Wherein every episode of DALLAS is recapped and reviewed in chronological order. Updates Fridays.

Friday, March 28, 2014

1.5 - BARBECUE

I know what you're thinking. "'Barbecue'? This episode is called 'Barbecue'? That sounds about as exciting as an episode called 'Laundry' or 'DMV'" Well folks, in ordinary circumstances you'd be right...but this is Dallas we're talking about. The title may portend banality, but when this episode was over, I had to check to see if it was written by Charles Dickens because "Barbecue" is some best of times/worst of times shit, I tell you what!

In this age of wisdom and foolishness, Bobby is out enjoying some athleticism, including but not limited to jogging, hopping over fences, and doing adorable tiny little basketball layups. Meanwhile, Jock is helping to set up the annual Ewing Barbecue, which is apparently a huge deal for the Who's Who of the greater Dallas area. I so wish I could go, you guys. I SO WISH.

Bobby casually lets slip that there's going to be a reunion at the festivities this year because Digger Barnes is coming. Jock gives a look that's the visual equivalent of a SAY WHAT? record scratch, and then we learn two things: Digger's real name is Willard (total disappointment), and Jock is an asshole. Oh wait, we knew that! Still, though, Jock's churlishness gave rise to this, which I really want to turn into a ringtone or something:



So yes indeed, Digger is fixin' to come to the BBQ and have what is surely to be the reunion to end all reunions. Far away from Southfork, at Stately Cliff Barnes Manor, Pam helps a sober Digger get ready for the day. Digger reminds us of why his sobriety is a rare thing by listing off all the ways Jock Ewing ruined his life, including but not limited to stealing his half of the oil fortune and also his sweetheart Miss Ellie and--

SAY WHAT? record scratch! Digger and Miss Ellie used to be an item? Sure, I'll buy it. Miss Ellie was "a sweet little thing"? Okay, that I refuse to believe.

At any rate, the most important thing for us to take away from this scene is that Cliff Barnes enjoys fucking enormous macramé wall art.


Pam heads home to Southfork and promptly makes a phone call. Boy oh boy, those Ewings are rich. How rich? They're so rich that they have a phone at the head of the bed and at the foot of the bed. Unbelievable! Now that is livin', my friends.

what, no phone in the middle of the bed? lame

I know that Pam has called the doctor's office because someone answers the phone and says "Doctor's office". Then "The Doctor" gets on the line and tells Pam that Bobby's Magic Baby Batter has done its job...she's pregnant! Pam plays it coy when it's time to tell Bobby about Babby: "I learned a riddle today," she says. Bobby enthusiastically replies with a "Let's hear it!" and he gets so excited that I've decided he's secretly wicked into riddles and everyone just sort of puts up with it. I tell ya, making up ridiculous headcanons for Dallas characters sure does delight me (see also: Episode 1.3, "A Spy in the House"). Oh, in case you were wondering, here's Pam's riddle:

Q: What do you get when you cross a Barnes and a Ewing?
A: A boy or a girl.

I imagine that although Bobby was overjoyed at the baby news, he died a little inside over Pam's truly shitty riddle.

But who cares about new life and believing the children are our future and all that? It's barbecue time! Man, the Ewings have gone all out for this shindig, even setting up a makeshift dance floor.


That shot was immediately followed by this shot...


...and dang if I wasn't supremely disappointed when I realized that's not a trophy, that's a coffee urn. I wanted a barbecue dance competition!

Digger shows up with Jimmy, Pam's cousin, and they're greeted by Miss Ellie. She quickly absconds with Digger, saying they need to "rehash ancient history", which is surely the best idea. Everybody knows that dredging up resentments and anger is as vital to a barbecue as potato salad.

Lucy pulls Ray off the dance floor (where he's drinking and two-stepping with a floozie) (I guess it's two-stepping, but to be honest I don't know for sure) (I'm totally 100% about the drinking though) (and the floozie) to tell him about Pam's pregnancy. As she waggles her eyebrows with her usual devilish glee over the consternation the news causes, Ray has a feeling.



