Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘… Just Like Anybody Else’

Requiem for a heavyweight

Requiem for a heavyweight

In “Dallas’s” fifth-season episode “Acceptance,” Ray and Miss Ellie (Steve Kanaly, Barbara Bel Geddes) sit in the Southfork living room.

RAY: Some very peculiar things have been happening here at Southfork. I know Jock being gone has been on everybody’s mind. The whole family. Yet nobody seems to talk to you about him. And that’s not right.

ELLIE Ray, I don’t need to talk about Jock. And I’d rather not.

RAY: Miss Ellie, maybe you don’t need to talk about him, but I do. He’s been on my mind a lot lately. Almost all the time. I keep remembering things, like how I used to look up to him when I was a kid. How I idolized him. I goofed something up, though, and he’d chew me up one side and down the other. And I thought, how could somebody I idolized act like that? And now I know he was concerned about me. He was teaching me. He knew when to be firm and he knew when to be affectionate. He was all those things. Mostly, I guess I just thought he was almost perfect. And then I remember running into this guy in a bar, and he called Jock a land-grabbing crook.

ELLIE: If you’re trying to justify what Donna said, I don’t want to hear it.

RAY: Miss Ellie, I belted that guy right on the spot. As for Donna, I think you ought to know that she’s just about decided not to write her book.

ELLIE: Well, good.

RAY: The thing is, though, that guy in the bar, he may have had his reasons. I didn’t think so then. I thought of Jock as almost like a God. But he wasn’t. He was a man, just like anybody else. He had friends. He had lots of friends. But he had enemies, too. He was human, ambitious. He knew that the oil game was rough, hardball all the way. But he wanted what was best for his wife, and for his sons. And he did what he thought was right. He’d be the last man in the world who’d ever want us to put him on a pedestal. Miss Ellie, there’s never going to be another man like Jock. Not for me, not for you. He was my father, and your husband. But the truth is, until we start remembering him like he really was, we’re never going to be able to do justice to his memory.

Ellie rises and leaves.

Comments

  1. Great choice! I always loved when Miss Ellie had one on one scenes with one of her kids…whether it was her 3 boys..or Ray, Sue Ellen, Donna, Pam…always a great to watch.

    • Thanks Hel! I agree. Miss Ellie’s scenes with the kids are always good. I have a special fondness for her scenes with Ray. They share a unique bond.

  2. I love this scene selection for many reasons, a big one being the length and depth of Ray’s dialogue. It seems so much of the new show’s dialogue is constant fighting and shouting between characters who trade one- or two-liners and then it’s on to the next scene. Maybe the producers think that’s exciting but I find it superficial. The scene you post here tells us more about Jock, Ray and Ellie than any flashy argument could. Good writing.

    • You’re so right, TSEE. I think there’s an assumption that contemporary audiences won’t sit through long scenes like this, but that seems like a mistaken notion. If the writing and performances are strong, audiences will stick with a scene until the payoff.

      I appreciate your feedback. Thank you for sharing it!

      CB

      • Yes I agree. I would sit through a scene like this without any notion of time, I’d be so absorbed in the dialogue. I was trying to think of a contemporary example of a TV drama that does justice to not only dialogue but conveying character mindset. I think “Mad Men” does it well. There are fewer confrontations and much more revealing dialogue, and often just silent brooding on screen for seconds at a time – just like in real life 😉

        I really enjoy your site, by the way. Nice work.

      • Yes! “Mad Men” is one of the few series that isn’t afraid of silence. It’s a lesson I wish more shows would learn.

        Thank you for your nice words. I’m a big fan of Team Sue Ellen’s work too. By the way: Have you seen the deleted scenes from the new show’s DVD? There’s some interesting Sue Ellen stuff there, including the moment she decides to run for governor.

      • Not afraid of silence: Perhaps Mystery Science Theater 3000 has taught today’s producer/script writer that if you leave too much silence someone else might end up inserting a riff/joke. Of course good TV has nothing to worry about in that department.

Trackbacks

  1. […] terms with Jock’s death. It begins when Ray visits Ellie on another rainy night at Southfork and suggests she forgive Donna for wanting to write an unflattering book about Jock. Steve Kanaly’s monologue […]

  2. […] Ray’s tribute. Ray (Steve Kanaly) tries to make Miss Ellie accept Jock’s death by reminding her of his humanity. “He was a man, just like anybody else. He had friends. He had lots of […]

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