‘Dallas’: J.R.’s Masterclass — How to Win Southfork and Influence People

by | June 28, 2012 at 9:52 AM | Dallas, Recap

Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing in Dallas (TNT)

This week the internet has been buzzing about the big, epic opening speech in “The Newsroom.” Aaron Sorkin even offered advice on how to write a dramatic, pedantic monologue of your own.  “Dallas’s” J.R. (Larry Hagman) doesn’t need a monologue to prove he’s the smartest person in the room. He establishes his dominance in a few short quips. This member of the Greatest Generation would have a few carefully chosen words for Sorkin’s Will McAvoy. J.R. knows that Southfork is the greatest ranch in the greatest metropolitan area of the greatest state of the greatest country in the world. He knows that things were better for him in the 1970s — he was younger and richer, his eyebrows were shorter, and he was a sex symbol with own cologne. But he realizes that for everyone else, it’s a different story. Now, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) is single and running running for governor instead of dealing with her unhappy marriage by drinking herself into a stupor. Elena (Jordanna Bewster) is a petroleum engineer, with two hot guys who admire her mind as much as her body, pining for her. Back in the “good old days,” her mother had to settle for being the housekeeper. So who are you going to listen to: the man who covers the news, or the man who makes it? The guy who mocks blogs or the octogenarian with the awesome Facebook page? J.R.’s  latest pearls of wisdom will inspire you to doublecross all your rivals.

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“When it comes to jealousy, our girl is crazier than an outhouse rat.” – on Veronica aka Fake Marta

Have you ever considered the mental state of an outhouse rat? Or any rat for that matter? No. That is why you are not J.R. Ewing. When J.R. discovered that the woman who was helping him scheme to buy Southfork back from Bobby was nuttier than an Almond Joy, he was not concerned that his son was sleeping with someone who had previously been charged with stalking. He saw her insanity as a way to seize control of the situation. He did not letting something as insignificant as his love for his child distract him from his ultimate goal of regaining Southfork.

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“Just wanted to drop off a little good luck charm for your campaign. I found Miss Ellie’s pearls when I was packing up Southfork.” – J.R. to Sue Ellen

This is how the ultimate player woos his ex-wife. Sue Ellen has enough money to buy out the Dallas branch of Tiffany’s. J.R. wisely knows better than to attempt to impress her with an expensive gift. Instead, he offers her something of sentimental value. The pearls are a symbolic statement that to J.R., Sue Ellen is still the firs lady of Southfork. Though she is letting Cliff bankroll her campaign — let’s hope by the end of the season there’s a Ewing superpac — she sure is softening towards J.R. even though she knows every one of his tricks.

“I’m a changed man Cliff. Evidence of that is the fact that you’re not being wheeled out of here with two broken legs.” – to his lifelong enemy, Cliff, who interrupted his wooing of Sue Ellen

Anyone can make a threat. Only a pro can simultaneously swear to the love of his life that he is the new kinder, gentler J.R. 2.0 and wish bodily harm upon his nemesis.

“Well, clearly my son doesn’t appreciate the kind of woman he has in you. Marta, I know you had feelings for John Ross. But at least you know what you’re getting with me.”  – to Veronica/Marta

J.R. deftly took advantage of Marta’s possessiveness, hiring his P.I. to take photos of John Ross and Elena’s flirtatious water fight, then showing them to Miss Fatal Attraction to get her to work with him instead of John Ross. J.R. is imparting  his greatest lesson: do not let love — be it parental or romantic –distract you from you goal. The best thing about this exchange is the way he keeps calling her Marta even though he knows her real name. Marta, who may be crazy but is not stupid, signed on to Team J.R.

“It’s no longer a 50/50 split…Southfork was always meant to be mine from the beginning. And now it finally will be. John Ross can wait his turn.” – to Mitch, after blackmailing him

J.R. used the photos fake Marta took after she enticed Mitch’s addict son into falling off the wagon to blackmail Mitch into drafting a new contract that gave Southfork entirely to him, cutting John Ross out of the deal. Given that John Ross was prepared to do the same thing to J.R., it’s only fair in J.R.’s mind. Yet, even though he is screwing his son over, it’s a safe bet that his will bequeaths Southfork to him. In J.R.’s mind, John Ross has yet to earn the right to be his equal. One day, John Ross will master the art of scheming and take it from him and it will the proudest day of J.R.’s life.