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The Nitpicker FAQ

Accessing the site | General Questions | Nitpicking Lingo


Accessing the site:

1. These are the URLs which get you to this site.

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Boulevard/4209
http://www.geocities.com/ewings.geo
http://jump.to/dallas
http://fly.to/southfork
http://fly.to/ewings

The last three URLs are redirector pages which bring you here, and I find them much easier to remember. Using one of these URLs pops up an extra window which you will have to shut down if it bothers you, but they are the easiest and most reliable ways to get to the site. If you're like me and like to type in your URLs manually, DON'T put anything after the URL, not even a slash.

2. This site is best viewed if...

- You are using Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, or Netscape 3.0 or higher. I'm sure it works fine with other browsers but I have not tested it with them. I personally find best results with Internet Explorer 5.
- You are working at 800 x 600 resolution or higher. You can view it at 640 x 480 but it will be cramped. To check what your resolution is, go to your Control Panel and look at your Display options.

3. If you bookmarked this site before July...

- You might not see the left-hand frame which contains shortcuts to the main attractions of the site. Before July, this site's address was   http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Boulevard/4209/main.html. This URL now refers only to the main area of the page [the right frame]. If you use this URL or had it bookmarked, you won't get the shortcut frame.
- The best thing to do is to delete your existing bookmark, connect to the site using one of the URLs above, and then bookmark it again.

4. If you get a script error or some other kind of error while accessing the site...

- Keep in mind that most such errors are transient. I have tested the site with IE 3.0 and up, Netscape Navigator 3.0 and up, and Netscape Communicator, with no problems. If you get an error accessing the site, make sure you are using one of the URLs I've listed above. Even the slightest change, such as the addition of a slash, can cause weird kinds of problems.

5. If you don't see the shortcuts in the left frame or they appear as grey boxes...

- These shortcut buttons are Java applets, which means you must have a Java-enabled browser to see them. Some browser installations do not turn their Java on by default, so make sure you check your Options section and look for this.
- Occasionally on some installations, I have come to the site to find that the buttons don't work, and then I try again and suddenly everything's okay. This is because the first time, the browser is gathering information from the site about how to interpret the Java AFTER trying and failing to make the buttons appear, and then the second time it does the proper thing.

6. If you hear the Dallas theme when you access the site...

- This means that your browser is configured perfectly and everything is OK. Bear in mind that the theme is Real Audio based, which means that it may not work unless you have a browser that is natively capable of working with Real Audio. Internet Explorer 4 and above, as well as any version of Netscape Communicator, have no problem with this.
- The code for initiating the theme is in the left frame, so if you don't see the left frame, you won't hear the theme.
- Of course, you must have a sound card and your speakers have to be on, and what not.

7. If you want to get around the site quickly...

- You can click on the icon of Southfork at the top of the left frame to get to the main "What's New" page.
- Use the shortcut buttons in the left frame to your heart's content.
- Use the Special Features button to get to pages which don't have their own buttons.
- Use the links in the What's New section. Even if you don't or can't get the shortcut buttons in the left frame, you can click on any underlined item in the What's New section to take you to its link.
- Please help me out if you notice something that isn't working the way it should. Since I inaugurated the "This Week's Nits" page, I sometimes forget to update the links to this page. If you notice they're not working properly, please let me know and I'll fix it ASAP.

8. If you still have problems...

- If there are problems, let me know, but please be aware that many problems are transient, and can be solved by trying to access the site again. Best thing to do if you are stuck is to just go to your address bar or your RUN prompt and type in http://jump.to/dallas . This is what I do, and I never have any trouble unless the Geocities servers are down.

