The Dallas Decoder Guide to Household Safety

Bobby Ewing, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, Patrick Duffy, TNT, Where There's Smoke

Here they go again

No one should be surprised to see Southfork go up in flames in “Where There’s Smoke,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode. The Ewings aren’t exactly the poster family for exercising care and caution around the house, are they? Here’s a look at the everyday, common sense practices they routinely ignore.

B.D. Calhoun, Dallas, Hunter von Leer, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Don’t hit the snooze button

Lock your doors. It sounds so simple, and yet the Ewings never seem to grasp the importance of this one. When B.D. Calhoun (Hunter von Leer) tried to kill J.R., did he swarm Southfork with his band of gun-toting mercenaries-for-hire? Nope. Calhoun simply walked into the house in the middle of the night, climbed the stairs, slipped into J.R.’s room and left a ticking time bomb on the nightstand. Several years later, when Vicente Cano decided to hold the Ewings hostage in their living room, he too waltzed in through the front door. Sheesh! Look, Southfork doesn’t have that many entrances. Is it that hard to remember to lock them?

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Looks right at home

Avoid fires. We can all agree open flames inside a home are almost never a good idea, right? So could someone please explain why J.R. (Larry Hagman) had all those candles burning at Southfork on the night Ray showed up to confront him over Mickey Trotter’s accident? I mean, it’s not like J.R. was trying to set a romantic mood for Sue Ellen, who was passed out drunk upstairs. Anyhow, J.R. and Ray got into a huge fistfight, the candles went crashing to the floor and before you knew it, the house was ablaze. Everyone escaped unharmed, although poor John Ross was so traumatized, he emerged from the tragedy looking like a different kid.

Alexis Smith, Dallas, Jessica Montfort, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Nuts for breakfast

Know your houseguests. Is there a polite way to ask potential guests if they have a history of mental health issues? If so, please pass this tip along to the Ewings, who are constantly offering room and board to people who belong in an insane asylum, not the spare bedroom at Southfork. Over the years, the Ewings’ overnight guests have included Jessica Montfort (Alexis Smith), who ended up kidnapping Miss Ellie and stuffing her in the trunk of her car; sex-crazed drug dealer Tommy McKay, who practically tried to rape April Stevens in John Ross’s bed; and that dreadful Cousin Jamie, who wasn’t crazy but drove everyone else bonkers.

Dallas, Donna Culver Krebbs, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard

Oh, Donna

Don’t provoke the animals. Oh, look. Here’s dear, pregnant Pam, who gets in accidents the way other people catch colds. Pam can’t find her husband Bobby, so she’s decided to ride her horse out to the barn to look for him. Pam, given your condition, are you sure that’s a good idea? Oops, too late: Pam fell off the horse. Oh, no. What’s happening now? Is our buddy Ray (Steve Kanaly) trying to introduce his pregnant wife Donna (Susan Howard) to one of the Southfork bulls? Ray, given your wife’s condition, are you sure that’s a good idea? Oops, too late: The bull got spooked and tried to charge Donna, who’s been knocked out cold. Sigh.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly


Be a good neighbor. When you have a dispute with a neighbor, do you try to resolve it by talking things out? If so, you’re nothing like the Ewings, whose preferred approach to conflict resolution is to start blowing stuff up. Just ask Carter McKay. After he bought the ranch next to Southfork and got into a spat with the Ewings over water rights, they responded by stuffing McKay’s dam full of dynamite and blasting it to smithereens. This led to a war between the McKays and the Ewings — no, seriously, both families hired their own armies — which is surely a violation of the Braddock homeowners’ association bylaws.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Sue Ellen Ewing, Steve Kanaly

Not now, Lucy

Beware of heights. Elevated spaces can be dangerous. We all know this, right? So why can’t the Ewings and their friends steer clear of them? Klutzy Pam fell from the hayloft — and suffered a miscarriage, no less. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and Clayton each tumbled down the stairs — although not at the same time, thank goodness. And when a couple of renegade oil barons began chasing secretary Julie Grey, she went to the roof of her building because … well, why not? Then there’s poor Kristin, who figured the Southfork balcony was the perfect place to try to blackmail the man she once pumped full of lead. We all know how well that turned out.

