How Pamela Ewing Got me Hooked On Stories
Or How I Learned to Hate Season-Long Dream Sequences

The summer of 1986 was plentiful, in its own way, with news that would change the world and events that we would never forget. But I'll always remember the moment, at home in our tiny living room, with the RCA colour TV set tucked away in the corner, away from direct sunlight, so that we could all make out the amazing plethora of images that would sprawl against the smoothly arced television screen. That was a moment when TV history happened - bad TV history. There I was, a young kid, with big brown eyes, lying in his favourite position on the floor, stomach down with elbows to the floor and palms pressed against his cheeks, as Pamela Ewing (Victoria Principal) wakes up from her dream. Shazbat!!! I raised from the floor like an animal ready to take a flight. It was a moment of shock. I mean, Dallas was a cool show.

Sure, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) was a douchebag like no other, but seriously, the guy knew how to get out of trouble. His brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy), had a heart of gold, but now dead, left Dallas in a kind of screwed up position in prime time TV land. Something had to be done to bring him back. Something harsh. Yes, that's the scene when Pamela wakes up, with shorter hair and dreamy eyes, who nonchalantly walks over to washroom only to find her nude hubby taking a shower like it was Season 7.


"Oh hello," he says. That's just it. "Oh, hello" and all Dallas reality changes in an instant. It wouldn't be until Sopranos came along (or Twin Peaks), that everyone would Da Vinci Code the show to figure out what just happened. I just did what any normal human being would do. I got up from the floor in a shock and complained. It took awhile to let it sink it. Patrick Duffy. Shower. Loud explosions. Cast dying like no other. Holy cow. They didn't. They did. The chick was having a dream? She dreamed an entire season of Dallas, a feat like no other, a feat that only a screenwriter could dream of, a whole season lived in one's mind, as we, the precious consumers of Prime Time TV, just looked on in amazement.


Post-Pamela Dream 


Well, not all of us. I wasn't amazed at all. I was angry as hell, and, of course, thought about it for the next week and a half.  Our kitchen was probably the biggest room in the house. A large table for eating, across a hot stove cooking for many, with hot steaminess floating to the ceiling in absence of kitchen fan. My mother did her work diligently like a good Italian mother would. I didn't think she would understand what was on my mind, and I was probably right. I walked up to her side while she fried food, deep fried, but I can't remember what kind, just the kind I couldn't never get right in my older age as I would never have the guts to dip sustenance into so much grease with the health conscious attitudes I've picked over the years.

If I did voice it, I would say this: We deserve our money back. That was bad TV, Mom, real bad. Trust me. I know stories, or at least, one day will, and this, my dear mother, was a really, really bad way to end Season 8 Dallas. Weirdly enough, I saw it as a major breach of trust between writer and audience. I don't exactly know when it happened. Perhaps on the long walks back home from school. Maybe it was lying in my bed thinking of magical, sciency stuff later to become my attempts at writing, but, somewhere, my boyish brain thought that stories were just really cool and that we all depended on them so much for fun and amazement. But how sucky it was, to cop out and say that fiction was just a fiction. In the very least, the fiction needs to be real.


I Heart Stories



But I also sensed something else. Boy, did I really love stories! And finding a good one was an amazing feat too. They come out of nowhere, but when they do, they walk in and out of your life with such class and honour. They know their stuff and have no need to justify it. Pamela Ewing, eat your heart out and congrats on getting your hottie back in the saddle, ride until dawn and back again! In the meantime, the rest of us will read it in the stories (but just the real deal, please!).


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