It could take years for Iris Carrington to get what's coming to her. NBC certainly hopes it will, since Iris and her tangled web from the nexus of "Texas," the network's mucho publicized but recklessly uninteresting new soap opera.It premieres today at 3 on Channel 4 and the only afternoonish experience it is the next-best thing to is a nap.
Perhaps most surprisingly, "Texas" is sexless. Those who've been hearing about how the soaps have turned steamy and how their casts of characters have become virtual rabbits in the hutch will be disappointed. "Texas, spun off from "Another World," which precedes it, is P&G, for squeaky-clean Procter & Gamble, the sponsor and producer.
"The first part of "Texas" is brought to you by Oxydol" says the announcer, and oh boy, is it ever. You'd think there would be at least a hint of wiggly-wag in Chapter One, in order to get people hooked, but "Texas" turns out to sleepy time Down South.
The program does represent a step or two in the evolution of soaps. It's an hour long, some of it was shot in locations other than a TV studio, and the locale of the story is not a mythical Pleasant Valley or Somersault but the specifically identified city of Houston, Tex. However, this daring breakthrough is mitigated by the fact that no one in the case of the first show has a Texas accent and the whole mess might as well be taking place in Lompoc, Hohokus or Biarritz.
Beverlee McKinsey, who gets star billing, plays the centrl role of Iris Carrington, a character transplanted, like many in "Texas," from Another World." Iris is in seat B-o on an airplane taking her back to Bay City when the pilot announces the plane is being turned around for "personal" reasons. That powerful millionaire Alex Wheeler wants Iris back in Houston so he can romance her aboard the very yacht where first they met 25 years ago.
And yacht's yacht? Not by a long shacht. It takes Iris the whole hour to get from the airport to the yacht in Wheeler's limo. Whould she care for some champagne? No she would not. Meanwhile, back at World Oil, Wheeler's company, there's still some doubt the mysterious suicide of Mike Marshall, which followed the mysterious death of Sheik Zaydi. That rotten Ryan Connor telephones Princess Yasmine back in Tankier in Act Three, but she doesn't come to the phone until Act Five.
The princess, she does not want to speak of murder. She says, from what looks like a room in a Ramada Inn, "Let's talk about something else, okay? How's everyone in Texas?"
Texas? Texas? Oh yes, this is supposed to be taking place in Texas. Of course if the CBS hit "Dallas" were called "Portland," then this show would be Oregon." And if "Dallas" were "Butte," then this would be "Montana." And if "Dallas" were "Flusing," then this would be er, "Long Island"? Obviously it isn't worth thinking about, which is why TV executives are giving it so much thought.It's an omelette designed only for very small brain pans.
Meanwhile, Clipper Curtis and Terry Dekker are in the executive suite sipping, what else, champagne. And that simpering pair of googly-eyed sprites, Dawn Marshall and Dennis Carrington, are in the meadow literally picking daisies. "This is the summer of our lives, Dawn," says Dennis. There doesn't seem to be any champagne around.
"Texas" is filled with flashbacks to earlier days -- most of them having occurred in "Another World" -- and with such sparkling dialogue as Wheeler's pep talk to himself: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained; full speed ahead!" Full speed is never attained by the deathly "Texas" collection of nebbishy nabobs and half-baked potato heads. Really, pepole who try to intelecutalize their own interest in soaps are like people who try to intellectualize sex, gambling or sleep, three activities that are far more functional than watching nothing happen on shows like this.
"Texas" isn't even as big as all indoors.