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

Friday, March 7, 2014

1.2 - LESSONS

Welcome back, hogs and heifers, as I dive into "Lessons", the second episode of the first season. While there are, in fact, many lessons to be learned over the 48 minutes spent with this episode, I posit that a better name for it would be "Asses, Asses Everywhere" because...well, you'll see.


It's wintertime and snow gently blankets the disgusting brownness of Southfork. All is still save the clip-clop of horseshoes as Lucy, our tiny sex goblin, rides to the mailbox at the front of Southfork's long drive. She quickly paws through the box's contents, takes out the letter she was searching for, and sets it on fire. What oh what is that l'il scamp up to now?


Speaking of horses and lessons and combinations of the two, Bobby is in the barn with Pam, teaching her how to ride. As he helps Pam up onto the horse, her ass and the magnificence contained therein pass mere inches from his face and it's all Bobby can do to contain himself. Bobby says, essentially, "Me want sex!" but alas, Pam replies "Me want horse!" and off she trots.

Ray and another ranch hand pull up in Ray's truck, discussing which of them is going to drive Lucy to school. Ray busts out some working class grammar to end the argument ("I got a ranch to run, I ain't got no time to be no warden."), but Bobby butts his curly head in: "Make time, Ray. My daddy told you to take Lucy to school every day." I have so many problems with this, I don't even know where to begin.

Wait, yes I do: BOBBY, YOU ARE A 30-YEAR-OLD MAN. DO NOT CALL YOUR FATHER "DADDY". For the record, I would say the same if he were a 30-year-old woman. I find adults using the term "daddy" in any context to be completely weird and creepy. If you are one of those adults, look, I'm sorry but it's weird and creepy and bad and you should feel weird and creepy and bad.

Also, why does Ray have to drive Lucy to school? The dude has this huge ranch to run and hundreds of head of cattle to take care of and a shit ton of work to do. 70% of the Ewings don't have jobs, why can't one of them take her? This whole scene just made me hate entitled rich people. More than I already do, I mean.

Anyway, it's time for the big family breakfast, hooray! Family breakfasts, family cocktail hours, family dinners, family after-dinner coffee hours...that is entirely too much family on a daily basis, and I would absolutely kill myself if I had to be subjected to that kind of torture all the time. I don't care how much money I'd be rolling around in, I'd go suck a tailpipe and put myself out of my misery ASAP. And that's really saying something because the Ewings do have a lot of money. How much? So much that they drink their breakfast milk out of fancy goblets!

Jock, let me nestle in your soft shiny hair and sleep forever

Lucy and her schooling are the big topics of conversation this morning. Is Lucy skipping breakfast? Is she going to school? What about all those letters the school used to send? Lucy used to like school, does she still like school? Who cares if she likes it, all that matters is that she goes.

See what I mean? The tailpipe is a pretty attractive option, isn't it?

Lucy finally appears and after a few cursory "good morning"s, Sue Ellen and J.R. suggest that Lucy go change out of her jeans-and-sweater combo before school. It doesn't seem like a particularly scandalous outfit to me, and I gather the wardrobe change was written in so Lucy would have to exit the room, which means the camera can pan down and focus on her ass as she goes.


Pam throws shade at J.R. over the fact that Bobby is now a Ewing Oil executive. Later, she suggests that Sue Ellen drive in to Dallas with her later, but Sue Ellen throws that shade right back: without looking at Pam, she simply says "No thank you" and walks away. Oooh, winter ain't the only thing that's ice cold around these parts!

Lucy and Ray take off for school, J.R. and Bobby take off for the office, Sue Ellen takes off for wherever, and poor Pam is stuck talking to Miss Ellie over coffee. Miss Ellie confides that she knows that Lucy is playing games and skipping school, and then she gives this lovely little speech:

"I always wanted a daughter. Maybe it's a good thing I never had one. The Ewing men are strong. Lucy's father...he wasn't strong. Couldn't compete. That's why he left, and left Lucy with us."

Pam's eyebrow game expresses my feelings perfectly:

"Are you fucking kidding me with this?"

So it's not your shitty parenting skills and neglect- not to mention that you stole Lucy away from her birth mother- that have made the teenager rebel...it's that she's a girl? I told you last week- Miss Ellie is the absolute worst! Sadly, Pam is so desperate for attention from anyone in this miserable family that she doesn't call Miss Ellie on her bullshit.

