Pigtails were a fashion trend on television in the 1970s. Melissa Gilbert famously wore them on “Little House on the Prairie,” but the style wasn’t just for kids. Louise Lasser was almost always seen in tight braids on “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” while Suzanne Somers sometimes sported double ponytails on “Three’s Company.”
Lucy hops on the pigtails bandwagon during “Dallas’s” third season. The look makes her trendy, but there are probably practical reasons for this, too. Charlene Tilton mostly wears the style during outdoor scenes at Southfork, where the tight braids undoubtedly protected her hair from the Texas wind during location shoots.
Lucy’s pigtails also reflect the show’s inability to decide if the character is a girl or a woman. In “Secrets,” Lucy is wearing pigtails when her mother Valene tries to comfort her, only to have Lucy smack away Val’s hand. This is a childish act, yet Lucy is no child. After all, the scene takes place on the college campus where she is a student.
The pigtails hold other symbolic value. In the “Secrets” scene, Joan Van Ark wears her hair in two loose ponytails, so having Lucy mimic Val’s style offers a subtle reminder of the characters’ connection.
Whatever the reason for Lucy’s pigtails, one thing is certain: Tilton looks darn cute in them. Still, I wish “Dallas” would have treated her character more like a grownup – hairstyle and all.