Was There A Prime Time Soap With A Character With As Abrasive A personality As That Of Sue Ellen?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, May 19, 2018.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    It's absolutely amazing how relentlessly abrasive Sue Ellen's personality could be for such long periods of time. I'm watching season 3 and from the time she got home from the hospital after having John Ross up to and beyond where I am now (Miss Elie Saves The Day) almost every line Sue Ellen says is sarcastic in a very nasty, abrasive way.

    She wasn't just nasty and unlikable in scenes with JR. She even treated baby John terribly. She had scenes where family members were trying to be kind and helpful and she still treated them all like crap. One of the most petty, nasty things she did was when Bobby was talking to her nicely who she was holding one of the baby's toys. She for me reason resents Bobby for being helpful so out of anger she purposely drops the baby's toy on the floor breaking it. I've seen lots of things but a mother purposely breaking one of her newborn baby's toys along with refusing to go to him when he cries? She was just an awful woman so much of the time that I wonder if it would be safe to say that even though she had relatively short periods of time when she didn't act in an abrasive manner, in general she had a level of sarcasm, snobbiness, and overall abrasiveness that made her the most abrasive character ever to star in a prime time soap. Dallas is the only soap I ever had time to watch so I'm asking all of you for your opinions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
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  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    She was the wife JR deserved -- and the one he made. That was the point. Linda Gray herself once referred to JR and Sue Ellen as "these two horrible people."
     
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  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I loved all that. All that coldness (and what lay beneath it) was what was so great about her. I'd sooner watch her breaking toys than raising funds for Mark Graison's research centre.
     
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  4. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    So, if you watched other prime time soaps, did any of them have a starring actor in their cast who had, as you put it, "all that coldness", along with all the sarcasm and the willingness to do things as petty and as nasty as breaking her newborn son's toy?
     
  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Linda Fairgate's mother.
     
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  6. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Not exactly. I think Sue Ellen was pretty unique in that respect — it was kind of like the “hatching” of a kind of TV character we’d never seen before (as far as I know).
     
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  7. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Well the whole point with Sue Ellen was to show what effect JR had on people - he made her into a monster. Only away from him could she ever grow.
     
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  8. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    She was wretched most of the time, yes. The type of woman you would do anything to avoid, just flat out miserable and horrible. It wasn't even like vampy devious or diva villainy. She was just that nasty piece of work. Though she was obviously mentally tortured and mentally unstable due to JR.

    Still everything in me, every fibre of my being yells at me to run away from Sue Ellen Ewing. Run and never look back! She's a train wreck nightmare of a woman, but that's what makes great TV.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  9. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    That would have to be Satan?
     
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  10. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Well, she was sort of the anti-Pam - a foreshadowing what happens to women once they marry into the Ewings.
     
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  11. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Oh yeah! She was in full Baby Jane-mode by that time! Why not returning to the sanitarium? If that worked with moi and @Via The Void, why not with her? One can be staying there and be glamorous!!

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  12. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I can't think of any other character who has had those traits that you described about Sue Ellen and I love her sarcasm. :)

    Yet let us not forget that the reason why Sue Ellen acted so cold towards her baby was because she was suffering from postnatal depression. So once again Dallas took a social issue that I guess hadn't really been much talked about before and brought it up to the surface. I love how ground breaking the show was in that way. :)
     
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  13. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    I can't stand Sue Ellen most of the time, and take a sadistic pleasure in J.R. having a go at her. Sue Ellen infuriates me with her wallowing in self-pity, her snobbery, her cynicism and her ultra-low self-esteem. If J.R. represents the unmasked ruthless face of capitalism, then Sue Ellen represents the snobbery of the very insecure upper middle class types. Yet there are still a few times when Sue Ellen can make me smile or feel sympathy. I think I like her most in the dream season. Linda Gray plays her very well.
     
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  14. Victoriafan3

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    That is what made her and JR riveting tv to watch. She had her own show called ‘learn from me how not to be a mother’ ;-). Not helped by the mother that Patricia was to her or the husband JR was. Linda Gray played Sue Ellen superbly indeed. While in the early seasons Sue Ellen was so awful I couldn’t not watch it was great and Terrible at the same time, the dream season really showed her character development and a much softer, less selfish and more confident, useful, stand on her own Sue Ellen. She’s super to watch because of Linda’s brillant portrayal.
     
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  15. Miss Texas 1967

    Miss Texas 1967 Soap Chat Active Member

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    This.

    There were times where Sue Ellen was spiteful and nasty because she was fed up with trying to be nice and getting nothing in return (mostly from JR but from others too). In the period of her pregnancy and after birth she was actually mentally unwell though, her therapy sessions with Dr Elby told us a lot about her thoughts there, her scenes with Miss Ellie before birth too. She spent episodes unable to bear even touching John Ross and it came out that that wasn't because she didn't love him. Remember she even said "I have all these incredible feelings for him but I can't show him" and then Dr Elby encourages her to not be so scared of rejection and pick him up.
     
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  16. lbf522

    lbf522 Soap Chat Active Member

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    The thing with Sue Ellen was her staying with JR as long as she did. Also, she did not mind his being ruthless it was when he cheated on her that she was upset. Now part of what Sue Ellen was was due first to her mother's teachings and JR being a crappy husband.

    Yes she was a snob and her turning on Bobby at times which I did not like especially since he defended her and cared for her well being.
     
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  17. Snarky's Ghost

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    Sue Ellen was an entitled narcissist, one who was sometimes treated badly by her husband yet rarely deserved any better than she got.
     
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  18. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Well, it did and it didn't. The reason the show gave for Sue Ellen's behaviour towards her son wasn't postnatal depression, but that fact that, to quote Sue Ellen herself, "I was used by two cruel men" and that she allowed herself to be used by them. Admittedly, her behaviour would seem to tally with the symptoms of post-natal depression, but Dallas never diagnosed that as the cause. In fact, the only person who mentioned the term was Patricia who was depicted as minimising her daughter's problems by saying "she must be suffering from that postpartum depression -- it's not uncommon." Also, the "cure" provided for Sue Ellen's malady, however you wish to term it, was almost daily visits to an expensive psychiatrist. So I'm not sure how much practical help Sue Ellen's storyline would have offered to someone who was suffering from postnatal depression in 1979. But happily, Dallas was more in the business of entertaining than helping its audience at that time. Had the story been explicitly about postnatal depression it would have lost a lot of its impact. Instead, it was about a group of fascinatingly sick people and their effect on each other.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
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  19. Willie Oleson

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    If only it was so easy to make someone feel better just by being nice to them.
    I'm not stating this as a fact, it's only a "bedroom" theory, but I think misery has the power to feed itself, and when a person starts to revel in his/her own misery than the last thing that person needs is someone trying to cheer him/her up.
    To take this a step further, I could imagine how that miserable person would like to get confirmation how miserable he/she is.

    I'm not posting this to enhance my comment, but I did it myself once.
    I was angry but I didn't know why, so I broke some clay-thing we made in school hoping to trigger an angry reaction from my mother.
    But instead she said something like "oh no, that lovely clay-thing, you were so proud of it". And that kindness infuriated me, because I wanted to be punished and then feel sorry for myself.
    Oops, too much psychological information, but anyway - what Sue Ellen did makes sense to me.
     
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  20. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    And there's the issue of how so very many people derive their identity from their unhealthiness. Sue Ellen certainly did.

    But I guess that's kinda the same thing.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018

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