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

Friday, April 18, 2014

2.3 - OLD ACQUAINTANCE

Wow, y'all, Dallas heads into full-on soap opera territory this week with "Old Acquaintance". Lovers from the past, yelling, tears, marital strife, and the fuckery we've all come to expect are in ample supply!

The episode begins with Morgan goddamn Fairchild about to get her hump on with an older dude. Older Dude's wife barges in (the nerve) to let him know that he's been appointed the Something Something of the Department of Energy...so he needs to choose between Morgan Fairchild or Wife + Something Something. What the heck, Older Dude chooses the latter!

Now look, Older Dude- played by Peter Mark Richman- and I have crossed paths many times over the years thanks to his roles on Dynasty and Santa Barbara, not to mention that shitshow Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Though he was as familiar to me as the bottom of my foot, I feel that the opening of "Old Acquaintance" left me in the vicinity of his too-tan, vaguely sweaty, hairy Older Dude chest for too long and I didn't like it. I am just saying.

now that I think about it, just how familiar am I with the bottom of my foot? could I really pick it out of a lineup?

The scandal we've just seen is already the talk of the town and comes up amongst the Ewings at breakfast. They know Older Dude, of course, and Morgan goddamn Fairchild Jenna Wade as well, and her name stirs a bit of a hubbub. Sue Ellen practically calls her a whore! Pam wants to know more about this mystery woman, but everyone clams up and runs off without spilling any more beans.

Older Dude calls J.R. and asks him to fix this Jenna situation, because apparently breaking things off with her isn't good enough for Mrs. Older Dude. J.R.'s usual M.O. might be to run Jenna out of town (did you know he did that to Lucy's mom Valene? Did you? DID YOU?), but not this time, for he sees an opportunity to get rid of two birds with one scheme. He calls Jenna and tells her that Bobby would just love to see her. The wheels, they are in motion!

Meanwhile, Pam asks Miss Ellie and Jock for the lowdown on Jenna. It seems that the Ewings and the Wades are old family friends, and everyone thought for sure that Bobby and Jenna would end up married...but that Jenna was just too wild.

Wild, indeed! Jenna meets Bobby downtown in her gold, t-top Firebird and everything in the world is perfect, just perfect.


Jenna and Bobby take a stroll and talk about times both old and new. During their time together, Jenna really got used to the high life, so she had to be...you know, "wild" to maintain that lifestyle once they broke up. Since she and her daughter Charlie now have nothing, Bobby promises to help her find an apartment and a job so that she can become more independent. Jenna goes in for a kiss- and not some quick oh thank you for helping me peck- and Bobby doesn't pull away. I tells ya, them old acquaintances ain't nothin' but trouble.


Later, Pam arrives at Ewing Oil for a lunch date with Bobby just as his cab pulls away, taking him to sign a lease for Jenna's new pad. As his plan begins in earnest, J.R. delights in telling Pam all about Bobby and Jenna spending time together. Pam doesn't get too riled by J.R.'s obvious attempts at shit-stirring, and her sassy attitude pleases me greatly. The real highlight of this scene, however, is how proud J.R. is of this plant he's been growing since it was just an inch high. He really loves it, and I love that he loves it. So much.

a jerk and his plant: a love story

It's now dinnertime and there's still no sign of Bobby. Naturally, J.R. loves it and plays up the "Well, gosh, where could he be?" feigned innocent questions. Naturally, Pam is having none of it and gives a bitch face that is so good I want to 3D print a mask of it and wear it all the time, even if that's vaguely Ed Gein-ish of me.

I mean, come on now

While everyone sits awkwardly waiting for Bobby to show up, the phone rings. Lucy answers it and can barely hide her glee in announcing that it's Bobby calling. In fact, everyone is pretty bad at hiding how much they're shocked and/or fucking loving this shit.




Sue Ellen bitchily smirking into a glass of booze is one of my very favorite things

After a brief conversation, Pam hangs up and tells the family that they'd might as well eat dinner- Bobby's been "delayed".

Delayed- boy, I'll say! It turns out that he didn't get in until after midnight, when Pam was asleep. Pam has spent the morning swimming away her anger, and Bobby's attempts to defuse the situation seem to be working...until Jenna calls. Pam and her breasts then try to stare away the anger.


It seems that Jenna once again needs Bobby's help, and Bobby does the right thing by suggesting that Pam come along to put her jealous mind at ease.

They meet Jenna at Charlie's school, where Jenna is supervising playtime for some reason. She really had no point in calling Bobby except to say "Older Dude's wife is still being a bitch," to which Bobby basically replies "Don't worry about it, I'll help if I can." To my mind, the real point of this scene is Pam giving Jenna a once-over that is probably supposed to convey "sizing up the competition" but totally reads more like "I'd hit that". For real, y'all, how much better would things be today if this moment led to a Dallas spinoff starring Pam and Jenna after they've run away together? There probably would be world peace by now if Lez Landing or whatever became a thing back in '82. Again, I am just saying.

