Watching Season 12 (DVD) for the First Time

Discussion in 'Dallas Season Reviews' started by JROG, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. JROG

    JROG Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    As always, please NO SPOILERS or you will be strapped down and forced to watch all Angelica Nero scenes non-stop forever.

    EPISODE 1: CAROUSEL


    Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

    During production of this season, Leonard Katzman stated that we’d see a very different DALLAS from that point on. It’s not hard to see what he meant: Suddenly, I feel like I’m watching a 90s soap opera. The tone is lighter. There’s a lot more humor – the type of humor that can get out of control easily and overtake the drama. I once wondered if part of the issues the show was facing is how they could move on with the times. Knots Landing certainly did it (albeit very abruptly) with Season 8, by switching from grand 80s soap melodrama to a more earthy, realistic approach. It appears DALLAS has made the switch as well. How successful it is remains to be seen.

    April is a little more tolerable now that Wilson doesn’t have to act vampishly. She never did pull it off. It’s touching that she goes with Cliff to find Pam. The famous Pam look-alike is finally here. I agree, she did look like her in the shadow. My blood pressure went through the roof when she said, "That part of my life is over." I thought they meant it and was massively relieved she was lying. Kercheval did some beautiful work in his reactions. I loved when he went back to Bobby and told him it was a wild goose chase. The whole thing got to me. So sad to see Pam end like this. But just imagine how heartbreaking it would have been had Principal played that scene.

    Clayton and Bobby are worried that the ranch isn’t doing well. Clayton meets Carter McKay, who comes into play when he asks about buying Ray’s ranch. Somehow, I don’t believe him when he says he has no interest in the Ewing ranch…

    It’s kind of hilarious how Bobby spends the entire episode hearing what a shame it is that J.R. didn’t die. Lucy is particularly fun as she ‘chastises’ Sue Ellen for failing. Of course, this has been orchestrated to provide Bobby with a reason to change his mind about allowing J.R. to work with him, but it also rings true that the family would be fed up with J.R. to such a degree that they don’t have much sympathy for him. "Doesn’t anybody care I was almost killed?" J.R. asks bitterly. Honestly, I cheered.

    Sue Ellen gets John Ross back thanks to Lucy's quick thinking. The scene where Sue Ellen, Lucy, and John Ross wave to J.R. from outside the hospital has such a MELROSE, look-at-how-scandalous-we-are vibe. Sue Ellen hires an attorney, stupidly named Gurney, and has one demand: Full custody of John Ross, but no claims to a settlement.

    Not that great of a change? The dumbing down. Detective Kane spends the episode ping-ponging between Sue Ellen and J.R. like a flustered mediator, while J.R. and Sue Ellen try to decide whether they want to press charges against each other. The fact that arrests in a case like this would be made regardless of whether they sue each other never comes up. It’s only at the end of the episode that Kane loses his patience, deigns to mention there’s a dead body to deal with (poor Nicholas. From manly super stud to splattered corpse), and quickly explains away that the D.A. isn’t prosecuting either party in the murder/shooting/assault/break-in. For the audience’s sake, he unequivocally states it’s over. So, in other words, following the massive events of the finale, no consequences, and it’s all wrapped up, unconvincingly at that? We’ve seen that from current soaps. When a drama/soap opera starts skimping on the resolutions and the consequences, that’s when it starts to die. Nothing can be counted on anymore.
     
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  2. JROG

    JROG Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    EPISODE 2: NO GREATER LIFE

    Written and directed by newcomers to the show. For the second episode in a row, we open at the ranch, cows and horses all around. I gotta admit: It’s always nice seeing this side of the show, and of course the location shooting will never cease to be a valuable part of what we see on screen.

    Clayton has decided to sell his refineries (doesn’t he make that decision every year?) and wants Bobby to have them. Hilariously, Cliff also decides to get out of the oil business and wants Bobby to have all his holdings. They have a good laugh over the fact that Bobby can’t just make hundreds of millions of dollars appear. I do really love the Bobby/ Cliff dynamic that has developed over the last few years, bathroom visits and all.

