Dallas Parallels: Strange Bedfellows

On “Dallas,” business routinely makes strange bedfellows, but the unlikeliest alliance of all might be formed in the second-season episode “Fallen Idol,” when J.R. and Pam join forces to squelch Bobby’s plan to build a shopping center on Southfork.

J.R.’s motivation is selfish – he doesn’t want the land developed because he’s secretly plotting to drill for oil there – but Pam has only Bobby’s interests at heart: She doesn’t trust his partner Guzzler Bennett and believes Bobby shouldn’t do business with him.

In one of the episode’s best scenes, J.R. takes Pam to lunch at a posh restaurant, where he confirms Pam’s suspicions by handing her a detective’s report that details Guzzler’s shady dealings. When Pam wonders how she’ll persuade Bobby to pull out of the deal, J.R. delivers a deliciously bitchy backhanded compliment: “Well. You’re a very clever woman, Pam. You’ll think of something.”

The line echoes three decades into the future, when John Ross finds himself in a bind of his own. To gain leverage against Mitch Lobell, the sleazy lawyer who is extorting money from him, John Ross sets out to frame Lobell’s son Ricky, a recovering drug addict who’ll go to prison if he’s caught relapsing. To pull this off, John Ross enlists Rebecca, his cousin Christopher’s new bride.

John Ross’s scheme, which unfolds in “The Last Hurrah,” TNT’s fourth “Dallas” episode, is more devious – and complicated – than the one his daddy masterminded in “Fallen Idol.” Since Rebecca has no reason to want to help him, John Ross blackmails her by threatening to expose the fact the e-mail that broke up Christopher and Elena two years earlier came from Rebecca’s computer.

When Rebecca wonders how she’s supposed to get Ricky to do drugs again, John Ross delivers a J.R.-worthy backhanded compliment: “Now, Rebecca, you strike me as an extremely resourceful woman. I’m sure you’ll figure that out.”

In the end, both unlikely alliances are derailed by last-minute changes of heart. In “Fallen Idol,” Guzzler has an attack of conscience and pulls out of his deal with Bobby; in “The Last Hurrah,” Rebecca comes close to getting Ricky to relapse but backs out at the 11th hour, prompting Marta del Sol to finish the deal on John Ross’s behalf.

J.R. and Pam teamed again during the classic show’s “dream season,” when they became reluctant partners at Ewing Oil. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of John Ross and Rebecca’s unholy alliance either.

 

‘You’re a Very Clever Woman, Pam. You’ll Think of Something.’

Clever

In “Fallen Idol,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. and Pam (Larry Hagman, Victoria Principal) sit across from each other in a posh restaurant.

PAM: Your invitation came as quite a shock. I never imagined the two of us having lunch together.

J.R.: Well, you’re a member of the family now. You fought for it and you won, and I think it’s time we bury the hatchet.

PAM: [Smiles] J.R., please don’t make me lose this good food. Why don’t you try telling me the truth for a change?

J.R.: [Chuckles] You always could see right through me, couldn’t you?

PAM: Like glass.

J.R.: Well, do you believe I care for Bobby?

PAM: I think it’s debatable.

J.R.: Well, let’s see if we can find something we both agree on. You love Bobby, right?

PAM: You know I do.

J.R.: You’d do anything to protect him from harm?

PAM: [Concerned] Who’s going to harm Bobby?

J.R.: Guzzler. I think you’d better read this. He’s getting Bobby involved so deeply in this building project, he may never get out of it. [Hands Pam documents]

PAM: What’s all this mean?

J.R.: Read it. You’ll find out that Guzzler is not only broke, he’s a crook. He was building an office complex down in New Orleans. Ran out on his partner, left him holding the bag. The company went under and they never even finished digging the foundations. Then he went up to Montana, big pile of money, started some sort of phony land deal. That collapsed. The authorities are still trying to unravel it to find out who to file charges against. Then Guzzler went looking for another mark – and he found one: Bobby.

PAM: J.R., if I don’t trust you, how am I supposed to trust this report?

J.R.: I’ll let you talk to a private investigator if you want to, or you can hire your own. I’ll pay for it.

PAM: Why didn’t you tell all this to Bobby yourself?

J.R.: Well, I can’t say anything bad about Guzzler. Bobby’s got some kind of blind spot where that man is concerned.

PAM: Yeah, I know.

J.R.: I want you to stop this project before Bobby signs any agreement with him.

