Things Ewings Say

Things Ewings Say copy

Don’t darlin’ her either

J.R. isn’t the only sharp-tongued Ewing on TNT’s “Dallas.” To help you prepare for tomorrow’s telecast of “Revelations,” the first-season finale, we offer this review of memorable lines from other characters.

• “Count your blessings, Christopher. Those two old geezers would still find a reason to fight.”

Lucy (Charlene Tilton), after her cousin announces J.R. and Cliff won’t be able to attend his wedding in “Changing of the Guard”

• “We ain’t family, bro.”

John Ross (Josh Henderson) to Christopher in “Hedging Your Bets”

• “OK, can we just go bake something?”

Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), after failing to hit the target during shooting practice with Ann in “The Price You Pay”

• “Hair loss isn’t one of them, right?”

Bobby (Patrick Duffy), upon hearing his new medication has side effects in “The Price You Pay”

• “You got your daddy’s charm. Let’s hope you didn’t get his morals.”

Miss Henderson (Margaret Bowman), responding to John Ross’s sweet talk in “The Last Hurrah”

“He was dyslexic, not stupid.”

Elena (Jordana Brewster), responding to J.R.’s quip about John Ross’s childhood aversion to reading, in “The Last Hurrah”

“I know all the things Daddy used to say.”

Bobby, after J.R. quotes Jock for the umpteenth time, in “Truth and Consequences”

“I like your husband. And I always thought his brother was a prick.”

Harris (Mitch Pileggi), agreeing to Ann’s request to help Bobby by cancelling his contract with J.R. in “Truth and Consequences”

• “The people in Texas are way too friendly. It tries my nerves.”

Tommy (Callard Harris) in “The Enemy of My Enemy”

• “What now?”

John Ross, after Bobby and Christopher enter his room in “The Enemy of My Enemy”

“I’m sorry I threw up in your bathroom.”

Rebecca to Elena in “Collateral Damage”

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Yep, he’s his mama’s son.’”

Lucy, recalling the time she found John Ross drunk after he broke into the Southfork liquor cabinet as a child, in “Collateral Damage”

• “You’ve been writing more prescriptions than Michael Jackson’s doctor – which is odd, since all of your patients are dead.”

Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), blackmailing a medical examiner in “No Good Deed”

“If I catch you anywhere near Bobby’s room, I’ll shoot you. And since you have no heart, it’ll be somewhere more vital.”

Ann (Brenda Strong), chasing J.R. away from her ill husband in “Family Business”

What’s your favorite quote from “Dallas’s” first season? Share your choices below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Things Ewings Say (J.R. Edition)

Things Ewings Say (J.R. Edition) copy


If the first season of TNT’s “Dallas” taught us anything, it’s this: J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) still has a way with words. With “Revelations,” the eagerly awaited season finale two days away, here’s a look back at some of his best lines.

• “Son, the courts are for amateurs and the faint of heart.”

Responding to John Ross’s suggestion that he could win a legal fight with Bobby in “Changing of the Guard”

• “Son, never pass up a good chance to shut up.”

Imparting more wisdom to John Ross in “Hedging Your Bets”

• “I hate to hit a man below the belt, but you know I will.”

Threatening Mitch Lobell in “Hedging Your Bets”

• “Time has not been kind to that face.”

Upon seeing Cliff Barnes for the first time in many years in “The Price You Pay”

• “Bullets don’t seem to have much an effect on me, darlin’.”

Greeting a shotgun-wielding Ann in “The Price You Pay”

• “I’m going to tell you the truest thing my daddy ever told me: Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take.”

Quoting Jock to John Ross in “The Price You Pay”

• “Those people are not passing away because of old age. They’re trying to get away from the food.”

Describing the culinary options at his nursing home in “The Price You Pay”

• “That Mexican girl?”

Describing Elena in “The Last Hurrah”

• “Our girl is crazier than an outhouse rat.”

Describing Marta in “The Last Hurrah”

• “Are you really going to break bread with this lowlife?”

Upon learning Sue Ellen plans to have lunch with Cliff in “The Last Hurrah”

• “Well what fun would I get out of telling you that?”

His response when John Ross asks where he’s going in “Truth and Consequences”

• “For a chance to make money from me, Cliff Barnes would push his mama in a puddle of piranhas.”

Assessing his chances of joining Cliff’s high-stakes poker game in “The Enemy of My Enemy”

• “A cheated man is a dangerous man. Just ask my son.”