    The Drama of John Ross Ewing continues! And thrilling it is. Not. John Ross chastises his mom for shooting his dad: "I still don’t understand why you shot my daddy, you whore!" Poor booger. His life is such a mess. If it wasn’t so sad, it’d be laughing at the absurdity of the situation. J.R. fires Harry McSween (who is credited as 'Larry' McSween): "If a cop can’t break the law, then what use is he?" Apparently, this is the last we ever see McSween. That made me a little sad. From then on, the Drama of John Ross Ewing continues, torturously detailed, but the show kindly packs it all into one episode so we can be rid of it as soon as possible. At least Sue Ellen's hair and makeup has improved recently.

    The wonderful Tammy Miller makes a surprise return. Oh, I love this. April, not so much. Again dropping her nice girl act, she interrupts Bobby and Tammy’s lunch to ask if she’s his newest untouched-by-J.R. virgin. Tammy’s reaction is priceless. What follows is another contender for worst April scene so far, and definitely Wilson's worst performance: She goes to Bobby's office to apologize for being a twat, and ends up proving it tenfold. She reveals that Pam was found, and she’s with another man, and he’s a surgeon, and she’s going to marry him – on and on she goes in what is supposed to be a stream of consciousness speech but it comes off as a sex doll that’s glitching. "Get the f*** out," Bobby orders and gets drunk. You’d think his next move would be to confront Cliff, but no. He shows up drunk at Tammy’s for a second hookup. Duffy is a hilarious drunk. "I just got out of the shower," Tammy informs. "Oh, I’m sorry," he earnestly replies. "Everything’s ducky!" he later says. This time, their hookup doesn’t feel right and, the next day, Tammy asks Bobby not to come back like that to her again.

    After a walk with Miss Ellie and Clayton next to a river we’ve never seen or heard of before, the decision is made to sell Ray’s ranch to Carter. Clayton takes Carter to Ray’s old house and drives off, after which Carter looks at the camera and smiles evilly.

    Lucy is in the kitchen grabbing some coffee (Tilton shows up with no makeup, a bold choice) when Mitch arrives! The show is so devoid of familiar faces that even Mitch provides for a welcome addition. He tries to convince Lucy to come home with him and they end up having the same boring argument they’ve been having since season 4 and he finally goes upstairs hopefully never to return.

    Sue Ellen lunches with Miss Ellie. Miss Ellie mentions how absurd it is to be doing this since Sue Ellen shot her son about 3 weeks ago, but the show also attempts to downplay the whole thing. Sue Ellen's logic is, they wouldn’t be doing this if she "had really hurt J.R." and Miss Ellie agrees. So… it’s OK if you shoot someone if they recover from their wounds? Good to know! Sue Ellen shooting J.R. was a momentous event, something to rip apart the fabric of the show and to be mined for endless drama… but the show is desperate to make it go away and preserve the status quo. It needs Sue Ellen to stick around (for now) and J.R. to be back at Southfork so it will bend itself and dumb its characters and ignore stuff to make it happen.

    Feeling guilty over Booger’s sadness, Sue Ellen agrees to let him return to Southfork. Thankfully, she’s not ready to leave it at that: The only thing keeping her going is the idea of making J.R. pay. (it’s really weird that, in all of this, she hasn’t once said anything about Nicholas or missing him or avenging his death. Does she even care he’s dead?). First Wendell, now Sue Ellen. J.R.’s gonna have his hands full… by being in bed with what looks like a 15-year-old? Hmmm… Well, at least that shot of Sue Ellen turning around and walking away from J.R. was cool.

    DDD
     
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  3. Barbara Fan
    Sweettooth

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    shes one i fast fwd and always thought she had hair like my Sindy doll (STRAW LIKE) Barbie was much better

    Spoiler alert, there is far worse to come!
     
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  4. Barbara Fan
    Sweettooth

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    yes i always wondered where this was in relation to SF and presume it was filmed on location in Dallas


    yes that was unexpected - didnt think I would see Mitch again in Dallas

    Sue Ellens eyes in this scene were bigger than tennis balls, I always tried to figure how and why!? lol
     
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  5. JROG

    JROG Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Aaaaw, I wish y'all would give Tammy another chance. Her arc with Bobby is one of the things I think the last two seasons got right.

    Come on, now... it's Christmas! Just ... lie to me, for the sake of my sanity! LOL

    They mentioned this part of the river was on Ray's ranch but supposedly the river goes through SF as well.

