If you wore padded shoulders in the eighties, this is the show that made you do it.

Dynasty TV Show Cast
If you wore padded shoulders in the eighties, this is the show that made you do it.
| Credit: ABC Photo Archives

There was a time when glitzy soap operas ruled nighttime television: Dallas, Falcon's Crest, Knots Landing, Flamingo Road . . . Among those shows was a real doozy called Dynasty, where the oil-rich (and super-rich) Carringtons and Colbys, along with everyone in their dysfunctional families and their Denver, Colorado, social circle, married and divorced, got kidnapped, met princes, got amnesia, went down in a hail of bullets (but recovered from it) . . . And through it all, they wore spectacular Nolan Miller gowns and power suits, accentuated by immoveable eighties pageant hair worthy of the Miss Mississippi pageant. Why did we get totally hooked on a show so far removed from how we live in the South?

Family connections. We get that.

At Dynasty's center were Blake Carrington (John Forsyth), his second wife and former secretary, Krystle (Linda Evans), and his ex-wife and the mother of his children, Alexis (Joan Collins). The two women hated each other, and we still remember the catfight that ended with both of them in the swimming pool. Or was it a fountain? Either way, it was high drama. Dynasty united Southern women: We loved sweet Krystle, and we loved to hate Alexis even more. It was a win-win.

We're mighty partial to double names, but we'll settle for a single if it has enough drama.

Dynasty characters didn't have normal names like Vernon and Faye. No, they answered to Dex Dexter, King Galen of Moldavia, Dominique Devereaux, Sable Colby, and Cassandra "Carress" Morrell. We found a comprehensive list of Dynasty's characters for all nine seasons and thought we would print it out, just for old time's sake. It was 49 pages long. And it included some stars you might not remember seeing on the show. Ali McGraw of Love Story fame played Lady Ashley Mitchell. Diahann Carroll was the aforementioned Ms. Devereaux, wed to Billy Dee Williams' character. Also hanging out in Denver were Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Brian Dennehy, and Barbara Stanwyck. (Trivia: What other show did Linda Evans and Barbara Stanwyck have in common?)

Southerners appreciate women who know their way around a makeup counter.

What Krystle, Alexis, and Fallon did for the cosmetics industry, we can only imagine. On any give night, they were wearing $500 worth of eye shadow alone. And we gloried in their spunk. We hate the natural look. Load up those lashes, ladies!

The clothes. Merciful goodness, the clothes.

The Dynasty women could effortlessly carry shoulder pads that would make the Dallas Cowboys cave under their burdensome heft. And absolutely everything they wore was bedazzled. The costume department must've had rhinestones delivered in freight cars.

We took a strange sort of comfort in the convoluted story lines.

Condensed from Wikipedia: "On this week's episode, Alexis learns that Dominique is planning a hostile takeover and is absolutely furious when she discovers Nicole was married to Peter DeVilbis . . ."

Reading an episode summary takes the same level of concentration required to follow cousin Winnie's family gossip:

"Listen, you don't know the half of it. Now, this is not to leave this room—I'm serious—but I know you'll take it to the grave. Aunt Bip told me her daughter—you know the one that smokes and rides motorcycles—well, Aunt Bip says that girl has done drove her ducks to a bad pond o' water. Her second husband—you remember the first one was that nice auto mechanic with the Methodist preacher for a brother—well, this SECOND husband, he has up and decided to . . ."

Let us know if you have a favorite episode (or dress) from Dynasty. And in the meantime, how about some Southern movie one-liners?

It seems a shame to limit any Southerner to a one-liner. We've always got so very much on our minds. And we have trouble confining ourselves to one complete thought . . .