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Friday, August 31, 2012

Dy-"Nasty" - The Catfights of Carrington Mansion


I imagine that at some point, we have all had at least one rivalry with someone. Someone who for dozens of reasons end up irking you to the point where your sole mission is to destroy the other person in hopes that it will make things better.

Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that it ends up making things worse.

I'll likely admit that in my life and times, I have had a couple of rivalries with a couple of people...mostly in elementary school. There were these group of boys in my seventh grade class who made it their mission to make my life a living nightmare. They called me names, and they hurt my feelings on a number of occasions. But, not all of them were that bad. One of them I even made peace with after graduating high school. However, the ringleader of these four boys and I had a little bit of a rivalry. He hated me...and well, I'll readily admit that I hated him back. Whenever he insulted me, I tried to one-up him back (which looking back on it was quite stupid on my part, but at least I can admit to that now. It was seventh grade, after all, and I think most of us made bad choices when we were thirteen).

The only saving grace about my own rivalry with this one boy is that we never actually blew up at each other enough to inflict physical violence upon each other. Of course, in my case, the emotional scars were much more devastating than any physical scars, so I suppose it's a moot point. Happily, those scars are healing for me, and continue to do so.

The only reason why I state that I was grateful that my rivalry never resorted to physical violence is because I am proud of it. Physically attacking someone that you don't like in the world is probably one of the most cowardly things that one can do (well, unless of course you're defending yourself). But even so, watching two people fighting each other, trying to pull out the other person's hair, or knock out the other person's teeth...some may get a rush out of it, but I find it very uncomfortable in real life.

On television though, I can't seem to get enough of television catfights. There's just something about watching a huge brawl on a television show that keeps you glued to the screen. It's like a horrible car accident. It's a terrible thing to come across, but you can't divert your gaze onto something else.

And, well, today's blog topic deals with a fictional television rivalry that was so heated that there were no less than four catfights between the two women featured in the program! That's a lot of nail scratching, dress tearing, and bitch-slapping!

The show that we're going to look at is the long-running ABC drama series “Dynasty”. Premiering on January 12, 1981, “Dynasty” was a serial that was created by Richard & Esther Shapiro, and produced by Aaron Spelling. The show was originally to be titled “Oil”, and was set to air in the fall of 1980, but due to the writer's strike of 1980/81, the premiere was delayed. But with the airing of the three-hour premiere, the show began its rise to the top, staying within the Top 20 between 1981 and 1986. The show also launched the careers of several actors and actresses, including Heather Locklear, Emma Samms, Jack Coleman, and Catherine Oxenberg.

And then there are these two.

Meet Krystle Grant Jennings Carrington and Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan, played by Linda Evans and Joan Collins. These two women had tempers the size of their shoulder pads, and they had so much venom towards each other that just one comment could send both of them into a gigantic rage. Which was painful for the characters, but great ratings for television.

So, how did the battle between Krystle and Alexis begin?

Well, it all began in season two, which originally began airing in the fall of 1981. At the time, Krystle was still a newlywed to her insanely rich husband, Blake Carrington (John Forsythe). Krystle was the former secretary of Blake, and many of the storylines dealt with Krystle trying to adjust to her brand new rich, privileged life. It didn't help matters much that Krystle often sparred with Blake's daughter Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin/Emma Samms). Luckily, she did have one ally in Blake's son, Steven (Al Corley/Jack Coleman), whom she adored.

But in the second season, somebody new would end up crossing Krystle's path. Someone who would end up causing Krystle misery over the next decade.

That somebody was Alexis. And for Blake, Alexis was no stranger. Alexis was Blake's ex-wife, and the mother of Fallon and Steven. And, when Alexis first appeared on “Dynasty”, she did so in grand fashion, when she appeared as a surprise witness for the prosecution after Blake was charged in the murder of Steven's ex-lover. After the trial, Alexis became a presence in the lives of the Carrington family, much to the chagrin of Krystle.