    At this point, I think they just kept randomly adding stuff whenever a scene called for it.

    I thought the same thing when watching! What was up with that? It seemed like a conscious acting decision... but why???
     
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  6. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Addict

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    Yes, as long as it's dark, there's a resemblance to Victoria. Otherwise, only Cliff makes the scenario work.

    My recollection is that he was brought onto the show due to his friendship with Hagman--but as a villain he (IMO) didn't work.

    J.R. should be leaking like a sieve by this point, which is probably why they had to dispatch with the shooting story so quickly; he looked pretty damned dead after Sue Ellen was finished with him.


    Hmm...

    Yes, although I guess some of the confusion is due to the fact that he had so much financial trouble in Pam's dream. I can never seem to forget that fact when I am trying to recall exactly when Clayton left the oil business.

    Definitely not the same dynamic they had in the show's early years, where Bobby regularly threatened to take him apart!

    Spoiler alert:
    Register or to view Spoiler content!

    Die, April, die. Sooner rather than later.

    It's probably adjacent to where Ray built his new house in Pam's dream, across the way from Bobby's treehouse and gravesite. Or maybe the same place where Ray rescued that calf way back when Mickey was still alive.

    Poor Mitch. Well, not really.

    I much preferred this episode when it was titled "En Passant", perhaps because the Krebbs were still around. :lol:
     
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  7. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Onto the nightmare! I just don't buy all of this JR and Sue Ellen stuff. I mean, she just shot JR three times out of pure rage and nobody even gives a damn! But when Katherine, who had a textbook case of erotomania and (according to her) whose life was over, shot Bobby, she was about to get the book thrown at her! Where the hell was her friendly chat with Miss Ellie!? And poor Nicholas doesn't even get any justice at all here! Mitch was the only character even worth watching here. But don't worry, the worst is yet to come! Ah, ha,ha,ha!
     
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  8. JROG

    JROG Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    EPISODE 3: CALL OF THE WILD

    Wow. Exactly what to say about this episode? Not sure.

    Let’s start with the good stuff: Sue Ellen wanting to rekindle her relationship with Cliff to get back at J.R. I feel that was a natural step to take, and Cliff’s refusal was interesting. After his fight with April, however, there’s a chance he may change his mind. The show remembers Nicholas! Took three episodes but at least it happened.

    The McKay story is… interesting. Very Desperate Housewives before there was a Desperate Housewives. The tone zigzags between serious and whimsical (the stuff with The Redhead) causing a little bit of whiplash. Still, I can’t pretend I’m not invested in seeing how this goes.

    Miss Ellie takes the week off. Boo.

    Casey's finally back and he’s hit oil. I was excited until his character was rewritten: He’s suddenly a pompous, deceitful ass. And this is where trying to review the show becomes complicated: All this fits great in DALLAS. The idea behind it is solid. One can even understand why he’d suddenly be full of himself (big man, big bucks, big dick) and set his goals very high. But the execution of it is so abrupt and poor, it ends up feeling more like character assassination. I can’t even tell if the show wants us to agree with him, sympathize with his big-man actions, or condemn him for what he’s become. It’s muddled and unclear.

    They’ve invested zero time showing us this change in Casey and the execution doesn’t help make up for it. Even if you’re drunk with success, you don’t randomly start saying things like, "Darling, you don’t know how big, and I’m man enough for anyone." The worst of it is when he tells Sly, "You’re just a secretary and that’s all you’re ever gonna be." This is the woman who stood by him, who believed in him when no one else would. She supported and encouraged him no matter what, so for him to say something like this to her without the slightest consideration for what she’s done for him, is complete assassination, and I’m not even sure the writers meant it that way. He could still decide to set his sights higher but find a different way to go about it. Horrible execution. They better fix this, or he can die.

    This also means that Lucy is ending up with another loser. His looking around Southfork went way past ambition to direct villainy, and none of it jives with what we’ve seen of Casey so far. I guess a slow transition would have been too much to ask?

