Ceausescu was so serious about using Dallas to portray the evils of capitalism that he even paid Larry Hagman, the actor who portrayed J.R., for the right to plaster his grinning mug on a giant propaganda portrait splayed across the side of a central apartment building in Bucharest. That way, all the people would see the ugly American at his ugliest, every single day.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ewing remained so popular that they used him to hawk Russian oil. In 1999.
That was the theory, anyway. In reality, we watched Dallas and fell in love with everything it showed us. Instead of recoiling in disgust over proof of American greed, we marveled at all the cool stuff Americans had -- even the peripheral characters that were supposedly "poor" or "exploited." And the mere idea that people could come from nothing and actually become rich? That blew our minds completely. Most of us didn't even consider wealth a thing that was possible before a misguided dictator came in and went "See? There are downsides to being magnificently rich!" After several seasons of witnessing the good life, we all collectively asked ourselves, "Why not us, too?" A few flying logical leaps later, we had ourselves a bloody and violent uprising.
Sure, the Romanian revolution and the fall of the Soviet empire were vast and complicated affairs -- but still, in some very small and petty way, it is accurate to say that J.R. Ewing helped overthrow communism.
J.R. Ewing and that one dude's cake.