Then there's a strange interlude with the party's caterers, who have been working this yearly BBQ gig for over a decade. They're downright worried about Jock (he's skulking and smoking and drinking more than usual!) and his imminent reunion with Digger (with Bobby marrying that Barnes girl, it was bound to happen!). The conversation goes on for a bit, and it's...weird. They're not telling us anything we don't already know, and-- eh. I suppose I should simply be thankful there are finally some people of color featured on this show.



We leave the party proper to join Miss Ellie and Digger on their stroll around Southfork, as she imparts the tale of why she had to dump him for Jock so long ago: it was to save the ranch. It was the '30s, the Depression, you see, and marrying Jock meant Southfork would remain in her family. They "made a good marriage" and they love each other and she has no regrets, but she totally thinks about Digger often, honest. Judging by his expression, I'd say that Digger and I are on the same page here, and that page is "Oh, go fuck yourself, Miss Ellie."


Sue Ellen finds out about Pam's pregnancy from Lucy, of course, who once again busts out her patented Devilish Glee Face as she watches Sue Ellen pretend to be really happy for her sister-in-law.

if you put your ear up to the screen, it's like you can hear said waggling

That's right- pretend to be happy. Sue Ellen has lost the race to make a Ewing heir, so she turns to her friend Booze, downing several glasses of champagne in succession. Folks, Sue Ellen has now planted both feet on that sloppy slippery slope to Drunksville and I, for one, could not be happier. I say this not because I want my beloved Sue Ellen to be a miserable drunk, necessarily...it's more that her miserable drunken antics are positively delightful. But oh, I'm getting ahead of myself! This is still but the fifth episode, and it's a long time before Sue Ellen hits the bottom of that slope.


Still, today's boozin' does lead to some wonderful moments. First, she rushes to tell J.R. about Pam's oven bun and how it's his fault she doesn't have an oven bun of her own. The point is, J.R.'s special barbecue outfit is my new everything. I'd murder any one of you to get a pair of those glasses!


A few glasses later, Sue Ellen is hammered and holds court with a table full of bouffanted grey hairs, and it's just the best. She downs wines both white and red as she goes on and on and on about her "unfulfilled needs" and the "conjugal circumstances" between her and J.R. No one responds with anything but a stare and I'm not sure whether or not this scene is supposed to be hilarious, but it 100% is.













It's reunionin' time! Bobby and Pam have finally rounded up Jock, Digger, and Miss Ellie to tell them about their fruitful "conjugal circumstances". For a moment- just a moment- it seems like everything might be okay. Everyone is happy and excited about the baby, Miss Ellie tells Jock he's "out of style" when he says he hopes it's a boy, and Pam's dreams of her kid having two granddaddies don't seem so far-fetched. Why, Digger and Jock even share a quick handshake, agreeing to try- or, at least, to try to try- to get along. Hooray for everything!


But oh, alas, alack, nothing gold can stay. Jock and Digger barely take a sip of their celebratory drinks (bourbon and soda, respectively) before they're at each others' throats again. Jock wants to spoil the grandkid and give it everything, Digger balks at Jock trying to take over everything again. Digger is all "you've stolen everything from me" and Jock is all "Pam needs to learn the truth"- the way he sees history, he just had to take all the oil claims because Digger would've gambled it all away. Jock really lays into Digger, saying "he's been a loser every day of his life- he couldn't even kill me the time he tried" and man, everyone present thinks Jock is an asshole. Even Miss Ellie tells him to shut up, and I admit, it was pretty great.






All of this drives Digger to grab the nearest bottle and start drinking, and no one can stop him. No one, I tells ya!


It's not long before poor ol' Daddy Barnes is completely sloshed and making a fool out of himself. Oh Digger, why'd you have to give Jock the satisfaction? This barbecue is turning into a complete disaster! Except for all of the people gathered around to watch this:


Once again, Jock is such an asshole...and also once again, David Wayne plays a really great drunk. And "As long as it's not Jimmy Ewing!" is one of the best things anyone has ever or will ever say on this show.

