My friend Donna, the hair stylist, has watched
more hours of prime-time television soap opera than any other
human being. While this fact has not yet made its way into the
Guinnes Book Of World Records, it's true, and her three favorite
shows are CBS's Dallas, ABC's Dynasty and CBS's Knots Landing,
all of which she has watched, without missing a single episode,
since they first went on the air, which was more years ago than
either of us care to think. Early this season, over a cup of
soup and a chicken salad between customers, Donna delivered
the following breathless report:
"If you ask me, Knots Landing is going to be number one.
I predict it. Knots Landing is more down-to-earth. Dallas has
gotten boring. Dynasty has gotten too phony. The clothes are
too phony. I mean, who wears evening gowns for breakfast? Dynasty
is suddenly all about palace revolutions in some phony country.
Even the makeup looks phony. Did you see Krystle after the palace
revolution? All she got when they shot everybody down was one
itty-bitty little blood spot on her cheek! It didn't even mess
up her hair!
"Dallas started to get boring after Jock died. On Knots
Landing, Gary is JR's brother--he's the middle brother, between
JR and Bobby, and Gary came back to Dallas for Bobby's funeral.
JR hates Gary. Bobby was always Jock's favorite. But Miss Ellie
has always had a soft spot in her heart for Gary, even though
she usually sticks up for JR. If you ask me, Donna Reed was
never Miss Ellie. I'm glad they brought back the real Miss Ellie
(Barbara Bel Geddes) after her quadruple bypass. Anyway, Dallas
started going even further downhill when they killed Bobby because
he was bored with the show. I read that. What's Bobby going
to do, though, now that he's dead? What do you think?
"Anyway, to start Knots Landing, Gary left Southfork and
moved to California. Gary is a nice guy, but he has problems.
He used to be an alcoholic. he was really knocking back the
booze, but then he dried out. He used to be married to Val,
but now he's married to Abby. But if you ask me, Val was Gary's
true love, and Gary was Val's. Gary has always felt rejected.
Now Gary doesn't know about it, but Abby, his wife is a real
devil. She'll kill to keep that Ewing name and that Ewing money,
and she's fooled Gary from the beginning. She's a compulsive
liar. Gary thinks he loves her, but he'll see through her sooner
or later. When that happens--watch out! But if you ask me, Abby
is more real than Alexis on Dynasty. Alexis plots like a man.
When she wants something done, she picls up the phone and calls
the President of the United States and has him do it. But Abby
plots the way a woman would. She schemes and schemes. Abby's
double-crossing and triple-crossing everybody, and getting away
with it. I love that! Abby is behind all of Val and Gary's troubles,
but they don't know it.
"You see, the big thing right now is trying to get Val's
twin babies (stolen at birth, and illegally adopted by another
couple) back to her. (They were returned in this season's second
episode). Gary is the babies' father, but he doesn't know it.
Val has let on that the father is her new fiance (now husband),
Ben, but it's Gary. How did Gary get to be the father? After
he divorced Val, and the night before he married Abby, he snuck
back to Val for a one-night stand. Abby knows that Gary is the
father, and so does what's-his-name, the (former) senator, Greg
Sumner. Greg Sumner and Abby are plotting together, and Abby
has gotten Gary to put a lot of money into some secret, illegal
project (Empire Valley). That senator is a crook. naturally,
Abby doesn't want Gary to find out he's the babies' father.
Why not? Because then he might go back to Val, of course! Or
he could change his will and leave all his money to the babies,
and Abby wouldn't get any!
"Val's going to have a rough time. Val's a little flaky,
but she's really a nice girl. She's really sweet. She's never
done anything bad. her only problem is that she's always going
into a state of shock. So people use her. She's to honest. She
won't lie. She and Sue Ellen on Dallas have a lot in common.
If anybody can save Dallas, it's Sue Ellen, if you ask me. She's
drying out again after being back on the bottle. But I predict:
JR will take Sue Ellen back. He always takes Sue Ellen back.
"But that Abby is so smart! And pretty, too. I read where
she's going to have her own cosmetics line. That's another thing
I like about Knots Landing--their hair styles keep changing.
i notice that, because I'm into hair. Everybody should his hair
style now and then-- that's natural. And on Knots Landing they
dress more like real people do-- more natural. Val loves jeans.
their houses are more like real people's houses. On Dynasty,
they're like movie sets, and the clothes are like a fashion
show. i wouldn't be caught dead in one of Alexis' dresses. I'm
actually thinking of giving up watching Dynasty altogether.
It's just more of the same. I watch the daytime reruns of Dallas
and Dynasty, too-- there's a TV in my shop-- and all I see is
those same people getting older. Do you see what I mean about
Knots Landing being more down-to-earth?"
In Donna's opinion, Dynasty is losing ground because it's trying
to copy Dallas. "Dynasty's been getting ready for a spinoff
(Dynasty 2: The Colbys), like Knots Landing was a spinoff of
Dallas," she said between mouthfuls. "That's what
Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck are doing, getting ready
to spinoff with Jeff to California--the way Gary did on Dallas.
That's copying, if you ask me.
"But, if you ask me, the main thing that makes Knots Landing
better than either of the other two is that the relationships
between the people are more, like, real. I mean the relationships
between the cvouples, between Gary and Val, between Gary and
Abby and between Mack and Karen. They're more human. mack really
cared when Karen was in the hospital (for a drug problem)--you
could tell. You can tell how much Val loves Gary. Does what's-her-name
(Amanda) on Dynasty really love that prince? I think she just
wanted to be queen. And when they fight on Dallas and Dynasty,
it's like the way they fight in Bugs Bunny cartoons--insulting
each other, and cracknig wise, and setting littel traps for
each other. In real life, couples don't fight that way. The
relationships on Knots Landing are more, like, subtle. On Knots
Landing, when couples fight, they really suffer. I mean, when
I fight with a man, I suffer. i don't make wise-crack. I can
never think of a good wisecrack until later. On Dallas and Dynasty,
it's like the writers are writing the story for the characters.
On Knots Landing, the writers re letting the characters write
their own story, if you know what I mean." Donna paused,
and pondered her salad, as though impressed, and a bit surprised,
with her own insight.
"OK, so if you ask me, here's what I predict: On Knots
Landing, Gary's going to have to find out he's the father of
Val's babies. but rather than let him do that, Abby could have
him killed. That might happen. Or that senator, what's-his-name,
Greg Sumner, could get killed, particularly when they get to
the bottom of all this illegal business. And Abby will be behind
it all, of course. And watch out for Lilimae! She's been pretty
quiet lately, and she could be up to something. Anyway, that's
what I think. What do you think?"
Copyright KnotsLanding.Net 2003