Alas, alack, it is all relegated to the realm of fanfiction, which I am writing hope one of you is writing right now!



I mean, come on now

Older Dude and J.R. have lunch, and the former voices concerns about the latter's situation-handling methods. Older Dude is jealous because now Jenna's running around with that "young, good-looking stud" Bobby, and-- HOLD THE PHONE, THE WAITRESSES AT THIS RESTAURANT DRESS LIKE FRENCH MAIDS.

WHAT.

Jock shows up to provide this week's "oh yeah, I really hate Jock" moment, wherein he wonders why Older Dude is so afraid of his own wife: "In my day, we handled our women a little bit different." I can't with this guy, I just can't. It pains me that such great hair is attached to such an absolute a-hole.


J.R. heads over to Jenna's to speed up things with Bobby, but Jenna sees right through it and knows J.R.'s just using her for his own means. But! J.R. reminds her that she holds all the cards, and all those cards are Charlie. Or something. GASP is Charlie Bobby's child?

It doesn't matter. What matters is that at some point, Jenna bought a large wooden egg.


Bobby, Jenna, and Charlie go on a picnic and Bobby wonders the same thing we do: is Charlie his? Jenna doesn't give him a straight answer.

This a-wonderin' has Bobby all perplexed. Should he stay with Pam? Should he go back to Jenna? These questions trouble him so much that he can't sleep. These questions trouble him so that he's driven to having two late-night beers!


Pam has the outlandish thought that she and Bobby should, you know, talk about this situation. She's super awesome and supportive about it, telling him that if Charlie is his kid, they'll do the right thing and be a part of her life. Then she goes in for a kiss and, unlike his kiss with Jenna earlier, he doesn't kiss back! Rude! He tells Pam "we'll work it out" and she goes back to bed. Bobby hangs out with Charlie's doll, and it's supposed to be all poignant but actually it comes off as some "show me on the doll where the man touched you" shit.


In amongst all of this, we get another shot of Pam-n-Bobby's hideous bedroom and for fuck's sake, how many lamps do they need?


The next day, Pam has lunch with her brother Cliff. Bobby was supposed to show- she'd really like her husband and her brother to get along, you see- but he's nowhere to be found. His secretary said she hadn't seen him all day, in fact. Cliff tells Pam that he's decided to run for State Senate and even though the Ewings will do everything to oppose him, he'd like her support. She heartily agrees, and Cliff leaves. But who does he run into? You'll never guess!


Cliff throws massive shade and tells Bobby that he's becoming more and more like J.R. every day. It's delightful.

Back at Southfork, Pam is horseback riding her anger away when Bobby drives up. They have some words, to put it mildly! Pam thinks it's, you know, not cool that all week he's spent every waking moment with his ex, and he's stood her up several times and hasn't called to let her know where he is. Bobby thinks she's all "twisted up with jealousy", and when Pam gives an "it's her or me" ultimatum, Bobby says "Fine!" and peels out of there. Pam is left all alone to be sad with her horse, and while I do not want to make light of her trauma, this was all I could think of.


You're probably thinking, "Say, isn't it time for Miss Ellie to butt her nose in?" and you're totally right! Pam tells her that she's worried about losing Bobby because she can't compete with Charlie the Trump Card, and Miss Ellie tells her this heartwarming tale:
I knew a woman once...her man couldn't decide whether or not to do right by her, so she took a horse whip to him. Helped him make up his mind fast.
If that's not absolutely psychotic enough for you, she reveals that she's talking about herself and Jock. She wanted Jock so much that she horse-whipped him into submission.

WHAT. THE ACTUAL. FUCK.

Dallas is a goddamn horror movie, you guys

Pam laughs away the images of horendous violence and gets all fired up by this "fight for your man" speech. She decides to, you know, go fight for her man.

At Jenna's, Bobby still can't get a straight answer regarding Charlie. All I care about is that the large wooden egg photobombs the conversation.


Pam shows up and she and Jenna hash it out: unfortunately, they both want Bobby and not each other.

NOW KISS

When pressed, Jenna finally reveals that Bobby is not the father, whereupon Bobby gets sad and leaves. It's all terribly sedate and not Maury Povich-like whatsoever. Oh well. Jenna tells Pam that this is totally goodbye; Bobby has left her the lease to the apartment and a check for a year's worth of rent.

Outside, Bobby and Pam make up, by which I mean Pam takes all the blame that Bobby lays down and apologizes for it: she acted crazy, and Bobby did absolutely nothing wrong. They kiss and I guess everything is fine? I hoped Pam would have a "wait, what?" moment, leave the Ewing bullshit behind forever, and march back into Jenna's apartment, but then the credits rolled. Lez Landing, we hardly knew ye!

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