INTERIOR. RAY'S TRUCK.
Lucy casually mentions that there's a new disco opening in Braddock that night and my heart skips, like, three beats. Then she starts getting her sex goblin on, rubbin' up all over Ray and suggesting that they skip the drive to school and head back to The Hayloft of Sin and my stomach lurches, like, three times. Ray makes the unwise decision to turn the truck around because...well, I guess because he has a boner? Oh Dallas, why do you force me to think about these things? And Ray, what about all that work you had to do? I want to be on your side, here, dammit!


Sue Ellen and Miss Ellie leave for parts unknown without a word to Pam, who watches them go, staring out a window all gauzy and forlorn like she's in a deleted scene from Picnic at Hanging Rock or some such. It is the best thing.


Before she can further contemplate murder and/or suicide, the phone rings. It's Mr. Miller from Lucy's school, enquiring as to the tiny sex goblin's whereabouts and the status of all the letters they've been sending home. Pam decides it's time to actually do something with her life, so she makes haste for the barn.

Pam calls to Ray and threatens to tattle on him if The Hayloft of Sin isn't once again merely The Hayloft of Hay. Ray leaves before Pam can tell him to torch all of the hay that he and Lucy have sexed all over. I assume that's what she would tell him, anyway, because no cows or horses or whatevers should be subjected to eating that stuff. Do farm animals actually eat hay? Or do they poop on it? Hmm, I find that I actually do not know. And I don't want to know, so don't tell me!

Lucy emerges looking like an extra from The Brady Bunch Variety Hour and it's time for a battle of the wills. Pam threatens more tattling if Lucy doesn't get her shit together and go to school. Of this, I approve. Of Pam's use of "I'm a Ewing now!" as a point of leverage and authority, I do not approve. This is nothing to brag about, Pam, what is wrong with you? Lucy tries some of her usual tactics- she always manages to convince everyone to let her do whatever she wants because they feel guilty over Gary abandoning her- but Pam counters with a "Well, babyface, that won't work with me!" Pam has had enough of everyone's shit, apparently, and I like it!



Meanwhile, at Ewing Oil Headquarters...

Bobby suspects that J.R. is engaging in some serious oilnanigans to make the business successful, but he doesn't have any proof; nor can he talk directly with J.R. about it because secretary Julie always cockblocks him and J.R. always sneaks out the door. Look, all you really need to know here is that Julie's hair gives me life.


Pam won the battle of the wills and is tasked with shuttling Lucy to school. She takes it to another level of embarrassment when she decides to walk Lucy all the way to class. She has a lovely chat with Mr. Miller, who says he'll do whatever he can to help Lucy catch up on her work, how sweet.

At the end of the school day, The President of the Letter Club acts all creepy and weird and lechy with Lucy...but as I see things, she deserves it! If she puts out as much as the rumors claim she does, then why won't she sleep with this guy? She should sleep with anyone who wants it! Pfft, women, amirite?

Lucy does her best to ignore him and Pam arrives to shuttle her home, but not before remarking what a nice boy that President of the Creep Club is. Then she hands Lucy a box and tells her that she spent the day buying her all new school clothes. I admit, I'm starting to feel smothered here. Not enough to make me want to have sex with Ray Krebbs on top of a pile of hay, of course, but enough to make me want to throw the new clothes out of the car window- which is exactly what Lucy does, and the accompanying music is so intense that I could barely stand it.

That night, Lucy dons her finest Frederick's of Hollywood finery and takes a pair of scissors to the clothes Pam bought her. I don't even care what that l'il scamp is up to now, for I'm too skeeved out by the fact that this show wants viewers to lust after a high schooler.


We don't have to wait long for Lucy's scheme to come to fruition. There she is the next day, looking like The Littlest Stewardess and indulging in some tutoring with Mr. Miller one minute, then taking off her blazer to reveal a cut-up blouse the next. She runs out of the room, screaming that Mr. Miller accosted her. Wow, that's...not a thing you do to an innocent person. What price freedom, Lucy? What price?

this outfit rules my world

Little does The Littlest Liar know, however, that The President of the Creep Club saw the whole thing! Yes, he was watching her get tutored, which is not a euphemism so it must have been really boring to stand there and spy for an hour.

Pam is there once again to drive Lucy home (oh what, was Miss Ellie too busy doing NOTHING?) but Lucy's long gone. The President of the Creep Club is there, though, corroborating Lucy's story, filling Pam in on all that transpired, and teaching us one of this episode's many titular lessons: everyone in the world is horrible. Hooray!

