Welcome back! Like any good television fan, I watched premiere week. I like to call premiere week the preseason. It is my version of testing new players on the scene and whether I’m going to keep their shows on the team.
After watching all the new shows, I noticed a trend. Most of the shows relied on a twist either at the end or in the beginning. Some worked for me (FOX’s Pitch), and some made me want to change the channel (NBC’s This is Us). Regardless, I couldn’t help but wonder, why was the ‘twist’ used so much this year?
When I think of twists in television, I think of Dallas and their infamous shower scene, How I Met Your Mother and the bastardization of the last five seasons, and St. Elsewhere and the snow globe (Look it up kids. It is very polarizing ending). For a while, the twist ending seemed to fall to the waist side. Now, the twist seems to be back.
I feel like twists only work if they are earned. Let me explain.
SPOILERS START HERE
On the show, Pitch, we have the first women pitcher in the MLB. It all started when her father noticed she had a talent and always pushed her to be better. They kept building up the pressure of this type of relationship until at the end when you found out the father had died getting her to that next level. She blamed herself. That guilt led to an escalation of the relationship pressure that affected her pitching game and her sanity. That twist was emotional without being manipulative.
I say manipulative because the This is Us twist was manipulative. It follows a couple about to have three babies, one woman who is trying to lose weight, one man who is sick of playing the pretty boy on television and one man who found his biological father. They all converge at the end, and we see that the woman and the two men are the kids of the couple having the babies. Get it. The couple is set in the 70’s, and the grown kid’s events are set during 2016. I felt that twist was manipulative and doesn’t add much to the narrative. What? Are we jumping between decades every episode? How far can the show take this? Will the twist make the writing weaker in the end? Apparently, I hated that twist, and I won’t be watching that show. It didn’t feel earned.
I think twists were so prevalent in television this season because as an audience we have seen it all. We are much more savvy about narrative tropes. Writers and networks need to surprise us. Hence, the twists. Sometimes that can work out and sometimes it can feel fake and ruin a show.
What do you think? Are you hear for the twist ending or do you find them a cheap narrative ploy? Comment down below with your opinion on the subject!
Changing gears, tomorrow, I will be talking about the Hallmark show, Chesapeake Shores. Until then, enjoy your randomly organized pop culture day.
As every good soap opera fan knows Dallas is back on television and back in a big way. TNT’s Dallas is a continuation of the classic 1980s soap opera that stars the next generation of the Ewing family. The audience gets to meet Chris Ewing (Bobby and Pam’s adopted son) and John Ross Ewing (JR and Sue Ellen’s son). Joining the two boys is Elena Ramos (daughter of the Southfork cook) and Rebecca Sutter (Chris’s fiancé/wife). In Pam’s place (though in my opinion she blows Pam away) is Ann Ewing who knows how to protect her family in a very kick-ass way.
Even though there is a new generation the problems in the Ewing family are still the same. Southfork is still in trouble, Oil is still a factor and the Ewing men are still fighting over women. Regardless if a viewer has seen the classic soap or not the show is written in a way so new fans as well as old can enjoy. Either way the show is growing in popularity and just proves soap operas can work and exist within the current television landscape.
New Show = New Relationships
With the next Ewing generation running the show the fandom has become considerably younger. While there is an appreciation for the classic relationships (Sue Ellen/JR and Pam/Bobby for starters) there are new “ships” on the horizon. The most popular of the ships are Elena/Chris, Chris/Rebecca and Elena/John Ross. Do you see a pattern here? Elena seems to be the common factor among the Ewing cousins. However, I’m not one of the people who enjoy that particular common factor. Elena Ramos is one of those characters that come off as a Mary Sue, the type that tends to be too perfect and just fixes most of the problems of our leads. That can get tiring and boring to the viewers. Same goes for Chris Ewing. He means well but he is a little too high and mighty. He tries a little too hard to be the good guy. In life there is no one who is incredibly good. We all have our quirks and issues.
That is probably why I love incredibly flawed characters that have something else going on in the story. That brings me to Rebecca Sutter Ewing. She comes off as a Mary Sue in the beginning but slowly develops into a crazy, revenge filled, surprising character. The audience is slowly drawn to her by her actions and her reactions to certain situations. That makes her a character to root for. This also brings me to the last character in the relationship equation, John Ross Ewing. This precious baby (if you saw how he came into the world…sloshed baby) of Sue Ellen and JR Ewing is already as beloved as his father is. This character has many sides to him. He is revengeful, cunning and at times stupid. He struggles with the fact he wants to do right by his father but his conscience is telling him something else. Another interesting character, like Rebecca, that is only downgraded when paired up with characters like Elena and Chris.
Where am I going with this…?
In the current state of the show (spoiler alert) Elena has rejected John Ross’s proposal and accepted Chris’s. Rebecca is Cliff’s daughter and has a mission to get stock in the new Ewing Energies Company. Also, she is carrying Chris’s twin babies. Both have a score to settle and if the both of them worked together to get back at Elena and Chris it could be quite fun to watch.
The idea of John Ross and Rebecca isn’t a new one. Every so often the idea is thrown out among the twitter/tumblr masses. I like to call it my little crack ship since I never expected it to happen on the show. However, after that season finale episode, the idea of John Ross and Rebecca is becoming more possible by the second. The show has set up two people who are on the outside of the Ewing family. Elena has rejected John Ross for his cousin Chris. Chris has rejected Rebecca for Elena. John Ross wants to be like JR and find a way to screw Elena and Chris out of Ewing Energies. Rebecca needs to find a way into Ewing Energies. The two characters need each other to accomplish a common goal. This, in my opinion, would be so much fun to watch.
I don’t want them to jump into the saddle immediately and become a couple next season. No, they need to join forces first with no type of romantic intentions; just the intentions of revenge against Elena and Chris. Then it develops to friendship which is the perfect base for any long standing epic relationship in soap operas (in my opinion at least). Let that friendship develop into something more and watch the sparks fly. Rebecca and John Ross together would rile up JR, Cliff, Chris and Elena. A good amount of the characters would be affected by their interaction which makes for great television. Even better, when the John Ross/Rebecca relationship falls apart the effects from that will be just as fascinating to watch. It is great television for them to get together.
Also, in a totally vain note, the two have chemistry. Just one look from each other in the pilot caused many gifs and pictures of them within the fandom to fly onto twitters and tumblrs. I could only image what would happen if they actually had more scenes together. The possibilities are endless.
Dallas 2.0 in the Future
Dallas is a traditional soap opera. For this soap opera to survive it needs to keep the writing sharp, the characters growing and the audience guessing. Putting together John Ross and Rebecca is a great way to do this. It opens up new possibilities for plot lines in season two and beyond. As of this writing it appears the John Ross/Rebecca ship is on the table and even liked by the actors that portray them. Here is hoping for a great season two and some potential John Ross and Rebecca interaction.
*Thanks to @kay186 @SPN_Deanlove @AlwaysDayallas @tweetydreamer20 @iamSueIL @blas69 @IcedTea17 and @Daytime_tv. All of you are my fellow Team Rebecca and John Ross fans. The conversations we had on twitter inspired this blog entry. All of you helped create the ship monster! 😉 Thank you all!