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Characters: Knotslanding
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     16966 Seaview Circle: The Ewing / Clements / Gibson Household 

Garrison Arthur "Gary" Ewing (Ted Shackleford)

Lucy Ewing: "Daddy, I was just telling momma that, since neither of you got married again, you both must still be carrying torches."
Gary Ewing: "Oh, you see, if I carried a torch I'd have blown myself up a dozen times from all the alcohol on my breath."

Gary was the second son of oil baron Jock Ewing and his wife Miss Ellie Ewing. He was often considered the black sheep of the family, as he would become an alcoholic, and was never treated as an equal by his father and elder brother J.R. However, Gary was loved by his mother and younger brother Bobby. As Jock was not with Miss Ellie during her pregnancy with Gary, she tended to view him as more hers than Jock's and he became her favorite son, while the relationship between Jock and Gary was always distant. Gary was married (three times) to Valene Ewing, and the couple's on-off relationship lead much of his story arc throughout the series.

Valene Ewing Gibson (née Clements) (Joan Van Ark)

"All my life, I'd wanted to see the ocean. Even when I was little, I knew that the ocean would probably be the biggest and the most beautiful and most powerful thing I'd ever see. I thought just by being close to it, it would just make me better; make me think clearer and feel deeper and just know more."

Valene is a sweet, naive woman, originally from a poor Tennessee family. Her storyline in the first season of Dallas focuses on the rebuilding of her former marriage to estranged ex-husband Gary. When Valene arrives in Texas to find her daughter, Lucy Ewing, she is brought back into the drama of the Ewing family. Upon arrival, she is reunited with Gary with whom she slowly falls back in love. Once Dallas became a hit, series creator David Jacobs decided to transplant the couple to Knots Landing, which would feature Valene and Gary prominently.

  • '80s Hair: Her hair was usually quite feminine and pretty in the early seasons — but come the late eighties, she began sporting an astonishing fe-mullet.
  • American Accents: Dixie, which gradually became softer throughout her tenure on the show.
  • Betty and Veronica: She's the Betty to Abby's Veronica in the battle for Gary.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Of the cul de sac's three original wives, Karen's the brunette, Val the blonde and Laura the redhead.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Val — despite all that life throws at her, as Karen says, she's like "the little engine who could".
  • The Bus Came Back: Returned to the Dallas/Knots universe in 2013, around the time of JR'S funeral.
  • Country Mouse
  • Cross Over
  • Dark and Troubled Past
  • Deep South: A mild example, but she still qualifies in her capacity as a poor (but beautiful) teenage bride (and mother), hailing from deep out in the Tennessee Pine country.
    • "Valene" (and "Lilimae") are also archetypal Southern-sounding names — it's even lampshaded in-series by a diner owner who comments:
    Diner Owner:"Valene?" Don't go trying to tell me you ain't a Southern gal with a name like that!
  • Despair Event Horizon / Not Herself: After the abduction of her twins sends her over the edge and into a schizophrenic state, she takes on the personality of one of her own literary creations, "Verna Ellers", a diner waitress back in Tennessee.
  • Distressed Damsel
  • Fanservice with a Smile: Was working as a waitress when Gary first met her.
  • Fan Nickname: "Poor Val".
  • First Girl Wins: Despite all the shit that she and Gary go through over the 14 seasons, they still end up together by the finale.
  • Fish out of Water: The upscale Ewings, especially J.R, dislike the idea of a "poor, trashy girl" from Tennessee like Val raising Lucy.
  • Girl Next Door
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: One of the sweetest characters in the series, if at times tragically naive.
  • The Heart: With Karen as The Hero and Abby as The Antagonist.
  • High School Sweethearts: She and Gary.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Val's eager to please and craves approval and love, from both friends and partners.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: For Gary, although he definitely takes her for granted.
  • Love Hurts
  • Naïve Newcomer
  • Nice Girl
  • Parental Abandonment: When Valene was 5 years old, her mother Lillimae left to pursue her music career, leaving Valene to be looked after by her father.
  • Parental Issues: The above causes a tense atmosphere for many years, and it took along time for Val to make peace with her mother.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With best friend Karen.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Following the break-down of her marriage to Gary, and the abduction of her twins, Val berates herself in an upsetting Mirror Monologue. Joan Van Ark lists it as her proudest, but most difficult scene:
    Val:"How could anybody love you? How could anyone want you, look at you. You look like a man, you're as flat as a board! No, you look like an old lady, your arms are so skinny and scrawny. That long, sad face and those eyes. You're always trying to be so sweet. Sweet Valene, sweetpea....you're always trying to make everybody love you.....well you got what you deserve! So stupid....stupid little...sweet Valene."
  • Serial Spouse: She racked up 5 marriages in her tenure on the show, in the following order: Ewing, Ewing (remarriage), Gibson, Waleska and finally, Ewing (for a 3rd time!).
  • Someone to Remember Him By: She names one of her twins Bobby, in honor of her late brother-in-law.
  • Show Within a Show: After taking a creative writing class at a local college, she becomes famous as a published author, using her own past experiences as inspiration.
    • Write Who You Know: Her debut work "Capricorn Crude" is a thinly-veiled reference to the Ewing family, her in-laws.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With childhood sweetheart, and love of her life, Gary.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She gave birth to Lucy Ewing when she was just 15.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: The three main women fill these roles perfectly: Karen is The Wife, the wiser, calmer aspect — someone around whom one could build a home life. Abby is The Seductress — sexually experienced and independent. Val is The Child and is innocent, perhaps to the point of naïveté.

Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton)

"Look at me! I don't take up much room, but I seem to be getting in everybody's way."

Gary and Val's daughter, Lucy grew up hating JR after he separated her from her parents when she was a baby, driving them out of Texas and threatening to kill Valene if she ever returned for her child. She appeared as a guest star in series 1, and is then only infrequently mentioned after that.

Lilimae Clements (Julie Harris)

[looking at a hair product] "Contains no lye. Well, I should hope not. Ask me no question I'll tell you no lye."

Valene's mother. Though they'd been estranged for many years, after Lilimae virtually abandoned Valene as a teenager in her quest to become a country singer, Lilimae reappeared in Valene's life during Season 1. In Season 3, she moved in with Valene and Gary, remaining in Knots Landing until Season 7.

Joshua Rush (Alec Baldwin)

"Do you see any irony in a mother telling her son to go somewhere else....to go to someone else for help?"

Lilimae's son whom she abandoned as a baby. He was raised by his preacher father and came to Knots Landing as a rather innocent young preacher. He later became a televangelist and married Cathy Geary, but became mentally ill and extremely violent. After he tried to kill Cathy, he accidentally fell off a roof and died.

Ben Gibson (Douglas Sheehan)

Ben entered the Knots Landing scene in the fall of 83. He was a reporter who wanted to get information on Valene Ewing whose soon to be ex-husband Gary Ewing was to be convicted for the murder of the late singer Ciji Dunne. At first, he dated her for a story, but he soon found himself falling in love with the beautiful blonde. By the fall of 84, Ben was married to Val and working at the World Pacific Cable. He let everyone believe that he was the father of Val's twins, despite knowing that Gary was in fact the father.

     16972 Seaview Circle: The Fairgate / Mackenzie Household 

Karen Fairgate Mackenzie (née Cooper) (Michelle Lee)

"I don't want to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, I want the world to BE rose-colored! I want people to be nice. People should be nice. Nice should be the norm."

A native New-Yorker, Karen got on with everybody in the neighbourhood, except for her sister in law, Abby. She always saw through her conniving, manipulating ways, even when Sid didn’t! However, it was Valene, her next door neighbour, who was to be her closest and dearest friend. Karen was arguably the main character of the series.

  • '80s Hair: Less so, however than Abby, Val and Kathy.
  • Audience Surrogate: She was arguably written so as to be the most relatable character in the series.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Of the cul de sac's three original wives, Karen's the brunette, Val the blonde and Laura the redhead.
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Drugs Are Bad: She got hooked on prescription pills when her daughter, Diana, ran off and married the devious Chip Roberts, AKA Tony Fenice.
  • Good Is Not Soft
  • Happily Married: She and Mack — despite bumps on the way, they're one of the enduring couples in the series.
    • In 1987, the writers wanted Mack to have an extramarital affair with Anne. Michele Lee protested this to David Jacobs, saying, "There has to be one stable couple on the show." The extramarital affair storyline was nixed.
  • The Hero: With Val as The Heart and Abby The Antagonist.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • The Idealist
  • Large Ham: Early on in the series
  • Odd Friendship: With Richard Avery, whom she was immensely fond of, despite him standing for almost everything she doesn't like.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With best friend Val.
  • The Pollyanna: Deconstructed:
    Karen:"I am not a Pollyanna. Not now. Not after what was done to me. And thats why I feel so angry. I want to be a Pollyanna. I dont want to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, I want the world to BE rose-colored! I want people to be nice. People should be nice. Nice should be the norm. I hate it that I cant trust anyone. I hate it that I cant put my daughter on the front lawn by herself. I hate it that I have to lock my car and that I have to worry about an alarm system in my house and that I cant send cash in the mail. Thats NOT the way its supposed to be, Gary. I liked being a Pollyanna. I WANT to be a Pollyanna."
  • Soapbox Sadie: She presents a positive, likeable example.
  • Spirited Competitor: She will always rise to the challenge in support of issues she holds dear (female empowerment, environmentalism, conscientious town-planning, etc)
  • Statuesque Stunner
  • Strawman Political: A little — of the liberal pursuasion.
  • Team Mom
  • The Three Faces of Eve: The three main women fill these roles perfectly: Karen is The Wife, the wiser, calmer aspect — someone around whom one could build a home life. Abby is The Seductress — sexually experienced and independent. Val is The Child and is innocent, perhaps to the point of naïveté.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist
  • Widow Woman: Briefly, following the death of her first husband, Sid.
  • Women Are Wiser