Well, maybe not everyone: what of poor, innocent Mr. Miller? He's about to get booted because the school principal fears the power of the mighty Jock Ewing. Pam decides she'll save the day by talking to Lucy, whose story she does not believe even one small bit. Mind you, back at home, Lucy totally cops to what she did. After all, in the world of he said-she said, everyone will believe the doe-eyed goblin; Lucy uses Mr. Miller's job as leverage to get Pam to leave her alone: "See what happens when you care about people?" So much blackmailing and leveraging! I tell ya, it must be exhausting to be caught in the whirling Ewing cesspool.

Once again, this episode does not feature enough Sue Ellen...but, at least, the little that we do get is a real treat, just pure Sue Ellen bitchiness. She comments that the clothes that Pam bought for Lucy are nice, and follows up with  a knowing smirk: "She should have good taste...after all those years working in department stores." So much shade, I love it. And hey, it's tally time:

EPISODES SO FAR: 2
EPISODES WHEREIN SUE ELLEN FLAWLESSLY CANOODLES WITH BOOZE: 2


Lucy receives a phone call from The President of the Creep Club, who blackmails her into going on a date with him that night.

Upstairs, Bobby and Pam talk about Lucy and how Pam is totally sincere in her efforts to help and WHO CARES WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT, THEY'RE GOING TO THE NEW DISCO.

People, this disco. First of all...FIRST OF ALL...what's the DJ spinning tonight? A disco-ified version of the Dallas theme. When I realized this, I spent the next 18 minutes blacked out from the excitement.


Lucy and The President of the Creep Club are there. Ray, wearing a goddamn neckerchief, shows up with some broad. Then Bobby and Pam arrive, and...you guys. You guys. I no longer need food or water or air to survive- I only need this clip, forever.


See? Asses, asses everywhere! But lest you think that only women are objectified in the Braddock disco, here's a random man ass for you:


Lucy is having a terrible time with The President of the Creep Club, and when she spots Ray she pleads with him to take her back to The Hayloft of Sin. He demurs, but she starts a-pawin' at him...and Bobby sees them all entwined! As you might expect, Bobby flips out and punches Ray, which means that once again, it's tally time:

EPISODES SO FAR: 2
EPISODES WHEREIN BOBBY GETS CRAZY VIOLENT AT THE DROP OF A HAT: 2

the eyes of madness

Things wrap up quickly from here: Ray and Bobby settle their shit, with Ray promising to leave both Lucy and Pam alone. Pam figures out what the President of the Creep Club is up to and tells him to beat it. This does not endear her to Lucy, however, and the ladies do not settle their shit. With regards to Pam's meddling, Lucy lays it down.

"You know what? You make Sue Ellen look sincere. She's a simp, but she doesn't fling it like you do." Then she adds perhaps the greatest insult of all: "You're a Ewing already, you know that?"

Ooh, apply ice to that burn! Pam gets all teary-eyed, so Bobby has a chat with Lucy. He tells her that although the family loves her, they don't have time to, like, talk to her. But Pam does! And she truly cares, honest! Rather than saying FUCK ALL OF YOU PEOPLE and leaving, Lucy makes up with Pam and the three of them dance the night away, their cares and worries saved for another time, another episode. Aww.


While I did not think it possible, I have to say- after "Lessons", my love for the 1970s has only grown. I mean, I already knew that the 70s had the best music, the best movies, and obviously the best in television. But what makes that era so perfect forever and always is that men could unironically dress like these fellows...


...and spend the night dancing. There was freedom, my friends, and the rallying cry was "I don't give a fuck!" Wouldn't we all be better off if we recaptured even just a little of that spirit? I think so. It'll be easy: all we need to start is an Alicia Bridges album, some satin shirts, and a big bowl of cocaine.

2 comments:

  1. Love, love and nothing but love for this. I started re-watching this show a few years ago and got burnt out in the middle of season 4, I think. The clothes!! The hair!! The endless pre-dinner cocktails!!! And there was a point somewhere when every single episode I'd look at Pam and say "what the hell is she wearing??" And at some point she got a really bad perm and OMG. Love this show!!!

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  2. What really spikes the ick-meter is the later revelation about Ray, which in retrospect just takes an already skeevy episode way over the top.

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