DALLAS – You might think a city that exalts big hair and liposuction
as much as Dallas does would be easy to parody.
But it must be harder than it looks, because “GCB,” which was set in the barely disguised upscale enclave our city’s Highland Park, was canceled last month. Even with Kristin Chenoweth in a starring role, the show had to fight for its life from Day One. Originally called “Good Christian Bitches,’’ it backpedaled to “Good Christian Belles” then “GCB’’ after One Million Moms boycotted the show.
The rejection stung; even Jersey had Snookie.
Maybe that helps explain why Dallas, the city, is so gaga over Wednesday’s debut of TV’s “Dallas’’ reboot on TNT.
We crave recognition. Long before there was reality TV, there was “Dallas.’’ The Ewing clan may have been fictional, but in Dallas the family was royalty.
And, to a slightly embarrassing degree, they still are: “I think this version will show we have blossomed into a diverse, metropolitan city,’’ Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the Dallas Morning News. “It shows a town that is hot with excitement. All shot on location right here.’’
The show’s returning stars may not be A-listers in Hollywood anymore, but Dallas officials have high hopes the TV show will boost
the city’s image again.
“The mirth associated with Southfork and the Ewings provided a stunning about-face from the tragic echoes of the Kennedy assassination,’’ the News reported. “For that achievement alone, there should be a statue of J.R. Ewing in front of City Hall.’’
Larry Hagman, who returns as J.R., is 80 now. His creased face and bushy eyebrows have been staring down at us all month from the cover of Texas Monthly. You can’t go through the grocery store checkout line without seeing that face, which is still probably among the most recognized in the state.
It’s fitting that J.R. lost his fortune at the end of the series’ last run.
Dallas, the real city, was “at the epicenter of a national real estate and financial crisis rooted in fraudulent deals, fast savings-and-loan money, deceptive land scams and crooked property appraisals,’’ according to the Morning News, which marked the recent passing of developer Danny Faulkner.
“After Faulkner, a shaken city crawled into a decade or more shell of self-doubt,’’ the report said. “In only the past decade has the city begun to move beyond the rocky ‘80s and ‘90s.’’
That, of course, is part of the reason we still love the Ewings; they, too, survived. Swaggering, unrepentant and perhaps a bit closer to reality than we care to admit.
Lori Stahl writes about politics and culture in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LoriStahl.