Language Used In Dallas

Kenny Coyote

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Now there are plenty of series on TV where the characters can get away with usual any language they want, but when Dallas was made, they were pretty tightly controlled as to what type of language was allowable.

If Dallas were made today, and it were on a network that doesn't have many restrictions on language, I'm sure at least some of the characters would use bad language. Which of the characters do you think would cuss the most, and do you think it would have made Dallas better because they way they would speak would be more realistic, or do you think it would detract from the show?

I'm guessing JR, Jock and Ray would have cussed the most.
 

Michelle Stevens

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I could see Cliff cursing when JR ruined some part of his life.

On the subject of language it would have been nice if some of the main characters had some command of another language besides English. It would have been nice to see Bobby Ewing speak some French while in a fine restaurant or JR speaking a few words of German while he was in Vienna. It also would have been nice if Miss Ellie or even Jock could have said a few words of Spanish to Teresa and Raoul.
 

Taylor Bennett Jr.

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I have a theory that Jock said 'damn' and 'hell' more than any other character on network TV 1978-80.

It would be interesting to have seen Dallas with current HBO standards and especially production values ala The Sopranos and The Wire, etc., but there's something nice about having things the way they were. Did we really need to see Ray and Lucy in a full-on softcore porn scene 10 minutes into the pilot in the hayloft, as we surely would today? JR didn't need to use more than the occasional 'damn' or 'hell' to be threatening.
 

Rove

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If Dallas were made today, and it were on a network that doesn't have many restrictions on language, I'm sure at least some of the characters would use bad language.
I think when language is used appropriately it can be used to devastating effect. Let's revisit this classic scene from TNT Dallas....

At the 1:14 mark Sue Ellen exclaims, "Bullsh#t...I know what I saw." Many have commented how powerful and arguably one of the best scenes to stem from the continuation. I also remember some took issue with the language Sue Ellen used. I thought it was just. So much pent up emotion between mother and son. In this case it was warranted.
 

Swami

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I have a theory that Jock said 'damn' and 'hell' more than any other character on network TV 1978-80.

It would be interesting to have seen Dallas with current HBO standards and especially production values ala The Sopranos and The Wire, etc., but there's something nice about having things the way they were. Did we really need to see Ray and Lucy in a full-on softcore porn scene 10 minutes into the pilot in the hayloft, as we surely would today? JR didn't need to use more than the occasional 'damn' or 'hell' to be threatening.
Yes, Leonard Katzman once said in the early days Lorimar limited the show to about four curse words per episode, and Jim Davis could get them off count quite easily as his natural speech pattern did reflect the way Jock spoke.

Swami
 

Mel O'Drama

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when Dallas was made, they were pretty tightly controlled as to what type of language was allowable.
The Burt Hirschfeld books are worth a mention here, since they tell the same stories with no such restrictions. As I recall, the Vaughan Leland/JR confrontation from A House Divided had some particularly colourful exchanges in Hirschfeld's version.
 

Mel O'Drama

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I have a theory that Jock said 'damn' and 'hell' more than any other character on network TV 1978-80.
Apropos of this, here's Leonard Katzman quoted in Hillary Kingsley's Soap Box book:

There were a lot of "hells" and "damns" in [Jim Davis's] natural speech pattern. We have a strict count of four to five "cuss" words a show, and Jim would get us off count easily.

The network let us say "bastard" under certain circumstances. "Tramp" is OK, but "whore is not"
 

Kenny Coyote

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The later seasons didn't seem to have the same restrictions.

Swami
I haven't watched the last few seasons in some time. I enjoy watching seasons 1-8 the most, and then I'll sometimes watch seasons 9 - 12. So sure, It's very possible that the later seasons didn't have the same restrictions but still I know it wasn't anywhere near to the freedom allowed to what a series like Yellowstone gets to have.

In some cases it works against them. When they have time to fill and they don't have ideas of any substance they can just have a scenes with violence that's just far beyond being anything necessary or even helpful to the show. By the same token, when I watch something from the 80s, or now for that matter, it kind of takes the realism out of it when a man tells another man "I'm gonna kick your butt."
 
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Swami

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You beat me to it @Mel O'Drama - was going to cite that one too re Jim Davis and his ad libbing of the script could have got the network in a lot of bother

The same goes for smoking scenes/ Just not allowed on the show after the early episodes.
Yes, I remember Larry was the main driver behind no smoking on the show.

Swami
 

Taylor Bennett Jr.

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The Burt Hirschfeld books are worth a mention here, since they tell the same stories with no such restrictions. As I recall, the Vaughan Leland/JR confrontation from A House Divided had some particularly colourful exchanges in Hirschfeld's version.
oh wow, I didn’t realize there were books other than the rather racy Lee Raintree one that James From London has been posting periodically. How would these compare to that one?
 

Mel O'Drama

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oh wow, I didn’t realize there were books other than the rather racy Lee Raintree one that James From London has been posting periodically. How would these compare to that one?
It's many years since I've read them all the way through. As I recall, they're along similar lines. Perhaps not quite as atmospheric, but still layered and with added detail and thought processes compared with the series.

They're worth investing in for the cover art:

 

Mel O'Drama

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These novels are new to me. How do they sit within the Lorimar Dallas years. Apart from the characters do the novels act as standalone stories or work within the confines of the TV Series? I'm curious.
They're novelisations of the TV series, circa Season Two. The Ewings Of Dallas (published in 1980) builds up to JR getting shot.
 

Taylor Bennett Jr.

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These books were garbage or something worse, especially if read 40 years ago ...
well, of course, a lot of people thought Dallas itself was garbage, but we all love it!

The Raintree excerpts that James has posted are at odds with some of what actually happened in the show (he was probably given outlines of some of the pilot episodes and just churned something out quickly) - but it still looks like a fun read.
 

southfork88

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I cannot consider amusing to read that Miss Ellie had hired a lot of delinquents to rape Roberta, Jock's lover, to the point of driving her crazy or that Lucy had sex with more men at the same time, Valene with J. R., betraying Gary or Pamela just a climber, etc. A porn movie can in some cases be fun for those who love this genre. Those books were worse, a shame.
 
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