Sid Fairgate (Don Murray)

"Would you just do what you know and I know has to be done?"

Karen's first husband, and the owner of Knots Landing Motors. Hard working, fair and at times stubborn, Sid was the emotional rock of the show during the first two seasons. Sid was killed when his car was sabotaged by shady mafioso thugs.

Diana Fairgate Fenice (Claudia Lonow)

"Chip is my husband and I love him and there's nothing you can do about it!"

Diana was the eldest child of Sid and Karen Fairgate.

  • Bratty Teenage Daughter
  • Daddy's Girl
  • Parental Issues: After her father Sid's death in 1981, she got extremely upset when her mother didn't appear to show any sorrow, acting, she felt, as if nothing had happened. This put in motion what was to become a strained relationship for the remainder of her time on the series.
  • The Runaway
    • Stockholm Syndrome: Diana met and fell in love with Chip Roberts who moved in next door with Valene and Lilimae. At Chip's suggestion, she ran off with him when Ciji discovered that he was really Tony Fenice, a con-man wanted by the police, although Diana didn't know this at the time. On the road, Chip's behavior became increasingly possessive and Diana, frightened, tried to make contact with Karen. The police tracked them down when they discovered Diana had used her credit card to pay for fuel and Chip was arrested. However, by that time Diana had succumbed to Chip's charms and revealed (proudly) that she was now "Mrs Tony Fenice".
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: When Karen ended up in hospital due to a gunshot wound, Diana made up with her and Mack and left Knots Landing to become a fashion designer in New York.
    • The Bus Came Back:....And only returned years later in 1997 for the "Back to the cul de sac" special.
  • What Does She See in Him?

Eric & Michael Fairgate (Steve Shaw & Patrick Petersen)

Eric and Michael are the sons of Sid and Karen Fairgate. Eric is a sweet-natured, chilled out guy, whereas Michael was a very active child, who suffered from disorders of hyperactivity.

  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Michael, in the early seasons
  • Cute Shotaro Boy: Michael, again in the early seasons, complete with obligatory "gee whizz, mister!" dialogue.
  • Dating What Mommy Hates: Eric meets Linda at collage, who he very quickly married, much to the dismay of his mother.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: Michael with step-dad Mack's daughter, Paige.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Poor Michael did not have much chance with the women. There was Paige Matheson, Mack's daughter. Michael really liked her but she dumped him for Peter Hollister. Then, Michael met Jodi Campbell by saving her from drowning. But the relationship did not work out. Then, his study partner, Ellen, preferred Johnny Rourke over him. Lastly, there was his Linda Fairgate, his own brother Eric's wife.
  • Nice Guy: Eric
  • The Reliable One: Eric, of the three Fairgate kids.
  • Sibling Triangle: Michael commits the ultimate betrayal in the later seasons, and begins an affair with Linda, Eric's wife.

Marion Patrick "Mack" Mackenzie (Kevin Dobson)

" I never give a gift unless I like it myself and I love hot dogs — especially when they're charcoal barbecued. I'll even put your names in them. You know, Karen, I love our house and listen...I love how quiet it is on our cul-de-sac."

Karen's second husband; an attorney who worked for the Governor's office before opening his own private practice. He first met Karen when he worked as the Federal Prosecutor, helping to catch the men responsible for Sid's death. He later worked for his old classmate, Senator Greg Sumner, at his crime commission though later quit because he could not tolerate Sumner's schemes which led to the pair of them becoming rivals.

     16969 Seaview Circle: The Cunningham Household 

Abby Cunningham Ewing (née Fairgate) (Donna Mills)

"Well, I'm not saying we're having an affair and I'm not saying we're not. I am saying that I can have him any time I want him."

