3 thoughts on “When Did Dallas Jump the Shark?

  1. Never my cup of tea, but it’s a typical example on how an otherwise trivial soap opera can be made good by remarkable and charming actors, Hagman above all. Besides that, I think it had no shark to jump.

  2. I could see a better case to be made that Dallas jumped the shark when Patrick left the show than when he returned. While it was jarring to have the whole previous season wiped out, once you got over that shock, it was pretty clear that Duffy’s (and Katzman’s) return reinvigorated the show, and Season 10 was an improvement over Season 9.
    To me, the show jumped the shark when J.R. was shot by Sue Ellen at the end of Season 11, after Sue Ellen and Nicholas Pearce invaded J.R.’s apartment and attacked him, leading to J.R. killing Pearce in self-defense before being shot by Sue Ellen. Apart from the fact that it was the 4th time in the show’s run that J.R. was shot, what got me is that up until then, we’d frequently see J.R. on the ropes, and think “there’s no way he’s getting out of this one,” but ol’ J.R. always managed to come out on top. But in seasons 12-14, the theme seemed to be “What else can we do to totally humiliate J.R.?” So after the shooting, we had the misadventures in Haleyville, where J.R. was convicted on a trumped-up rape charge, forced into a shotgun wedding, and made to perform slave labor, after which he escaped back to Dallas only to be kidnapped and tied up by Pearce’s mobster father who made him beg for his life, then going back to work at Ewing Oil where that termite Cliff Barnes was a full partner while J.R. was not, succumbing to blackmail from Sue Ellen and her new boyfriend Don Lockwood who threatened to ruin him by releasing their cheesy biopic if J.R. ever stepped out of line, and then after J.R. was initially pleased to meet his long-lost illegitimate son James, having James team up with J.R.’s child bride Cally to have him locked away in a sanitarium. And in the final season, it just got worse, as seemingly every old and new character had their chance to punk ol’ J.R. (Except, I guess, Punk himself, as Punk Anderson did not appear in seasons 12-14, perhaps another indication that the show has jumped the shark!) In the last season, J.R. was kicked while he was down by James, Cally, heretofore loyal assistant Sly, Bobby, Michelle Stevens, Lee Ann De La Vega, Cliff, even an offscreen Miss Ellie (who deeded Southfork solely to Bobby), even little John Ross (who decided to move to England to live with Sue Ellen and Lockwood,) and finally by the unholy alliance of Clayton and Dusty Farlow and Carter McKay, who, after J.R. sold his remaining stake in Ewing Oil to Cliff Barnes in order to take control of Westar Oil, managed to deprive J.R. of his chance to become Westar’s chairman. Is it any wonder the series ended with J.R. contemplating suicide?

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