PAM: And how can I do that?

J.R.: Well, you’re a very clever woman, Pam. You’ll think of something.

PAM: J.R., what are you getting out of this?

J.R.: Does it matter?

 

‘Rebecca, You Strike Me as an Extremely Resourceful Woman’

Resourceful

In “The Last Hurrah,” the fourth episode of TNT’s “Dallas,” Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) meets John Ross (Josh Henderson) near an abandoned building.

REBECCA: I told you on the phone I don’t know anything about any e-mail.

JOHN ROSS: [Pulls a piece of paper out of the envelope in his hand and shows it to her] Maybe that will refresh your memory. I had somebody trace this back to your IP address. You really know how to break a girl’s heart. That stuff you wrote was mean.

REBECCA: [Shakes her head] I didn’t send this. I swear.

JOHN ROSS: If that’s true, then why’d you come?

REBECCA: I came because you’re accusing me of something I didn’t do.

JOHN ROSS: [Turns his back] You’re going to have to be a lot more convincing than that if you want Christopher to believe you.

REBECCA: [Steps forward, holds the paper] No, you can’t show this to him.

JOHN ROSS: I don’t want to have to. That depends on you.

REBECCA: But I didn’t send it!

JOHN ROSS: The proof is in your hand. Now, I need you to do something for me.

REBECCA: What do you want me to do?

JOHN ROSS: [Smiles, hands her the envelope] This guy’s a drug addict. I need you to get pictures of him doing drugs.

REBECCA: You can’t be serious. How am I supposed to pull that off?

JOHN ROSS: Now, Rebecca, you strike me as an extremely resourceful woman. I’m sure you’ll figure that out. And once you do, I’ll let you get away with whatever scam you’re trying to pull on my dimwitted cousin. [She slides the envelope in her bag as John Ross walks away.]

What do you think of J.R. and John Ross’s unlikely alliances with Pam and Rebecca? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Comments

  1. You hit this parallel out of the park, Chris!! Perfect! I loved that ‘Guzzler’ episode, but he was such a windbag, I wanted to rip the blinders off Bobby myself. The new Dallas writers certainly have a deep appreciation for the show and making good references. John Ross truly is his daddy’s son.

  2. letystardust says:

    I don’t really feel YET that john ross is really really REALLY like JR, when the new dallas was about to start i read everywhere that John Ross was a “carbon copy “of JR but after the season 1 I don’t really have that idea in my mind. maybe season 2 will show us something diferent, for me JR is quite more evil and mean than John Ross, who for me, also looks so young for being a 33 years old guy

    • I think John Ross is much more conflicted than J.R., which is the quality about him I find most appealing. I hope he doesn’t become a carbon copy of J.R. And you’re right: Henderson is quite boyish, but I think that’s part of the charm of both the actor and his character.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Chris

  3. What a fabulous parallel you have pointed out, which, once you see it, is so STRIKING! I wouldn’t have remembed the scene from that Guzzler episode in a million years…
    You must have an excellent system for keeping a register of DALLAS (I envy you), or you actually have it all filed in your brain (I envy you even more)!
    As usual, the comments you make are enlightening and beautifully phrased.

    • Thank you Stephen! My “Dallas” tracking system is all in my head. At some point I should try to create a real database.

      Thanks again for your kind words. I appreciate them.

      Chris

      • I’m all for that database! Making your DALLAS tracking system available to others would greatly enrich DALLAS fandom. But then again, I wouldn’t want any work on the database to take you away from writng more critiques, since I enjoy those a lot. Maybe the DALLASDECODER page in its entirety is more and more turning into just that database.

  4. This is a great insight. I wonder if the writers did this intentionally or its just coincidence. Knowing what we do know about Rebecca’s Barnes lineage, it’s even a stronger parallel than when first presented.

  5. I love it if in the end it can get John Ross majoriative control of the new Ewing Global!

Trackbacks

  1. […] reasons, J.R. didn’t want Bobby doing business with shady college chum Guzzler Bennett, so J.R. invited Pam to lunch to enlist her help in stopping Bobby and Guzzler’s project. When Pam wondered how she might […]

  2. […] it the time he blackmailed her into doing his dirty work? How about the time he comforted her after she lost her unborn babies? […]

  3. […] John Ross’s other crimes: deceiving Elena, blackmailing “Rebecca” into tricking a recovering addict to using drugs again, helping his family […]

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