1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Sue Ellen Always Won Custody Of John Ross

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    On surface, it doesn't make any sense that Sue Ellen would have always won full custody of John Ross, doesn't it? Especially in season nine- the dream season - it seems absurd that Sue Ellen would win custody of John Ross.

    Why does it seem so absurd that Sue Ellen would not only win custody, but full custody, of John Ross in season nine? Only about six episodes before she won custody of her son, she was in jail, having been found literally drinking on the street of a bad part of town with homeless people! In six episodes she goes from undergoing the DTs, to appearing court and convincing the judge that she was the parent who John Ross would be best off living with!

    How does something like that happen? If she'd won partial custody that would be surprising, but it might possibly be understandable. Sue Ellen had gone to rehab for alcoholics after being detoxed in the DT ward of the hospital. Yes, the DT ward. Sue Ellen had become such a terrible alcoholic that she went into the DTs while detoxing from alcohol. That only happens to the most hardcore drinkers and even some them don't get the DTs when they quit drinking. She had gone from the hospital to a rehab clinic for alcoholics and after 4 to 6 weeks, had decided she didn't need to stay any longer. She had a terrible alcoholism problem, she’s got all the money to stay for three months or whatever they offered her, but instead she leaves after only about a month or 6 weeks just to be contrary. As soon as JR said he thought that if the place was helping her, she should stay longer,that of course she wouldn’t stay any longer because she

    Let's take look at the other option the judge had, besides giving custody to Sue Ellen. JR was the father and he was a highly capable, productive man with no history of abusing drugs or alcohol. Anyone would have testifies that JR was an excellent father .

    If JR had gotten custody of his son, that would mean that John Ross would get to live not only with his father, but the judge would be sending John Ross to live with his grandmother Miss Ellie and Clayton, who was like a grandfather to John Ross! He’d also have his uncle Ray and aunt Donna nearby, and his cousin Lucy was never gone for too long. How is John Ross living just with Sue Ellen preferable in the mind the judge to living with JR and all the rest of the relatives John Ross had at and around Southfork? The ranch was the only home he’d ever know, he loved the horses, and he was already going through such a difficult time with his parents getting a divorce, why make things harder on the kid by also forcing him to move from his home and all his relatives there?

    Generally a judge asks that a parent who wants to get custody have at lest one full year of sobriety! Why them did Sue Ellen always win her custody battles against JR? There is just a good reason: It was done to keep the character of Sue Ellen relevant. Sue Ellen would not have been relevant enough to the show if she had lost custody, to warrant continuing to pay her salary. To be relevant she had to either work at Ewing Oil, work against Ewing Oil with Cliff or Wendell, or at least live at Southfork. Since she wasn’t expected to live at Southfork anymore, the only way they could keep her relevant was to give her something JR something he desperately, such as custody of their son.

    Again, why make it so unrealistic that Sue Ellen would win overss being in Sue Ellen’s custody also made it a huge threat when she started dating. What if she started seeing Cliff? he could potentially become John Ross’ new stepfather! Can you imagine JR’s reaction to that? Yes, having her receive full custody still made her important to the story and that’s why they wrote the script to that the judge awarded custody to Sue Ellen.

    Whenever there is a custody battle or some other form of contest in Dallas, always look for the underdog to win and for the same reason - so the character remains relevant! When JR and Bobby had the big contest for Ewing Oil, all the oilmen thought JR would whip Bobby and I think most of the fans agreed thatJR would likely win the contest. They couldn’t have JR win the contest though, because he didn’t have Boby’s generous nature and wouldn’t have shared the company with Bobby.

