Part II: Platypus Comix Does "Dallas"

There's a reason the Decade of Excess was so Excessive. I can't remember the exact source, but someone once said "Baby boomers have always seen life through a mirror. In the 60's they were the first people ever to have sex; in the 70's, the first people ever to get jobs; in the 80's, the first people ever to make money." Both the 70's and 80's have been called the "Me Decade," but I think the 80's makes a stronger case. When the hippies inherited the world, their philosophy turned a complete 180--they entered the workforce rejecting the establishment, but then discovered they'd be raking in CASH if they became it. Who needs philosophy when you can buy more toys than your neighbors? That's even groovier!

And as the generation in charge of the world got greedier, so did their TV programs.

The fifties was full of westerns and the sixties was full of spies. In the eighties, rich people dominated, especially evil rich people. From heavyweight champion Dallas to devoted spouse Dynasty, to hanger-on sibling Falcon Crest...the trend saturated itself further, into sitcoms like Silver Spoons and into reality shows with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Not to mention the countless TV movies and miniseries, all using the same theme of the upper power struggle. No matter where you look in these old TV Guides, there's another one of these shows, and Part 2 is gonna showcase 'em all....

The generation of Woodstock hated The Man so much....yet they loved J.R, who was The Man-ny as it gets. Irony. Or maybe just Insanity.

As for "Emerald Point," by this time the market was so saturated with prime-time soaps that this one didn't stand a chance.

There's a lesson to be combed from Dynasty that one celebrity today should learn. Joan Collins was an older actress who was considered a has-been until she landed a part in Dynasty's second season; then suddenly she was on half the magazine covers in the entire country for the next several years. But it didn't stick...when Dynasty was cancelled, Joan wound up back in the same situation again.

Now we have Teri Hatcher in a parallel situation. Her last big part was in the mid-90's, and then suddenly she caught fire again by starring in Desperate Housewives and wound up on People's "10 Most Beautiful People" list (which proves once and for all that People's lists are a popularity contest, not a beauty contest...) I guarantee that once Desperate Housewives goes off the air, Hatcher will be thrown back into has-been-land and may never get another chance. So start cementing things! Break into movies! Don't waste this! MOVE IT, TERI! NOW!

Kirby Kirby Kirby, that's the name you should know! Kirby Kirby Kirby, she's the star of the show!

The only early 80's trash-soap star I've seen come back was on this show...Emma Samms for one 365-day period. From mid-1994 to mid-1995, she suddenly showed up on several shows as a special guest star, then disappeared again. Strange.

Oh yeah...and I guess Patrick Duffy was on Step By Step for eight years. Sheesh, why did HE last the longest?

So several hours a week of greed-drama isn't enough for you? Presenting six MORE hours starring a creature of pure evil, played by Dyan Cannon under various layers of makeup depending on her age in the story. She wanted it all, and she got it--by being ruthless! By cheating and deceiving! By drinking the blood of nuns she pushed down cliffs! For she was master....MASTER of the GAME! Crush! Kill! Destroy! Mwahaha!

TV Guide reviewed it as "a masterpiece of incoherence and bad acting," which was undoubtedly edited in the network promos to read as "A masterpiece! --TV Guide."

And it got pulpier. The third portion was about her granddaughter--and her EVIL TWIN!!! Both were played by the same woman, so an all-out catfight was unlikely given the technology of the decade. (Aww...)

It could be anything. They could be in the crossfire of a laser death ray!

Welp, let's check the episode description and see....
9 PM (2) DYNASTY Blake and Jeff mount an investigation when the mystery of Allegree's kidnapping makes them suspicious of Peter; Tracy wants her reporter boyfriend to help her sully Krystie's reputation; and Dex proposes to Alexis. (60 min)

In other words, in response to that headline....NOTHING. But who was gonna look at all that text instead of the big ad? It never said a tragedy WAS happening; it merely asked the question. Ha ha, bait and switch! That's one ratings point YOU'LL never have, Facts of Life!

Look, what I'm about to say I may regret later, but it's gotta come out. Keep in mind that what I'm about to say has no foundation and is based on instinct. I have no interest in seeing most of these before-my-time sleazy suds at all, but....I really want to see Hart to Hart.