Say, where is Jimmy Ewing Barnes, anyway? Why, he's in the Hayloft of Sin with the tiny sex goblin, of course! Pam finds him and asks him and Lucy to take Digger home. She then decides to hang out there a while, despite the countless venereal pathogens that hay has surely soaked up.

Outside the barn, Sue Ellen is wasted, riding around in circles on a horse, and oh my goodness I love this show.


Bobby shows up, then J.R. shows up and he, too, is completely wasted. He calls Pam "trash, just plain trash" and what do you think happens? Why, Bobby punches him, of course, but not before making a pretty primo Grumpy Cat face.


As J.R. rolls around in the dirt whining "just plain trash" over and over, Bobby takes Sue Ellen back to the house. J.R. spots Pam up in the hayloft window and decides to go apologize...but Pam is having none of it. She and Bobby have decided to leave this hellhole! J.R. implores her not to go, not to break up the family, and then...well...





OOPS!

No, Pam is not dead- DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THAT HAPPENING- but she done lost the baby...and by "lost" I do not mean "misplaced". I told you- the best of times, the worst of times!

As she lies in bed recuperating, crying, and commiserating with Bobby, Jock interrupts to...well, not exactly to apologize, but to lay down some real fuckery: "Digger can't help being what he is anymore than we can help being what we are." Bobby says that the big issue now is that they lost the baby, and Jock says...Jock says...

"It's been a rough day for everybody."

Are you kidding me with that? At this point, I'm wondering if I might hate Jock more than I hate Miss Ellie, no matter how nice his hair is. The only good to come out of this is that it makes Pam dole out another glorious eyeroll.


Jock then gets to the real reason why he came up to the bedroom: he doesn't want Pam and Bobby to move out. He wants to keep the family together you see, and doesn't want to lose another son the way he lost Gary. Hey, here's a helpful tip for you, Jock: keeping your family together is about being good to them and not being an a-hole, not about forcing them to live under your roof forever like a weirdo power monger creep! What, it's okay for all the Ewing kids to live at home well into their adult years because they're rich? But if adults in other economic circumstances live with their parents it's wrong and laughable? Sakes alive, the Ewings are so fucked up!

Much to my chagrin, Pam agrees to stay at Southfork. The camera zooms in on her and Bobby holding hands, so you know that they're totally in love.


Outside, Sue Ellen leaves J.R. alone with his coffee and his thoughts...and as she walks away without touching him at all, you know they are totally not in love.


But who cares about love? No matter what your parents told you, you don't need love to make a baby. There's still a chance Sue Ellen could pop out a Ewing blanket ham before Pam does...but only if J.R., like, pays attention to her, if you know what I mean. "Conjugal circumstances".

We'll have to wait until future episodes to see who's gettin' it on, though, because that's it for "Barbecue". That's also it for Season One, can you believe it? Yes, the first season of Dallas was a five-episode miniseries, and we've plowed through it. Next week we start Season Two: more punches, more booze, more sex, more eyerolls, and, I hope, more fucking enormous macramé wall art.

Friday, March 21, 2014

1.4 - WINDS OF VENGEANCE

Okay, let me lay down some truth on you: this episode should be called "Winds of WHAT THE FUCK" because I cannot believe the amounts of sheer fuckery that pile up during its 48 minutes. For real, I'm gonna need to take a Silkwood shower or three to get the stink of this one off me. This stink, it is not a good one!

The stink begins in the faraway land called "Waco, Texas", where J.R. and Ray leave the floozies and the cheap motel they humped 'em in to head home. Before the cads have hit the highway, a truck pulls in...a truck driven by Brian Dennehy! He and a fellow I shall call Not Brian Dennehy storm into the motel room J.R. just left- one of the nude floozies, you see, is Wanda, Brian Dennehy's wife. He belts her before she can explain, but J.R.'s business card lying on the floor is all the explanation he needs.


