Rewatching 87-88

Chris2

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This is the season after Pam’s car crash. I’m rewatching because it’s available on Amazon Prime and I’ve seen it far less often than the first 9 seasons and miniseries, so it’s sorta new to me. I’m about a third of the way through the season.

I know it’s been said countless times, but I cannot believe how badly they botched Pam’s exit. I know they were keeping the door open for Victoria Principal’s potential return. And they clearly wanted for everyone to move on as quickly as possible (outside of Bobby and Christopher, no one else seems to give a fig about Pam’s disfigurement and disappearance). But the way they did it actually prolonged it! They could have had Pam presumed dead in an accident or plane crash or something, without a body. That lets everyone accept her “death” and grieve and move on. Instead, she’s the elephant in the room all season (and arguably, for the rest of the series). Bobby should have gone after her and reassure her of his love. Yet, he just lets everything happen - her running away and the divorce. And he’s very angry about it for a long time instead of just grieving her loss. I seem to remember he’s still hung up on her over two years later during his dalliance with the “lookalike”. Meanwhile, we, the audience, keep waiting for Pam to show up again. Talk about papering over a wound instead of dealing with it.

Southfork seems vastly depopulated and now very male-centric, with its three youngest - and female - characters gone: Pam, Donna, and Lucy. What a mistake it was to get rid of Donna. Her sensible presence would help ground things in the wake of Pam’s accident. Instead, we get zombie-like Jenna trying to replicate Donna’s friendship with Ellie, and failing miserably. This would have been a good time to bring back Lucy if they could have figured out how to write for her. Or maybe Clayton had a never-before mentioned young daughter. We needed more, younger family members at Southfork. And I don’t mean awful characters like James. Instead, we got Leigh Taylor Young, prettyboy Andrew Stevens, and wooden Jack Scalia, plus that cranky old man that Cliff is now hanging out with (who thought HE would be an interesting character?). April and Cliff seem pointless and completely disconnected from the proceedings. They needed to get rid of all these extra characters and rebuild the family.

I think I would have written out Cliff, now that the Barnes/Ewing feud was over. Or at least drop him to recurring. I would have had J.R. and Sue Ellen divorce, and Sue Ellen become the new adversary for the family. And eventually bring in new wives for JR and Bobby.
 
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Sarah

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I loved April, but the second they split JR and Sue Ellen, Dallas changed forever. It was never the same - they lost the soul of the show and the greatest tv pairing of all time!
 

Swami

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i mus admit that I don't like Dallas, after that season, I'm huge fan of the season 1.9 , but I also rewatched after 1987 and for me the great Dallas is gone... And I never loved April![/QUOT

April wasn't the worst, but whoever followed Pam was inevitably on a hiding to nothing. But for me season 10 (DVD) was the last great series.

Swami
 

Angela Channing

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The best thing I can say about April is that she was probably the best of the string of losers they lined up for Bobby after Pam died, with the possible exception of Kay Lloyd, although even she was pretty bland and forgettable.
 

Chris2

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The best thing I can say about April is that she was probably the best of the string of losers they lined up for Bobby after Pam died, with the possible exception of Kay Lloyd, although even she was pretty bland and forgettable.
Agree 100%. I remember where Karin Kopins joined, and she was pretty in a girl-next-door way and had decent chemistry with Duffy, and at least she didn’t look like she was 20 years old like Amy Stock. But the character was dull as hell. Even her character name sucked - who under the age of 70 is named Kay?

Did anyone ever hear why she didn’t like working on Dallas? I remember she refused to comment for Barbara Curran’s book.
 

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I was fine with gold-digging early-April. Domesticated, whiny April was unbearable.

What a mistake it was to get rid of Donna
Yes, she needed to be around just one year longer, that Donna.

Jack Scalia's character was okay, but he got too much screen time.

I've always said JR should find out early in the season that Pam crashed into a tanker he owned which was doing drilling in the badlands (illegally, given the restriction the feds just place on him after the B D Calhoun affair) and then, before the end of the season, Bobby finds out about it and finds himself scurrying around trying to protect JR -- in order to protect the family. That's just classic DALLAS irony.
 

