The Dal-List: 10 Classic Clashes Between J.R. and Pam

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Julie Gonzalo, Larry Hagman, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT, Venomous Creatures

2 for 2?

The confrontation between J.R. and Pamela (Larry Hagman, Julie Gonzalo) in “Venomous Creatures,” one of this week’s new “Dallas” episodes on TNT, was an instant classic. The scene demonstrated how Gonzalo can hold her own against the legendary Hagman, but it also evoked memories of J.R.’s showdowns with the original Pam (Victoria Principal). Here’s a look at some of those moments.

Dallas, Digger's Daughter, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Fight or flight

10. Let the games begin. J.R. and Pam’s first fracas set the stage for all the fights that followed. On the day she arrived at Southfork, he gave her a friendly tour of the ranch – then offered her a bribe to leave: “I’m willing to spend some money now to avoid any inconvenience. But if you insist upon being driven away – which you surely will be – you’re going to come out of this without anything, honey.” Pam ignored J.R.’s offer, but maybe she should’ve taken the money and run. Think of all the pain she would’ve been spared! (“Digger’s Daughter”)

Dallas, Barbecue, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Fall gal

9. Legend of the fall. J.R. and Pam’s most controversial encounter: During her first Ewing barbecue, pregnant Pam retreated to a Southfork hayloft for some much-deserved alone time. Suddenly, a drunken J.R. showed up, crawled (slithered?) toward her and apologized for “going too far” during her early weeks at Southfork. While trying to get away from him, Pam slipped, fell and lost her baby. Some fans remember J.R. pushing Pam, but when you watch this scene, it’s pretty clearly an accident. J.R. was bad, but he wasn’t evil. (“Barbecue”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Love and Marriage, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Stud or dud?

8. Stud finder? If there was sexual tension between J.R. and Pam, it was strictly one-sided. When he suggested her demanding job at The Store might prompt lonely Bobby to reclaim his reputation as Dallas’s top stud, Pam declared that Bobby “isn’t standing at stud anymore. … He left the field wide open for you. Of course, from what I hear, that still leaves the field wide open.” J.R.: “Anytime you want to find out, it can be easily arranged.” Pam: “Don’t bother, J.R. Even if I weren’t married to Bobby, you aren’t man enough.” OK then! (“Love and Marriage”)

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Quandary, Victoria Principal

Bag it, J.R.

7. Tea for one. When Bobby “died,” Pam joined Ewing Oil as J.R.’s new partner, bringing the animosity between them to new heights. Within minutes of her first day on the job, J.R. minced no words letting Pam know how he felt about her new career: “I don’t want you in my sight, much less my offices!” Pam didn’t miss a beat. She ignored J.R.’s huffing and puffing, buzzed her secretary Phyllis on the intercom and ordered “a cup of tea – a cup of herbal tea.” Pam then turned to J.R. and asked if he wanted anything. He didn’t. (“Quandary”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Nothing's Ever Perfect

Dream on, Pam

6. Truce? In your dreams. After spending months fighting with J.R. at Ewing Oil, Pam decided their war wasn’t worth it and sold him the share of the company she controlled. After signing the papers, Pam told him, “It’s all yours, J.R. I hope this does mean that we can all live in peace now.” His response: “We’ve got nothing to fight about anymore.” Ha! This scene aired six months before Bobby stepped out of Pam’s shower. Looking back, the moment J.R. and Pam made nice should’ve been the first clue our heroine was dreaming. (“Nothing’s Ever Perfect”)

Dallas, Fallen Idol, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Hold the butter

5. Dining with the devil. For purely selfish reasons, J.R. didn’t want Bobby doing business with shady college chum Guzzler Bennett, so J.R. invited Pam to lunch to enlist her help in stopping Bobby and Guzzler’s project. When Pam wondered how she might persuade Bobby to call off the deal, J.R. told her, “You’re a very clever woman, Pam. You’ll think of something.” I also love her cutting response to his attempt to butter her up at the start of the scene: “J.R., please don’t make me lose this good food.” (“Fallen Idol”)

Dallas, Ewing Inferno, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Sting like a bee

4. Slap! J.R. and Pam’s fights almost never turned physical. Emphasis on “almost.” While Pam waited alone for Bobby inside his office one day, J.R. popped in to say hello. She wasn’t in the mood for his insincerities. “Save that nonsense for somebody who doesn’t know you,” she said, then chastised him for his latest extramarital fling. “Climb down off your soapbox, honey,” J.R. responded before accusing her of sleeping around. Before all was said and done, Pam had stomped away, leaving J.R. with a big red mark on his cheek. (“Ewing Inferno”)

Dallas, If At First You Don't Succeed, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Change of tune

3. Get your feud on. When Cliff was arrested for Bobby’s shooting, Pam accused J.R. of framing her brother. Cue J.R.’s eye-roll: “I’m getting kind of tired of that old song. Mean, nasty J.R. beating up on poor, innocent Cliff Barnes.” Pam’s response: “I’ve never believed in the Barnes/Ewing feud, J.R., but now I’m going to join it. I’m going to do everything I can to help Cliff – and I’m not going to rest until all our family scores are settled!” Something tells me Pam’s namesake niece would be proud of auntie here. (“If at First You Don’t Succeed”)

Dallas, Legacy of Hate, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Babble on, honey

