Who Was Worse, JR Or Cliff?

stevew

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JR could be downright mean and nasty, but he did “at times” at least show to have some redeeming qualities. Cliff on the other hand came across as a wannabe JR who threw good people in the trash when he had no more use for them.
At first JR was worse, but as time went on it seemed Cliff took the lead and by the time we get to TNT he’s either mentally ill or the worst SOB Dallas ever produced.
 

Billy Wall

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The reason I asked was because I’m on the episodes following his and Jamie’s failed attempt to take over Ewing Oil. Cliff marries her just to get controlling interest and when they lose, he tells Jack “you can leave and you can take her with you.” That was low, even for Cliff.
 

Snarky Oracle

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JR tended to leave Cliff alone whenever Cliff minded his own business, which was never.
 

DallasFanForever

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I think they were both equally as bad in the way they treated people but they each had their redeeming qualities as well. JR’s redeeming quality was his love for John Ross while Cliff’s was Pam. I know he used her too but I don’t think Pam ever gave up hope that Cliff could be a good person deep down when he wanted to be. And considering how he mourned for her when she left I’d say he definitely loved her despite how bad he treated her at times.

I’m not counting TNT Dallas and the irreparable damage it did to Cliff’s character, of course. I’m just referring to original Dallas. But if we do include TNT Dallas then the things Cliff did there would make him worse than JR.
 

Sea-Boo!-Er.

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JR was aware of the feelings of other people. He bribed or applied "pressure" where it was necessary to get what he wanted.
Cliff often seemed quite oblivious. He couldn't understand that others might not agree withhim, and just cut them loose when they were no longer useful.
 

lbf522

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JR tended to leave Cliff alone whenever Cliff minded his own business, which was never.
I remember in the season finale of the "dream season" Jamie came to JR's office asking him not to destroy Cliff and JR telling Jamie that he will not destroy Cliff as long as Cliff stays away from him. Which he won't. Even Bobby came to understand why JR destroyed Cliff every chance he got. Cliff had dedicated his life to going after the Ewings.
 

lbf522

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I would also add that Cliff started out as noble wanting to go against people he felt were evil as well as avenging his father who told him all of his life that Jock Ewing cheated him out of his fair share.

Overtime, Cliff became more corrupted in his fight against the Ewings in general and JR especially. I don't count Cliff Barnes on Dallas TNT. That was another character who was pure evil.
 

Mustard

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Even Digger was berating Cliff for wanting the Ewings to be broke in Season 3 DVD.

Season 5 DVD Cliff had J.R. completely on the ropes, ready to finish him off financially. J.R. got out of it thanks to Miss Ellie making a deal with Clayton, and J.R. turned the tables. It made Cliff so bitter, peaking just before he struck mega oil, and Afton walked out on him.
 
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CeeCee72

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Cliff was worse than JR IMO. Why? Because JR knew and admitted what he was but Cliff always deceived himself that he was the "good guy" and always the victim.

JR and Cliff would have always been enemies, but it was CLIFF who decided to escalate the war time and time again. Cliff CHOSE to sleep with JR's wife. While JR and Sue Ellen were divorced, JR WARNED him to stay away from Sue Ellen and Cliff is the one who chose to ignore him.

He was vile to Jamie. He used Sue Ellen to get back at JR then dumped her when JR threatened his political career. He used Afton for sex all the while keeping his options with Sue Ellen open because he wanted her money. He embezzled from his own mother and mortgaged the family company out from under Pam.

And he always blamed JR and the Ewings for all of his bad deeds...never taking responsibility for anything.
 
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CeeCee72

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Also want to say that at least will JR, we see FLASHES of his love for others: Jock, Ellie, Bobby, John Ross, and Sue Ellen. And we see him struggle with guilt over hurting all of those characters (I mean, his guilt wasn't enough to make him STOP, but we saw it).

Cliff on the other hand - well maybe Rebecca and Pam - but even with them the relationships were always about what they SHOULD do for him and him throwing a tantrum when they didn't. He seemed a little guilty for stealing from Rebecca, but when he mortgaged Wentworth to Wendell, it wasn't really guilt about hurting Pam, it was regret that he got caught.
 

the-lost-son

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The characters of Cliff and JR both were sometimes more/less evil depending on the current storyline.

How nice/family-orientated JR acted when he wanted SueEllen back, how evil/cold he was when he thought she was no challenge anymore.

It's difficult/pointless to list and compare all of Jr's and Cliff's sins over all these decades.

Villains (part time villains) should be judged by three criteria:
1. Have they ever done sth. which can never be forgiven?
Both haven't.
Abby Cunningham is a good example. When she was partially responsible for Val' s babies being kidnapped, Donna Mills was worried that the audience would never welcome her back (e.g. for non-villain storylines). Murder, rape, child abuse etc. can't be forgiven (at least during that time).
2. Do they have redeeming qualities?
Despite all their wrongdoings they both had them.
The most important scene in Dallas was JR picking up John Ross after the paternity rest. Then we knew we had a different show without cartoonish villains.
3. If a villain doesn't show redeeming qualities like Cliff in TNT Dallas, you must show/explain how he turned out that way (e.g. Joker movie, Breaking Bad, Darth Vader), that's compelling TV.
If you decide to go with Cliff as one-dimensional, cartoonist villain, give us a reason.
 
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Jabari Lamar

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Cliff is a classic case of someone who wants to destroy a monster only to end up becoming the monster himself.
Yes, ultimately that's what drove Cliff's hatred of J.R., and why it continued even after he forgave Jock for what happened to Digger. He wanted to be J.R. Some of his actions were blatant, like the affairs with Julie and Sue Ellen, and eventually getting into the oil business himself. He was trying to become just like J.R. But ultimately he did have a conscious.
 

Via_The_Pumpkin

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Yes, ultimately that's what drove Cliff's hatred of J.R., and why it continued even after he forgave Jock for what happened to Digger. He wanted to be J.R. Some of his actions were blatant, like the affairs with Julie and Sue Ellen, and eventually getting into the oil business himself. He was trying to become just like J.R. But ultimately he did have a conscious.
The only times I felt we saw his conscience was shown on the show was when his Mother died in the plane crash which he should've been on. When Bobby died his compassion for Pam & then later for Jamie in season nine were a pleasure to behold. Unfortunately all that got nullified once Patrick Duffy agreed to return and the season got wrote off as a dream.

The dream season of the show made him look like a goofy oddball again but I still love Jamie shoving the custard pie in his face after telling him he was worse than JR!! So even though it was a dream maybe Jamie was right all along and he maybe was worse than JR. :)

Pam & Rebecca.jpg
 
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Scream Queen Sarah

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Cliff had a conscience I think but JR did too. We saw human sides of both men but both also harboured a LOT of anger and resentment. I don’t think one was worse than the other but it says a lot that Cliff left behind his law career JUST to go after the Ewings.
 

Jack O'Lantern Jimmy

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Cliff had a conscience I think but JR did too. We saw human sides of both men but both also harboured a LOT of anger and resentment. I don’t think one was worse than the other but it says a lot that Cliff left behind his law career JUST to go after the Ewings.
Good point about the anger and resentment. Both of them had been heavily influenced by their fathers, and that influence, and the desire to please the memories of their fathers, informed how they viewed the world.
 
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