    Since JR would have run Ewing Oil all by himself, then the character of Bobby doesn’t have much to do in the story anymore. Pam had already abandoned him. She’d taken Christopher with her too! So, Bobby wouldn’t have had a job at Ewing Oil, a wife or a son at home. They needed Bobby to win so that the rivalry between JR and Bobby could continue. That is one of the most important rivalries in the whole show. If JR wins the contest, it would have been very difficult continue that exciting, fun to watch rivalry. Whoever needs to win any type of contest or battle so that their character will still have interesting things to do that relate to the story
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Supreme EXP: 16 Years

    Threads:
    669
    Messages:
    12,763
    Trophy Points:
    5,142
    Occupation:
    Civil Servant
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +11,003
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    The one occasion where JR had so much ammunition against Sue Ellen in terms of getting custody was when Miss Ellie went to court with him, and she had told him that she didn't want any mud-slinging in court. As a result, JR had to sit on and do nothing, basically.

    Swami
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

    Threads:
    541
    Messages:
    7,577
    Trophy Points:
    6,642
    Occupation:
    INFJ
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +9,700
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Women are given full custody of their children 85% of the time during a divorce, regardless of her fitness to be a custodial parent. But JR's money would have likely changed that -- including him giving her financial perks to let him keep John Ross or at least share the parental duties.
     
  4. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Fan EXP: 1 Year

    Threads:
    31
    Messages:
    388
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Ratings:
    +494
    Sue Ellen might have had her faults, but JR wasn’t exactly a good alternative.

    As Miss Ellie told him once, “Bring him home to what? To see him a couple of minutes in the morning and at night and to be raised my a maid?”

    JR cuts in, “I thought you and daddy could...”

    Miss Ellie, “Me and Jock are too old to raise another grand child.”
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. CeeCee72

    CeeCee72 Soap Chat Active Member EXP: 3 Months

    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    213
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    USA
    Ratings:
    +365
    Custody of John Ross was the one plot line the writers used over and over to keep Sue Ellen and JR together.

    After the first divorce, he romanced her like crazy to get him back. During the Mandy Winger thing? It was used as a plot device to keep JR from leaving Sue Ellen for good.

    It made no sense that she always had the upper hand in custody battles, given all the Ewing power and money.

    As far as Miss Ellie ordering JR not to sling mud, I have a hard time believing that would stop JR if he REALLY wanted Sue Ellen disqualified as a custodial parent.

    JR threatened to leave Sue Ellen over and over but he never did. Every time they split, SHE left him. He was a horrible husband, but he loved her (we see flashes of it all across the series) and he definitely loved John Ross. I think for all his threats and bluster he never fought her tooth and nail because 1) he never truly intended to divorce her and 2) he loved his son enough to understand he needed his mother.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Justine

    Justine Soap Chat Well-Known Member EXP: 3 Years

    Threads:
    24
    Messages:
    583
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Location:
    U.K.
    Ratings:
    +866
    Yeah, I have to wonder how Sue Ellen won custody of John Ross the second time around - it doesn't seem plausible to me.

    Obviously in the first divorce, she won because J.R. didn't even try to contest her ability as a parent but by the time we reached the dream season she had a long-standing history of alcohol abuse that had only recently been resolved. The writers didn't ever really touch on the trauma that would have caused John Ross (aside from the whole summer-camp storyline, which was really not even about John Ross) but there's also the added trauma that John Ross had to leave Southfork, his childhood time, and the family he had been surrounded by since birth - to live with Patricia Shepard, the Grandmother he didn't know well at all. At the very least, J.R. should have received full custody to be reviewed once Sue Ellen had evidenced 12 months of sobriety.
     
  7. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    Is that regardless of the age of the child or only for children who are pre-schoolers? I can understand that a woman is more qualified to take care of an infant than a man because she can feed the child and has maternal instincts for taking care of babies. Once the child is several years old, I believe that men and women should get equal custody, unless for example, one parent is an alcoholic. Considering Sue Ellen had just gotten out of rehab, I would think that at most she might get visitation a couple days a week. The only reason I think they had the judge decide Sue Ellen was the parent most capable and dependable, was too keep her part of the story.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

    Threads:
    541
    Messages:
    7,577
    Trophy Points:
    6,642
    Occupation:
    INFJ
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +9,700
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Yes. It's not really about the needs of the child.
     
  9. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    They don't touch on any trauma that might have caused John Ross for a similar reason that Sue Ellen wins custody despite just having recently been in rehab for alcoholism. If they had Sue Ellen lose custody, then what they do with Linda Gray to keep her in the main story?

