Star-crossed lovers Gary and Valene Ewing (Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark) shared a reunion on Monday night's episode of TNT's Dallas that was more bitter than sweet. The way brilliant Dallas 2.0 writerCynthia Cidre has it scripted, Gary and Val—who were blissfully reunited at the end of Knots Landing and still together in 1997 reunion movie Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac—have now split, due to Gary falling off the wagon and bankrupting the couple!
While the Knots fan boy in me was a bit brokenhearted to learn Gary and Val hadn't lived a life of happy barbecues with neighbors Karen and Mac Mackenzie (Michele Lee and Kevin Dobson) on Southern California's fictional Seaview Circle, the Wishful Storyteller in me realized Gary and Val's golden years crisis could serve as the perfect launching pad for a new generation of marital melodramas via a Knots Landing continuation!
I wonder how the SoCal Ewings' kids, Bobby Jr. and Betsy, are dealing with their parents split? Is Bobby a drunken cad like his daddy before him? If so, I bet he's causing nothing but heartache for his on-again, off-again girlfriend Meg MacKenzie, adopted daughter of Mac and Karen!
Couldn't you just see The Young and the Restless star Billy Miller trying to sweet talk his way back into Meg's (The O.C's Autumn Reeser) good graces, following a night of drunken debauchery? Meg, a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, is buried in student loans, which Mac insists she pay off on her own.
Ever-principled Mac wants Meg to learn self-reliance and the value of a dollar — especially since he just paid off her high five-figure credit card debt! When Bobby, who has yet to figure out what he wants to do when he "grows up", impregnates Meg, things quickly become complicated for the Ewings and MacKenzies.
Gary and Val certainly aren't in a position to take on the financial and emotional responsibilities of helping to raise a new grandchild. Tough love proponent Mac wants the kids to fix their own mess. Of course, Pollyanna Karen sneaks Meg a loan or two behind Mac's back.
Bobby offers to marry Meg, promising to grow up and be the man she and their unborn child deserve. Mac hits the roof. He tells Meg adding a second mistake on top of the first one isn't a good idea!
When pressed by Gary, Mac reveals he doesn't believe ne'er-do-well Bobby is good enough for his little girl! Karen reluctantly sides with her husband, admitting this isn't the life they dreamed of for Meg. The MacKenzies true feelings about Bobby being with their daughter threaten to ruin Karen and Val's almost four-decades old friendship.
Mac refuses to walk Meg down the sandy aisle at her wedding to Bobby, resulting in the young woman asking her bio dad, Gregory Sumner (William Devane) to step up. Greg pays a visit to his old frenemy, telling Mac what a jackass he's being. Greg assures Mac that it should be him, not Greg, walking their daughter down the aisle. However, if Mac doesn't get over himself, Greg won't let Meg down.
At the last minute, Mac shows up at the beach to give Meg away to Bobby. He later thanks Greg for giving him the ass-kicking he needed. Mac and Greg's truce is short-lived. Greg gifts Meg and Bobby a house on Seaview Circle (the old Avery home), two brand new, his-and-hers Porches and cushy jobs at Sumner Group as wedding presents!
Mac, Karen, Gary and Val all accuse Greg of trying to buy the kids' love, which he denies. He says he simply wants them to have a decent start in life.
At the wedding, Greg is transfixed by the maid of honor. Meg's adoptive sister—and Greg's volatile ex-lover Paige Mathison (Nicollette Sheridan)—returns to California for the first time in over a decade-and-a-half to stand up for her sister at the altar.
Greg says it's good to see Paige. She warns him to hold off on that sentiment, considering she's also back in town to accept a position running the powerful environmental think tank started by Karen. Karen is retiring, but wants to know the group is in good hands, and will be remaining on its board of directors.
The organization's key mission is to stop Sumner Group from developing the stretch of beach where Karen and Val frolicked so often in their 30's and 40's. Once a driven businesswoman, Greg wonders what could have happened to transform Paige into a tree hugger like her stepmom. Paige crisply informs him she's a changed woman, who actually cares about the world she will one day leave behind.
