Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Want You to Explain Mandy Winger’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sentences, Sue Ellen Ewing

Seeing is believing

In “Sentences,” an eighth-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) comes home and enters his bedroom, where Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) is sitting on the bed.

J.R.: Well, good evening.

SUE ELLEN: Hello, J.R.

J.R.: It’s kind of a surprise, seeing you sitting there on my bed waiting for me. Have you suddenly been gripped by an uncontrollable passion?

SUE ELLEN: [Scoffs] No, I just thought it was time for us to have a little talk.

J.R.: Good, good. It’s been a long time coming. Aside from one brief venomous attack, you have hardly said a word to me since you got back from the Far East.

SUE ELLEN: We didn’t have anything to talk about, but now we have.

J.R.: All right.

SUE ELLEN: Do you remember when Jamie saw you with Congressman Hooker’s daughter, and you were trying to explain it to me? Telling me who she was and how you were sending her around the world?

J.R.: Yes.

SUE ELLEN: And how I didn’t want to hear an explanation because I was so hurt? Well, now I’m ready for an explanation.

J.R.: About Congressman Hooker’s daughter? Darlin’, we’ve been through all this. It’s in the past. Forget about it.

SUE ELLEN: [Sighs, gets up, approaches him] I am not interested in the congressman’s daughter. I want you to explain Mandy Winger — and this time, I’m ready to listen.

J.R.: Mandy Winger? Well, what’s to explain? I hardly know the girl.

SUE ELLEN: But you do know her?

J.R.: Yes, of course I do.

SUE ELLEN: In the biblical sense, J.R.?

J.R.: [Turns, walks to the dresser, begins emptying his pockets] Don’t be ridiculous, Sue Ellen. Really.

SUE ELLEN: Ridiculous? Me? You’re the one who gets into a public brawl with Cliff Barnes over her.

J.R.: I suppose you picked up that little tidbit from our cousin Jamie.

SUE ELLEN: It would have been a lot less embarrassing if I had. I heard it right from that loudmouth, Marilee Stone.

J.R.: So?

SUE ELLEN: You make a fool of yourself with that tramp at the Oil Baron’s, and all you can say is “so”?

J.R.: [Faces her] She’s no tramp.

SUE ELLEN: Oh. So Dallas’s renowned stud has been smitten?

J.R.: [Leans against the dresser] Sue Ellen, why are you carrying on like this? You drew up the rules. I’m playing by them. You wanted to live separate lives, and now you seem surprised that I don’t choose to live like a monk. Now don’t be naïve.

SUE ELLEN: Oh, I’m not naïve. I expected you to be with other women. You always have been. But I did think, however, that you would be smart enough to be discreet, and not to flaunt your little tart in public. Oh, I’m sorry. Or is it your “lady friend”? Or maybe your “lover”? Hmm?

J.R.: What Mandy is in my life is none of your business.

SUE ELLEN: When you go public with her, it is my business. But just remember, J.R., two can play that little game, if that’s what you want.

J.R.: If you don’t like what’s going on, you can change it. You started this arrangement, and you can end it. You can divorce me, Sue Ellen. It’s as simple as that.

SUE ELLEN: So you can be free for Mandy Winger?

J.R.: Why do you care?

SUE ELLEN: I don’t care. And I may do just that, except this time it will be for good. [Turns, walks toward the door]

J.R.: Sue Ellen. [She turns, faces him.] Remember, no matter what, John Ross stays here with me. And I mean that. [She exits.]

Watch this scene in “Sentences,” available on DVD and at Amazon and iTunes, and share your comments below.


  1. Damn C.B., u’d almost need a pair of “Wings” to figure out the playas in this Mandy Winger drama.

  2. What a marriage! J.R. wants to keep John Ross and he would not mind if Sue Ellen slept with him and tried to make him happy. He also would not mind if his wife just up and left, as long as he keeps custody of his son. I do not remember one time that J.R. slugged Cliff Barnes over Sue Ellen the way he did over Mandy Winger. So maybe Sue Ellen is really asking if J.R. likes, loves, desires, or thinks of Mandy more than he ever did for her.

    • That’s a good point, Michael. Sue Ellen is probably asking J.R. for affirmation here, not just whether or not he’s sleeping with Mandy. One other point: I can recall J.R. slugging Cliff over Sue Ellen on at least one occasion — their wedding ceremony in 1982, when everyone wound up in the pool!

  3. This was a hard scene to watch, as JR is just so very practical in his responses and Sue Ellen is speaking from the heart though she tries to present her argument as a threat to JR. I also thought that shot of Sue Ellen’s reflection in the mirror with JR in the frame was pretty meaningful. Like Sue Ellen, look at yourself and face what you have come to accept from this man. Ouch.

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