My childhood was very much marked by Dynasty and Dallas — two American nighttime soaps that aired on BBC 1, and were a tempting piece of home. Joan Collins and I may not agree on certain things these days, but her work on Dynasty during the heyday of primetime soaps was nothing short of iconic. Her tongue could cut glass.
We should revisit some of the classic Dynasty moments too, because its gentre is a much-missed one for me. I have to start with the classic lily pond fight, which opens with Alexis being a total miserable bitch — per Krystle’s line to her in the scene, which is true, as Alexis has just taunted Krystle as an “empty-armed Madonna” — and then boom:
But that wasn’t the first catfight. The below is. It starts slowly, but with a juicy flashback to Alexis causing Krystle’s miscarriage (when you intend to fire a gun to shock your ex’s bride off her horse, wearing HEAD TO TOE RED is a great way to be subtle about it!!!!), and then ends in FEATHERS:
Have you ever wondered why we keep referencing Hate Candles? Well, two reasons: One is Passions, from when they gave Liz a message about The Shed. But the main reason, the first and best reason, is because Claudia Blaisdel took out an entire resort with hers:
If you’ve seen the Bette Midler/Lily Tomlin movie Big Business, then you will recognize Country Bette’s obsession with Alexis’s speech in the middle of this next clip — though it’s also outstanding for a) her immediate disdainful treatment of Blake, and b) the fact that the water pitcher and glass are directly in front of Alexis and she STILL makes her son get up and pour it for her, because she’s the best:
Then there’s Alexis in a beret, trying to buy off Krystle before a house fire imperils them:
“You’re a master of DISGUST, Alexis,” does not QUITE do here what Krystle thinks it did. I also love that she had a pole fall on her but stayed conscious AND scrambled out from under it, wheresas Alexis lightly tripped on something and crumbled to the floor gently and then completely passed out.
The divine Diahann Carroll got her fair share of toe-to-toe moments with Joan, including this scene in which they casually snark on each other and then she drops the bomb on Alexis’s Champagne:
Their relationship led to a divine catfight of its own: “Retract this or I’ll CRAM IT DOWN YOUR THROAT.”
And finally, DO NOT sleep on the cliffhanger what was the show’s final episode. Everything about this scene is classic, perfect soap, from the editing to the reaction shots to the dialogue, to… all of it:
There’s so much more, like the time Adam redid Jeff’s office with lead paint, so that he would slowly go insane. And Blake snarling about whether someone can be found at “THE ABORTION DESK.” (Blake sucks.) And Steven Carrington, a landmark character as one of TV’s first openly bisexual men, disappearing and coming back with a completely new face after an accident in Indonesia, and the many many times people have tried to strangle Alexis. Oh, and when Fallon thought she was paralyzed, until she saw her son fall into a pool, at which point she jumped up and saved him — or when she was recast with Emma Samms, who then moved to The Colbys, which ended with her being kidnapped by a UFO. No, really.
Happy 40th birthday, you freaking icons.