Over the years I've posted here, I've seen posts suggesting Dallas would have been a better show if they had written the female characters in a way so that they were stronger. I don't know what the value would have been in making them even stronger than they were. People sometimes say they wish the women in Dallas had been stronger, but they never seem to indicate why that would have made the show more enjoyable for them to watch. They may think it would have made the show more interesting to watch, but I doubt it would have been. Strength is either physical in nature or it's a strength of character. Being a strong person in the sense of being a person of strong character includes traits such as self-sufficiency, independence, good self-esteem, and good ethics. Let's take a look at the strengths of the central female characters in the show: Miss Ellie: She was clearly insecure when it came to her adult children. She repeatedly said "I can't lose another son"! Put it in perspective! Most parents say they've lost a child when it dies! A man in his mid-twenties deciding to move out not his own home is not "losing" a son; in fact, you should be happy for him! So you could say she was more concerned about what she wanted than what her children wanted. She told Jock to keep Bobby at Southfork, whatever it took! I guess what Bobby might like to do with his life isn't as important to Ellie as how she'd like Bobby to live his life. That's controversial at best! Then to make matters worse, she told Jock that if he failed to keep Bobby from moving away from their home, she would never forgive Jock. Geez, that's nice! Not only does she want to keep Bobby living at Southfork whether he likes it or not, but now she's applied emotional extortion to her own husband to try to ensue she gets her way! Ellie isn't only insecure about having an adult son move into a home of his own, but she's to the point where she's absolutely neurotic about it. If Bobby decided to buy and house for Pam and him and start a family, and he did it, apparently Ellie would be inhumanly pissed off, she'd wreck her 40 plus year marriage to Jock out of the sheer frustration of not getting her way, of not being able to force Bobby to live with her and Jock for the rest of his life. Ellie's not exactly a candidate for Mother Of The Year. What does that have to do with strength? A strong woman would have the character to realize that she should place her son's happiness above her own preference for having him continue to live with her when he's 30 years old! She must have had a lot of insecurity to not be able to handle something as routine as normal and natural as a son growing up and moving into his own house with his wife so they can start a family of her own. So yeah, Ellie lacked strength in that area, and it couldn't have been much more obvious. Suppose Ellie were stronger and could handle Bobby moving out. Well then you lose that whole story, and that story was fascinating! That first half of season four was one of the most interesting times in the history of the show. So sure, they could have made her stronger, but why do it when you lose so much of what makes the show great? One of the most fascinating things about Dallas is they all live in the same house and because of that, you get to some them interact with each other when having drinks before dinner, at meals, and by the pool. I love the way that keeping them all in the same house allows for the exciting, dramatic interaction between the characters and I wouldn't want it any other way. Why would you not want them to all live there and have all those great scenes that were a result of them all living at Southfork? Pam: She was quite strong and had a good strong foundation of ethics. She was disciplined and obviously considered keeping her body in top physical shape to be a principal concern. She was self-sufficient, choosing to work a job when she didn't have to just because she wanted to do something productive and know that she could make her own way in the world if she had to - that's admirable! Pam was a highly principaled young lady. If you were to compare her to a typical female character in a current TV show, I think you'd find more often than not, that Pam is a far stronger woman than they are. Pam was a woman who had so much strength in her on convictions that she was willing to marry the son of her father's most hated rival! No only that, but she moved into his home! She moved into the ranch of the family her father and brother despised. That took a lot of strength! No wonder Pam is my favorite female character in Dallas Pam had only a couple weak spots I can recall right now. She couldn't have a baby and it drove her to a complete mental breakdown - she attempted to jump off the roof of a building - which led to spending some time in a mental institution. her other main weakness is she was flighty - she was quick to leave when faced with stress. I'm not talking about Gary type level of weakness - Pam was like Hercules compared to Gary in that regard. Nevertheless, Pam did leave Bobby three times, the last two of which resulted in divorces. You might say that wasn't weakness; it was just what she wanted to do. Except that the first time she came back after about a week and was glad to be back. She realized running away hadn't accomplished anything. The second time she actually did divorce Bobby. Still, she ultimately returned and remarried Bobby when she realized that leaving him had been a huge mistake! The third time she divorced him, I suspect she would have come back yet again and apologized for running away, but sine the actress who played Pam didn't work there anymore, that would have been difficult. Suppose Pam had been stronger. The you lose the storylines about her needing a baby, including the excellent story that took place when Bobby brought Christopher home and Pam mistakenly assumed that he was bringing her a baby. That creating an interesting conundrum for Bobby: Was he really going to go through with raising his son's child as his own, taking his brother's right to raise his own child away from him just to placate Pam's insecurities? I tend to take a dim view of child stealing. For someone as self-righteous and sanctimonious as Bobby, I'd think it would have been a nightmare for him to go through with that and have to look at himself in the mirror every morning. If Pam were stronger, we'd have lost all that! Sue Ellen: She's terribly weak in a lot of ways. Her ethical foundation, what her character is based upon, seems to prioritize marrying a man as of high social standing and wealth as possible and then remaining with him no matter what - even if she's miserable, so that she can continue to live the high life by sponging off of his family and using his last name as a way to increase her social standing. It's a way to seem important for a woman who has never actually done anything important. Initially I saw a lot of value in the character of Sue Ellen. Her troubled marriage to JR created a lot of great drama. JR had clearly made a mistake in marrying her; I don't think JR was capable of marriage! JR was too undisciplined to be married. He didn't have the discipline and the moral fiber to remain faithful to his wife, so he never should have married. That's a horrible weakness on JR's part but I've never seen a post suggesting that it would have been better if JR had been stronger in the sense of having a greater ethical base and greater self-discipline. Why do you suppose that is? What is the fascination with making the women stronger as opposed to making the men stronger too, if strength is of such high importance to you? Ray had plenty of weaknesses, yet I've never seen a post that suggests they should have made Ray stronger. It's kind of odd isn't it? Cliff had more than his fair share of weaknesses, but again, I've never seen a post that suggested the show would have been made better if Cliff had been stronger. The thing is, the great stories on Dallas were more often than not the result of a certain character's strength but of their weakness! If you make Pam stronger, maybe she never leaves Bobby, but the you lose the story of her and Bobby finally reuniting, realizing they have always loved each other and decide to marry again. What a great story! Why would you want to lose that? Why would you want to lose the stories about Sue Ellen's battle with alcoholism and her eventual victory over it? You could say, JR isn't the only one who wasn't faithful; Sue Ellen wasn't either. Well if you make Sue Ellen of stronger moral fiber and even though she sees her husband cheating, she won't do it because she refuses to sink to his level, then you miss the great story about the question of paternity regarding John Ross and that exciting story where Cliff sued the Ewings, claiming he was the father of John Ross III. Why would you want to lose that? All these weaknesses in character led to lots of our favorite stories of the show. The weaknesses in the characters made those storylines possible. The idea of a character being strong might seem nice, because in real life it's good to be that way, but it would have killed Dallas! Or at least the show wouldn't have been recognizable. Make everyone strong, then Digger never succumbs to alcoholism and blaming Jock for Digger's on decision to sell his third of Ewing Oil because he didn't have the strength of self-accountability to look and the mirror and say: "You f**ked yourself over"! Then there is no Barnes-Ewing feud. While I think it's very possible to make a great show about very good, strong, self-sufficient, highly ethical people, that wasn't Dallas and the way they made the characters with those weaknesses is what made Dallas the show what it was.