Dallas Parallels: Welcome to the Family

Introducing “Dallas Parallels,” a periodic feature that showcases connections between TNT’s “Dallas” and the original series.

Quite appropriately, TNT’s “Dallas” pilot, “Changing of the Guard,” is chock full of allusions to “Digger’s Daughter,” the classic show’s first hour.

Both episodes open with a leading lady exclaiming a male Ewing’s name (Pam: “Bobby James Ewing, I don’t believe you!” Elena: “John Ross, wake up!”), both feature helicopter tours of Southfork (Pam and Ray in the original, Bobby and Marta in the new series) and both depict characters boasting in barrooms about their wildcatting exploits (Digger, John Ross).

Now that we know Rebecca is Cliff’s daughter, it’s also worth revisiting “Changing of the Guard” to see how closely her introduction to the Ewings mirrors her Aunt Pam’s.

In “Digger’s Daughter,” Pam’s first Southfork cocktail hour is typically tense. Jock is as gruff as ever (“Young lady, when’s that brother of yours going to give up that crusade against us Ewings?”), and then Lucy cheekily insists Ray, Pam’s ex-boyfriend, give the new bride a kiss in front of the family.

Flash forward three decades: In “Changing of the Guard,” Rebecca accompanies Christopher to Bobby’s birthday dinner at Southfork, where she meets John Ross and Elena for the first time. The reception isn’t hostile like the one Pam received, but it’s equally awkward.

Just as Pam’s kin became a topic of conversation three decades earlier, Christopher mentions that Rebecca has “a brother” (ha!) but “not much by the way of family” (double ha!). Moments later, John Ross mischievously suggests Elena – John Ross’s girlfriend, who also happens to be Christopher’s unrequited true love – could serve as Rebecca’s bridesmaid.

Rebecca cheerfully agrees (“I mean, you’re like Chris’s sister.”) and invites Elena to join the wedding party. As Bobby, Ann and Sue Ellen exchange wide-eyed glances around the table, John Ross offers Christopher a self-satisfied smirk.

Cousin Lucy would be proud.

 

‘You’re Going to Kiss the Bride, Aren’t You?’

Slinky

In “Digger’s Daughter,” “Dallas’s” first episode, the Ewings have cocktails in the Southfork living room. Jock (Jim Davis) stands, while Bobby and Pam (Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal) sit on the sofa, surrounded by Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and Lucy (Charlene Tilton).

BOBBY: Well, I’m not sure I can even tell you how the whole thing happened, except that I said, “I love you.” And she said, “I love you.” And I said, “Are you sure?” She said, “Of course I’m sure.” So I said, “Well, then let’s get married right here in this old city of New Orleans.” [Chuckles] She said, “Bobby Ewing, that’s about the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” But 20 minutes later, there we were, standing in front of that old Baptist preacher saying, “I will, I will.” And that was that.

SUE ELLEN: I never knew you were so impulsive Bobby.

BOBBY: Well, I never knew I was either.

ELLIE: Pamela, you settled into your room all right?

PAM: Oh yes, ma’am. Of course, I only have the one suitcase but I’ll go into Dallas tomorrow and get my things.

JOCK: [Steps forward] Young lady, when’s that brother of yours going to give up that crusade against us Ewings?

BOBBY: [Rises from the sofa, approaches Jock] Daddy, I don’t think this is the proper time or place to discuss that.

JOCK: I don’t know why not.

ELLIE: We don’t talk business at this hour, Jock.

JOCK: [Finishes his drink] Anybody want a refill?

J.R.: Yeah, I believe I will, father. [They move to the liquor cart.]

Ray (Steve Kanaly) enters, knocks on the wall.

RAY: Excuse me, Mr. Ewing?

JOCK: Come in, Ray. Have a drink.

RAY: No thanks, sir.

J.R.: Ray.

RAY: J.R.

J.R.: I believe you know Pamela here.

RAY: Sure. Pam. [Nods]

PAM: Hi Ray.

LUCY: Ray Krebbs, have you heard that our Bobby has up and married Pamela Barnes?

RAY: Yeah, I heard. Congratulations to you both.

LUCY: Where are you manners, Ray? You’re going to kiss the bride, aren’t you?

Bobby motions to Pam.

RAY: Sure. Where are my manners? [Steps forward, gives Pam a peck on the cheek] Congratulations.

