Tag Archives: JR

Business

The Return of Dallas: 25 Business Tips Learned From The Ewings

JR Ewing (aka Larry Hagman) passed away this week. He was one of the stars of Dallas and the famed character from the “who shot JR” line. He also had a ton of great quotes over the years, such as “Say, why don’t you have that junior plastic surgeon you married design you a new face: one without a mouth!” and “”Revenge is the single most satisfying feeling in the world!” He also busted out with “A conscience is like a boat or a car. If you feel you need one, rent it.” and one that every NFL running back seems to bust out with in the last year of their contract “Contracts were made to be broken, honey, but a handshake is the law of God.”

"Never tell the truth when a good lie'll do!"

“Never tell the truth when a good lie’ll do!”

I was really too young to watch Dallas. But I did here and there. Later, I was way too late to watch it, but thanks to NetFlix, I watched every painful episode of every season of the show that I wasn’t allowed to watch ’cause I was too young. And looking back, there’s one thing you can’t deny: most of the basics about how to conduct business can be learned from this show, especially from JR. So here’s my top 25 (moved these up from back in July) in honor of JR, may he rest in peace:

  1. Do the right thing. JR’s dirty dealings never really won out in the end, because bad only begets bad. So be a good person. All the good things happen to Bobby.
  2. Don’t be too soft. But Bobby was too soft to really get the job done either. So don’t be too good a person. Oh who am I kidding, Bobby got it all no matter which way you slice it, be a good person already…
  3. California is where it’s at! The brother Gary moved to California and got his own show. The women in Knots Landing were way better (OMG, shoulder pads!!!). Therefore, California is a good place to run a business. Note: Every promo shot for this show had more women than men.
  4. Computers are awesome! Bobby had a computer and dated the hottest lady on the show, therefore computers are for business and getting ladies.
  5. Blood, sweat and tears. After JR got shot, the numbers on the show (and the millions the family gambled with) skyrocketed. That must mean that a little pain leads to more money. The first time over 40,000,000 people turned on the TV to watch something was to see who shot JR. Eclipsed by a teary Mash finale, and then the Super Bowl where the sweaty Saints were paid bounties to kick the crap out of the opposing team, the show that answered the question is still the 3rd most watched show of all time (OJs trial is 4th, speaking of blood).
  6. Be real. Bobby’s whole coma season was a dream. That means that you can do awful, terrible things, but you’ll wake up the next day and it will all be alright! Wait, that’s not the point. The point is that when Dallas stopped being itself and went into this weird place where entire seasons disappeared, things got lame and people stopped watching. Except me, thanks to NetFlix and a stubborn way about me…
  7. Business is best done by the pool. Watching them talk on those big old school cell phones by the pool about the millions on this and that, with women swimming in the pool reminds me, I should probably get a pool…
  8. Be yourself. Pamela Ewing was awesome and now notsomuch. So plastic surgery is very, very bad! Before that plastic surgery, she did in the BeeGees and was the 1980s version of Juliet…
  9. There can be only one. Maybe that was the Highlander. No, it was Dallas. Or college football: Mack Brown, Joe Paterno and other legendary football coaches can tell you, having two starting quarterbacks is just gonna’ muck things up. Someone needs to be the alpha, the CEO, the person who calls the shots. Rivalry leads to a negative form of competition at the top. Competition is good in games, sports (pre-season at least) and other places, but at the end of the day, life isn’t a game and someone needs the responsibility. While we’re on the subject of the highlander, the TV show sucked. Like really bad. But Sean Connery, he was pretty awesome.
  10. Listen. OK, I learned this from watching what they didn’t do, not what they did do. Even the good guys on this show didn’t listen. Bobby would get all sensitive ponytail guy and ask Pam how she was feeling and then run off to go hunting or something. That’s why she married someone else later, before coming back to him, then getting a nose job and shacking up with the BeeGees! The BeeGees are very much not from Dallas.
  11. Don’t hold a grudge. Cliff Barnes never really ended up getting revenge. He just kinda’ lingered on the show like a silly, bad comedic sidekick. Business is business, you win some and some you don’t. His feud with the Ewings basically killed his dad and led him to be one of the lamer characters on TV. If he’d of just let it go, or moved to California to be with Gary and chase ladies around the cul-de-sac he’d of been much happier!