9. To get to the photo gallery...

Use any of the following URLs:

http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Network/3349
http://www.geocities.com/dallaspics
http://fly.to/dallaspics


General questions:

  1. What got you interested in nitpicking?
  2. What is the Lucy award?
  3. How do you pick the Line of the Day?
  4. Why do you call Clayton a big dumb ox?
  5. Who is the Phantom of Ewing Oil?
  6. What happened to the pictures that used to accompany the episodes?  
  7. What's with all the plastic surgery comments?
  8. What is the Jack Ewing stupid laugh meter for?
  9. What is the Angelica award?
  10. Why do you have so many polls?  
  11. How do I submit a nit or contact you?
  12. I have a question about Dallas.
  13. Where can I get tapes of the show? star.jpg (13252 bytes)
  14. I'd like to submit a comment about the site.
  15. What is the Dallas newsgroup? How can I get there?
  16. Is TNN going to show the series again after this run ends?  
    Why is TNN's schedule so crazy right now?
    star.jpg (13252 bytes)
  17. Is TNN going to air the reunion movies?  
  18. When is the next reunion movie? star.jpg (13252 bytes)
  19. What is the April award?  
  20. What is the Pam award?  
  21. What is the Bobby award?  
  22. Who shot JR? star.jpg (13252 bytes)

Nitpicker's definitions:

  1. Nit
  2. AHN
  3. Cabbageing
  4. Push
  5. Depush
  6. Job
  7. Heat
  8. BILC
  9. Reading the script
  10. Classic plot trickery

1. What got you interested in nitpicking?

A number of things. First and foremost, I like watching Dallas and I think it's one of the best-crafted dramas ever put together. And I like drama. I like to be entertained and kept on the edge of my seat, thinking "What's going to happen next?" I also like characters that make me laugh, and characters with whom I can identify.

Anywho, as I got more wrapped in the drama that is Dallas, I started noticing all sorts of strange things which just kept on happening, and they didn't make sense. I like for things to make sense - especially when I devote a whole hour of my day to it. Also, I started reading the Star Trek Nitpicker books by Phil Farrand, which tuned me in to all sorts of weird and strange things that go on behind the scenes of TV shows, and introduced me a new way of looking at the drama - or rather, through it.

Nitpicking a show like Star Trek is rather easy: you can argue many things based on a scientific standpoint. For instance, if a character says it'll take 8 hours to reach a certain planet, and based on previous information you know the distance to the planet and the maximum speed of your ship, you can argue that it should take more or less than 8 hours.

Also, Star Trek is produced as a set of discrete episodes, as opposed to a serial drama like Dallas with storylines that carry on from episode to episode. That means that a Star Trek episode will often contain information which directly conflicts with information on another episode. One that sticks out in my mind is an episode in which Data says he's never known what it feels like to laugh - except that he did laugh in one very early episode.

2. What is the Lucy Award?

It's an idea that AHN Jason thought up. The Lucy award goes to the person who contributed the least to any given episode of Dallas. It's very subjective, as you would expect. Given in honor of Lucy Ewing, who rarely contributed much to the show [through no fault of her own.]

3. How do you pick the Line of the Day?

AHN Todd suggested this way back in March of '98: just pick a line from each episode that was memorable. I'll pick the Line of the Day based on my own observations and AHN submissions. Usually there's not too many great zingers to choose from, and many nondescript episodes won't have a Line of the Day.

4. Why is Clayton a big dumb ox?

Because JR called him big and dumb in Season 13, and Clayton refers to himself as an ox after his heart attack in Season 9. Also because his character [again, through no fault of his own], is often portrayed that way - as little more than window dressing to give Ellie or some other character a push or create an angle.

5. Who is the Phantom of Ewing Oil?

When Bobby was shot at the end of the 1983-84 season, as the killer walked into the entranceway to the executive offices of Ewing Oil, you could see the reflection of a person in a white shirt casually standing watching the action. This man is the Phantom of Ewing Oil.

Recently, the Phantom has been invoked in a number of situations. For instance, it was pointed out in Episode 190 that when Naldo took Jenna to that fateful hotel room in Laredo, the hotel door seemed to close by itself. Obviously, the Phantom is everywhere!

6. What happened to the pictures that used to accompany the episodes?

I removed them in the interests of having the pages load faster. There's a lot of information here. Once the series run ends and I have a better idea of how much space I'll have for photos, I'll bring some of them back. In the meantime, if you're looking for pictures of the cast, visit the Photo Gallery.
Now that the series has started from the beginning again, I've added a photo still from each episode to the main page.