At first, it was annoyances and petty bickering between the two. But one day, things would take an ugly turn. When Krystle was horseback riding, Alexis shot a rifle into the air, which spooked the horse enough to knock Krystle onto the ground. On top of that, the horse dragged her several feet as a result. Watch the clip below.

This accident proved very costly for Krystle, as the fall caused her to have a miscarriage. Now, I would be one to wonder why she would knowingly ride a horse if she knew she was pregnant, but again, this was the 1980s, where television characters purposely lack common sense in order to keep the ratings up.

No matter how you look at it though, the miscarriage devastated Blake and Krystle. But Krystle didn't put the pieces together until a few episodes later. Turns out that a chance encounter with someone in the kitchen helped Krystle figure out what happened...and once she knew, what followed was this memorable scene.

Okay, a couple of things about this catfight. First, Joan Collins has really terrible aim. She had two chances to throw a vase filled with flowers at Linda Evans, and she missed both times? Seriously? Secondly, was it just me, or did people dress really horribly in the early 1980s? I used to think that seventies fashions were bad. Yikes.

And, lastly, I have to admit, that whole catfight made me laugh uncontrollably. I don't know whether it was the flying pillow feathers, Krystle knocking Alexis out cold with one throw to the wall, or the horrible choreography, but this fight was just bad!

However, I can definitely see why Krystle would want to do severe bodily harm to Alexis. After all, if I were a woman, and I found out that someone was responsible for my miscarriage, I would probably want to go after her myself. And, this fight set the stage for many more fights during Dynasty's nine season run.

If you thought that studio fight was craziness, check out some of these other fights that these two have gotten in over the years.

Certainly those of you who were into “Dynasty” at the time remember their first catfight. But, the one fight that ended up being the most remembered among fans of the show must be this one, which takes place at a lily pond just outside of the Carrington estate. Apparently Krystle is there just minding her own business when Alexis arrives to get under her skin. She succeeds.

Of course, this sort of catfight has been re-created in other shows since. I can think of “Melrose Place” doing something similar ten years later...

...but back in the 1980s, if one wanted to see a great catfight, “Dynasty” had them in spades. I should also note though that Krystle and Alexis weren't the only ones to get involved in catfights on the show. Let's see...who else fought...

Well, there was Fallon vs. Sammy Jo...

...and there was Alexis vs. Dominique...

...and there was Alexis vs. Sable...

...and Krystle vs...Krystle?!?

(Yeah, apparently one of the Krystles was a doppleganger. Go figure.)

And, we won't even go into that whole Mordavian Massacre storyline. I'd need another blog entry to go into that storyline in detail. I never watched “Dynasty”, but I read about this story, and all I can say is...bizarre.

Of course, no duo ever came close to having as many battles as Krystle and Alexis. Their feud even outlasted the original series run! When “Dynasty” aired its last episode on May 11, 1989, people thought that would be the last that we would see of Krystle and Alexis. But when a reunion was filmed in 1991, the viewers would get at least one more chance to see these long-time enemies duke it out one last time.

Wow...who knew that a mannequin's arm could make such an effective weapon?

So, what has happened to these two actresses since “Dynasty” went off the air? Well, Joan Collins is still very active in the acting world. She acted in a few shows, performed in pantomimes, and was a regular on the soap opera “Guiding Light” from 2002-2003. She is also the author of several books and novels.

And Linda Evans semi-retired after she left “Dynasty” in 1989. She still acted in various plays, and even competed in (and won) the UK version of “Hell's Kitchen”. She has also hosted informercials for a product called “Rejuvenique”.

But in 2006, both Collins and Evans reunited with each other on stage to perform in the play
“Legends!”. The tour went all across North America, and ended its run in May 2007 after running for thirty weeks.

But just as life imitates art, shortly after “Legends” wrapped up, Collins published an article entitled “Why I'll Never Work With Linda Evans Again!”

Maybe that's why the catfights worked on “Dynasty”. Perhaps in real life, they hated each other...and apparently still do.

To conclude this piece, I'll post a link to Joan's article right HERE. Judge for yourself.

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