2. True lies. Just to mess with her, J.R. sent Pam on a wild goose chase to the Caribbean to find her presumed dead lover Mark Graison. When she found out, she stormed into J.R.’s office and demanded an explanation. J.R. played dumb. “You’re babbling like a lunatic,” he said, adding: “I never liked you a hell of a lot, you know that, Pam? But I never thought you were stupid until now.” Principal is fantastic here – and so is Hagman. Pam knows J.R.’s lying. The audience knows he’s lying too. Yet somehow, we kinda believe him. (“Legacy of Hate”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Long Goodbye, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Choose or lose

1. The choice. J.R. rejoiced when Pam left Bobby, but when he found out she was thinking about reconciling with him, J.R. knew he needed to act fast. He showed up on Pam’s doorstep and tried to persuade her that a divorce was in her best interest. “How nice! You’re concerned about my happiness,” she said, sarcasm dripping from every word. J.R.’s matter-of-fact response: “Oh, no. I don’t give a damn about you or your happiness, honey. But I do care about what’s good for me.” As Pam stood with her back to him, J.R. circled her, explaining she had two options: divorce Bobby and bring the Barnes/Ewing feud to an end, or return to him and watch as “all hell [breaks] loose.” Hagman is downright chilling, and as Pam, Principal looks visibly shaken. We can sympathize; in this scene, J.R. scares us too! (“The Long Goodbye”)

What do you think are J.R. and Pam’s best confrontations? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Not Like We Used To’

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Love and Marriage

Picture imperfect

In “Love and Marriage,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Jock (Jim Davis) finds Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) on the Southfork patio, gazing at the night sky.

JOCK: You all right, Miss Ellie? Get you a sweater or something?

ELLIE: No, Jock. Thanks.

JOCK: Well, it’s getting kind of nippy out. Be winter soon.

ELLIE: Too soon.

JOCK: Well, it’s sure quiet here around tonight. Even Lucy’s out.

ELLIE: It’s too quiet. I like it better when there’s family around. We’re all drifting apart, Jock. It’s not at all the way I pictured it.

JOCK: How did you picture it, Miss Ellie?

ELLIE: Oh, I don’t know. Seeing it the way it was when the boys were growing up. Only there’d be our grandchildren. The two of us here with the boys and their families. One very large, happy family.

JOCK: Well, we’ve got Lucy, little baby John, Bobby, J.R. Gary’s doing fine in California. Bobby’s going into business with J.R. It’ll give us more time to be together. To do the things that we’ve talked about and never did.

ELLIE: Maybe that’s something else we pictured that won’t ever happen.

JOCK: Why not, Miss Ellie? I loved you all these years and I want to end up my life with you. It’s a time of life that I’ve been looking forward to.

ELLIE: I wish I could feel that way.

JOCK: But you should Ellie. No matter what else has happened, we’ve still got each other. Remember that.

ELLIE: Not like we used to. [She walks away.]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 44 – ‘Love and Marriage’

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Love and Marriage, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

The louse and his spouse

In “Dallas’s” second-season episode “Black Market Baby,” Pam gets upset when Bobby declares he doesn’t want her to get a job. She memorably tells him, “Sometimes you show a lot of your daddy’s cussedness – and this is one of those days.”

This is another.

Throughout “Love and Marriage,” Bobby fights with Pam because he believes she’s thrown herself into her work at The Store to avoid dealing with their fertility problems. He has a point, but he sure comes off like a jerk while making it.

The couple’s biggest argument erupts when Pam arrives home late after another long day at the office and tells Bobby she’s been offered a big promotion. “That job is four times the work and six times the travel,” Bobby says, adding he can’t believe Pam would “even consider taking it.”

There’s no doubt Pam’s new position would be demanding, but at least she waits to discuss the opportunity with Bobby before accepting it. Earlier in “Love and Marriage,” when Jock asks Bobby to return to Ewing Oil, he accepts the assignment on the spot.

Bobby’s “cussedness” is also on display in the scene where he unexpectedly pops into Pam’s office with a bouquet of roses and offers to whisk her away to dinner and a movie. She’s busy and suggests they spend the next evening together instead. This seems like a reasonable request to me, but it ignites Bobby’s temper. “How do you suppose this company got along without you before you came to work?” he sniffs.

Maybe Bobby doesn’t understand how the real world works – unlike him, Pam isn’t her own boss, so she can’t come and go as she pleases – or maybe he simply doesn’t value her career. Neither scenario makes him seem very appealing.

Of course, Bobby and Pam aren’t the only couple in turmoil in “Love and Marriage.”

Jock struggles to connect with Miss Ellie, who is suddenly distant again (didn’t they put their problems behind them in “Mastectomy, Part 2”?), while J.R. and Sue Ellen remain at war with each other.

“Love and Marriage” also brings newly widowed Donna back into Ray’s life. They reunite and she agrees to marry him, but only after waiting six months out of respect for her deceased husband’s memory.

I’m happy for Ray and Donna, but I wonder if they’ve thought this through. I mean, they see how miserable the other married couples at Southfork are, right?

Grade: B


Dallas, Donna Culver, Love and Marriage, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard



Season 3, Episode 15

Airdate: December 21, 1979

Audience: 20.2 million homes, ranking 3rd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Leonard Katzman

Director: Alexander Singer

Synopsis: To keep Jock out of the office, J.R. has him bring Bobby back into Ewing Oil. To drive Bobby and Pam apart, J.R. arranges for her to get a big promotion. Ray reunites with the newly widowed Donna, who agrees to marry him in six months.

Cast: Barbara Babcock (Liz Craig), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jeff Cooper (Dr. Simon Elby), Barry Corbin (Sheriff Fenton Washburn), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Mel Ferrer (Harrison Page), Tom Fuccello (Senator Dave Culver), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), George O. Petrie (Harv Smithfield), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing)

“Love and Marriage” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.