Describing Frank Ashkani in “Collateral Damage”

• “OK, I admit, I have lapses where I do wrong now and then.”

Offering Bobby the understatement of a lifetime in “Family Business”

What’s your favorite J.R. quote from “Dallas’s” first season? Share your choices below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Drill Bits: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Wins Cable Ratings Gold

Dallas, Family Business, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

You should see the other guys

“Dallas” brought ratings gold to TNT this week: Despite tough competition from the Olympics, “Family Business,” the show’s latest episode, debuted to 3.2 million viewers on August 1, becoming the evening’s most-watched cable program.

The “Dallas” audience included more than 1 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, the demographic advertisers pay a premium to reach. Ratings in this demo were up 8 percent from July 25, when roughly 850,000 18-to-49-year-olds watched “No Good Deed,” TNT’s previous “Dallas” episode.

This makes “Dallas” one of the few shows to get a ratings boost in the crucial demo during NBC’s Olympics coverage, which has delivered blockbuster numbers each night since the games began last week.

J.R. Ewing, Superlative Senior

Younger viewers may love “Dallas,” but the show is making waves among older audiences, too.

TNT’s depiction of J.R. as an elderly man who is nonetheless full of life is smart and refreshing, writes Elizabeth Newman, senior editor for McKnight’s, a trade publication for caregivers.

“[I]n all our pop culture portrayals of either lauding saintly grandmother types, trying to make people cringe laugh at the idea of old people being sexual (I’m looking at you, Betty White), or introducing the wacky grandfather, it’s refreshing to see a complex character in his 80s get a new lease on life,” Newman writes.

The Woman Who Saved J.R.’s Life

Speaking of superlative seniors: The Star Newspapers of Plano, Texas caught up this week with Barbara Kain, who was a stand-in for Barbara Bel Geddes on the original “Dallas” series and also played the nurse who treats J.R. after his shooting in “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1.”

“I always say that I helped save J.R’s life,” Kain tells the publication.

The Double-Crosser’s Double

While we’re nosing around community newspaper websites: The Abilene Reporter-News recently profiled Gregg Dickerson, a J.R. Ewing lookalike who hires himself out for parties and other events. By the way: The Reporter-News has a long history of finding local angles in its “Dallas” coverage.

Department of Misleading Headlines

Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jordana Brewster, Last Hurrah, TNT

She loves it

The Toronto Star and a handful of other news outlets carried the following headline this week: “Brewster: I couldn’t live in Dallas.”

What’s this? Is “Dallas” heroine Jordana Brewster dissing show’s namesake city?

No, silly. Read the whole story.

“I love it there,” the actress says, adding that she met her husband while filming a movie in Texas.

Here’s the rest of Brewster’s quote: “We would love to be able to have a house there, but I don’t know if I could live in Dallas. I live in California, where you can basically wear whatever you want and be pretty casual and the lifestyle is laid back. In Dallas the women are dressed up at 7 a.m. and they’re always in heels and if you go out to a restaurant they’re never in jeans.”

See? Brewster likes Dallas just fine, thank you very much.

Line of the Week

“No, J.R., your lapses aren’t when you do wrong. Your lapses are when you do right.”

Bobby (Patrick Duffy) to his older brother in one of the many moving scenes from “Family Business.”

A Twist, But No Zing

The latest “Dallas Drinks” recipe from Cook In/Dine Out: The Sue Ellen. To honor Linda Gray’s reinterpretation of her classic character, this drink is a fresh take on an old standard: the Cosmopolitan.

And yes, it’s a “mocktail.” Who do you think we are, Harris Ryland?

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.

TNT’s Dallas Styles: Bobby’s Pajamas

Dead men don’t wear plaid. Right?

In “Family Business,” TNT continues an old “Dallas” tradition: using the Ewings’ sleepwear to telegraph their vulnerabilities.

The practice can be traced to “Spy in the House,” the original show’s third episode, when a sexually neglected Sue Ellen buys a negligee, hoping to arouse J.R.’s interest. Her plan doesn’t work: J.R. calls the nightie “cheap” and storms out of the room, leaving his wife in tears.

In the second-season episode “Survival,” a bathrobe-clad Jock weeps when he learns a plane carrying J.R. and Bobby has crashed. Later, in the third-season episode “Ellie Saves the Day,” Jock and Miss Ellie are both wearing robes when they learn J.R.’s latest oil deal has brought the Ewing empire to the brink of collapse.

