Telly Talk Dream Maker
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- Jan 2012
As I said above, I watched until the end. I also watched the two reunion movies in the '90s, and the TNT nuDALLAS of 2012-2014.
Although I wish most of what happened post-Bobby's shooting never happened... I was convinced back then, during the best two year period the series ever had (1982 to 1984) when DALLAS felt almost biblical, that DALLAS -- of all shows -- couldn't and wouldn't deteriorate the way it actually did.
In fact, DALLAS became almost the ultimate example of TV series deterioration, unfortunately.
But once a Lorimar executive decided in 1984 that Miss Ellie's faces were interchangeable, the Emmy winning-matriarch of the biggest drama series in global television history, then nothing was ever the same, nor could it be. It told us a virus existed somewhere behind the camera. It cast a depressive pall over the otherwise competent 1984-1985 season even before Duffy had made the decision to kill off Bobby and leave the series, as if something great had just been ruined, permanently and unnecessarily.
And that's where the show ended, at least its clarity and momentum: the arrival of a new matriarch which could not work.
From that point on, nothing was ever quite right again on DALLAS, and the fiasco just led to all the subsequent fiascos: the dream explanation, Pam's accident and her retroactive ignoring by the family, the campy wink-at-the-camera tone of the closing seasons, the forced and contrived plots for the reunion movies, the 2012 continuation series which pushed the Ewings aside so the maid's family and the new wife's ex's family could dominate.
Susan Howard once referred to it as "abuse of the audience." And after you kidnap Mama and change her face, and expect the audience to accept it (when you should have known to begin with that they couldn't) no further glaring error is unthinkable or impossible. As a result, abject absurdities became an annual event.
So the year between Bobby's shooting and his death became the series' metaphoric death, a Lance Rubin dirge that accompanies a funeral procession leading up to the burial. The muddled-but-fashionable dream season became, indeed, just a stagnant dream, one that tapped into the pointless, soapy zeitgeist of the mid-'80s. And then the season of Wes Parmalee became a blurry, majestically ghostly expression of DALLAS' ambivalent, mythological history: What's Real and Who's Who at the Oil Baron's Ball or anywhere else...
It's a banshee manifestation, the 1986-87 year. A séance at Southfork.
And it's the last period I can sit through. Everything after that feels like rolling a corpse down a street with a stick.