All of my emotions about the new Dallas can be summed up in one single noise: it's a mixture of a long, disappointed sigh; the grunt of a pregnant woman in the throes of her final push; and the Bill Lumbergh "Yyyyyyyyyyyeahhh....", all made with a facial expression that screams, "Oh, shit—I just locked my keys in my car, didn't I?" That is how I feel about the remake of Dallas.
I understand that if anyone should be happy about the new Dallas, it should be me. The original Dallas is one of my all-time favorite shows, Larry Hagman is my personal Lord and savior, and if anyone loves trashy night time TV more than me, I'd like to meet them. (So I can destroy and sex them.) (NOT IN THAT ORDER.) However, I would like to take this time to officially state that I am not on board with Dallas 2.0. I actually got drunk and wrote a really long post about why not when Larry Hagman agreed to join the cast, but it was uncomfortably serious and kind of embarrassing for us all, so I ended up scrapping it and going outside to breathe this "fresh air" that everyone speaks so highly of. Here is what I will say, briefly:
1.) So much of why I love 70's/80's soap operas is because of the fashion: big hair; nude pumps; spangly, spangly gowns; my beloved gold lamé; tight, high-waisted Gloria Vanderbilt jeans; pantyhose!; nylon and lycra and pearls—oh my! It's borderline pornographic. But squeeze a meh-list actress fresh off a run on Desperate Housewives into a Herver Leger bandage dress, give her a spray tan and I'm sorry, but I'm not poppin' wood. You feelin' me?
2.) I want to remember JR Ewing as a s-s-sex machine, not a s-s-stroke victim, thank you.
Nip/Tuck. You assholes.
3.) My concern is and always will be for Larry Hagman's health. I'm actually CEO of a non-profit called "Focus on the Hagman". We sponsor T.G.I. Hagman's across the country, run uncomfortable Super Bowl ads and make it rain with pairs of TOMS. It's all very exciting. But we, as an organization, are not comfortable with the attention Larry Hagman is inevitably going to get from Dallas 2.0. Because on some small level, I truly believe that the Grim Reaper got distracted the day he was supposed to collect LH because he had to pick up more mulch at Home Depot or some shit and oops—it's 2011 and Larry Hagman's still alive! I'm nervous he's going to curl up on the couch one night with a bowl of kettle corn and a Zima, turn on TNT and be like, "FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK..." and that will be the end of that. I didn't invent the rainy day; I just own a Hagman-shaped umbrella.
4.) My biggest argument is this: remember that scene in Practical Magic when Sandra Bullock freaks out and demands that Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest bring back her dead husband, but they won't do it because "even if we did bring him back, it wouldn't be Michael. It would be something else. Something dark and unnatural,"? Well, that's exactly what this new Dallas is going to be—something dark and unnatural that just shouldn't be. Don't believe me? Knock, knock. Who's there? Melrose. Melrose who? MELROSE PLACE WITH SPECIAL GUEST STAR ASHLEE SIMPSON. That's fucking who. And 90210! I mean, why don't we just dig up the body of George Washington, throw him on a vibrating bed with Brittany Snow, smear a used menstrual pad down your TV screen and call it the new Love, American Style while we're at it? Christ.
Which is why up until now, I decided to adopt the same strategy my dad used when he got his draft lottery number and ignore the entire situation until it just kind of goes away on its own. It worked for him, so why shouldn't it work for me, right? (And yes, this is my 'Nam.) But then TNT gave the show the green light and now it's happening for realz for realz and I can't ignore it anymore. My inbox, Twitter, and Facebook were all bombarded last week with people linking me to the TNT story and asking if I was psyched. This made me start to doubt myself. Maybe I'm overreacting and should embrace the show? Gah, but it feels so wrong! I need answers. I need someone to guide me. I need the one who turned me into the Hagmanite I am today. My sire—Original Co-Blogger Eddie. Oh, wise one! Show me the ways of the Old World! (Or, this is some shit, right?)
"MY FEELINGS ON DALLAS", by Original Co-Blogger Eddie
1.) Holy shit. When I picked the Dallas as the topic for my senior history thesis I did it because I wanted to watch lots of TV. Like Pigman in PCU. I found out that watching TV is hard, and I ended up with lots of useless knowledge about a TV show very few people under the age of 27 knew about. Our age group knew that some dude named JR got shot and all the adults wanted to know WHO SHOT JR. BUT NOW I FEEL LIKE I WAS RELEVANT, I was saying and observing important things about America and pop culture. I want to thank the remake for allowing me to feel like the history degree I earned has some value. (Aside from talking to people's moms/the older ladies at work. People's moms and older ladies at work LOVE talking about Dallas.)
2.) I'm scared Larry Hagman will die now because this cursed him in some way. JOCK died during the show's run; who's to say that will not also happen to JR?
3.) Rumor has it Victoria Principal isn't coming back as Pam because she CHANGED HER FACE SO DRASTICALLY to look young that she now looks like a monster pretending to be Victoria Principal. So no Pam on the new show, which is sad because she made moments like this in a disco so awesome.
HELLO A WHITE TURTLENECK, WHITE PAINTS AND A FUR TO A DISCO, that will not happen in the new show. She is sexy and yet very covered up...
This leads me to my next feeling:
4.) I also worry that the world of the Ewing family on Southfork belongs at a time and place. Maybe, just maybe, those characters need to stay in 1978-1991. You can't go back to the past, but thanks to DVD's and books, you can revisit at your leisure. A TV show like Dallas is intimately bound to the time frame it was created and consumed. Sure, it was an over the top prime time soap, but it still was an important piece of TV trash. I'm scared that this remake will tarnish the memory of one of the most influential pieces of television ever created and exported outside of the United States. Dallas changed the look of the 1980's, and changed television, but it was also influenced by that era. Giving JR a computer, information about GREEN JOBS and putting him on Facebook will alter the TV show. I like that TV shows don't change, that I can re-watch them and they stay the same even if the time period is different. Like little time capsules where someone playing Miss Texas could have HORRID teeth and drink when she is knocked up and it's only "maybe bad for the child." This remake will not be the Dallas I love, it will be something very different with the same actors playing semi familiar parts. This remake has the possibility of being a hallow memory of what Dallas was and never will be again, and that makes me very sad.
Chances are I have many more feelings and thoughts and lucky for me I have a whole year to process them. It's been sometime since I watched Dallas, I needed a big break (for obvious reasons) and I have no doubt re-watching the DVD's will stir up emotions I didn't even know I had.
OK, so it's some shit. Good to know we're on the same page.
Well, here we are. I finally shared my Dallas emotions. I feel naked. I feel vulnerable. I feel exposed. I also feel like it goes without saying that none of this is going to stop me from watching it and recapping it for the blog. BUT I'M NOT GONNA LIKE IT.