearly delineated. In Dallas all the main characters were somewhere in between good and bad and the success of the series proved the public was ready for that change. It's more realistic. How many people do you know who are 100% good or 100% evil?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
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  10. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    I agree with you, and this is why placed in the late 1970's and the 1980's, we could accept Bobby doing what he had to do in order to get what he wanted.

    HOWEVER,
    As you said, the public was ready for a change. And we are changing again now. So watching Bobby from this point of view, the 2018 point of view, he does come off as a bully.

    Very good points.
     
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  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Heh. As if that's ever what you're doing.
     
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  12. Taylor Bennett Jr.

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    ha, yeah, I might have had one too many bourbon and branch before waxing rhapsodic about the pugilistic abilities of the Ewing men. It's interesting that Bobby and JR both tried to live up to Jock in their own way, physical dominance and shrewd manipulation respectively.

    I recall at least a couple of times in the early years where someone like Cliff or JR was basically like "for God's sake, are you going to beat me up again?" in exasperation at Bobby's temper.

    Bobby did have a go at Ray, a pretty even match, early on in the Braddock disco... but now that I look at it, it was kind of a sucker punch even if it was at the realization that Ray had likely been messing around with Lucy. (it's fun having the first several seasons on Amazon Prime ready to cue up at the drop of a hat!)
     
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  13. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    And J.R., Bobby and Ray see Jock as something close to perfect, the rock that they lean on, are inspired by and look up to, in different ways. Not Gary, as he sees Jock as a flawed human being in many ways, and wonders why Jock was so harsh regarding Gary's character. Bobby and Ray at least understand Gary's point of view, even if they don't agree with it, and can appreciate that he isn't really interested in being ruthless. J.R. is unnerved by Gary, because Gary is a man who has underlying frustration and anger, with a different outlook, philosophy, politics etc. and who doesn't care about the things that Jock wants him to care about. J.R. is threatened by this, as J.R. feels personally that there is no other choice but to become as ruthless in the oil business as Jock taught him. Bobby, on the other hand, for all his standing up and fighting, and his short temper, is far more predictable than Gary and is close to J.R.'s outlook in wanting to live up to Jock's ideals, so J.R. embraces a rivalry with Bobby.
     
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  14. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Jocks boys (raised by him) had many of his bullying tendencies in one way or another. JR was the most cruel, Bobby had a fairer sense of right and wrong (though in TNTs continuation he lost a bit of that with age) but more personally physical and Gary seemed more of an emotional bully (to weak for much else but certainly narcissistic). Ray seemed to be the most decent, caring and all around good guy - at least to me. But I was always partial to Jock. None of his boys ever lived up to that man.
     
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  15. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I didn’t see it as justifying JR at all but examining Bobby not nearly the saint some would say. For example in the TNT continuation I remember saying JR wanting to get at Southfork oil had family might have seen it as close to evil but the reality is that much oil was a game changer, it would lower oil prices as a nation is a much safer way than off shore and fracking. And if Bobby wanted he certainly could have given the money away to the whole family or even charity. Holding onto that oil underground to me was evil and that was Bobby’s choice with his mother dead. Yet the story would come off as if he was the victim, he was the just party. So I don’t see it as justify JR but holding Bobby to a greater account for his actions as well.
     
  16. Snarky's Ghost

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    For certain people, The Great White Fathers (JR, Jock, Blake, The Donald) must always be validated. Like some used to deify Sue Ellen, no matter her sins. Depends on the poster.
     
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  17. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    Gary is very complex. What makes him stand out differently is how he doesn't hold Jock in awe in the same way as his brothers do, and he doesn't care much about hard work or responsibility, unless he really wants to do it himself. Gary doesn't care much about not living up to Jock's standards, beyond wishing that Jock wouldn't be so harsh on him. But Gary is determined to find his own way in life, and he is very stubborn that way. Gary may be weak at times, but he doesn't have low self-esteem like Ray. He can stand up and fight if he really cares, but there ain't much he really cares about like that, and any attempts to pile pressure on him will see him run off, go into a woman's home/bed to find inspiration, confidence or security from her attitude (Val and Abby especially), or back to the bottle on the odd occasion.

    Bobby has an almost noble sense of duty to do the right thing, more predictably strong, and goes about pleasing Jock differently from J.R., but J.R., Bobby and Ray do have pleasing Jock in their character strongly. Gary seems to care about things that his brothers would have no interest in, like animal welfare, poetry, environmentalism etc. J.R. said to John Ross in Haleyville, before shooting an animal dead "Don't be like your Uncle Gary now", which means that Gary was really pained by the death of animals in hunts. Gary clearly hated that part of hunting, which Jock and J.R. wouldn't have been impressed by at all. They would see it as a weakness, and proof that Gary would be unable to pull the trigger in business or when there's serious decisions to be made in life.

    Is Gary really weak, though? You can make the case that Gary is smarter and stronger than his brothers precisely because he doesn't hold Jock in awe and is therefore his own man more thoroughly and independently. Had Jock still been around in the 1990s, he'd have been very proud of Gary.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  18. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    Yes. What I take issue with is how Bobby, or anyone else for that matter who sees himself as a tough guy, tries to come across that way but picks and chooses his fights only with guys who are older, weaker, or smaller. With those guys, Bobby always seemed to find a need to constantly run that physical bluff - to intimidate and threaten to whip them to get his way because he found it easier to use brawn over brains. Yet he didn't act that way with Mark Graison, did he?

    If a guy wants to be a bad S..O.B. then be a bad S.O.B. 24 hours a day. Don't just pick fights with guys who can't fight back. Bobby would fight them over practically anything; it might not be over anything more than a word or two Bobby didn't like. But Mark Graison took Bobby's wife from him! Mark openly went right after Pam while she was still married to Bobby.

    I remember a scene where Bobby had just spent the night with Pam at her hotel room. Bobby was trying to fix his marriage and get Pam to move back home. When Bobby opened the front door to go to work, there was Mark Graison standing right there holding a bouquet of flowers for Pam and Bobby did nothing. Where was tough old Bobby then? Bobby was on the verge of losing his wife and his son along with her. I thought Bobby said Pam and Christopher were the most important things in the world to him, didn't he? Well standing right in front of Bobby was a guy who was doing everything he could to take them both away from him. When he was finally faced with a man who could and would fight back, Bobby lost his guts. Bobby might have been able to win a fight against Mark Graison but it wouldn't be an easy fight. The price might he might have to pay was just a little too high for Bobby this time. Here was a guy who wanted the world to think he wasn't scared of anyone. Yet when finally confronted with an adversary who was his physical equal, Bobby turned and walked away rather than fight to keep his wife and son. I found that sad and more than a little disappointing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
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  19. Swami

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    I'm not so sure about that. Remember Pam and Bobby's split was to a large extent engineered by Katherine and JR, after all Bobby didn't know about Katherine drawing up the letter until during the time he was recovering from being shot.

    I think Bobby could have handled Mark Graison easily enough.

    Swami
     
  20. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I always found Bobby to be the biggest WIMP on the show!
     
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