Meanwhile, in the car, Ray and J.R. ruminate a bit on their evening. "I wonder how them broads get that way sometimes," says Ray, and I want to throat punch the world. The radio squawks about a hurricane that's about to hit the Dallas area, so we can only hope the winds are strong enough to send these assholes up, up, and away like the beautiful-est of balloons.


Back at Southfork, Miss Ellie is laid up in bed, saying "no thanks" to some lunch brought up by Sue Ellen. I get excited at the prospect that the old bat might be dying, but no such luck...it's just a migraine. Still, it brings me great joy to see her suffer when the phone rings. This vendetta of mine will never go away! Not even her suggestion that it's time they all try to be nicer to Pam can un-harden my heart.

gonna blow this up poster-size and hang it on my wall

At Ewing Oil HQ, Jock and Bobby make plans to go to lunch with Punk Anderson. Punk. Punk. Punk. PUNK. P-U-N-K. Following up a scene of a massively headachy Miss Ellie with a name like that? Okay, it seems this episode is really working to get back in my good graces!

Oh wait, never mind. Brian Dennehy and Not Brian Dennehy are en route to Southfork, talking about how they're gonna do to J.R.'s woman what J.R. did to his. A hurricane and rape? Dear me, how much adversity must the Ewings bear today?

J.R. and Ray arrive home and head out to round up cattle and batten down hatches, but not before Sue Ellen totally starts nagging her husband about where he was last night and why didn't he call last night this and why didn't he call this morning that. He answers not a single question, not a one...and boy, won't he be sorry and more appreciative of his wife after she gets raped. I swear, violence against women is always the best tool a writer can use to give a male character growth!

There's a knock at the door, and...dun dun dunnnnnn...it's Brian Dennehy and Not Brian Dennehy, claiming their truck broke down and can they please use the phone? Sue Ellen of course invites them in and turns her manners up to 11, while Lucy starts making those googly eyes she's so fond of...



...but the camera zooms in on Pam's "not the one" face. This lets us know that she is not, in fact, the one, and also that she does not trust these fellows one bit.

exhibit a: not the one

Bobby calls the house, but J.R. tells him everything is under control and that he should stay in Dallas. But listen, if J.R. is talking about the cattle, well, they are not under control at all. And so, J.R., Ray, Lucy, Brian Dennehy, and Not Brian Dennehy head out in trucks and on horses to wrangle stuff and it is the height of excitement! not really that exciting. Why are the bad guys helping? To lull the Ewings into a false sense of security or something maybe? I dunno, it seems strange to me to put in this much effort...I mean, will they still have enough energy to rape everyone if they spend all this time a-wranglin'? Geez.

Oh yeah, Ray falls off a horse and hurts his leg. That's So Ray, amirite?

i spent way too long on this shitty joke, you have no idea

Undoubtedly, the best part of all the RANCH ACTION is when you see that Lucy is dressed as The Littlest Cowgirl.


Once back inside, the bad guys make their move, whipping out their guns and telling everyone to sit down. J.R. immediately offers them money, but Brian Dennehy and Not Brian Dennehy ain't no criminals, you see. They don't want money, they want justice...for what, you ask? Well, back at that seedy motel, Wanda cooked up a story about being kidnapped and raped so, like, her husband wouldn't beat her to death. "Justice" apparently means raping and kidnapping in kind! If only the bad guys would remember Ghandi's words: a rape for a rape leaves the whole world wanting to eject this DVD and hurl it directly into the sun.


The phone rings and Brian Dennehy hauls Pam over to answer it and, you know, get whomever's calling off the phone without giving anything away. Pam straight up rolls her eyes at this, and folks, if you didn't know it already, then surely you know it now: Pam is the best. The best out of a bunch of terrible people, sure, but the best nonetheless.

this made my LIFE

It's Bobby calling, and Pam still manages to tip him off that everything is not okay even though she says that everything is totally okay by mentioning that she intends to spend the afternoon playing backgammon with J.R. Why, everyone knows that Pam and J.R. hate each other! Everyone also knows that Pam doesn't even know how to play backgammon! A tricksy one, our Pam.