7. What's with all of the comments about plastic surgeries for Ellie and Jenna?

This should be rather obvious. In the case of Ellie, consummating her marriage to Clayton inspired her to have herself made to look like Donna Reed. Then Bobby's death shocked her so much that she decided she wanted to have her Barbara Bel Geddes face [and wardrobe] back.

In the case of Jenna: well, first she looked like Morgan Fairchild. Then when Bobby spurned her and found her again in 1980, she was so distraught she turned into a woman who looked like Francine Tacker. And then when she started work at Billy Bob's tavern around 1983, she thought it best to look like Elvis Presley's wife.

8. What is the Jack Ewing stupid laugh meter for?

My sister gets really annoyed when Jack prefaces every bit of dialogue with that silly "Ah-ha-ha-hah" laugh. It was her idea.

9. What is the Angelica award?

This award goes to a character whose fashion sense is in question for an episode. It's named for Angelica Nero, and if you don't understand why, click here.

10. What's this Poll of the Week? Don't you already have a poll?

We have both. The Poll of the Week, as the name suggests, changes from week to week and deals with issues relevant to what's happening this week on the show. The Dallas Poll is an ongoing thing dealing with global issues. We also have a Best Episode poll where we choose the most outstanding episodes of the series.
Because of the way the site has mushroomed in recent months, the Poll of the Week has become somewhat irregular. Once the burden of writing summaries every night is removed from me, this will be quickly remedied.

11. How do I submit a nit or contact you?

Just e-mail me at ewingspage@hotmail.com with anything that's on your mind, whether it be a nit or a suggestion on how to improve the site. Even if you just want to talk about the show, that's cool.

12. I have a question about the show - can I ask you?

Ask me anything you want about anything at all concerning Dallas, on or off the air, at ewingspage@hotmail.com. I don't know EVERYTHING about the show, and I don't claim to, unlike some people who shall remain nameless. But I will do my utmost to answer you the best of my ability, point you in the right direction for an answer, or find out more information for you.

13. Where can I get tapes of Dallas?

If you're looking for uncut series episodes, you can try the Columbia House web site [www.columbiahouse.com ]. Or you can contact me for tapes of the series, movies, specials, or the bloopers tape. I've got everything, if you don't mind TNN cuts. If you have odd or unusual tapes [uncut versions of the 90-minute episodes, for example] let me know.

14. I'd like to make suggestions or comments about your site.

I always appreciate constructive criticism and/or a kind word about your appreciation of the site. Drop me a line at ewingspage@hotmail.com any time. I am always indebted to people who point out that a link doesn't work or suggest something new we can try. Though I'm not always in a position to act on your suggestions, I always do consider them seriously and they are retained in my memory banks for later. For instance, it was almost six months ago when AHN Anne suggested that I give each episode a rating. At the time, I had reasons for not doing so, but beginning with Season 9 it is a part of each episode summary.

15. What is this newsgroup I keep reading about? How do I get there?

The alt.tv.dallas newsgroup is a discussion board where people talk about Dallas and lots of other things. If you have Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, you can use the news applet to download a list of newsgroups that are available from your server. In most cases, if you have a private ISP or a school account, alt.tv.dallas should be on the list, and you can subscribe to it so that every time you check it, you'll see all of the newly posted stuff, just like you get e-mail.

If you don't have a news applet or your news server doesn't list this newsgroup, then you can go to www.dejanews.com, which is a web site that keeps an archive of all posts that are uploaded to news servers. From here, you can view the entire archive of alt.tv.dallas.

Some might say that I have a biased opinion of the newsgroup. They're probably right. But I feel I must warn people about the following things:

1. The newsgroup is very cliquish. Be very careful what you say if you choose to respond to people who post frequently because many of them belong to a very close-knit group who feel very possessive about what they consider to be 'their turf'.

2. There is a lot of 'trolling' in this newsgroup [and in most others]. A 'troll' is someone who doesn't really have anything substantial to say but wants everyone to know it. Generally, these people will poke fun at serious posts and may even respond to them in a derogatory manner. If your feelings are easily hurt, don't post anything in this group. And for your own sake, if you do post something and some troll decides to make hash out of it, DON'T RESPOND IN KIND. Don't respond at all. Just let it go. There are some strange people out there and I have heard reports of some very unkind incidents. If you don't like something you read and feel strongly enough about it to post a response, be prepared for what may happen.