    And then of course there’s the hunting crap (complete with safari jacket for J.R.). I’m not against the idea of the trip (nice callback to The Dove Hunt) but it’s written backwards. Suddenly, you have no sense of there ever having been any trouble between J.R. and Bobby. Clayton hears Bobby will be alone in the wilderness with a gun-carrying J.R. and casually offers a genuine wish that they have a good time (with J.R.?). J.R. is written like a macho, hunting expert (J.R.?). He’s also an excellent shot (J.R.?!!). Gone is the humor that used to subtly poke fun at J.R.’s physical inabilities.

    It’s actually pretty sad to see John Ross’ kind and gentle spirit snuffed out. J.R.’s words are actions are borderline abusive. As a concept, really good. But then John Ross smiles proudly after making a kill in a sudden way that makes no sense based on all that’s built up to it (even if he is proud to have succeeded) and the show is, once more, on his side.

    Then, there’s J.R. himself. First of all, seeing him with a woman that looks 15 max is not only weird, but disgusting. He refers to her as a "beautiful, unspoiled thing" (barf) and then says this of himself: "I’ve been special all my life!" For some reason, Cally is hot for his geriatric ass. They made a point of the fact that she doesn’t know what a Ewing is, so the insinuation is that she really, truly finds him attractive (and not, say, Bobby).

    When you notice Hagman’s name on the Executive Producer credit, it all starts to make more sense. Hagman got himself a "beautiful, unspoiled thing" to play with. I knew this to be the case even before reading Curran’s invaluable book and her entry for this episode: The casting was done with Katzman and Hagman present and that he was instrumental in the development of the Halleyville scenario and the show doing more ‘physical’ stuff. Really? You don’t say?!

    DDD
     
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  9. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Addict

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    Yes, Sue Ellen and Cliff rekindling their friendship was a good, albeit brief, direction for the show to take.

    The Redhead eventually gets a name. And way too much screen time.

    Always a bad sign.


    They must have decided that subtlety wasn't the way to go anymore, which is sad. Alan Beam this isn't.

    Oh God.

    Is this the scene where J.R. makes fun of Gary for reading poetry? Pathetic.

    Gag. This is the "friends and fun" era of DALLAS, when casting and story decisions were made not based on who could act or carry the show, but who would be the most "fun" to play practical jokes with. Vomit.
     
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  10. Barbara Fan
    Sweettooth

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    CALL OF THE WILD - was the descent into "pretty rubbish" Dallas episodes and casting, story lines left a lot to be desired and it seemed to forget why Dallas was a success in the first place. Cally was dire, she sucked as an actress and her relationship with JR made him a bit pervy I thought at the time, she was young enough to be a daughter or grand daughter and it didnt sit right with me at all

    Larry had too much clout and nepotism reigned, I know a few cast rolled their eyes a year earlier when Linda's daughter Kehly got a part! There were no great supporting cast like Audrey landers, Morgan Brittany, Mary Crosby, John beck - just bland, blonde and insipid credentials and ltd acting ability (or none)

    Its funny as I will dig out old diaries from the time and under a Wed - it was always say "Dallas was on - it was great" and Id give a summary re what happened in the episodes, i did that from 1980 onwards

    By the time i got to this season It would day "dallas was on - it was great" - but i didnt really mean it but as id written it for so long i felt i had to continue!! And i no longer summarised

    Cally and Haileyville was a HUGE Jump the shark moment for me, and sadly it didnt really improve - but so long as a few core / original cast were left inc BBG I was happy, but it was far removed from the show I fell in love with in 78/79

    Loving your reviews @JROG - keep them coming ..........................:hugs:
     
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  11. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Call of the Wild is one of the most cringeworthy piece of crap episodes in all of Dallas history. The bad sitcom vibe is in full swing now, and I ain't laughin'. The hunting part was just plain disturbing, and as you mentioned, strange for JR's character, since I always saw him as an office-type guy who doesn't like to get his hands dirty. Heck, he even said back in the early seasons that he had never killed anyone even during his military service, so you would think that that would apply to animals as well. The thing with him and Cally: No. Just no. Funny how he has the nerve to diss Gary when he is the one who is going after girls young enough to be his daughter or worse! Larry Hagman just HAD to have his fun and be allowed full control of the show so that he could make his own twisted little parody-fantasy that was NOT the Dallas that I had enjoyed watching. I give this two thumbs AND all of my fingers and toes down!
     
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  12. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I love how you always just tell it like it is and trash the bad years of Dallas.
     
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