The Collected Wit and Wisdom of J.R. Ewing from the ‘Dallas’ Premiere

Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing on Dallas (Photo: Zade Rosenthal/TNT)

The new version of “Dallas” premiered Tuesday night on TNT. Though it has been more than thirty years since America wondered who shot J.R., Larry Hagman’s iconic villain again stole the show, with viewers taking to Twitter to cheer his every move.

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@cameron_Gray astutely observed, “Imagining if Twitter was around when ‘Dallas’ originally aired on CBS & wondering how long #WhoShotJR would be a trending topic.” @nannydeb tweeted, “Here we go..JR is back people!!! Let the games begin,” while @Rebyj reminisced, “My late ex learned how to tie a necktie by watching J.R. Ewing tie his back in the day.”

J.R. was nearly upstaged by his own spectacularly bushy eyebrows. @TexasMonthly tweeted, “The eyebrows have risen,” while @juniperpie wrote, “Watching #DallasTNT where the fiercest characters are J.R.’s eyebrows.” However, J.R.’s hilarious lines and sage business advice soon brought the focus squarely back onto him, just the way he always liked it. Here are the top five J.R. quotes from the premiere.

“Bobby was always a fool, particularly about that foundling Christopher, who’s not even a Ewing.”

The premiere began with a seemingly catatonic J.R. in an sanitarium. He had no reaction when his brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) came to visit him and made a heartfelt speech about his regrets that their relationship had deteriorated. But when J.R.’s son, John Ross (Josh Henderson), dropped by to tell him that Bobby would not let him drill for oil on Southfork and planned to sell the ranch, J.R. snapped right out of his depression. His first words were, appropriately enough, a condemnation of his brother and Bobby’s adopted son, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) — which referenced a plotline from the original series. pepper34 tweeted, “Low Blow saying Christopher not a real Ewing. Yet great use of history for us old school fans.”

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“Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is thicker than both.”

Bobby planned to sell Southfork to a wealthy family who planned to turn it into a nature conservancy. He met with Marta, a beautiful heiress who was the family’s representative. John Ross was livid that his uncle had succeeded at taking the ranch away from him. Then, when John Ross went to visit J.R. at the sanitarium, he found Marta with J.R. His father triumphantly explained that, for an Ewing, oil trumps everything else.

“Son, never pass up a good chance to shut up.”

John Ross’s name was trending on Twitter throughout most of the premiere, with viewers vacillating between loving to hate him and just plain thinking he was a spoiled jerk. @ninatypewriter tweeted, “John Ross dissed Miss Ellie. Hey, punk, you DO NOT diss Miss Ellie. Ever.” There was a consensus on two things: he looks good shirtless and he lacks his father’s gift for quips. So, when John Ross got a little uppity about his role in the scam to defraud Bobby while he and J.R. were meeting with Marta his father spoke for the audience, and told him to zip it.

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“If you ask me, you’d make a hell of a governor, and if I do say so, you are still the prettiest girl at the ball.”

J.R. and his ex-wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) finally came face-to-face for the first time in the new series at the Cattle Baron’s ball. Now running for governor, she had come a long way from her days as an alcoholic housewife, though @palateprincess tweeted, “I imagine Sue Ellen’s breath smelling like stale vodka and desperation.” J.R. was hilariously using a walker as part of his plan to convince Bobby that he was a doddering old man. He cast it aside when he saw his ex-wife, and grew sincere, telling her she deserved all of the success she achieved after they divorced. Then he paid her the ultimate compliment, praising both her brains and her beauty. Sue Ellen’s heart melted a little, right along with millions of viewers.

“I’m going to have to introduce you to my son John Ross. He’s a chip off the old block.”

J.R. traveled to Mexico to meet Marta’s father and finalize the deal to purchase Southfork from him. To his shock, the man professed ignorance of the deal. When Marta arrived, she was an entirely different person. J.R. realized he had made a deal with an imposter — and that she was working with John Ross to double cross him.  As @lincolnpark tweeted, “Hubbie & I just finished watching DALLAS. There was so much deceit, we needed GOOGLE MAPS to get through the first episode!” J.R. was furious, but he had to admire his son’s ability to out manipulate the ultimate manipulator. So he sardonically offered to set up the real Marta with John Ross.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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