‘Dallas’: Who shot the 1970s?

Wednesday’s return of “Dallas,” after 21 years, was “an embarrassing throwback,” according to USA Today, and clearly outdated, said Salon. Those assessments may have chafed some nerves at Southfork, but brought some relief at another iconic white house with columns. After all, no cultural event more perfectly bridged the transition from the lowered thermostats of the Jimmy Carter era to the exploding gushers of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s. Today’s Republican Party would love to see the return of “Dallas” as a harbinger of the replacement of another president conspicuously concerned about dependence on fossil fuels with one who preaches the virtue of unfettered drilling.

The new “Dallas,” in a canny nod to today’s battles, pits a Ewing son with crude oil in his veins against an adopted son who wants to explore alternative fuel sources. On “Dallas,” as in the GOP, there’s no doubt who is the true heir and which source of energy is the real American birthright. President Obama may not be watching TNT on Wednesday nights, but he’s probably checking the Nielsen ratings closely — and nervously.