And when we encounter a deeply depressed J.R. at the beginning of “Changing of the Guard,” TNT’s first “Dallas” episode, what’s he wearing? You guessed it: a robe and pajamas.

In “Family Business,” Patrick Duffy sports plaid pajamas and what appears to be a dark green robe after Bobby is diagnosed with a life-threatening cerebral aneurysm. The PJs, like the reading glasses perched on Bobby’s nose, remind us our silver-haired hero is entering the twilight of his life – a point Bobby himself makes when he poignantly reminds J.R., “Nobody lives forever.”

But the sleepwear lets us know something else too: Even in pajamas, Patrick Duffy is still dashing.

The Art of TNT’s Dallas: ‘Family Business’

Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) is seen in this publicity shot from “Family Business,” the ninth episode of TNT’s “Dallas.” Photo credit: Zade Rosenthal/TNT.

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘J.R., I Love You’

Dallas, Family Business, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT


In “Family Business,” a first-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) visits Bobby (Patrick Duffy), who sits in his bed.

J.R.: You could have told me about the cancer.

BOBBY: Slipped my mind. I guess I was too busy trying to undo all the damage you caused.

J.R.: OK, I admit, I have lapses where I do wrong now and then.

BOBBY: No, J.R., your lapses aren’t when you do wrong. Your lapses are when you do right. Like the scorpion who said to the frog, “It’s just in my nature.”

J.R.: Well, you happy with your doctor? Because I’ve given a truckload of money to the UT medical school.

BOBBY: J.R., I love you. No matter what. You remember that.

J.R.: Well, my memory’s not what it used to be, either. You’re just going to have to keep telling me.

BOBBY: Nobody lives forever.

J.R.: Well, I’m not going to stand here and listen to you write your obituary. If you have something to say to me, you say it when they get that thing fixed in your head.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 9 – ‘Family Business’

Dallas, Family Business, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

The man who came around

“Family Business” offers nothing less than the redemption of J.R. Ewing. In this deeply poignant episode, our aging antihero is called upon to face hard truths and make tough choices, and for once in his life, he does the right thing. By the time the closing credits roll, J.R. has a grown as a person. “Dallas” has grown too.

Rather brilliantly, “Family Business” ends with Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” playing under a series of chilling scenes that leave the fates of several characters hanging in the balance. J.R. is not among them, but no matter. There’s no doubt the song is meant to evoke the journey he takes in this episode, when one by one, the three people J.R. loves most – John Ross, Sue Ellen and Bobby – persuade him to end the war for Southfork.

These are moving, meaningful scenes. In the first, John Ross pleads with J.R. to give the ranch back to Bobby, prompting J.R. to ask his son, “What’s gotten into you, anyhow?” John Ross’s cutting response: “A little decency.” Later, Sue Ellen storms into the room, slaps J.R. and reminds him how his past schemes left him with “nothing.” When J.R. remains defiant (“Well, I’m back honey, and I’m gonna be bigger than ever.”), Sue Ellen’s exasperation dissolves into pity. “And you still have nothing,” she says.

Only after J.R. speaks with Bobby does he finally, fully see the light. In the scene, Bobby sits in his sickbed and gently admonishes his oldest brother, then tells him, “J.R., I love you. No matter what. You remember that.” J.R.’s face falls – and with it, so do the last vestiges of his bravado. “Well,” he says softly, “My memory’s not what it used to be either. You’re just going to have to keep telling me.”

In each of these scenes, director Michael M. Robin’s clever staging tells us as much as scriptwriter Bruce Rasmussen’s heartfelt dialogue. J.R.’s confrontation with Sue Ellen ends with him standing in front of a mirror that reflects the back of his head, a reminder that there is another side of J.R., even when he can’t see it himself. In the exchange with John Ross, J.R. sits on his bed while the younger man stands over him, symbolizing how the son has achieved moral superiority over the father. In the third scene, the positions are reversed: Bobby is in bed, while J.R. stands. This is when we know J.R., who has always been the big brother, is about to become a bigger man.

Indeed, the next time we see J.R., he is sitting alone in his bedroom, staring at the Southfork deed, a glass of bourbon to his right, his old oil-derrick model to the left. With heavy eyes, he glances at the framed picture of Miss Ellie, sips his drink, puts pen to paper and finally returns ownership of the ranch to Bobby.

The man has come around.