Kenny Coyote

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What a mistake it was to get rid of Donna. Her sensible presence would help ground things in the wake of Pam’s accident.
I think an attempt from Donna to help with Pam's tragedy likely would have come across as disingenuous because she barely ever spoke to Pam.
 

Jimmy Todd

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This is the season after Pam’s car crash. I’m rewatching because it’s available on Amazon Prime and I’ve seen it far less often than the first 9 seasons and miniseries, so it’s sorta new to me. I’m about a third of the way through the season.

I know it’s been said countless times, but I cannot believe how badly they botched Pam’s exit. I know they were keeping the door open for Victoria Principal’s potential return. And they clearly wanted for everyone to move on as quickly as possible (outside of Bobby and Christopher, no one else seems to give a fig about Pam’s disfigurement and disappearance). But the way they did it actually prolonged it! They could have had Pam presumed dead in an accident or plane crash or something, without a body. That lets everyone accept her “death” and grieve and move on. Instead, she’s the elephant in the room all season (and arguably, for the rest of the series). Bobby should have gone after her and reassure her of his love. Yet, he just lets everything happen - her running away and the divorce. And he’s very angry about it for a long time instead of just grieving her loss. I seem to remember he’s still hung up on her over two years later during his dalliance with the “lookalike”. Meanwhile, we, the audience, keep waiting for Pam to show up again. Talk about papering over a wound instead of dealing with it.

Southfork seems vastly depopulated and now very male-centric, with its three youngest - and female - characters gone: Pam, Donna, and Lucy. What a mistake it was to get rid of Donna. Her sensible presence would help ground things in the wake of Pam’s accident. Instead, we get zombie-like Jenna trying to replicate Donna’s friendship with Ellie, and failing miserably. This would have been a good time to bring back Lucy if they could have figured out how to write for her. Or maybe Clayton had a never-before mentioned young daughter. We needed more, younger family members at Southfork. And I don’t mean awful characters like James. Instead, we got Leigh Taylor Young, prettyboy Andrew Stevens, and wooden Jack Scalia, plus that cranky old man that Cliff is now hanging out with (who thought HE would be an interesting character?). April and Cliff seem pointless and completely disconnected from the proceedings. They needed to get rid of all these extra characters and rebuild the family.

I think I would have written out Cliff, now that the Barnes/Ewing feud was over. Or at least drop him to recurring. I would have had J.R. and Sue Ellen divorce, and Sue Ellen become the new adversary for the family. And eventually bring in new wives for JR and Bobby.
i
Was Sue Ellen's indifference(mostly) towards Pam's plight in keeping with her narcissistic tendencies, or a mischaracterization? Or should she have become so emotional that she made it all about her in a similar manner as she did in Pam's dream when Bobby died?
 

Grangehill1

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This is the season where everything changes. I’ve made a post about this season before.

The main cast spend more time with supporting cast than each other. Bobby shares more screentime with Phyllis than anyone else!

Nobody connects. They’re all going about their own thing.

Why did April get kidnapped? Why wasn’t it Sue Ellen?

Why wasn’t Sue Ellen accidentally shot in the cliffhanger and not J.R.?

I’ve also said that you can see the powers that be realised there were problems as the next year they drafted in new younger characters to try and rejuvenate the show.

87 - 88 is definitely the worst season
 

Snarky's Ghost

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I don't know if it was the worst, but everything was out-of-proportion during the 87/88 season -- and part of that was due to the fact that they had no spring hiatus in 1987 (the period when the writers plan out the subsequent season) because Katzman thought there would be a writers' strike that summer (which actually occurred a year later) so, in order to be ahead of the ball, they just went right into shooting the next season immediately upon ending the previous one. So they had to write as they went -- never the ideal situation.

 
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GillesDenver

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I don't know if it was the worst, but everything was out-of-proportion during the 87/88 season -- and part of that was due to the fact that they had no spring hiatus in 1987 (the period when the writers plan out the subsequent season) because Katzman thought there would be a writers' strike that summer (which actually occurred a year later) so, in order to be ahead of the ball, they just went right into shooting the next season immediately upon ending the previous one. So they had to write as they went -- never the ideal situation.
Not exactly. It was Lorimar (not Katzman) that was afraid of a strike and only the first 12 episodes of "Dallas," "Falcon Crest" and "Knots Landing" were shot immediately after the 1987-1988's season was over. Then, there was a 3-months hiatus between episodes 12 and 13 of each show, allowing the writers to build a proper bible.
 

