The name J.R. Ewing brings a chill down one's spine. Considered an evil sociopathic bastard who not only made his sister-in-law, Pamela, lose her first child, he also drove his wife into an schizoid frenzy and damn near lost Southfork when he mortgaged it so he could go solo on an Asian oil drilling deal.
But with true villainy comes some sympathy. No one has ever really bothered to hypothesize on why J.R. felt this overwhelming urge for attention. I present a theory: J.R. is looking for love.
As we all know, J.R. was the oldest sibling, the heir to Southfork and Ewing Oil no doubt, and along with that comes responsibility. His brother Gary drank his way across the country, eventually drifting to Las Vegas where he became a bartender and left his lovely wildcat daughter, Lucy, at the Southfork estate. Gary claims he had to leave because of J.R. but he certainly seemed comfortable enough to leave a young child with him! Then there's handsome, charismatic Bobby, the youngest son whose job was to globetrot around the world, wining and dining clients. Here we have J.R., briefcase in hand, pushing pencils and making millions for his family. One day, Bobby comes home with his new wife, Pamela Barnes. As we all know, Pamela's father Digger was Jock Ewing's arch nemesis, yet she is welcomed to the ranch with open arms (well, not right off the bat). while J.R. keeps plugging away at the business and his wife, Sue Ellen pines for real acceptance. And Bobby ends up with the waaaaay better office.
As Jock Ewing once said "I gave him a fever for the business," one wonders how much Jock's obvious abuse comes into play. Can he and Miss Ellie be innocent bystanders in the downfall of J.R.'s moral ethics? I mean, Jock was almost murdered by a man he drove to bankruptcy so he could have his land. I'm guessing he's not the nicest guy. And what the hell kind of name is Miss Ellie anyway?!?
Jock was even cruel enough to demote J.R. at Ewing Oil after his Asian drilling scheme went through, making the family millions. Jock stepped in himself, humiliating J.R. and belittling all of the work he'd done.
Then there's Sue Ellen, white hot on the outside but a cold fish inside. She obviously married J.R. for status and prestige alone. She got more than bargained for though and it seemed the more she wanted from J.R., the more manipulative she became. It eventually led to her affair with Cliff Barnes, who may actually be the father of Sue Ellen's baby. However, she promised J.R. that he'll never know. When J.R. tried to set the record straight and prove that Cliff cared more about power than Sue Ellen, it drove Miss Texas into an alcoholic rage which almost killed her and her baby. It is here that we learn J.R. really did love Sue Ellen as he wonders where it went all wrong. J.R. even gives up the self-medicating bit as he tries to extend himself to Sue Ellen who only pushes him (and her baby) away. Well yeah, he'd end up sleeping with Sue Ellen's even hotter sister, Kristen, but for those of us who got beyond the 3rd season, we all know that J.R. pays for his indiscretions in ways he never dreamed of...
What a house of cards to deal with. An alcoholic brother and wife, an abusive father and a mother who probably spent more time at meetings for the "Women of the Confederacy" than raising her children, here sits J.R., unethical but effective business man with a family more dysfunctional than the Sawney Bean clan, can you really blame him?
Go on, next time you see that 10 gallon hat, and horribly misplaced ascot, sauntering towards the Ewing Oil offices, give the man a little love!
*This blogpost originally appeared on my old MySpace account. Apologies if you've seen it already...