Despite Jock telling him he's "acting like an old lady", Bobby is worried and decides to head home. Lunch with Punk will just have to wait.

Back at Southfork, Sue Ellen suffers the first of many rounds of humiliation when Not Brian Dennehy grabs and kisses her. This spurs Ray and J.R. into action, by which I mean they stand up. After a few quick karate chops from Brian Dennehy, though, they're back down again. All this noise has brought Miss Ellie downstairs, and she's positively aghast at what's going on. I bet all this yelling and chopping and sexual assault is not at all helping her migraine!

good!

Bobby and Jock are held up by a traffic accident, but WHO CARES, the important thing is that the bad guys found a picture of Sue Ellen from that time she won Miss Texas.

another picture to blow up poster-size, obviously

Brian Dennehy decides to take Sue Ellen upstairs so she can find that sash to wear during The Rape-ening. Not Brian Dennehy sets about choosing who he's gonna rape since he's not here for justice, he's here for a "good time". He homes in on Lucy- after all, she was making those googly eyes at him, and why would she do that if she didn't want to be raped? In her fear and desperation, Lucy sells out Pam, basically saying "She used to go out with Ray, so rape her, not me!" But no one wants to assault a lady with blue collar roots, oh my, no. They want a fancy lady for justice and a good time...a real Ewing.

Sigh. Don't worry, it gets worse!

Sue Ellen and Brian Dennehy return, and then...well, and then this happens:


It's just like Funny Girl, but sprinkled with tears of fear and humiliation, hooray! Ugh, this scene. UGH THIS EPISODE. It's horribly gross and made all the grosser by the fact that the oddness and ridiculousness of it make me laugh. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.

Pam, ever our heroette, defuses the situation by telling Brian Dennehy that Not Brian Dennehy said that Wanda made everything up. Well, she did sleep with J.R. but there was no kidnappery nor rapery. If that's true, then sure- Brian Dennehy can't rape Sue Ellen in good conscience, it simply wouldn't be right. "Maybe your justice should come from your wife, not J.R.'s!" chimes in Miss Ellie, and...what is she suggesting here, exactly? Can she not be the worst for just one minute?

Not Brian Dennehy reminds everyone that he's not here for justice and starts to haul Lucy off to her fate when Jock and Bobby storm in, fists a-flyin', day a-savin'. They get a hold of the guns and Jock tells someone to call the sheriff "before I blast these two slobs" and that might just be my favorite thing that anyone has ever said. Ever. Evvvaaarrrrrrr.

Before anyone picks up the phone, however, stupid jerk Miss Ellie says that the bad guys must be let go, that the law cannot be involved. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Like the Ewings couldn't afford the best lawyers in Texas to represent them in a case against these kidnapping would-be rapist slobs? The bad guys walk out the door, but not before Brian Dennehy suggests that Wanda is really gonna get it when he gets home.

I HATE THIS EPISODE.

After this event-filled afternoon, Jock and Miss Ellie shuffle Lucy off to bed, Bobby and Pam go to their room to talk and hug it out, and Sue Ellen gives J.R. dirty looks while he stares at her. Then she gives Ray some dirty looks and walks out as an instrumental version of "People" plays and I just feel...I feel...



For serious, fuck this episode. I realize that it's very much a product of its time and no one actually got assaulted- wait, yes they did...nearly all the women were manhandled and groped and kissed against their will. No one was raped, but who the hell cares? This is one episode of Dallas that ought to be tossed right out with the trash.

Well, except for Miss Ellie's migraine suffering, that was great. And Pam's eyeroll. And the Miss Texas picture. And Jock talking about blastin' slobs. But the rest of the episode gets a nice, big go fuck yourself!