Never much liked Dallas, the TV show. Not because of any sense that it was a false representation of the city. It was just a primetime soap about the oil rich and not to my taste, even as a camp in-joke. I watched one of the first episodes (barely) and never sat through another.
So naturally, my utter obliviousness to the show became a major conversational hindrance in, of all places, England. I spent the summer there, just after J.R. was shot (when I flew over, I wasn’t even aware of the season-ending cliffhanger). Once they learned where I lived, nearly every Brit I met — from Oxford dons to an elderly couple in Wales who picked me up in their ancient Mini while I was hitchhiking — peppered me with questions about the show, any speculations about the shooter, inside scoop on the actors and did I live near any of the “real” locales. In the end, the Brits often ended up explaining the show’s plot lines to me, the Dallasite.
Now, in what must seem a bit of horrendous timing (have they seen the price of oil lately? Or the president’s approval rating?), the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin has decided to re-consider/extol/wax nostalgic over the Ewings with the exhibition, “Dallas: Power and Passion on Primetime TV,” through Sept. 1. According to Jordan Breal in Texas Monthly — who argues mightily, by the way, for the TV show’s shimmering historical and political significance and our need to “re-claim” it — the museum exhibition is only “semi-tongue-in-cheek.”