Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Who shot J.R?"

This picture represents an iconic moment in one the most popular TV shows in the US in the 1980s, it is a picture of  J.R Ewling from the hit TV show Dallas which had it's greatest success in 1980 with the famous storyline of "Who shot J.R?". The TV show was set in Dallas and chronicled the lives of wealthy Texas oil millionaires. It started in 1978 when it made it's debut on CBS and could be seen as one of the first shows that dealt with the big ideas of life. However, I don't think anyone, including the writers and producers themselves, expected the show to be such a huge success and create such a phenomenon. 

What really made the show and created such a buzz was the storyline of "Who shot J.R?". This was the famous cliffhanger which started on march 21st, 1980 when viewers watched as an unknown suspect shot J.R. This was made the season finale, and viewers had to wait until November 21st 1980 to find out who pulled the trigger. The reason viewers had to wait so long was simply because the actor went on strike, and seeing the huge success of the storyline the actor who played J.R(Larry Hagman) saw it as an opportunity to ask for more money. But this cliffhanger storyline made Dallas into the hottest American primetime series of the time. With the episode revealing the shooter reeling in over 90 million american viewers and 360 million viewers worldwide tuning in to find out who shot JR.

When looking through the events of the 1980s in America, this TV show and storyline in particular was, for millions of people across the world, the most important news at the time. Despite the global events going on in that era, the classic "Who done it" storyline captivated the worlds attention and made American history. It created a pop culture with "Who Shot J.R?" T-shirts and bets laid out for who the culprit could be, but the producers kept everyone guessing, including the cast and crew with each of them being filmed shooting J.R. This storyline created a frenzy and made news across the globe, and it is for this reason I think this moment in the US in 1980s was one of the most iconic moments. A simple TV show took over the world, created a new culture of TV shows and left everyone with the burning question of Who Shot J.R?          

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