Sid's sister, and the neighborhood troublemaker. After divorcing her first husband, Abby decided to move to Knots Landing where she began working as a bookkeeper at Knots Landing Motors. She engaged in affairs with Richard, and later Gary, destroying his marriage to Val. Abby then married Gary herself (mainly to get his inheritance) but they divorced a couple of years later. Although Abby adored her brother Sid, Abby and Karen rarely got along.

Olivia Cunningham (Tonya Crowe)

Olivia:"What are you gonna do? Lock me out?"
Abby:"No, I'm not gonna lock you out. I'm gonna lock you in with me."

Abby's rebellious daughter who became addicted to drugs. She later married mobster's nephew Harold Dyer against her mother's wishes, making Abby cut her off financially.

  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Hoo boy....
  • Caling The Old Lady Out: A lot — mostly for breaking up with Gary, whom she viewed as a father.
  • Disappeared Dad: Following a brief custody back and forth in series 2, Olivia and Brian's father is never seen (or discussed) again in the series.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Got hooked on pot and coke during her time on the show.
  • Good Girl Gone Bad: Reacting to all the upheaval in her life, she began to smoke pot and later delved into drugs even more, using cocaine. She wiped out her and Brian's bank account, stole money from Abby's purse and returned clothes for money.
    • My God, What Have I Done?: When Brian was beat up as a result of Olivia's drug usage, she finally agreed to get help, and stopped taking drugs.
  • Moll: She met and fell in love with Harold Dyer, not knowing he was part of the mob.
  • Parental Issues
  • Teens Are Short

Brian Cunningham (Bobby Jacoby / Brian Austin Green)

"She's not the worst person in the world....even for a sister. I hate it when you guys fight."

Brian basically was the good, dutiful son. Abby kept a close rein on him, right down to monitoring what his activities were (ie. eating habits, watching television, hanging with friends). When Abby moved to Japan, he went to live with her.

  • Cute, but Cacophonic: When he first arrives on the cul de sac with his family, he only communicates by making shrieking blasts on a toy trumpet.
  • The Danza: Brian Austin Green.
  • The Dutiful Son: Compared to his rancorous sister....
  • The Other Darrin: Bobby Jacoby was replaced by Brian Austin Green in 1985.
  • Out of Focus: Was sent up to his room to play in 1985, and only came down a whole season later.....looking completely different.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Olivia used Brian to transport drugs and money to and from her dealer, and when a deal went wrong, Brian was beaten and bruised.

     16975 Seaview Circle: The Avery Household 

Laura Avery Sumner (née Murphy) (Constance Mccashin)

"Richard I am so tired of your blaming me and using me! I'm so tired of taking it and taking it — I CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE!"

The wife of Jerkass Richard Avery, and later, Greg Sumner. Initially an oppressed housewife, she later became a successful real estate agent. Laura died in 1987 of a brain tumor.

  • '80s Hair: Sported the feathered look initially, then a very bouffant perm in the early-mid eighties.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Awful Wedded Life: To Richard, Laura was just another housewife. He occasionally cheated on her and as time went by, his treatment towards her kept getting worse to the point of abuse.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Of the cul de sac's three original wives, Karen's the brunette, Val the blonde and Laura the redhead.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Desperately Craves Affection: The lack of attention she was receiving from Richard caused Laura to go out and meet other guys which later caused her to be raped.
  • Extreme Doormat: In her first few seasons, especially, she is a pitiable, put-upon woman.
    • Epiphany Therapy: Her friends eventually convince her to empower herself and become independant from Richard, so she begins her own career, carving out a career as a realtor.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite bumps along the way, she ends up happily married to Greg Sumner....until she is diagnosed with a brain tumor, that is.
  • Fiery Redhead: In the mid to later seasons, following her divorce from Richard, she becomes a far more confident, no-nonsense businesswoman.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Following her divorce from Richard.
  • Home Maker: When first introduced.
  • Hostage Situation: Richard goes completely mental when she says she is divorcing him, and holds she and son Jason hostage at the Avery house.
  • Killed Off for Real: She was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor.
    • Dead Man Writing: In the fall of 1987, Laura passed away. After her death, she left a videotape for her friends.
  • Lesbian Subtext: Between she and Ciji — its never really made clear if it's all in Richard's head, or a genuine dalliance.
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Social Darwinist: After the divorce from Richard, she became much more ruthless in her ambitions.
  • You Go Girl

Richard Avery (John Pleshette)

"Laura, you hung my jacket up with the wrong trousers. Look at this. I mean there's not point in spending a lot of money on clothes if you're going to treat 'em like rags."

A lawyer, and later a restaurant owner. Unhappily married to Laura, he struggled to assert himself after she launched a successful career in real-estate. In 1982, he suffered a nervous breakdown (where he held Laura hostage at gunpoint) and left town in 1983 without his family, as he and Laura divorced.

