Oh, the 1980s. When not everyone could have cable television and even if you did, you didn’t have 800+ channels of crap from which to choose your evening’s entertainment. Back then, people actually made plans around their favorite television shows. Well, unless they were wealthy enough to own a VHS or BETA video recording machine to record a show for them, commercials and all. No DVRs. No commercial skips. Watch it when it airs or wait until rerun season and hope the episode you missed is there.
I had to explain all of that to Youngest Son tonight as Husband sat on the couch (and for over an hour did NOT fall asleep!) and watched the new series of Dallas on TNT. He was a big fan of the show back in the 1980s and wanted to see how stupid….I mean….good the modernized show would be. Of course, when you get the old actors on there playing their old roles, you can’t help but remember what the show used to be and wonder if they can actually get it to be that good (or bad) again.
Now, I didn’t watch Dallas when it was on in the 1980s. The only episodes I ever watched were when J.R. was shot (because, who didn’t watch that one?) and the one when Southfork burned. That episode I was somewhat sort-of forced to watch because I was at a sleepover at a friend’s house and all of the other girls loved Dallas but I had no idea who anyone was other than J.R. and Bobby. Oh, and I did see the episode when Bobby comes back in the shower — but that was a rerun many, many years after it originally aired.
So, I’m watching the show with Husband and it’s as goofy as ever. Youngest Son asked, “Is this a male soap opera?”
Yes, Son. Yes it is.
Nighttime soap operas like Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest were heavily watched by women but they were designed to get the men-folk into the sittin’ room to watch as well. They weren’t as silly as the daytime soaps, but you still knew that every scene had to have someone looking off into the distance as if they’re thinking, “Did that cat pee in the litterbox?” (it’s an acting trick) while the camera either gets closer or pulls back before the scene changes. Or before a commercial came on. Or before another ad for the same show you were watching came on to preview the next week’s episode. As if you’d miss it….
So, yeah, I’m not particularly thrilled with the new version of the old show. I liked how they tried to keep the intro credits the same with the music and scenes of Dallas (Texas). But, a neat intro does not a great show make. I might give it a few more episodes before I totally write it off as a bad job. Seeing Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy talking about what Miss Ellie did or didn’t want with her will is still interesting. Goofy, but interesting.