Unnerved by her encounter with Greg, Paige makes a quick phone call to her mother Anne (Michelle Phillips) in London. She asks how Zack is doing. Anne informs Paige that her son is doing just fine. He keeps pestering his grandmother about when he can get his drivers' license. Paige makes a remark about not believing her son is already 16, before glancing across the tented reception area in Greg's direction. She quickly hangs up.
Greg's live-in lover Abby (Donna Mills) attends the wedding on his arm. She's none-too-pleased about Paige's return. Abby has millions invested in turning the beach into a yuppie-friendly live/work/play development. She isn't about to let Karen and Paige stop her efforts, nor does she plan to give up her place in Greg's bed to the woman she considers a "6" on the Abby Scale.
Abby is also ticked about Greg is taking such an interest in Meg after all these years. She realizes he's getting on in years, and she's been quietly assuring her son Brian Cunningham (Brian Austin Green) that once Greg retires, he will take control of Sumner Group.
Brian currently serves as V.P of Acquisitions. Abby worries that Meg and her new husband Bobby coming to work at the company could spell trouble for her son. When Abby learns about all of the oil being pumped by the Dallas Ewings—and Gary owning a third of Southfork's mineral rights—she starts to wonder if it isn't time to consider reconnecting with another former husband.
Brian is still married to Greg's niece, former tennis pro Kate Whittaker (Neve Campbell replacing Stacy Galina), who now runs a highly-lucrative sports management firm. The Whittaker-Cunninghams live on Seaview Circle in Abby's old home. Kate's top client is her daughter Molly Cunningham (General Hospital's Lexi Ainsworth). Kate and Brian also have a 15-year-old son, Brian "B.J." Cunningham II; a 13-year-old boy named Whittaker, Whit for short and a six-year-old daughter named Claudia.
Overwhelmed from trying to have it all, Kate decides she needs a live-in nanny, primarily for Claudia. A well-meaning Val suggests her daughter Betsy (General Hospital alum Julie Marie Berman). Bohemian Betsy has spent far more years working on a doctorate in creative writing than Val would have liked.
Gary, whom Betsy has wrapped around her little finger, doesn't see anything wrong with continuing to foot the bill for his daughter's continual education — even though the family is strapped for cash. Val puts her foot down, telling Betsy if she wants to follow in her footsteps and become a writer, then she needs to just write! Until then, Betsy has to get a job. What neither Val, nor Kate could have ever expected was the intense attraction that would develop between Brian and Betsy.
Brian is drawn to beautiful, flirtatious Betsy. The man is constantly stressed out at the office—due in large part to his mother's constant paranoia about Meg and Bobby usurping him at Sumner Group—and on the home front by Kate's driven, often emasculating presence.
Kate is oblivious to what's happening in her own home; it could be the Xanax and all the vodka she uses to chase it down. Her best friend and neighbor Julie Forsythe (formerly Williams) (Kent Masters King) isn't nearly as clueless.
The decorated Knots Landing police detective moved back on the Circle with her assistant district attorney husband Kyle (As The World Turns and All My Children alum Lamann Rucker) a few years earlier. The couple became fast friends with Kate and Brian. Julie thinks Kate is a damn fool to let a gorgeous, flirty young woman move into her home.
Kate insists Julie is being silly. Betsy is Molly's older sister (Gary is the young woman's biological father). She's like family! Besides, it's laughable to even consider the son of Abby Fairgate involved with Gary and Valene Ewing's daughter, right?
Julie's 14-year-old daughter Patricia has an insane crush on B.J. Cunningham. B.J., unbeknownst to his parents, has taken to getting high on "sizzurp", a prescription strength codeine coup syrup beverage, mixed with fruity candy. Beege, who has been largely ignored by his workaholic parents, and tennis superstar older sister, loves to get high on the potentially toxic concoction, referenced often in his favorite hip-hop songs.
Patti would do absolutely anything to be with B.J, including trying out the deadly drug that has her mother working 12-hour shifts trying to figure out who's been pushing sizzurp to Knots Landing's youth.
Will Julie crack the case before the devastating impact of sizzurp hits too close to home? Can Kate and Brian's marriage survive Hurricane Betsy? Will Greg learn about Paige's secret son? Is Lilliemae (Julie Harris) still trying to make it as a Country and Western singer? The only way we'll find out is if Warner Horizon readies a Knots Landing reboot, and fast!
Photo of Kent Masters King by ABC Daytime