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Was It Daft To Hide The Williams Family In Knots Landing?

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by Angela Channing, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    Picture this. You work for the witness protection programme and have to find somewhere where the Williams family can live without drawing attention to themselves. So out of thousands of potential towns in the USA, you decide to put a black family in the most white community in existence and don't expect them to stand out? Haven't you just made a completely daft decision to put them there?

    Knots Landing was so white that after Jill's death, a witness told Mack she saw a black man watching Jill's apartment and without hesitation Mack visits to Frank to ask him why he was there. Frank clearly must have been the only black man in Knots Landing to justify Mack's assumption because up to that point he had no reason to suspect Frank.

    Doesn't it seem unnecessarily risky to put the Williams family in a area where they would stand out so conspicuously.
     
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  2. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Hidden in plain sight.
     
  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

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    It's interesting: KNOTS LANDING brings in the Williamses to highlight the fact that black people (can) exist in suburbia, and the Williamses arrive in Knots Landing in order to disappear into suburbia. It being a show in which people put out the garbage in Travilla outfits, this feels like a very KNOTSian contradiction.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  4. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Hidden in plain White.
     
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  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    They talked about the family they left behind, but do we know what kind of place/community they used to live in?
    I mean, she was a doctor and all that, and Peyton Place's black family was also a doctor's family.
     
  6. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    Yes, put putting a black family in an exclusively white community just made them stand out and be easily recognisable which was the exact opposite of what the witness protection programme was trying to achieve. It would have made more sense to put them in a more diverse community but then it's a soap opera and soap operas don't have to make sense.
     
  7. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Were they from the East coast? I cant remember? Pat Williams was such an underused character. She was wasted.
     
  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    It must be so confusing to see the ocean from a different point of view.
     
  9. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Sollars family (AKA The Williamses) had lived in the DC area, which is heavily African-American.

    I think you are all jumping to conclusions about the Knots Landing community (as opposed to Knots Landing the series). Just because the four/five families we saw on Seaview Circle were all white, we can't say Knots Landing (the community) was "the most white community in existence". It could very easily have had other ethnic groups represented in neighboring homes and cul-de-sacs. Heck, we didn't see who bought the Wards' house....

    Whatever the case, it would not have been very "modern" for the Witness Relocation Program to pick and choose the relocations based on ethnicity, would it? The federal government had to pass laws banning banks from "red-lining" mortgages (that is, outlawing the practice of refusing to loan money to people of "certain backgrounds" in an effort to pick and choose who got to live where). I'm sure WRP had similar rules imposed on them. Just because they were black did not mean WRP had to place them in South Central.

    If anything, the residents of Seaview Circle (and their various shenanigans) would have had more impact on the choice whether or not to place the Williamses there. A Special Prosecutor for the Governor's office lived there with his wife, co-owner of a luxury resort. There was also a best-selling author living next door whose life was dragged through the media when she divorced a Texas Ewing. The home the Williamses were renting was formerly owned by the wife of an internationally-renowned billionaire and former Senator. All these people would be prominent members of their community, and had the potential to draw attention to that neighborhood, attention the Williamses needed to avoid. There were also the less-glamorous aspects, such as the wife-beating televangelist whose death generated all those headlines, and a couple of visits from SWAT teams over the years.

    KL's producers still wanted us to picture Seaview Circle as this middle-class suburban cul-de-sac, to ignore the fact that the characters had gotten rich(er) and were leading very different lives than they were when we met them in 1979. Perhaps they wanted to introduce the Williamses to reinforce that middle-class aura, and I think they succeeded to some extent. Ironically, I think that if Officer Jerry and Dr. Samantha Sollars (with daughter Jonelle) had moved into the cul-de-sac in 1979, they arguably would have been the most upscale (not "rich," per se) of the families. But that genie was never going to go back in the bottle; like JFL said, they were putting out the trash in Travilla outfits, but they also had very....dramatic lives that occasionally made headlines in their fictional world. If Seaview Circle was considered "anonymous" by Witness Relocation standards, then I have to wonder what places they rejected.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  10. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

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    And when the Witness Protection Woman finds out Mack is living next door, she wants to move the Williamses out of the cul-de-sac, which leads to Pat's terrifically defiant, "I want her to able to play hopscotch on the sidewalk because it's her sidewalk" speech -- which I think, on balance, makes all the illogicalities worth it.
     
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  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    And later on in their plot arc, Frank waxes poetic about where they had moved, lamenting to Pat that he thought they were "moving into a nice, quiet neighborhood like Lake Wobegon where nothing ever happens--where women are strong, men are good-looking, and kids are above average."

    As they say, IOAS ("It's only a soap").
     
  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    True, but it's difficult to describe something based on things we don't see.
    I have no reason to believe that Knots Landing was exclusively white, but I also have no reason to believe that it wasn't. How many supporting black actors were there on Knots?
    Off the top of my head, there was nurse Wilson - I think she lived in something that looked like a trailer?
     
  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

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    Gary and Karen both had black roommates when they were in rehab (or in Gary's case, the drying out clinic) -- an indication of how far they had fallen, perhaps.
     
  14. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    And Michael's girlfriend, but that was an "ooh, I see…." moment (if memory serves).
     
  15. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Star

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    It was actually Eric's girlfriend, who was also Dominique Devereaux's daughter. That would have been an interesting Meet the Parents scenario.
     
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  16. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    "This coffee is stale"
     
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  17. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    If Knots Landing wasn't an exclusively white neighbourhood, why did Mack immediately know a black man sitting in a car looking at Jill's apartment would be Frank? At that point, Mack had no reason to think Frank had any connection with Jill or any reason to want her dead. That scene demonstrated just how easy it was to identify a member of the Williams family when they were meant to be in hiding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  18. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Good question. I guess hiding them nextdoor to Mack and Karen wasn't the brightest idea considering how snoopy they are. I mean once they suspected something was off with the Williams' they kept spying on them, hiding behind their curtains when they thought they didn't see them. :giggle:

    Then as for if the neighborhood is mostly white or african american people I don't know. That Mack jumped to the conclusion that "the black man" was Frank does indicate that there aren't that many black men in the neighborhood.

    Even though technically we've never seen who moved into Kenny & Ginger's house or even that other house across the street that is right next to the Ewing house. It is plausible I guess that there's been an African american family living there all these years but we've never seen them.
     
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  19. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In the period after Gary had thrown Jill out (but prior to her death), Jill was spotted several times on the ranch property, including once when she sneaked into the stables and cut a big chunk out of one of the straps on the saddle for Gary's horse. Jill's delusional plan was to make Gary have an "accident" and she would offer to nurse him back to health. She even rented a wheelchair in anticipation of his "accident". The only snag was that the Williamses had gone out to the ranch for the afternoon, to socialize and for Julie to learn to ride a horse. She rode Gary's horse, and when the strap broke Julie ended up with a broken arm. Pat spotted Jill lurking around and everyone put two and two together. Frank is of course livid that Jill (whom everyone knew as trying to kill Valene) had been responsible for Julie's fall, and in the very next episode Jill ends up in Gary's trunk. So yes, Mack had more to go on than "Oh, it was a black man, so it must be Frank."
     
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  20. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    But Mack didn't know about Jill cutting the saddle strap. It wasn't until he asked Frank what he was doing outside Jill's place that Frank filled him in with the details.
     

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