Dallas Parallels: Drama Mamas

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Brown Ryland, Lucy Ewing, Secrets, Sins of the Father, TNT

When Emma began popping pills and chasing boys on TNT’s “Dallas,” a lot of fans were reminded of Lucy’s antics on the original show. The two women share at least one more similarity: Both have strained relations with their long-lost mamas.

In the 1979 episode “Secrets,” Valene goes to Lucy’s college campus and approaches her daughter, one year after J.R. forced Val to flee Southfork without saying goodbye. At the time, J.R. lied and told Lucy that Val took off after demanding money from him, so when Lucy sees her mother again in “Secrets,” she treats her coldly and walks away. Val doesn’t give up and tries to speak to Lucy again later that day, explaining that J.R.’s extortion claim was untrue. Lucy doesn’t want to hear it. “Don’t bother, lady,” she says.

Thirty-four years later, when Ann learns her long-missing daughter Emma is living in Dallas, she approaches Emma at the stable where she’s riding her horse. This reunion turns out no better than Val and Lucy’s. It seems Ann’s ex-husband Harris kidnapped Emma and raised her to believe Ann was evil — just like J.R. snatched baby Lucy and brought her to Southfork, where she grew up being fed lies about Val. In “Sins of the Father,” Ann tries to tell Emma her side of the story, but Emma doesn’t want to listen. “This is a waste of time, Ann,” she says.

Eventually, both daughters learn to forgive their drama mamas. Lucy’s icy demeanor melts when she sees Val stand up to J.R., just like Emma has a change of heart after she hears her mother defend herself against Harris’s lies during his shooting trial. Of course, poor Lucy ends up getting hurt again when she discovers her parents got remarried without bothering to tell her. Something tells me that’s one problem Emma will never encounter.


‘Don’t Bother, Lady’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Secrets


In “Secrets,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Lucy (Charlene Tilton) finds Valene (Joan Van Ark) waiting for her in the college campus parking lot.

LUCY: Hi. You’re still here, Mama. I thought you’d have gotten your money and gone by now.

VAL: Lucy, I wrote to you and I explained that I did not take any money from J.R.

LUCY: Why should I believe that?

VAL: Because it’s true. But I know that I have got a lot more explaining to do to you.

LUCY: Don’t bother. It really doesn’t matter to me.

VAL: Honey, I know how you must feel.

LUCY: Oh, no, you don’t. You don’t know anything about me. [Turns away]

VAL: I know that I gave birth to you. And that I love you very much.

LUCY: You love me like you love my daddy? You ran off and left him too.

VAL: No, I never did. We just never had a chance.

LUCY: [Begins to cry] We had a chance, all right. We were all together at the ranch. We could’ve made it. Except it got too rough for you two, so you both ran off. That’s funny. It was too rough for you, but it was all right to leave me there.

VAL: Well, that was your home and you were brought up there. I knew that Miss Ellie would take care of you. They love you.

LUCY: Oh, yeah. According to you, everybody loves me. Why don’t I feel like they do? Why do I feel like I don’t belong to anybody?

VAL: [Tries to touch Lucy, who smacks away her hand] Darling, listen, I know it’s hard for you to understand, but you do belong to your daddy and me.

LUCY: I’ll tell you something, lady. I hurt sometimes, but I can handle that. What I can’t handle is you coming back again and making me think I really do have a mama. And then one day, finding out you’re gone again. So don’t bother, lady. Don’t even try.

VAL: [Crying] Oh, my baby.


‘This is a Waste of Time, Ann’

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Brown Ryland, Sins of the Father, TNT


In “Sins of the Father,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Ann and Emma (Brenda Strong, Emma Bell) sit across from each other at a police station conference table.

ANN: I know you’re angry. But I just wanted to talk to you.

EMMA: Using the police to get me here wasn’t very helpful.

ANN: The police brought you here because your father kidnapped you.

EMMA: Rescued me.

ANN: [Sighs] I understand you’ve probably spent your whole life hating me.

EMMA: Never gave you much thought, actually.

ANN: Emma, when you were born, there was a lot going on.

EMMA: This is a waste of time, Ann.

ANN: Your father’s had your whole life to convince you I’m a monster. Please, just give me five minutes to try and prove I’m not. What did he tell you about me?

EMMA: He told me you were a drug-addicted, depressed, hopeless mess.

ANN: I was. When you were born, I was lost and confused and hated myself because your father made me believe I should.

EMMA: Don’t blame him for your failings.

ANN: I took tranquilizers to try and push away that pain. To stay in the marriage, to be a good mother. But it made things worse. And I started falling down this dark hole, farther and farther until I lost sight of who I was, and what really mattered: You. I’m so sorry. When I lost you, I died inside.

EMMA: You seem to have recovered quite nicely.

ANN: [Sighs, pulls a keepsake box from her bag, sits it on the table] I spent years looking for you. Praying that you were still alive. [Emma opens the box, examines the mementos and newspaper clippings inside] I never stopped loving you, Emma.

EMMA: [Closes the box] I think you’ve confused love with guilt. I’ve lived a great life with my father. If you care about me at all, you’ll leave me alone. And you’ll stop what you’re trying to do to him. [Pushes the box across the table toward Ann] Now I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave.

What do you think of Valene and Ann’s attempts to reconcile with their daughters? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”


  1. I like how Emma puts out & uses sex to conquer men. Just like J. R., John Ross & others would do. Its modern & smart!

  2. Look Emma is hooked on drugs & John Ross. Sure the drugs are wrong but John Ross needs to provide her with sex so she can weaken the Ryland clan & feel empowered by John Ross’s desire for her C. B.

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