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Farewell to old style filth and debauchery

POSTED: January 23, 2013 4:00 a.m.

I don't know how they are going to do it, but they are going to kill off J.R. Ewing.

They tried before back in the '80s when Mary Crosby shot him. I remember it, even though I was probably about 8 or so. Mama guessed it was Sue Ellen's sister, Kristin, in the office contest and won a T-shirt that said "I Guessed Who Shot J.R."

That's all she got, but Granny was proud of her eldest child.

Granny loved her some "Dallas" when the original series was on television, though she'd be the last to admit it.

My Friday nights were spent watching "The Dukes of Hazard" under duress. Not sure how that was deemed appropriate for a child to watch, but it was. A chubby pre-adolescent child does not need to see a leggy female prancing around in shorts either, foreshadowing that she would never look like that.

As soon as it went off, Granny would appear in the den, acting as if she was being tortured.

"Bob, I guess you think you've got to watch that cussed show of yours," she would announce as she cleared a spot on the couch.

My grandfather responded the way he always did. He ignored the old gal, knowing that pretending to be deaf had a ton of benefits.

"Well, I don't know why you are watching it," she continued, sitting down her tea glass. "It's what's wrong with the world nowadays. I hope no one at church finds out you watch this mess."

Pop cocked a brow at old gal.

"You think they ain't watching it too?" he asked.

"Gah!" Granny exclaimed. "Lord no. What is wrong with you? You think fine churchgoing folks would watch something like this?"

Pop exhaled. I think I get my habit of sighing and holding my breath from my beloved Pop. We were fine churchgoing folks. "If they ain't watching it, how do they know how bad it is?"

"'Cause some sinnin' just as plain as day," was Granny's answer.

The show came on and Pop immediately tuned out his bride. This wasn't a 30-minute sitcom like "All in the Family"; this was "Dallas" - an hour long drama that you really needed to watch to keep up with. Or at least know who was doing what to whom.

"Such filth, such debauchery," Granny would proclaim, casting down her critical judgment on his choice of entertainment before adding:

"Turn it up, Bob, I can't hear a cussed thing."

"Dallas" was Granny's dirty little dark secret for years. It allowed her to watch people doing mean, hateful, despicable things - things she had only dreamed of - to other people.

When it went off, she was sad. She had loved to hate J.R. Ewing. I think in some ways, she felt a bond with him - Granny usually did pull for the villains. She sympathized with them, could usually feel their bridling anger and rage while understanding their motives of revenge.

It was like she saw the fictional characters act out the things she had dreamed of doing.

"That Larry Hagman's a good actor," she would say. "He went from playing that goofy astronaut with the genie to playing J.R. I like him better as J.R."

Pop had developed Alzheimer's the year before the show ended but I think there was some comfort for Granny to enjoy watching the same immoral plot lines she had previously condemned, even if her husband wasn't able to watch them with her.

I am not sure what Granny watched after it went off; our lives had changed so drastically during those years. I don't think she's really cared about following a particular show in the last 20 years other than her game shows.

"Dallas" made a phoenix like comeback last year, along with J.R.

Granny didn't watch.

I was surprised she wasn't glued to the screen. I knew how she loved a bad guy. She loved J.R.

But Larry Hagman passed away in November. The writers are going to work his death into the script and I assume J.R. Ewing will pass away as well. I hope they don't try to recast his character, as many shows would do.

It would be almost sacrilegious. No one can take J.R.'s place. No one could replace Larry Hagman as J.R. either; it wouldn't be right for another actor to even attempt to call Sue Ellen "Darlin'" with a sinister drawl like he could.

Granny would be mortified if someone else is cast to play her favorite bad guy. She's 90 something years old. She can barely hear and is recovering from a recent knee replacement surgery.

She still loves a villain but even I doubt if her mean little soul could handle the filth and debauchery any more.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."

 

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