16. Is TNN going to air the series again after this run?

Beginning July 26, 1999, the series has been airing from the beginning. If it will happen again is way too early to tell, but my gut instinct is that it is rather unlikely.

16b. Why is TNN's schedule so crazy right now?

Because TNN is going to undergo drastic schedule changes in September. TNN is owned by CBS which is owned by Viacom, which just picked up the rights to air World Wrestling Federation programming, currently the most lucrative prize on cable TV. So they want to keep their options open as far as juggling programs goes. It will probably get worse before it gets better, because I think TNN will likely air ALL their dramas in a mini-marathon format.

17. Is TNN going to air the reunion movies?

YES! TNN has just recently announced that "The Early Years", "JR Returns", and "War of the Ewings" will be shown  sometime in the near future. Keep watching the schedule page for more information about anything Dallas-related on television.

18. When is the next reunion movie? Do you have any information about it?

A difficult one to answer because I don't work for CBS. The following are things that I have heard from others, so at best you can consider them to be unsubstantiated but sensible possibilities:

1. CBS and the producers of the reunions have a three movie deal. Two of the movies have already been made: "JR Returns" in 1996, and "War of the Ewings" in 1998. The third movie, by extrapolation, will probably air sometime around March 2000.

2. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether Victoria Principal will return to reprise her role as Pam. I have heard that Victoria has stated something to the effect that the only way she would consider doing this is if there was a strict guarantee that it would be the LAST Dallas-related production ever.

3. The only things that would be certain about a third reunion is that Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman would both be in it [since they would be the executive producers]. Linda Gray's appearance would also be a strong probability but is by no means guaranteed.

Recently, Larry Hagman announced on the Larry King show that he felt that the "rose was off the bud" as far as reunion movies went. I take that to be a fairly strong indication that there will not be a third.

19. What is the April award?

It's for egregious stupidity in an episode. Certainly April doesn't have a monopoly on this, but she pulled a lot of dimwitted stunts during her tenure on the show.

20. What is the Pam award?

It's for being all that and a bag of chips, as Pam usually is. [Translation, for those who don't understand this: it's for looking good.]

21. What is the Bobby award?

It's for having a bad hair episode.

22. Who shot JR?

His sister-in-law Kristin Shepard, who was played by Mary Crosby. Technically, the answer to this question is "Kristin, Sue Ellen, B.D. Calhoun, and a guy in Louisiana," but the first answer is usually what people mean.


Nitpicker Definitions:

Some of the definitions below come from the Star Trek books, some of them come from professional wrestling [the ultimate melodrama], and some of them I just made up. Enjoy!

Nit - a generic term for anything strange, bizarre, or unusual occurrence that happens on the show. Usually it's a production problem or a changed premise which contradicts something else that's happened or said.

AHN - Assistant Head Nitpicker. Anybody who sends their nits to me an a consistent basis. Click here to meet the AHNs.

Cabbageing - repeating or recapitulating a previous event, solely for the audience's benefit.

Examples include the myriad of conversations in Season 7 about "How Jamie's document could ruin Ewing Oil". Obviously the characters in the show should know all of the implications; these conversations are just to remind the audience about them and make it seem more dramatic. Also remember that Dallas was a weekly series, not a daily one, so it was important to do this to make sure that the plotlines could be followed.

Push - A 'push' is a generic term for giving a character more air time and involvement in better storylines.

EXAMPLE: Despite spending eight years on Dallas, Lucy never got a real push on the show.

Depush - The opposite of push. A character who has been de-pushed is rarely seen, and when seen, is often mired in a boring storyline that no one cares about.

EXAMPLE: While Donna Reed was on the show, Miss Ellie's character was horribly de-pushed. This was rectified by a monster push for Ellie when Barbara Bel Geddes returned.