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Joshua Harris

Killer fashions

Protect the kids. Do you see the tragedy that’s about to unfold in this picture? I’m not referring to the fact that little Christopher (Joshua Harris) is pulling Bobby’s gun out of the bedroom closet so he can play with it. Ewings love guns; that’s just a fact of life and nothing will ever change it. No, I’m talking about that L.A. Gear shoebox. Does this mean Pam wore L.A. Gears, the gaudiest sneakers known to man? You don’t suppose they were neon pink high-tops, do you? Look, I don’t care if it was the ’80s; how could Pam subject her family to those ugly shoes? For goodness sake, Pam, think of the children!

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy

Way to make a splash

Don’t go near the water. You know what swimming pools are for? Swimming. They’re not the place to settle scores with Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) and they’re not the place to work out Ewing Oil business disputes. Of course, just try telling this to the Ewings, who are constantly shoving their enemies — and each other — into the Southfork pool. Everyone gets dunked — fully clothed and against their will — at one point or another. Or at least that’s what used to happen on “Dallas.” This might be the one area of household safety where the Ewings have learned their lesson, which is kind of a shame. I mean, where’s the fun in that?

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy

What have they done now?

Get some insurance. Maybe the reason the Ewings aren’t more careful around the house is because they’ve got the best insurance policy ever: Bobby (Patrick Duffy). No matter what mishaps befall these people, they know good ol’ Bob will save the day. Southfork catches fire? Bobby will come along in the nick of time to make sure everyone gets out alive. Range war with McKay? Bobby will go Chuck Norris on his ass and single-handedly disarm his militia. That termite Cliff starts a pool fight? Well, Bobby won’t break up the scuffle, but he’ll make damn sure Barnes gets the beating he deserves. Bobby, this is why we love you. Never leave us, OK?

What have the Ewings taught you about household safety? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Decoder Guides.”

The Dallas Decoder Guide to That Darned Barnes Family

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Revelations, TNT

Pamela redux

The Barneses are back: In “Revelations,” the first-season finale of TNT’s “Dallas,” we learned Rebecca Sutter Ewing is Pamela Rebecca Barnes, Cliff’s daughter. Need a refresher on the rest of the Barneses? Here’s a look at who’s who, how they’re related to each other and the Ewings and some of their family traditions, including their penchant for interesting headgear and shooting people. Also listed: the actors who portrayed the characters on the two “Dallas” series.

The Elders

Dallas, David Wayne, Digger Barnes, Keenan Wynn

Double Diggers

• WILLARD “DIGGER” BARNES: Boozy wildcatter who claimed Jock Ewing cheated him out of his share of Ewing Oil and stole his girl, Miss Ellie. Liked hats. Remembered for two deathbed confessions: 1. He shot and killed wife Rebecca’s lover, Hutch McKinney; 2. McKinney was Pam’s real dad. Played by David Wayne and Keenan Wynn.

Dallas, Priscilla Pointer, Rebecca Barnes Wentworth

Runaway Rebecca

• REBECCA BARNES WENTWORTH: Digger’s wife and Cliff and Pam’s mama. After lover Hutch McKinney’s murder, ran away, became a secretary and married her boss, Houston tycoon Herbert Wentworth. Was believed dead for many years until Pam found her. Died (for real this time) from injuries sustained in a plane crash while waging corporate warfare against the Ewings. Favorite candy: black licoricePlayed by Priscilla Pointer and Victoria Principal (in a flashback).

Cliff’s Corner

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval


• CLIFF BARNES: Digger and Rebecca’s son. Inherited mama’s money and daddy’s genetic disorder, hatred for Ewings. Unfortunate tendencies to pursue women involved with archenemy J.R., marry blondes to snag a piece of Ewing Oil. Frequent career-changer: lawyer-turned-politician-turned-bureaucrat-turned-prosecutor-turned-oilman-turned-evil mastermind. Regularly accused of murder and shooting Ewings, but known to have killed only one man: mobster Johnny Dancer. Sharp dresser. Favorite food: Chinese. Favorite activity: revenge. Played by Ken Kercheval.