I suppose I'm going to have to come up with a reason for that. "This drawing is cool" probably won't do it for you. I don't really know why. I just want to see it, even though I know little about it--until recently I thought this was a newsmagazine hosted by Mary Hart and her husband.

But it's actually about a rich couple that solves crimes instead of causing them, and maybe therein lies the hook. When J.R. was shot on Dallas, it was the biggest TV mystery to date and all of America was abuzz that summer....but out of all those millions of viewers, nobody ever said "Hey, that was mean! Why did they do that to him?" No, the typical response was "Well, he had THAT coming..."

Watching affluent people get away with murder may have been the "in thing" that decade, but it doesn't do much for character sympathy. It's hard to get emotionally invested in spoiled jerks that cheat on each other and poison their friends. But these Harts are different. They honestly love each other, as well as the pursuit of good, and they spend every week getting into danger that threatens their lives even though they could be spending that time pursuing more selfish things. If you saw a gun pointed at the heads of THESE people, your response wouldn't be "Yeah yeah, go ahead, it's about time." Your response would be "NO! NO! NO!"

It's on DVD, but blowing $40 on something unproven is not wise. I hope some channel decides to rerun this thing someday so I can figure out if my desire to see it is idiotic or not. By the way, two other things I'm curious about are Moonlighting (I hear it's completely ****ed up and that people sometimes sing for no reason) and the movie Tron. No, I've never seen Tron. And I want to see Tron....

This is the ad for the very first Lifestyles show! Stefanie Powers played the female Hart...and to get into the very first episode alongside Cher and Di, she must have had one fancy house. I say had because until I read up on Hart to Hart, I had never heard the name "Stefanie Powers" at any point in my entire life. Poor Stefanie.

But it's not her fault. Most cases of TV-induced fame only last as long as the show the celebrity was made famous in does (did you read what I said earlier, Miss Hatcher? Then why are you still sitting here?). It's staggering how many times I read the words "Victoria Principal" in old Bloom County strips compared to how often I hear her name now.

Sorry, folks...the descriptions for these episodes were too darn vague to confirm anything. I can point out that the name "Jessica" is nowhere in the Dallas description at all. The coming week's "sizzling shockers" were the season finales, but there was no splash ad for them! This is disappointing for someone scanning in TV Guide ads, but CBS's thought process must have been "why should we pay the freelance ad illustrator another 25 dollars? It's 1984 and we've got frippin' Dallas! They'll watch anyway." I guess it makes sense..........tightwads.

Knots Landing was the last show out of the entire crop to face the lasted until 1993.

I don't have much to say about it. So I'll just get something else off my chest. This is extremely off-topic, but.......why would a supermodel name herself "Twiggy"? Why would you want to advertise your anorexia? I just don't understand that.

Here's another miniseries. The "devastating secret" was that all three main characters had taken part in a murder, and they each held control over the two others by keeping that secret. Ooo, crunchy with a juicy center!

I don't really know what Hotel is, but it's paired with Dynasty and advertised like all the other wealth-dramas, so it must be another one.

Okay, this is a short-lived sitcom, not a hour-long soap...but this sort-of counts because Jennifer is a famous actress...or she used to be one. How'll she get rid of that guy? (And which one is he anyway?) Unfortunately throwing him out the door or getting a restraining order is not an option....because he's a ghost. So, why not just call the Ghostbusters or start putting up anti-ghost stickers? Can't...Jennifer herself is a ghost. (Doncha just love 80's TV?)

Hey! You know all those wild fantasies you have about rich people based on the unfactual soaps you watch, that you think can't possibly happen? Well, they actually DO happen! In Malibu! On this miniseries!

This is here because someone said the Airwolf guy was rich. I'm just going on his word; I'm sure the E-mails will tell me shortly if I'm wrong.

Everyone fantasizes about having a life better than the one they currently have--it's why fairy tales have lasted hundreds of years. The problem is that the love of money is the root of all evil, and the best of Boy Scouts have been corrupted by it. Cinderella is fantasy--Enron is reality. Fantasize away, but keep in mind, it's no good if you gain the whole world yet forfeit your own soul.

Case in point.

And....same deal.