Character deaths became too casual

Herofan

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I’m on the last season of Dallas, and it seems to me like character deaths were taken too casually. Sure, Bobby was torn up about April’s death, but it just had a different feel than when someone died or was even in danger in the earlier seasons. It also seemed like burying her in Paris was a plot device to make it easier to leave it behind and not make it as big of a deal.

Then there was Jordan Lee. I realize he wasn’t a main character, but I certainly viewed him as a part of Dallas; he had been around since season 2 I believe. Wow, he was just snuffed out without so much as a hiccup. And the weird plot he was part of in the end was really bizarre.

Of course, I guess it was already heading in that direction when JR being shot the second time was more of a joke than
a serious event, and Pam running away was brushed off as well.

I think the light hearted reaction to things like this made me not take the show as seriously.
 

Michelle Stevens

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Death overall was casual on Dallas. Look at Garrison Southworth, one episode and he's forgotten.

I did find Jordan Lee's exit odd (and morbidly humorous). Why of all people would he be in Paris and connected to this story? I believe he was retired at this time.

It would be interesting to see a 'Dallas Death List' from the original series.

No wonder Gary moved to California to avoid the Dallas grim reaper.
 

Billy Wall

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I had brought up how unrealistic was it for Bobby to bury April in Paris. No way her mom agrees to that. Lol And Jordan Lee had no business being apart of the storyline.

Good point about the second time JR got shot. First, he should have been dead. Second, the way it was handled compared to “who shot JR?” was night and day.
 

Rove

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character deaths were taken too casually
You could lump this thread in with TNT Dallas because the cavalier way in which Bobby killed off Katherine Wentworth, mid-sentence, was one of the biggest gaffes in Dallas history. I was so distraught on hearing this news I had to do a Sue Ellen and raid the liquor cabinet. I'm now back on the wagon until the next continuation of Dallas :)
 

James from London

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I thought April's death was a big deal for Bobby (and Michelle). It fuelled his actions for the rest of the season. And I liked Jordan going rogue, it tied in with his complaints about foreigners taking over the Texas oil industry shortly before he retired.
 

James from London

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Herofan

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I thought April's death was a big deal for Bobby (and Michelle). It fuelled his actions for the rest of the season. And I liked Jordan going rogue, it tied in with his complaints about foreigners taking over the Texas oil industry shortly before he retired.
Well, that is true about Bobby, but it still seemed different in some way. I guess it’s difficult to put into words. Maybe it’s because he was the only one it seemed to bother; everybody else just seemed to go on as usual.
They even chose not to tell Mrs Ellie. I thought that was strange.

Maybe if looked at more closely, it wouldn’t seem as casual, but something about the last few seasons just seemed hurried and not as serious as the earlier seasons. I still can’t get over the range war. It was interesting, but just not Dallas. I can’t believe how civil the Ewing’s and McKay were after it. I realize they weren’t exactly best buds and still would have seized a chance to give the other a hard time, but I do t think i would have had the time of day for someone who did that.
 

pete lashmar

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To be honest I don't think any tv drama really deals with deaths very well, especially the big characters. I think that writers & producers need to big up a death for ratings and once the character has been killed off it's pretty much life as normal with the odd and occasional misty eyed looks from other characters. Writers want to move stories on and therefore they don't dwell on deaths.

But occasionally they do and it's always dreadful. Dallas is a perfect example. When Bobby was killed off we had to put up with Jenna and her emotionally badly acted mourning for nearly an entire season - it was excruciating to watch (and still is).

Then with April's death we had to put up with Bobby's dreams for nearly an entire season with dreadfully excruciating music and slow motion running from April....dear God that was bad.

I think as much as I loath TNT Dallas now (I feel worse about it as the years pass), they did handle Larry/J.R's death fairly well and there were some very touching moments during that season - probably the nearest to real life that Dallas did.
 

Jimmy Todd

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To be honest I don't think any tv drama really deals with deaths very well, especially the big characters. I think that writers & producers need to big up a death for ratings and once the character has been killed off it's pretty much life as normal with the odd and occasional misty eyed looks from other characters. Writers want to move stories on and therefore they don't dwell on deaths.

But occasionally they do and it's always dreadful. Dallas is a perfect example. When Bobby was killed off we had to put up with Jenna and her emotionally badly acted mourning for nearly an entire season - it was excruciating to watch (and still is).

Then with April's death we had to put up with Bobby's dreams for nearly an entire season with dreadfully excruciating music and slow motion running from April....dear God that was bad.

I think as much as I loath TNT Dallas now (I feel worse about it as the years pass), they did handle Larry/J.R's death fairly well and there were some very touching moments during that season - probably the nearest to real life that Dallas did.
Imho, the best handled character death was Jock's. After that, they were handled below ok at best.
 

Snarky's Ghost

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I'm not sure audiences require an elaborate, focused handling of the aftermath of a supporting or even tertiary character's death. There are only so many hours in a season, after all.

But core characters' deaths must be handled differently. Jock's death haunted the series for years. Bobby's death was handled adequately, but that was at an odd fulcrumatic place in the show when the writing staff was changing and, unbeknownst to us, he was coming back in a few months.

