Spoiler alert! This week’s episode of Dallas saw John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) each take bold steps in their battle over fracking at Southfork. In the end, even though John Ross had convinced the ranch hands that more money could be made in oil than cattle, Bobby managed to put a hold on John Ross’s drilling permit by informing the Sierra Club of a potentially endangered population of Lesser Prairie Chicken.
Asked how many takes it took him to get “Lesser Prairie Chicken” out, Duffy just laughs. “Once, in the old Dallas, we had the phrase, ‘Well, daddy, I think the whole herd’s got screwworm.’ And ‘screwworm’ did not come out of Larry’s and my mouth for about an hour. It’s one of those phrases. ‘Lesser Prairie Chicken’ is one of those phrases,” he says.
He admits the cast is also having fun with the frequent use of the term “fracking” this season. ”Especially off-camera,” he says. “If you think about Battlestar Galactica, ‘frak’ was the way they got around the censors.” (Yes, he is a BSG fan, and when he stopped by EW for an upcoming Pop Culture Personality Test, he showed us a photo of himself with Step by Step fan Katee Sackhoff on his phone to prove it. Check it out below.)
Duffy has also been enjoying having Judith Light on the show this season, even if they don’t get much screen time together at all. “Once Judith Light’s been felt up by a drug lord and snorts cocaine, what’s left for Bobby? I’m gonna make her a sandwich or something? I mean, come on,” he says, laughing again. “She is so wonderful. Plus, we have a Tony Award-winning actress on our show who is so brilliant at her craft and has so much fun doing it.”
In case you missed that cocaine scene in the March 3 episode, we’ve embedded it again below as well. It was definitely an example of the kind of watercooler moments the show is gunning for in season 3. Duffy says good guy Bobby will even get his share of them. “Bobby has a couple of choices that he has to make, as he did last year. The great thing about doing this show in 2014 is that you can allow the good guy character to have some human traits that allow him to do things that might’ve been questionable in the ’80s,” he says. “Bobby gets a nice chance to exercise a few of those things in trying to rectify the whole big J.R. masterplan and the framing of Cliff. It’s nice to play a character that’s got wider perimeters now.” (The framing of Cliff storyline has given Duffy something else: A chance to work with his real-life daughter-in-law Emily Kosloski, the actress who plays Rhonda. “She’s married to my eldest son and is about to have my fourth grandchild,” he says proudly.)
Duffy leaves us with two more teases: For starters, don’t expect Bobby and Ann to have a love scene anytime soon. “Bobby has no sex. Every time he and Ann get close to it, somebody comes in the door, ‘There’s a tornado!’ Or ‘Somebody’s died!’ He can’t get any. Bobby’s the only sex-starved person on the show,” he jokes. And on a serious note, if Bobby increasing security on Southfork and promising Ann that she and Emma will always be safe there made you worried, perhaps you’re right to be: “I always look at scenes like that, and I’ve seen that clip a couple of times — ‘They’ll always be safe at Southfork’ — and I think, ‘Don’t say that! It’s the kiss of death! Of course they’re gonna get killed, kidnapped, run over by a train. Who knows what’s gonna happen!’” he says. “It’s like in golf: You’re watching golf, and the announcers are going, ‘You know, he hasn’t missed a putt under four feet all day,’ and wham. You go, ‘Why did you do that?! He was doing fine!’ The minute Bobby says, ‘Everything’s gonna be all right,’ obviously it goes to hell in a handcart.”