Dallas Character What made JR the greatest TV Villain?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Sarah, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. Sarah
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    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    I thought this might be a nice tribute today, on Larry's anniversary.

    What do you think made JR Ewing the villain we all loved to hate? To this day there has never been anyone like him. Sure there are bad characters out there, many great ones, but all missing the edge that he had and that certain 'magic' that Larry brought to the character.

    For me, it's his coolness - he had a way of getting his point across without losing his cool and he kept his voice at such a level that you knew he meant business. His presence alone was enough to put fear into his enemies and most of the time he just didn't have any conscience or worry about what he had done - he just fired someone or lost them millions and went home. When you knew he was about to 'strike', it sent chills down your spine.

    Whilst I can't excuse what he did to Sue Ellen, he had a conscience most of the time when it came to his family. Unlike Jeremy Wendell, JR had a human side - he'd protect his family particularly John Ross with his life if he had to. In the end he also admitted the error of his ways with Sue Ellen. That human element balanced with his greedy, evil bastard side was fascinating to watch. He wasn't just 1 dimensional.

    That famous grin, that Stetson (like who can wear a Stetson like that?) and that sexiness made him someone that although a lot of the time I was screaming at him, I was fascinated by him as well. I get the sense that being in his presence would make you feel so protected. You'd be safe (if you were on his good side of course).

    I've watched many tv shows and have never been able to see a villain who matches up to JR in terms of the things I've described. For me he stands alone and how Larry played him was nothing short of genius. The day he died, television as I knew it changed forever.

    :kiss:

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Presea

    Presea Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    He was psychologically complex. JR was neglected by hiss mother and pushed by his father to be the best. They never were proper parents to him and openly favored and gave more attention to the other children. I think that JR just wanted attention from them and it led him to do things in a very big way. Because he probably thought that even negative attention is better than no attention at all. He never learned how to form proper relationships with anybody (not just women), even though he did love his family and Sue Ellen and John Ross. And he was usually cold to other people. JR acted like he felt that he was powerful, but on the inside, I think that he was a lot more scared and vulnerable than he let on.
     
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  3. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Presea, that is a very well thought out post.

    J.R. Ewing is a character that Larry Hagman had to be very careful with. Being greedy and underhanded, yet having enough dimension that we still wanted to watch.

    Even all these years later, I can still clearly remember the voice coming on at 8:59 P.M.

    "Stay tuned to watch Dallas. With J.R. Ewing, the man you love to hate."
     
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  4. Swami
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    Swami Soap Chat Mega Star

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    Such an iconic TV character, and played brilliantly by Larry - not just in the obvious scenes where he displays so much lust for evil, but the tender scenes too.

    Swami
     
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  5. Karin Schill
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    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I think it was the fact that he wasn't just evil, he was also charming and funny. He had a glint in his eye and that shit eating grin that let you know he was up to one of his schemes. He was intelligent, he was protective of his family and he came across as a flawed human being just like the rest of us. But he was rich and he was powerful. He loved his family and cared about their well being. He wanted his father's approval. He was selfish and greedy. He was a complex man who had character depth. He sometimes ended up hurting the people he loved as he had to do certain things to obtain a goal. He could be ruthless. Yet he was a loving father to John Ross. He had a more vulnerable side and an almost boyish quality that Sue Ellen seemed to love. So I think all of this combined with Larry's great acting chops turned JR into the man we loved to hate.
     
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  6. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I think that encapsulates it right there.

    He was evil but he seemed to be having such fun doing it that sometimes you couldn't help cheering him on.
     
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  7. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    You are right about the mischevious grin!
    Fun fact for you:
    During the original run, little 9 year old me wanted to watch with the adults, but was intimidated by the grown up nature of the show, and often was nervous to watch.
    Then we saw the scene where Donna pushes J.R. in the pool, while he is wearing his entire suit and expensive Stetson.

    I was about to cover my eyes because I was scared to watch his reaction. But he just laughed, and treading water he called out,

    "Well, don't go away mad, Darlin!"

    And I watched every single week after that.
     
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  8. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Addict

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    What made JR the greatest TV Villain?

    It's this kind of thread title that tortures me. It is a safe bet during those first several seasons J.R. was at his most menacing/love to hate best however towards the back half of Dallas I no longer feared the character but pitied him. Towards that end Larry was on the treadmill of mediocrity and it showed in his portrayal of J.R. It did become the J.R. show but without those closest to him like Sue Ellen, Miss Ellie, Pam and heck, even Clayton, Ray and Donna the fear and loathing that I so loved about the character was replaced with whimsical J.R. Do I agree with the thread title? No. I see a villain as something else, someone I immensely dislike - not a love to hate relationship. A better thread title would have been;

    What made J.R. one of the greatest characters EVER developed for television.
     
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  9. Sarah
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    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Well EXCUSE me! :loony:I think it's a good thread title and didn't realise the title would be under so much analysis...! Thanks for your comments though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  10. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Addict

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    Your welcome :hat:
     
  11. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    I think that what makes J.R. so entertaining isn't the BIG things he does (such as cheating the cartel in A House Divided). It's more the little things he does-- the subtle lines, the mischevious grin.

    One line that I always think about when I see an argument. I'm going from memory, so I'll quote the best I can:

    Female Character: J.R! I knew you were terrible, but even I couldn't imagine you could do something like this!
    J.R. Well, you just have to work on your imagination, Darlin!

    BWAAAA!
     
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  12. lbf522

    lbf522 Soap Chat Member

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    As its been said, Larry Hagman and the writers were careful not to make JR over the top evil but made him a lovable rogue.

    I sometimes wonder if it would have worked to have made him more ruthless. I hated that the writers watered him down later on. That was a shame.

    Some still think he killed Kristen but I disagree with that theory. My reasons are:

    He said it himself that he never killed anyone not even during the war. I do remember that Ray and Lucy both made a comment about JR having people killed but we never saw it our selves.

    Another reason, I don't buy that he killed Kristen is that if JR were the killing type he would have killed Cliff on that field when he had the chance also if he were to kill anyone, it would have been Pamela who had just kidnapped his son.
     
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  13. Snarky's Ghost
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    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    A lot of it was timing: JR Ewing was American televisions' first villain in a key role.

    PS: a lot of evil people are lovable rogues. ;)
     
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  14. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    What war was that? I don't remember any reference to JR being in the military but it's an intriguing thought.
     
  15. lbf522

    lbf522 Soap Chat Member

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    I believe that JR was in the Vietnam War (Larry Hagman served during the Korean War). When JR had a military guy come into his office, JR greeted to him with "I hope your not here to tell me you have lost my discharge papers."
     
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  16. Ferney

    Ferney Soap Chat Member

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    Yeah, I remember that, and he was talking to Bobby, but what war he talked about isn't revealed. Was the subject Julie Grey, maybe? I forget the dead person in question but pretty sure it was in the early years.
     
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