Who shot J.R.
On March 21, 1980, 'Dallas' viewers gasped as an unknown assailant shot J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), the ultra-manipulative, double-dealing womanizer we loved to hate. The Texas oil baron had so many enemies, anybody could have pulled the trigger. Was it his bitter alcoholic wife Sue Ellen? His upright but resentful brother Bobby? His arch-enemy Cliff Barnes, who blamed him for stealing his daddy's oil business? Or any number of other relatives, business associates, mistresses (or their angry husbands), who had ample motive for revenge?
It was an unprecedented pop culture moment with "Who Shot J.R.?" T-shirts and Vegas laying odds about who the culprit would be. Ninety million people tuned in the next fall to find out that the shooter was Kristin, J.R.s sister-in-law whom he'd also been sleeping with.
The show never again reached such ratings heights, but the cliffhanger craze was born. Over the next 12 seasons, we were treated to crashes, fires and all kinds of bite-your-nails finales that left nearly every character's life on the line at some point. In honor of the 30th anniversary of that fateful shot, we count down 'Dallas's top 10 most memorable moments.
The premise of the relaunch would be for the show to focus on the next generation of Ewings, featuring J.R. and Sue Ellen's son John Ross and Christopher, the adopted son of Bobby and Pam, as the new leads. The producers have already been in touch with original actors Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy to discuss their possible involvement.
While there's no guarantee of a series, it does look like a pilot at least will be filmed. They'd have to be careful to make sure it appeals to people who've never seen Dallas, because that's getting to be a long time ago now. But there's always room on television for a well written family soap opera. Me, I'm still holding out for a next generation iteration of Soap.
And what's really terrific about this event, if you ask me, is that it's not a private party. You can buy a ticket and take part. Tickets go on sale August 22 and will cost between $100 and $1,000. And for that money there will be a chance to ask questions of the stars, enjoy a concert of country music, tour Southfork and watch a fireworks display. Presumably that will not be a re-enactment of "Who shot J.R.?"
Since TV is in everyone's home, it's one of the pop culture things we can all talk about. Entertainment Weekly lists their 10 Big Watercooler Moments, those moments on TV shows that we were all talking about the next day at work (or school).
While some of their choices are obvious and deserving to be on the list (Lucy going into labor on I Love Lucy, Ellen DeGeneres coming out on Ellen, Maddie and David finally doing it on Moonlighting, the "Who Shot J.R." ep of Dallas), are they really serious when they list the episode that Michael J. Fox left Spin City? Really? Hey, I like Fox, but was his character (or even the show) that important and talked about? I think that Fox announcing he was ill was certainly something we all talked about, but I don't think that it should be on this list. Especially considering what EW left off the list: the finales of M*A*S*H*, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Friends; several Seinfeld moments (that was the topic of discussion every morning after where I worked), and the final episode of Newhart with Suzanne Pleshette.
I mean, Felicity cutting her hair? Gah.
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