Afton Cooper, Audrey Landers, Dallas

Steal her away

• AFTON COOPER: Sexy southern songbird who dreamed of a better life. Seduced J.R., then fell for Cliff. In-law to the Ewings: brother Mitch married and divorced Lucy, then married and divorced her again. After longing for someone to steal her away, Afton finally left town on her own carrying Cliff’s child, whom she named Pamela Rebecca. Married and divorced alcoholic gambler/con artist Harrison Van Buren III. Despite questionable taste in men, probably the smartest character among this bunch. Played by Audrey Landers.

Dallas, Jenna Pangburn, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes, TNT

Daddy’s girl

• PAMELA REBECCA BARNES: Cliff and Afton’s daughter. Like Aunt Katherine, broke up a relationship with forged correspondence (an e-mail). Like Aunt Pam, married a Ewing (Christopher). Like Granddaddy Digger and Daddy Cliff, shot and killed a man (ex-lover/fake brother/hat wearer Tommy Sutter). Pregnant with Ewing spawn. Played by Julie Gonzalo. Previously played by Jenna Pangburn.

Dallas, Faran Tahir, Frank Ashkani, TNT

Daddy’s boy

• FRANK ASHKANI: Real name: Raheed Durani. Cliff’s right hand/driver/designated disposer of dead bodies. Not a fan of Tommy Sutter. According to J.R.’s private eye Bum, Cliff plucked Frank off the streets of Islamabad 30 years ago and paid for his fancy education, nice wardrobe and – presumably – frequent trips to the barber. Sometimes referred to as “Smiling Frank.” Doesn’t actually smile. Played by Faran Tahir.

Pam’s Portion

Dallas, Margaret Michaels, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal


• PAMELA BARNES EWING: Daughter of Rebecca Barnes Wentworth and lover Hutch McKinney; raised by Digger and Aunt Maggie Monahan. Super heroine. Suffered bouts of mental instability and at least one 31-hour nightmare. Occasional wearer of hats. Bad driver. Like her mama, abandoned her own family. Probably dead, but hopefully not. Played by Victoria Principal, Margaret Michaels and at least one heavily bandaged extra.

Bobby, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT


• BOBBY EWING: Golden son. Fell in love with Pam and thought she was so nice, married her twice. Usually a supportive spouse, but not always. Not a fan of brother-in-law Cliff in the beginning, but eventually became his pal and made him a partner in Ewing Oil. The lingering warmth will probably fade when Bobby discovers Cliff is once again plotting against the Ewings. Additional potential complicating factor: new wife/gun fetishist Ann may or may not have had a one-night stand with Cliff in 1987. Played by Patrick Duffy.

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, Joshua Harris, TNT


• CHRISTOPHER EWING: Golden son’s golden son. Adopted, making marriage to cousin Rebecca Barnes only slightly less icky than it might be otherwise. May not have Barnes blood coursing through his veins, but inherited the family’s gun habit: as a boy, Christopher shot at John Ross. Dream meal: eggs and toast. Played by Jesse Metcalfe. Previously played by Eric Farlow and Joshua Harris.

The Wentworth Wing

Dallas, Katherine Wentworth, Morgan Brittany

She’s all hat

• KATHERINE WENTWORTH: Herbert and Rebecca Wentworth’s daughter. Television journalist/Christopher’s babysitter/ultimate diva. Hated Cliff. Not a big Pam fan, either: wanted Bobby for herself, so Katherine broke up his first marriage to Pam with a forged letter. Later shot him. Known for visiting sick relatives in hospital and making threatening comments/trying to kill them while they sleep. Most amazing hat collection ever. Disliked tomato juice. Played by Morgan Brittany.

Monahan Members

Dallas, James Canning, Maggie Monahan, Philip Levien, Sarah Cunningham

The lost ones

• AUNT MAGGIE MONAHAN and COUSIN JIMMY MONAHAN: Maggie was Digger’s long-suffering sister who helped raise Cliff and Pam. Rocked hats with the best of them. Her son: Jimmy, the Chuck Cunningham/Judy Winslow of “Dallas.” After two appearances in 1978, never seen nor mentioned again. Aunt Maggie was played by Sarah Cunningham; Cousin Jimmy was played by James Canning and Philip Levien.

What do you remember about the Barneses? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Decoder Guides.”