JR Ewing’s “guardian angel” and other WTF moments in soaps

J-R-Ewing-dallas-1978-1991-larry hagman

I’ll have fond memories of Larry Hagman, who passed away yesterday, since JR Ewing starred in an incredible “WTF” moment in Dallas: that moment when you’re staring at the screen for ten full minutes after the episode has ending, wondering if someone’s slipped LSD into your tea. The soap was always a little offbeat, but occasionally veered into the outright preposterous. It’s not alone, though – every soap on TV has featured plotlines that were weird, baffling or just plain bizarre. 

5. Living in a bubble – St Elsewhere

In the final episode of St Elsewhere, the camera pans back until we see Donald Westphall’s autistic son Tommy, who is playing with a snow globe. He remarks that he “sits there, all day long, in his own world, staring at that toy.” The camera zooms in to reveal that the globe contains a replica of St Eligius hospital – implying that the entire series is a product of Tommy’s imagination.

4. Bobby’s Shower – Dallas

I was just a child when Bobby so famously stepped out of the shower (the entire ninth season was Pam’s dream), and even then, I thought, “Oh, that’s just bloody ridiculous” and stopped watching the show for a good few years. It wasn’t so much the eye-watering shark-jumping as that it felt like a slap in the face to me as a viewer, as though my whole previous year had been wasted since those events never really happened, and I was terribly confused trying to remember back to the previous season to piece together the interrupted chronology.

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3. Fallon is abducted by aliens, The Colbys

Dynasty II: The Colbys was a giant ratings flop, so rather than shuffling out quietly, they ended on a literal high when Fallon Carrington Colby (Emma Samms) was lifted out of this world.

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2. Bouncer’s Dream, Neighbours

Dream sequences are a little cheesy at the best of times, but devoting airtime to the dreams of a dog? That’s just plain mutts!

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1. JR’s “Wonderful Life”, Dallas

The last episode of Dallas‘s original run ended in 1991 in a spoof of It’s A Wonderful Life, only JR Ewing’s “guardian angel” is a little different than we’re used to seeing. I remember actually gasping out loud at that ending.

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