The Devil and JR Ewing
I can’t believe it’s been eighteen years since Dallas went off the air. I remember when everybody anybody knew had to be home by 9:00 on Friday nights because nobody would miss the Ewings or their sordid lives. The man we all loved to hate, JR, was described by Time magazine as a “human oil slick,” but viewers tuned in by the millions for more than a decade to see what mischief he was making, to boo and hiss at him, and sometimes even to root for him. JR was that much of a ratings draw.
When I read that Dallas was going off the air in 1991, I felt like most people that the show had indeed run its course. The magic of the early years was gone. Too many of the characters we loved and followed had been written off the show. It was just time for Dallas to go off into the sunset. Friday nights might never be the same again (and they haven’t!) but the years Dallas ruled its time slot would forever be branded into pop culture.
True to the show’s enduring appeal, the final scene of Dallas left us with a cliffhanger. The Devil and JR Ewing had been sparring for almost two hours while JR got to see what his family would have been like if he’d never been born. JR was drunk and depressed because everyone had left him, and he had a gun. The last scene was Bobby running into JR’s room after hearing a shot. Had the Devil goaded him into really doing it? Fans would have to wait a few years to find out, but it was delicious fun nonetheless.