  12. Old school FTW! Jock and Miss Ellie were some of the best characters on TV. Jock had a way with business, he’d tell it like it is, do what needed to be done but not take things too far. Sure, he screwed over Digger Barnes back in the day, but the guys name was Digger, what did he expect?!?! Jock made the show ’cause he was old school. Jim Davis had done westerns his whole life. Mostly B movies at that. How could you not be grizzled. I some day hope to be just like him. Well, minus the occasional leisure suit (he had just survived the 70s after all).
  13. Don’t be a hothead. Nepotism lives: just ask Ray Krebbs. He could have had it all. From ranch hand to big man on campus in about 2 episodes flat. But getting angry and going off never really helped anyone. Any time your heads about to pop you’re so mad about something, just think: “You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” I know that’s Dazed and Confused, and has nothing to do with Dallas but it’s also set in Texas and it works…
  14. Stay Sober. Sue Ellen was an icon of the 1980s. She was JR’s wife, heiress to the family fortune and when she was bad, she was awesome. Then her character drank too much and became a caricature of her former self. When the booze impact the ratings, time to go to rehab.
  15. Teamwork builds ships. Maybe not ships, but certainly fortunes. The Ewing boys, when they worked together had massive pay outs. Problem is, after each one, they turned on one another (or at least JR turned on Bobby) in vicious not-very-brotherly plots that all but destroyed each successive fortune.
  16. Finding good people is hard. Practically every henchman JR hired ended up turning on him. Recruiting good talent is tough. When you find good people, hang on to them! One thing was they never drew a line between henchmen who were politicians and those who weren’t. JR hung on to these two even after the show was over… 
  17. Don’t go into business with bad people. JR screwed over all the other Dallas oilmen, over and over and over, and they just kept investing in his schemes… Look, assume everyone is out for themselves to some degree. But there are limits. If you know someone is bad, just don’t even get in business with them, no matter how lucrative they make it seem. When we were investing money in Enron, we should have realized, from watching Dallas, what would happen…
  18. Form good partnerships. The Texas oilmen always loved doing business with Bobby. He paid out, didn’t screw them over and was fair. They still went to do business with JR when he called, but that usually had to do with JR having pictures of them with hookers or something… Speaking of which, I wonder what he’s got on ‘ole Rick Perry?!?!?
  19. The key to negotiating is leverage. Back to the hookers thing. JR never left anything to chance. Hookers, blow, whatever it took. Bobby was the guy before the show started that made money flow into the politicians hands. But here, I have to disagree with Dallas. The key to good negotiations is having a solid product or service, not the dirt on everyone in town. Maybe back then, but these days the dirt is all over Facebook already… Wait, I forgot, I learned my negotiation skills from Oz. Either that or I just enjoyed watching the show. No, I seem to remember bringing a shank to a contract negotiation once… Or not. I think that was yesterday… Wait, nevermind…
  20. It’s never too late to turn it around. Sure, Sue Ellen was bad off, in jail, moved off to live with a rodeo clown and then got brought back in. But she was better and had an air of confidence and serenity that made you realize that yes, the 1970s were over, it was seriously the 80s and she was seriously wearing Hammer pants…
  21. Attitude is everything. Larry Hagman’s belt buckle says it all (I have one that says krypted in honor of it)… Have you seen the guy’s eyebrows?!?!? He was on TV for decades, first in I Dream Of Jeannie (where he taught me very different things) and then in Dallas and after trying to bring I Dream Of Jeannie back, is back in Dallas… How do you stick around this long? Well, some use a spell to become a lich. I suspect Hagman of such a trick… But really, with him, it’s all about the attitude. That’s why he was so believable as JR and the nation took to the show the way it did. 
  22. Have a purpose. The show finally ended because there wasn’t anything left in the tank. They had no purpose left in them. Not that they ever had a purpose other than making money by drilling the world dry of oil (which translates into the producers drilling the intelligence out of the audience, one train wreck of a season after another beyond the 4th season).
  23. Actually, come to think of it, Dallas didn’t teach me anything about business. I learned about business from playing Civilization. Wait, no, that’s politics. Either way, the French will always turn on you! Right, I remember now, watch Oz for business advice. Way better than an MBA… Wait, there is something, if you haven’t won after being off the air for over 21 years and on for over 10, after 30 years, just stop. No really, unless you’re in prison like in Oz. Then you’ve kinda’ got nothing else to do…
  24. NEVER GO INTO BUSINESS WITH FAMILY!!!
  25. Nothing is ever really over (so here’s the obligatory trailer embed)!