Dallas Parallels: She Bangs

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Fat Lady Singeth, Linda Gray, Sins of the Father, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Talk about a shocking twist! In “Sins of the Father,” one of the new “Dallas’s” second-season episodes, Ann discovers her ex-husband Harris kidnapped their daughter Emma when she was a child and raised her on his own. Ann goes to Harris’s home to confront him, and before you know it, she has shot the schmuck and left him for dead.

The scene brings to mind the original “Dallas’s” 11th season finale, “The Fat Lady Singeth,” which opens after J.R. has taken John Ross and stashed him at a private school so Sue Ellen can’t find him. In that episode’s final scene, Sue Ellen goes to J.R.’s hotel room and demands to know the boy’s location. The couple begins to argue, and before all is said and done, Sue Ellen has shot J.R.

Besides the gunfire, the two scenes share a few other similarities. When Ann goes to see Harris, she finds him seated in his den, reading papers. When Sue Ellen shows up at J.R.’s hotel room, he’s sitting on a sofa, reading the newspaper. In both sequences, the man gets up and crosses the room to the bar with the woman in tow. The two scenes also demonstrate Harris and J.R.’s cruelty. Harris taunts Ann, reciting the precious moments from Emma’s childhood that Ann missed. “I took that away from you,” he says. J.R. isn’t quite that vicious, but he boasts about how he outsmarted Sue Ellen when she was searching for the missing John Ross. “I was one step ahead of you,” J.R. says.

The scenes contain major differences too. Sue Ellen’s lover Nick accompanies her to J.R.’s, while Ann is alone when she goes to Harris’s. Sue Ellen shoots J.R. three times — using his gun — after Nick plunges to his death while scuffling with J.R. on the balcony. Ann, on the other hand, brings her own gun to Harris’s and fires once. The biggest difference: After Ann shoots Harris, she turns, leaves and goes home to Southfork, where she allows Bobby to confess to the shooting to protect her. In contrast, when Sue Ellen shoots J.R., she immediately dials the police to report the crime.

Ultimately, Harris and J.R. both survive their shootings, and Ann and Sue Ellen both get away with their crimes. Ann goes on trial and is sent to prison, but she gets off on parole. J.R. declines to press charges against Sue Ellen to spare John Ross from the spectacle of a trial. Will we see either woman pick up a gun again? It’s hard to say with Sue Ellen, but not Ann. After all, she recently received a dove-hunting gun — bequeathed to her by J.R. in his will.

 

‘I Was One Step Ahead of You’

Dallas, Fat Lady Singeth, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Mean

In “The Fat Lady Singeth,” J.R. (Larry Hagman) is seated in his hotel room, reading the newspaper, when Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) knocks on the door.

J.R.: Who is it?

SUE ELLEN: J.R., it’s me.

J.R.: Go away, Sue Ellen. I got nothing to talk to you about. [Tosses aside the paper, rises and walks toward the door]

SUE ELLEN: Let me in!

J.R.: I knew it was your man asking around about John Ross. But I was one step ahead of you, wasn’t it?

Nick (Jack Scalia) kicks open the door and enters the room, followed by Sue Ellen.

SUE ELLEN: Where is my son, you bastard?

J.R.: Where you’ll never find him.

NICK: That’s not good enough. Where is he?

J.R.: None of your damn business, Pearce.

NICK: I’m making it my business. [As they approach J.R., he steps backward to the bar.] Now do you tell me, or do I start taking you apart? [J.R. reaches for the phone. Nick smacks it out of his hand.] You’re one sorry excuse for a man.

J.R.: Get out of here.

NICK: Not without some answers. And believe me, I will truly enjoy kicking the crap out of you.

SUE ELLEN: Where is he, J.R.?

J.R.: [Pulls a handgun from behind the bar] You’re trespassing. If I have to use this, the law will be on my side, so get the hell out here.

NICK: You don’t have the guts to use it.

J.R.: Call off your gigolo, honey.

Nick lunges for J.R. and they scuffle, leaving the handgun on the floor. As Sue Ellen screams, they wind up on the balcony, where Nick plunges over the side of the railing. Sue Ellen picks up the handgun, aims at J.R. and shoots three times. She walks to the phone and dials.

SUE ELLEN: I’d like to report a double murder. This is Sue Ellen Ewing.

 

‘I Took That Away From You’

Dallas, Harris Ryland, Mitch Pileggi, Sins of the Father, TNT

Meaner

In “Sins of the Father,” Ann (Brenda Strong) enters the Ryland home, where Harris (Mitch Pileggi) is seated in the living room, reading papers.

HARRIS: [Tosses the papers on the coffee table] Emma’s a pretty amazing girl, isn’t she? She holds a hell of a grudge, though. Me and Mama raised her right.

ANN: Why? Why did you take her from me?

HARRIS: [Slaps his knee, rises] You know, last time we talked, you were wearing a wire. So if we’re going to continue this conversation, I’m going to have to — [Ann sighs and spreads her arms as Harris feels her body] Now, if I remember correctly — [She unbuttons her blouse and shows him her chest. He smiles.]

