Dallas Styles: Pam’s Perm


In “Start the Revolution with Me,” Victoria Principal sports a new hairstyle – a frizzy permanent, one of the fashion fads of the early 1980s.

The look demonstrates how Pam is always ahead of the curve, and it also gives “Dallas” a chance to show how cool Miss Ellie is. She’s the only character to comment on Pam’s new style, telling her, “I love your new hairdo.”

But there’s symbolism in Pam’s do, too. In “Dallas’s” previous episode “Making of a President,” Sue Ellen urges Pam to have an affair with Alex. “Pam, I just want you to protect yourself,” Sue Ellen says. “The Ewing men are all the same. Bobby and J.R. are into the same power trip, and for you to survive, you have two choices: You can either get out, or you can play by their rules.”

Pam seems to resist the advice, but we know she’s really tempted by Alex. This means Pam is becoming more like her morally ambiguous in-laws – particularly Sue Ellen, who has cheated on J.R. with at least three men (Ray, Cliff and Dusty) at this point during “Dallas’s” run.

So is it any wonder Pam shows up in “Start the Revolution with Me” wearing a perm?

Think about it: A “permanent wave,” according to Wikipedia, is created by stretching and softening hair and molding it around the shape of a perm rod. By allowing herself to get close to another man, isn’t Pam doing something similar – stretching the boundaries of matrimony, relaxing her standards, molding herself into the shape of a Ewing? Or maybe Pam just wants Bobby to notice her.

Whatever the case, the perm doesn’t last long – and thankfully, neither does Pam’s flirtation with infidelity.


  1. I wasn’t too crazy about Pam’s perm, but I liked it better than that helmet wave she wore in her latter seasons. Alex Ward was a BORE. ZZzzzzzzz…

  2. I like your idea of Pam’s permanent wave symbolizing her own “stretching, relaxing and molding”. It really makes sense to me.
    Apart from that, to me, Pam’s curly head was the nicest haistyle throughout the series. I think it just looked great on her. I realize, though, it’s not so good for your hair to have a permanent wave permanently… 😉

  3. I also liked Pam’s perm in some scenes it looked good and in some not so much. Pam was always trying new things so got to give it to her for being spontaneous, she has the face and body for it.. Pam was also going through a tough time with her mom rejecting, trying to seek comfort from Bobby who was too busy running Ewing Oil to notice. Alex the slime comes was desperate and a snooze just like the next man that came after Pam – Mark (nothing interesting or exciting about them, just rich men pathetically going after a beautiful married woman.

  4. rie123az says:

    I thought it looked horrible. And then Sue Ellen and Donna followed suit later on. Like they didn’t learn a thing from saying Pam’s frizzy ruined mess.

  5. rie123az says:

    I thought it looked horrible. And then later on Donna and Sue Ellen ended up with perms. Just like they didn’t learn a thing from looking at Pam’s ruined mess. It was a disaster.


  1. […] might consider Pam’s perm to be Season 4’s worst fashion choice – but those people are wrong because that ’do is […]

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