In “Mothers,” a ninth-season “Dallas” episode, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) stands in the office of Dr. Gibson (Bibi Besch), who is seated in a chair.
SUE ELLEN: Why do I drink? Now that’s a good question, doctor. And it’s been a good question every time someone asks me. Even when you’ve asked me. [Sits on the sofa]
GIBSON: Are you any closer to an answer?
SUE ELLEN: My father was an alcoholic. [Rests head on her hand]
GIBSON: So you said. Did your other therapist let you get away with that as an answer? Who would you like to blame this time?
SUE ELLEN: I’m not blaming him. I’m just trying to explain it.
GIBSON: You think the fact that your father was an alcoholic explains why you are. Or do you just wish it did?
SUE ELLEN: I don’t know. [Stands, walks across the room] I really don’t know. The whole thing is so perverse. [Sighs] I hated the smell of alcohol. I hated everything it represented. My father drank away all of his chances for success. And all of my mother’s chances for success went with him. [Sits in a chair] And now I’m doing the same thing.
GIBSON: Your mother. Let’s talk about her a little.
SUE ELLEN: What’s there to say?
GIBSON: I don’t know. Just tell me something about her.
SUE ELLEN: I did already. My father drank away everything that she ever wanted out of life. Money, prestige, social position. So she did the next best thing. She raised me to have that kind of life. She raised me to marry somebody important. To love, honor and obey. And she made it very clear to me that if I couldn’t love and honor, I could sure as hell obey.
GIBSON: That’s valid, Sue Ellen. Years ago, a lot of women thought that way. But the world has changed.
SUE ELLEN: Not for her. And not for me. It’s all I know. I was raised to be the best thing that ever happened to a husband. She just neglected to tell my husband. [Pauses] Did your husband ever cheat on you? [Gibson smiles.] Yeah, I know. We’re here to talk about me, hm? Well, let me tell you something. There is nothing in the world more degrading than your husband is sleeping with every tramp there is in Dallas.
GIBSON: Then why do you stay with him?
SUE ELLEN: [Chuckles] Oh, doctor. You forgot. I’m the perfect wife. Actually, I did divorce him once. Then I let him talk me into marrying him again.
GIBSON: Why did you let that happen?
SUE ELLEN: Because the plain truth of it is that I don’t know anything other than being J.R. Ewing’s wife. Pathetic, isn’t it?
GIBSON: Are you blaming your husband now?
SUE ELLEN: Well, why shouldn’t I? It’s his fault, isn’t it?
GIBSON: Is it? Is it your husband’s fault? [Leans forward] Or is it your father’s fault? Or is it your mother’s fault?
SUE ELLEN: You think it’s my fault?
GIBSON: Sue Ellen, I think it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. What matters is where you go from here.