 

‘I Have an Idea: Elena Could Be Your Bridesmaid’

Smirky

In “Changing of the Guard,” the first episode of TNT’s “Dallas,” the Ewings celebrate Bobby’s birthday in the Southfork dining room. Bobby (Patrick Duffy) sits at the head of the table with Sue Ellen and Ann (Linda Gray and Brenda Strong) nearby, while John Ross and Elena (Josh Henderson and Jordana Brewster) and Christopher and Rebecca (Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo) face each other.

REBECCA: I was just telling Sue Ellen that my one and only bridesmaid had a family emergency and won’t be able to make the wedding.

CHRISTOPHER: Rebecca’s parents, they died in a plane crash. She’s got a brother but not much by the way of family. Shouldn’t Tommy be here by now?

REBECCA: Yeah. I’m a little worried about him.

JOHN ROSS: I have an idea. Elena could be your bridesmaid.

Ann, Sue Ellen and Bobby exchange puzzled looks.

ELENA: [To John Ross, incredulously] Sorry?

JOHN ROSS: I think it’s a great idea.

ELENA: [To Rebecca] Really, I, I would not be a good bridesmaid.

Christopher and Rebecca look at each other.

REBECCA: [Smiling] I’d, I’d love it Elena. I mean, you’re like Chris’s sister.

ELENA: Oh, I’m so flattered, really. But it must be too late to get a dress made.

REBECCA: I’m sure the dressmaker can just alter the dress we’re not using. It’d be an honor to have you as my bridesmaid. Sorry I didn’t think of it first.

John Ross smirks at Christopher.

ELENA: [Softly] OK.

REBECCA: Well, it’s settled then.

What do you think of Pam and Rebecca’s introductions to the Ewing family? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Comments

  1. Great parallels! I thought Lucy was being a brat as usual in that first ‘season.’ But I could understand too because she seemed a little jealous since she and Ray were together at that time. :Shudders.: I would have loved to see a flashback of Pam and Bobby meeting for the first time and that little wedding in New Orleans. It was extremely impulsive, I never felt they had adequate time to know each other. Now that I finished the series, I believe my favorite is April. (though I really like Anne.) But It would have been something so special if Dallas returned now and you and see Bobby and April together into middle age all comfortable. 🙂 April really adored Bobby. And he had a lot of time to get to know her and fall completely in love with her. I thought that was so sweet. Sheree J. Wilson is as beautiful as ever!

    As for the intros with Rebecca, it was seriously awkward and nothing but dirty pool, since Rebecca knew the extent of Elena’s relationship with Christopher. Though we didn’t know exactly who Rebecca was of course. John Ross was being the brat this time. Elena looked shocked that Christopher never spoke of her to Rebecca. lol

    • Thanks Lady G.! As a matter fact, there is a flashback to Bobby and Pam’s New Orleans ceremony in the 10th-season episode where they are re-married. It’s a sweet sequence, even if Bobby’s jacket and Pam’s hair aren’t quite right.

      As always, I appreciate your comments!

      CB

      • Hmmm..Oh okay. Dur, I was watching so much Dallas I couldn’t take it anymore with Bobby suffering and waffling I just went straight to season 11 after Pam’s accident and watched from there. (Though he was still suffering a little. No wonder that man has cancerous ulcers and brain seizures now! 😦 Yes, I’m a cheater that way. One day I’ll have to go back and watch season 10. I was Dallased out for a while.

      • Honey, I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel a little Dallased out too.

  2. Oh whew! I thought it was just me. 😀 Thanks!

  3. Something I noticed about Pam and Rebecca’s receptions point out is that, except for J.R., the Ewings aren’t elitist toward these women. Sure, they scoff at Pam because she’s a Barnes, but not because she isn’t as wealthy as them. Similarly, that Rebecca doesn’t come from a monied family background (that they know of), isn’t a problem. That’s nice to see.

  4. Yeah, Little Lucy giving Ray hell for not kissing Bobby’s “new bride” was Machiavellian genius! Especially since Ray use to have carnal relations with Pamela himself & now in secret with Lucy! Yeah, pure genius of Brother Gary’s daughter to create that well thought out awkward moment!

Trackbacks

  1. […] series, have more than a name in common. Both women marry into the Ewing family, both experience awkward introductions to life at Southfork, and their first encounters with J.R. are equally tense. Most notably, Pam and […]

  2. […] and Pamela share more than a name on “Dallas.” Both characters also experienced awkward introductions to the family Ewing, both had tense first encounters with J.R. and both suffered setbacks on the […]

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