ANN: Why’d you take her?

HARRIS: I just did what you didn’t have the guts to follow through on. [Steps away, grabs his glass off the table, walks to the bar]

ANN: That’s a lie. It destroyed me! Did you hate me that much?

HARRIS: Oh, Annie. It all worked out for the best. Besides, she’s a grown woman. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway. [Pours himself a drink]

ANN: Just tell the truth for once in your miserable life. Why?

HARRIS: You really have to ask?

ANN: I want to hear you say it.

HARRIS: Because you were about to leave me. And after all I did for you, turning a gangly, raw-bone girl into a proper woman.

ANN: Broken puppet.

HARRIS: There was no way you were going to make a fool out of me by leaving. You had to pay a price. And the look on your face right now? It’s priceless.

ANN: Go on.

HARRIS: [Smiles] Oh, you still like the pain, don’t you? How’s it going to help to hear about what you lost? Is it going to get you back any of Emma’s first steps? Or her dance recitals? Or any of those birthdays? Is it going to get you even one of those nights, snuggled up to her, telling her bedtime stories while she fell asleep? No. Because I took that away from you. Forever. See? Hearing that didn’t help at all, now did it?

ANN: Oh, it helped a lot. [Pulls a gun from her purse, shoots him, walks away]

What do you think of Sue Ellen and Ann’s gunplay? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Drill Bits: Another Ratings Win for TNT’s ‘Dallas’

Dallas, Josh Henderson, John Ross Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Viewers came back too

The real test for new TV shows isn’t the number of people who tune in for the premiere – it’s the number who come back during the second week. If a series holds onto enough of its audience during week two, it’s a good sign viewers like what they see and will keep coming back for more.

TNT’s “Dallas” didn’t just pass its second-week test – it aced it!

The series premiered June 13 with 6.9 million viewers, including 1.9 million adults between the ages of 18 to 49, the group advertisers prize above all others.

One week later, TNT’s June 20 “Dallas” episode, “The Price You Pay,” drew 4.8 million viewers, becoming the evening’s most-watched cable show. Here’s what’s really impressive: This audience included 1.7 million viewers between 18 and 49.

In other words: Almost all the 18-to-49-year-olds who watched “Dallas” during week one came back during week two.

This doesn’t guarantee “Dallas” another season, but it’s an encouraging sign. Hopefully TNT will renew the series soon.

More Numbers

While we’re on the subject of “Dallas’s” June 13 debut, it’s now official: The two-hour premiere was cable television’s most-watched telecast last week, boosting TNT to a first-place finish among all cable channels.

And when you include the number of viewers who watched “Dallas” on DVRs within three days of the original telecast, the show’s total viewership rises from 6.9 million viewers to 7.8 million viewers.

By the way: This is the first time “Dallas” has finished first in a weekly ratings race since “Swan Song,” the 1985 episode that ended with Bobby’s “death.”

Hagman’s Advice to Henderson

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson

Enjoy the ride

In “The Price You Pay,” J.R. dispenses a lot of wisdom to John Ross, including Jock’s famous maxim that “real power is something you take.”

In real life, what advice has Larry Hagman offered advice Josh Henderson?

“You know, the first thing he ever said to me when we were on set was, ‘Enjoy the ride.’ He literally just said, ‘Have fun,’” Henderson told me and a group of other bloggers and critics during a conference call last month.

“I think what made the original [series] so special was that Larry, Linda, Patrick – the original cast – they truly had fun and they really like each other. And I think that when that happens, you can trust your coworker or the actor that you’re with in the scene more, meaning that you can go deeper with the characters to make a better TV show.”

Line of the Week

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

J.R.’s comment to Ann in “The Price You Pay’s” storage barn scene was a winking nod to his tendency to get shot on the original “Dallas.” Everyone knows J.R.’s sister-in-law/mistress/secretary Kristin pumped lead into him in 1980, but casual fans might have forgotten he also got plugged during a hunting trip (1979’s “The Dove Hunt”), by Sue Ellen (1988’s “The Fat Lady Singeth”) and by a crazed business rival (the 1998 reunion movie “War of the Ewings”).

Speaking of plugs: Dallas Decoder will critique the 1980 “Who Shot J.R.?” episodes, beginning next week. If you need a refresher on “Dallas’s” most famous storyline, be sure to check them out.

Power Trip

Are you playing “Rise to Power,” TNT’s online “Dallas” game?

Each week, fans are asked to align themselves with the character who has what it takes to “rise to power” during TNT’s next “Dallas” episode. Players earn points based on each character’s weekly “power ranking,” but additional points can be earned by touting the show on Facebook and Twitter.

The grand prize is a trip to Southfork. Weekly prizes include autographed posters, Ewing Oil hardhats and a collection of TNT’s “Dallas Quickies” tweets in book form.

That’s One Strong Drink

A reminder to check out the “Dallas Drinks” cocktail recipes from Cook In/Dine Out. This week’s drink is inspired by Ann Ewing, played by the awesome Brenda Strong. Make sure you serve it in a tall glass!

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