‘He’s J.R. Ewing’

Dallas, Family Business, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

Scarred inside, too

If there is justice in television, “Family Business” will be the episode that earns Larry Hagman an Emmy next year. The actor is full of wicked charm here, but more than anything, his performance has heart. J.R. has never felt so human.

And while we’re on the subject: Is it too much to ask for Patrick Duffy to receive some Emmy recognition too? I love the sad-eyed, world-weary demeanor he brings to his scenes with Hagman, but Duffy also deserves praise for making Bobby’s seizures look and feel frighteningly real.

Among the younger actors, I’m most impressed by Julie Gonzalo, who knocks me out with Rebecca’s hopeless desperation in “Family Business’s” final scene, when Rebecca turns the gun on Tommy (“Please, please you have to go!”), as well as Josh Henderson, who shows us what John Ross is made of during his character’s confrontation with J.R.

Henderson also shines when John Ross stands in the Southfork driveway and pours out his heart to Elena. “I spent my entire life missing him, wanting to be with him, wanting to be him,” John Ross says of his father. After a beat, he adds: “He’s J.R. Ewing” – letting us know the son’s mistake wasn’t that he failed to live up to his father’s legend, but that he tried in the first place. The “Dallas” makeup artists might be responsible for the cuts and bruises on John Ross’s face, but Henderson gets the credit for showing us the scars his character carries around on the inside.

Other great “Family Business” moments: Christopher reminds John Ross that Bobby was like a surrogate father to him growing up and later proposes going into business with John Ross and Elena – signaling the beginning of an intriguing story arc for the series. Meanwhile, after Harris tries to blackmail Sue Ellen – and mocks her sobriety by pouring her a glass of wine – she confides in Ann her plan to drop out of the gubernatorial race. “I would have made a good governor, don’t you think?” Sue Ellen asks through wet eyes. Has Linda Gray ever been more heartbreaking?

Speaking of Ann: Brenda Strong is wonderful in the scenes that depict her character as devoted wife and friend, but I get the biggest kick out of seeing Ann spar with her wily brother-in-law. I loved J.R. and Ann’s storage barn encounter in “The Price You Pay” and their heated exchange in “Truth and Consequences,” but the “Family Business” scene where she chases him out of Bobby’s room (“Don’t you darlin’ me!”) is the best of the lot. Strong is one of the few actors on the TNT show who can hold her own against the mighty Hagman in every way.

‘Hear the Trumpets, Hear the Pipers’

Dallas, Family Business, Julie Gonzalo, Rebecca Sutter Ewing, TNT

Have gun, will unravel

“Family Business” is a technical achievement as much as anything. Since TNT’s series began, I’ve sometimes struggled to get used to the background music, which is so different from what we heard on the old show. But the new style really works here. Rob Cairns scores several scenes in this episode with sentimental strings, which fit well with the intimate atmospherics.

Of course, “Family Business’s” standout sequence is that Johnny Cash montage. Notice how perfectly his haunting lyrics match what we see on screen. Rebecca pulls the gun out of the safe deposit box as Cash sings, “The hair on your arms will stand up.” Tommy’s face fills the frame when we hear, “Whoever is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Bobby’s monitor flatlines as Cash’s voice booms, “Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers.” And then the punctuation: the ping of the shell casing hitting the counter as blood splatters the stuffed animals Rebecca brought home at the top of the hour.

After I saw this sequence for the first time, I went back and watched it again and again, reveling in how good it is. It reminded me of how I kept “A House Divided,” the episode where J.R. gets shot, on a seemingly endless loop when I was a kid.

But the comparison goes beyond the fact both episodes end with gunshots. The original “Dallas” was never the same after “A House Divided,” and “Family Business” feels destined to become a landmark episode too. I have a hunch we’ll one day look back and remember this as the moment the TNT series became the show we always knew it could be.

Grade: A+


Dallas, Family Business, TNT

Blood monkeys


Season 1, Episode 9

Telecast: August 1, 2012

Writer: Bruce Rasmussen

Director: Michael M. Robin

Audience: 4.8 million viewers (including 3.2 million viewers on August 1, ranking 17th in the weekly cable ratings)

Synopsis: After Elena discovers a way to extract Southfork oil from a neighboring property, John Ross, Christopher and Elena form a company, Ewing Energies. When Harris tries to blackmail Sue Ellen, she decides to quit the gubernatorial race rather than submit to his scheme. Bobby is diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm, prompting J.R. to return ownership of Southfork to him. After Bobby learns he may have to incriminate J.R. in the fraud, he suffers a seizure. Tommy is revealed to be working with Frank Ashkani, Cliff’s henchman, who tells Tommy his services are no longer required. Tommy attacks a gun-wielding Rebecca; the weapon fires during their struggle.