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I’ve said it before, but the tempo, coherence and general feel of the show altered radically when that little red merc went kaboom. It wasn’t just the absence of VP it was the twilight zone character responses and the weird otherworldly vibe of the show. When I first saw it I had exactly the same uncanny feeling: who are these imposters on my favourite TV show? Apart from a few subsequent all brief returns to form, the show got progressively more unhinged.
 

Kenny Coyote

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I’ve said it before, but the tempo, coherence and general feel of the show altered radically when that little red merc went kaboom. It wasn’t just the absence of VP it was the twilight zone character responses and the weird otherworldly vibe of the show. When I first saw it I had exactly the same uncanny feeling: who are these imposters on my favourite TV show? Apart from a few subsequent all brief returns to form, the show got progressively more unhinged.
I don't see a problem with the character responses; they seem fairly in character to me. JR didn't go to the hospital because he thought he couldn't be able to help Bobby there and that since Cliff would be there, a visit would be more destructive than anything - so he decided to talk to Bobby at home about Pam. Miss Ellie started crying when she heard the news, so she certainly reacted, and Sue Ellen, yeah, I guess her response was too understated. I think they may have understated the response from what some were expecting because it was a situation where nothing they could possibly do would cause Pam to recover and come back to Southfork, and the audience knew that. We knew VP was gone from the show, she'd gotten into making TV movies, so why make a big story about getting Pam and bringing her back when we all would have known what the result of that was going to be?

Bobby grieved in his way, and we knew what his way was from when Jock died. Bobby remains very cavalier in crisis situations in general - it's just the way he is and doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve. When Pam left, it wasn't the first time or even the second time she'd left him; she was always flighty, so I think his reaction was in character for him considering that. It was much more of a shock to Christopher that Pam left them, and if you remember, Bobby spent the majority of his time with Christopher at that time to console him as well as he could and explain things the best way he knew how.

I see problems with the following two things, regarding season eleven:

There was a lack of quality storylines that had begun with season 9, since I consider season 8 the last great Dallas season, and while seasons 9 and 10 dropped in quality some, the quality dropped further and faster after season 10.

The other problem was too much change happening too quickly after season 10. All of the sudden they got rid of Victoria Principal, Deborah Shelton and Susan Howard, and the huge character loss people don't mention - the loss of Ewing Oil, which was as much a character as anyone or anything in Dallas - that's way too much change happening way too quickly. Then, since that wasn't enough change for them, they made their biggest rival - Cliff Barnes -their friend, while also getting rid of even more of the remaining Western feel of the show! So I'm not surprised people wondered what happened to their favorite show when they watched season 11.
 

ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

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Season eleven will forever remain the strangest season of Dallas, even stranger than season 9, which at least felt like Dallas.

Pam’s departure, certainly doesn’t help, the vibe of the show was completely off, not just for season 11 but for the remainder of the series run, having killed off Bobby only to bring him back a year later with the controversial dream it out the writers in a corner narrative speaking, they should have simply written Pam out, by having Bobby walk out on her this time and he wants more involvement with his and Jenna’s child
 

Chris2

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I’m getting deeper into the season. The whole storyline around Ray being a strict “father” is unbearable to Charlie. Ray is NOT Charlie’s father, and it’s infuriating to watch Jenna abdicate her role as Charlie’s primary parent, and let her caveman husband call all the shots.

And then he chews out Bobby, whose son lives in Ray’s house. If I were Bobby, that would give me great pause.
 
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Kenny Coyote

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I’m getting deeper into the season. The whole storyline around Ray being a strict “father” is unbearable to Charlie. Ray is NOT Charlie’s father, and it’s infuriating to watch Jenna abdicate her role as Charlie’s primary parent, and let her caveman husband call all the shots.

And then he chews out Bobby, whose son lives in Ray’s house. If I were Bobby, that would give me great pause.
What would you prefer, a man that would let Charlie get pregnant on his watch?
 
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