    If they had decided to have a storyline about John Ross for a long period of they're putting a little kid who isn't part of the main cast at the center of the storyline. What if he hasn't yet become a good enough actor to be the featured actor in a major storyline?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Miss Texas 1967

    Miss Texas 1967 Soap Chat Well-Known Member EXP: 5 Years

    Threads:
    6
    Messages:
    644
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Ratings:
    +1,046
    Member Since:
    2014
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    I'm sure the law was weighted, but it would take a hell of a lot of weight to make it so the the judge thinks the kid belongs with the parent who is an alcoholic instead of the one who isn't. Then in addition to having that one responsible dependable parent in JR, the kid also has all that extra family living with him right in the same house!

    The only reason I think they had Sue Ellen win is they wouldn't have known what to do with the character if she lost. If she's not involved with the Ewings, then of what value is she to the show? She has to stay relevant. Would they just spend 6 or 7 minutes a week showing Sue Ellen and Dusty riding horses and going on picnics together? Yeah, that would drive up their ratings!
     
  12. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Fan EXP: 3 Years

    Threads:
    12
    Messages:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +661
    Is this the same family that bought off a judge so that Valene wasn’t allowed to even see Lucy? The JR of the early seasons would have never gone along with his mother’s wishes that he not do whatever it took to get John Ross back.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    JR actually fought more effectively to get Lucy back at Southfork than he did for John Ross. I thought that was a big mistake on the part of the show. It wasn't good for the character. This is a character who is a man in his fifties and he's gonna let his mother run his life? It's one of those times it made Ellie look bad too. It's hard to like a character who would try to prevent her son from raising his son and her grandson so that he could be left in the custody of a drunk.
     
  14. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Fan EXP: 1 Year

    Threads:
    31
    Messages:
    388
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Ratings:
    +494
    JR wasn’t going to raise anybody. Lol
     
  15. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

    Threads:
    528
    Messages:
    5,611
    Trophy Points:
    6,136
    Occupation:
    Actress
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +6,844
    Medals:
    5
    Member Since:
    1998
    I really object to the term ‘drunk’.

    Alcoholism is a disease - and I have a close relative who lives with it. It’s horrific for them and everyone around them.

    Please have some respect. Saying ‘drunk’ like they want to be like that is very offensive to me and I’m sure other people.

    Thank you.
     
    • Cyber Hug Cyber Hug x 1
  16. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    Remember, drunk is just a word. I did not invent it. I didn't use profanity, obscenity or blasphemy. Aside from not using those types of things which aren't used in polite conversation, I have no way of predicting when a perfectly reasonable word to use might possibly offend someone.
     
  17. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Fan EXP: 3 Years

    Threads:
    12
    Messages:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +661
    Also, “drunk” is the term they used on the show. “An alcoholic, a tramp, and an unfit mother” just doesn’t have the same ring. BTW, I have a family member who is an alcoholic and uses the term himself.
     
  18. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

    Threads:
    163
    Messages:
    2,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,098
    Occupation:
    Rock Guitarist
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +2,590
    Medals:
    2
    Right. Remember when Ray talks about being the son of the town drunk? Using the word "drunk" to describe a habitual drinker who drinks until they're so drunk it's embarrassing is just the parlance of Dallas. If you look up the definition of "drunk" when used as a noun, you will see there is no value judgement there. It doesn't describe a person who necessarily wants to be like that, just a person who does that.

    If you look back to the standards of the time, they were stricter. You couldn't get away with the type of language on TV that they get away with today. You couldn't get away with the type of graphic violence that they get away with today on TV. It was a better time for TV because they couldn't rely on shock value to get by; you had to have a story good enough that it got an audience to watch. It was a better time. It's a backwards sense of priorities to sanction the graphic violence that's so prevalent today, and sanction blasphemy and profanity, but then if someone uses a slur, that's just going too far! When else in history besides now has a slur ever been considered worse than profanity, obscenity and blasphemy?
     

Share This Page