Cast: Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Mari Deese (bank manager), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Rebecca Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Callard Harris (Tommy Sutter), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), John McIntosh (Dr. Bennett), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Glenn Morshower (Lou), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Tina Parker (nurse), Faran Tahir (Frank)

“Family Business” is available at, and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Girds for an Olympics Onslaught

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, No Good Deed, TNT

He survived jail. What about the Olympics?

TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode, “No Good Deed,” was seen by 3.3 million viewers on July 25. The audience included about 895,000 viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, the demographic advertisers pay a premium to reach.

The show was the evening’s second most-watched cable program behind USA’s “Royal Pains,” although this was the smallest audience yet for a Wednesday night “Dallas” telecast. Previously, the lowest-rated episode was “Truth and Consequences,” which was seen by 3.4 million viewers on Independence Day.

Keep in mind: “Dallas’s” ratings often soar when DVR users who record the show and watch it later are factored in. For example, “Truth and Consequences” was seen by 5.1 million viewers altogether within a week of its July 4 debut.

“Dallas’s” real ratings test comes next week, when the show begins competing with the Summer Olympics, which often draw huge audiences.

NBC will broadcast the games for 17 days, beginning tonight. This means the final two episodes of TNT’s first season of “Dallas” will be telecast in the midst of the Olympics onslaught.

On Wednesday, August 1, when TNT telecasts “Dallas’s” ninth episode, “Family Business,” NBC is scheduled to broadcast swimming and diving finals, beach volleyball and the crowning of the men’s gymnastics champion. One week later, on the night TNT shows “Revelations,” the “Dallas” season finale, gold medals are expected to be awarded in women’s beach volleyball and men’s track on NBC.

This will be the first time “Dallas” has competed with the Summer Olympics, although the original series aired opposite the Winter Olympics six times – twice each in 1980, 1984 and 1988.

Back then, “Dallas” beat the games every time – except once: On February 22, 1980, the classic episode “Jock’s Trial, Part 1” was crushed by ABC’s coverage of the “miracle on ice” hockey game, when the U.S. men’s team scored an upset victory over the Soviets.

Shooting J.R. at Home

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Their own turf

“Dallas” has lifted TNT’s ratings, but the show has also brought major economic benefits to its namesake city, Christopher Kelly reported this week in the New York Times.

The first 10 episodes were shot in North Texas in 2011 and 2012, pumping $28.8 million into the local economy and boosting civic pride.

Says Janis Burklund, head of the Dallas Film Commission: “Everywhere I go, I’m hearing from people about how cool it is to see the city on the show. And it looks great. When you watch the show, you have to say, ‘Wow, our city looks great.’”

‘Dallas’ After Dark

Three “Dallas” stars made the late-night talk show rounds during the past week: Last night, Josh Henderson appeared on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” on Bravo. Meanwhile, Julie Gonzalo visited the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” on July 23, three days after Jordana Brewster dropped by the CBS show.

High Brow Humor

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Price You Pay, TNT

Those brows

Larry Hagman’s eyebrows “kind of have a life of their own,” says Lynn Barber, “Dallas’s” makeup artist, in an interview published yesterday by Entertainment Weekly.

We don’t doubt it, but we also wonder if J.R. might have competition for television’s top brows.

In a meeting last week with the nation’s television critics, PBS officials discussed the popularity of public broadcasting’s hit soap opera “Downton Abbey,” citing the Twitter feed Lady Mary’s Eyebrows as an example of that show’s cultural impact.

Of course, Hagman and J.R.’s brows have their own Twitter feeds, too. Could a J.R.-vs.-Mary eyebrow beat-down be brewing in the twitterverse?

Line of the Week

“How much time do you have?”

The response from Bobby (Patrick Duffy) in “No Good Deed” when Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) asks, “How could J.R. do this to his own family?”

Bottoms Up!

If you love Brewster’s refreshing performance on “Dallas,” you’ll enjoy The Elena, the latest “Dallas Drinks” cocktail from Dallas Decoder’s favorite mixologist at Cook In/Dine Out. Enjoy!

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.