Friday, May 9, 2014

Dallas: The Next Generation, and Day Five: 187

Stepping onto the scale this morning, I looked down at the dial between my toes: 187.  Looked at one way, I've only lost two pounds.  Now, two pounds in a week is pretty good.  Looked at another way, I'm 10% of the way home.

In the 1980s my mom's favorite show was Dallas, as it was for lots and lots of other people, too.  In fact Dallas first aired in '78 and steamrolled through the entire 80s at full chat, not coming to a top-tier finale until 1991.  Along the way were many iconic moments like "Who Shot JR" and "It Was All A Dream," which drove my mom quietly bananas.  She'd been a big fan of the show but that last bit pretty much pulled the drain out of the tub for her.  That weird revelation that Bobby wasn't really dead wasn't enough to put everybody off, though: Dallas' finale is the 15th most-watched TV episode in US history.

That finale took JR Ewing, who was originally not the main character, on a little trip through the Land of What If, a Dallas version of It's a Wonderful Life.  As Ewing is descending into depression, contemplating killing himself, another character walks him through how the various members of his extended family would have experienced different lives without him around.  At the end of the episode, there's a gunshot.

That scene wasn't resolved until five years later!  There was a Dallas reunion movie in 1996, and JR was alive and walking around in that.  In fact there were two more movies over the next few years, and evidently there's either enough retirees with time on their hands and basic cable, or simply that many aging actors looking for work, that Dallas is back with significant elements of the original cast.  Even JR returned.

Except now that Larry Hagman has died in real life, we have to see exactly how Dallas, which was heavily affected by the remarkable gravity of the Hagman singularity, will function in the future without either him or JR.

It Was a Wonderful Life!

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