Pam's exit/death was the major character's death which was most mishandled. I suppose they made a few comments about it, here and there, but it was clear oldDALLAS just "didn't want to go there" in so far as it was obviously linked karmically to the recent shower revival of Bobby which was still terribly controversial. So their use of the Bobby-is-sulking-because-he-keeps-getting-dumped contrivance seemed an apparent ploy to just avoid the topic of Pam's disappearance/death.

Major characters' deaths have to be handled in such a way that the on-screen roles are seen processing the loss as much as the audience is doing. It just can't be ignored. Otherwise, it just pushes that audience further and further away.



Even nuDALLAS made a valiant attempt to bring Pam's saga to an end. Why didn't oldDALLAS, when they had four years to do so after Victoria (who clearly was never coming back) left the show?
 
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Rove

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I don't think any tv drama really deals with deaths very well, especially the big characters.
Perhaps Jock's death is the exception to this rule because I believe (to this day) his death was one of the most beautifully crafted on television. It rippled throughout the remaining years of Lorimar Dallas and eventually into TNT Dallas. This could explain why some (me included) had such an adverse reaction to Wes Parmalle possibly being Jock Ewing.
 

Kenny Coyote

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To be honest I don't think any tv drama really deals with deaths very well, especially the big characters. I think that writers & producers need to big up a death for ratings and once the character has been killed off it's pretty much life as normal with the odd and occasional misty eyed looks from other characters. Writers want to move stories on and therefore they don't dwell on deaths.

But occasionally they do and it's always dreadful. Dallas is a perfect example. When Bobby was killed off we had to put up with Jenna and her emotionally badly acted mourning for nearly an entire season - it was excruciating to watch (and still is).

Then with April's death we had to put up with Bobby's dreams for nearly an entire season with dreadfully excruciating music and slow motion running from April....dear God that was bad.

I think as much as I loath TNT Dallas now (I feel worse about it as the years pass), they did handle Larry/J.R's death fairly well and there were some very touching moments during that season - probably the nearest to real life that Dallas did.
I think the reason Dallas usually handled death in the way it did, and maybe why you don't think they handled it well, is because your standard for handling it well - TNT's handling of JR's death - is "probably the nearest to real life that Dallas did." - would be more depressing than they usually wanted to be. They probably didn't usually dwell on a path for a long period of time because it wouldn't have made for what they'd think would be a very enjoyable show. I think they wanted Dallas to be both an escape from real life and a mirror of real life. They changed in what degree it mirrored real life. At it's best there was a fairly good balance of depicting real life while providing an escape from it. At it's worst, they went all the way to the side of trying to be a fun escape from real life while stopping bearing any significant similarity to real life.

While the last couple seasons were probably the two worst seasons they had, I don't think it was because of how they handled April's death. I think they did that fairly well, and they showed Bobby having dreams of April to show how much he was still thinking of her and missing her. The slow motion sequences were their way of letting us know we were watching Bobby's dreams. It was just a way to distinguish dream sequences from what was really happening and I don't see anything wrong with those sequences; I liked them.
 

Kenny Coyote

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Perhaps Jock's death is the exception to this rule because I believe (to this day) his death was one of the most beautifully crafted on television. It rippled throughout the remaining years of Lorimar Dallas and eventually into TNT Dallas. This could explain why some (me included) had such an adverse reaction to Wes Parmalle possibly being Jock Ewing.
Jock's death was handled brilliantly. The scene at the end of the episode where they came back from South America, having found Jock had died, was incredible. Larry Hagman didn't have, or need any words in the closing scene. He just looks up at the sky and at first looked terribly sad, but then his expression changes and we see that his thoughts of changed from how horrible it is that Jock has died, to what an amazing life Jock had, and how he admired and loved Jock. JR looks up at the stars and you can tell he's thinking something like: You're up there now; you're in a good place."

I think there are several reasons so many people had an adverse reaction to the Parmalee storyline, which resulted in them receiving lots of mail from fans expressing their disgust with the storyline. Some reasons it was received the way it was were: Jim Davis had really died and to the fans Jim Davis was the only man they could ever see as Jock Ewing. Having someone else play Jock would be seen as disrespect.

The actor they cast didn't even resemble Jim Davis. Not just his voice but his style of speaking and mannerisms were all wrong. Parmalee didn't even look like he could have been in the horrific accident which was described. It was described in him being burned terribly, especially on his face. When Pam's face was burned, the scars were so horrible she would rather abandon her family than allow them to see her face. Parmalee didn't have any scars on his face. Too bad Pam didn't get his plastic surgeon! They'd also just told us Bobby didn't really die.. They brought Patrick Duffy back as Bobby at the beginning of that season. To have Jock also return, or possibly return in the same season Bobby returned was just too much.
 

Top Jimmy

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She Ellen was a bit sad. Everyone else carried on swimming in that pool.
LOL. I remember a scene with Pam and Bobby swimming in the pool literally a day or two after Kristin's death. Pam was in her depressed/can't have a baby state and said she felt empty and knew how Kristin felt. Bobby also said what a waste it was. Ray did tell Donna that the family felt bad about Kristin when Donna returned home unexpectedly from a trip, but that was about the extent of the grieving. I wonder if Christopher ever found out his birth mother died in the pool that he and his family swam in all the time.
 

James from London

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Oh man, I loved the Wes Parmalee storyline!​
 
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