Jason Avery (Justin Dana / Danny Gellis / Danny Ponce / Michael Newmark )

Eldest son of Richard and Laura, Jason seems to have adjusted well when his parents were going through some drama in their marriage. He became a big brother when Daniel was born in 1982.

  • Hostage Situation: Taken hostage, along with this mother, by his own father Richard, who was having a nervous breakdown.
  • The Other Darrin: Was played by no less than four actors during the series run.
  • Out of Focus: Often sent upstairs to his room to play, only to return the following season.

Ciji Dunne & Cathy Geary (Lisa Hartman)

"I'm not Ciji!"

Ciji and Cathy were both singers. Ciji, who was something of a fantasy woman for Gary, was murdered, leaving almost everyone in Knots Landing as a suspect. Some months later, Ciji's Doppelgänger Cathy Geary showed up after being released from prison. Gary was interested in helping Cathy get a fresh start on life, even falling into a brief affair with her, but it was revealed she was hired by Abby to distract him. Despite this, they remained friends.

  • '80s Hair: Knots' definitive example — as Ciji, she rocked a Billy Ray Cyrus fe-mullet, then as Cathy, an unbelievable hair-metal bouffant.
  • Acting for Two: One of the most famous (or indeed infamous) examples on TV.
  • Breakout Character
  • The Cast Show Off: But to be fair, Lisa Hartman has a great voice.
  • Contrived Coincidence
  • Costume Copycat
  • Dangerously Short Skirt
  • Dark and Troubled Past: At a very young age Cathy married the unstable Ray Geary and ended up going to jail for a crime he committed.
  • Doppelgänger / Identical Stranger: When the Ciji character was murdered, reaction from fans prompted the producers to create a new "look-alike" character for Hartman — Cathy Geary.
    • Criminal Doppelgänger: Cathy was hired by Abby to distract Gary from her machinations surrounding the Lotus Point project, as she knew Gary would be memorized by her resemblance to Ciji.
    • Becoming the Mask: Cathy soon develops feelings for Gary, and admits the ploy to him.
  • Fake Band
  • Innocent Blue Eyes
  • Killed Off for Real: Poor Ciji.
    • Everyone Is a Suspect: Ciji's growing popularity among the close-knit neighbors and friends prompted many bouts of jealousy. Richard blamed his marital problems and financial distresses on Ciji, even insisting that Ciji and Laura were having an affair. Chip didn't want anyone to know about their affair as he was having another affair with young Diana Fairgate. He led people to believe that Ciji and Gary were having an affair thus prompting even more animosity, this time from Gary's lover and business partner Abby Cunningham and Gary's ex wife Valene; who thought Ciji led to Gary's new bouts with alcohol. Kenny's wife Ginger became increasingly jealous as Kenny spent so much time with Ciji while ignoring her own dreams of singing success; Ginger had her final straw when Kenny gave Ciji a song to sing that Ginger had written. Kenny began resenting his protégé as well when Gary and Abby signed on famous producer Jeff Munson to take over her album. Turns out, it was Chip AKA Tony Fenice.
  • Lesbian Subtext: Between Ciji and Laura Avery.
  • Lust Object: Ciji (and Cathy) for Gary.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Power Ballad / Hair Metal: With the emphasis on the hair....
  • Stunt Casting: The character of Ciji Dunne was originally created to help launch Lisa Hartman's singing career.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Poor Ciji.

     16961 Seaview Circle: The Ward Household 

Kenny Ward (James Houghton)

"Ah c'mon Ginger, don't be so square!"

One half of the cul de sac's hot younger couple, as the show began, Kenny was just an immature young male sleeping around with all kinds of women, from his neighbour's daughter to his co-worker; Kenny was like a male-slut. However, he matured when he became a father and realized that happiness meant family. In four years, his character matured.

Ginger Ward (née Kilman) (Kim Lankford)

"Kenny, we're not having a party! We're going to get a pizza and go down to the beach, just the two of us, like we used to."

Ginger was a good neighbor, she would always turn to Karen for advice, ask Valene for extra help at the school, and she was also very close to Laura. As a new bride, Ginger tried to make her marriage strong from the beginning, but Kenny's cheating ways always got in the way.

     The Wider Knots Landing Community 

Greg Sumner (William Devane)

Paige Matheson: "Well, why don't you join me?"
Greg: "No, I never swim in shark-infested waters."

Mack's ex-best friend and classmate who attended law school with him and even offered him a job working for the crime commission. Initially a politician, Greg became a businessman after inheriting his father's corporation. He often plotted with Abby, whom he later married.

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