TNT's Dallas revival is the kind of show in which actors speak in stage whispers. It is the kind of show where people hiss things like, "Don't you ever speak my mama's name in my presence again. You dishonor her." And also: "All those fights, JR. Over you and oil and South Fork. Those fights changed me. Changed me in a way I don't like." And: "Bobby won't hear of drillin'!" And let's not neglect: "Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is thicker than both!"
Oh yeah, and: "I've got family business to attend to...before anybody knows I'm dying."
It is the kind of show that gives Jesse Metcalfe top billing. (Sorry, billin'.) It is the kind of show that mixes the pseudo-naturalistic acting styles of young people with the overtly stilted styles of veterans (including Dallas O.G.s Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman). The two groups chew opposite ends of the scenery, a vicious reimagining of the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti-eating scene.
It is the kind of show that doesn't have the heart to give the aging JR dementia, so it settles for "clinical depression." It is the kind of show where a fraudulent email is all it took to make made-for-each-other lovers to part ways. It is the kind of show where a ham-fisted battle between fossil fuels and new energy alternatives (methane hydrate, so far) is supposed to provide dramatic tension.
It is the kind of show that picks up 21 years after it was last on the air like it's nothing. It's the kind of show that grabs almost 7 million viewers for its premiere episode (which aired last night), the biggest numbers for a scripted cable series premiere so far in 2012.
It's the kind of show that reminds you how fun and easy soaps are. For unadulterated mindless trash, you probably won't find anything better than Dallas this summer. And I want to hear about it if you do.