Job - A character is said to 'job' or 'do the job' when some bad plot twist affects him or her. 'Jobbing to' someone implies that a character has been beaten, outmaneuvered, or surprised by that person. In every episode of Dallas, you can identify at least three or four 'jobbers'.

EXAMPLE: Cliff continually jobbed to JR until he struck oil in the Gulf of Mexico - JR undermined his every endeavour, with the end result that we felt sorry for Cliff, and this generated lots of heat for JR.

EXAMPLE: When he first moved into Southfork [and some would say long afterwards], Clayton continually jobbed to the ghost of Jock Ewing.

EXAMPLE: Donna's pregnancy jobbed to that charging bull.

EXAMPLE: Sue Ellen has jobbed to a car on four separate occasions. [See the tote board for details.]

EXAMPLE: [Thanks to my friend Clint]: In the 1985 cliffhanger, Bobby jobbed to Katherine's car. Katherine's car then proceeded to job to the gardener's truck parked nearby.

EXAMPLE: On November 26th, 1998, Dallas jobbed to the Waltons Thanksgiving special. You watched it at 11 AM Eastern time or didn't watch it at all.

Heat - if an actor plays their character correctly, he or she will draw a strong reaction from the audience, which is heat.

EXAMPLE: During the first few seasons of Dallas, JR drew intense heel heat because everybody loved to hate him. Then JR slowly began to become a babyface as everybody grew to appreciate his ruthlessness and wonder what he'd do next.

EXAMPLE: Bobby is the best example of a babyface on the show. Most of the time, so is Pam.

EXAMPLE: A good example of a character who draws bad heat is Patricia Shepard. Did anyone like her at all? Compare her to Jessica Montfort, who was a great heel.

BILC [Because it looks cool] - a BILC occurs when the writers do something for no reason other than to create a nice picture or interesting effect.

EXAMPLE: Remember the scene at the Oil Baron's Ball, 1984, when JR started a fight with Cliff? People we had never seen before got involved in the fight...because it looked cool.

EXAMPLE: In the last few seasons of Dallas, the credits radically changed. The producers decided it would be neat if the show started with a scene of the Southfork dam exploding...because it looks cool.

EXAMPLE: Most gratuitous shots of scantily-clad men and women on Dallas are not shown to further the plot, but simply because they look cool.

Reading the script - a character or object is said to be 'reading the script' if he, she, or it is in a convenient place at the right time, or seems to have some psychic knowledge of what is to come.

EXAMPLE: When Bobby dies and his will is read, he leaves sentimental gifts to all of the members of his immediate family - except Lucy, who's left the show. How could Bobby have known that Lucy wouldn't be there? Well, he must have read the script!

EXAMPLE: When Mark Graison returns from the dead and drives over to Pam's house, he doesn't drive his trademark 'GRAISCO' Rolls-Royce; instead, he just drives a regular-looking car. Why? Well, I guess he read the script and realized that the audience would be watching, and he didn't want to give away the surprise.

EXAMPLE: Several times, a character will finish a dramatic conversation outside of a hospital or some out-of-the-way place, and turn around to find a taxi or a bus waiting to take them someplace. How did the vehicle know when to be there? It must have read the script.

EXAMPLE: Ever notice how a character will suddenly find a picture of someone in a convenient place? That's thanks to propmaster John Rettino, who always reads the scripts. He's the one who realized that after Bobby's death, it would be a good time to exchange Pam's desk photograph of Christopher with one of Bobby.

Classic plot trick - when the writers make a blatant oversight in order to make the plot twist in a certain way.

EXAMPLE: Back in the first season, Lucy picked up a drug habit and Ray tried to set her straight. One night, she showed up stoned as Ray's place. Then he left her all alone to search for Bobby at Southfork. The writers conveniently ignore the fact that Ray could have just as easily used the phone to contact Bobby...but having Ray leave Lucy alone allows her to sneak out of his house and go back to a drug party.

EXAMPLE: During Season 4, just as Cliff is about to go broke, Sue Ellen tells him she's "come in to a lot of money". This is awfully convenient because it forces her to decide whether or not to help Cliff in his financial predicament.


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