ETI breaks down “Dynasty” and the shadiest episode in television history

For those of you who still, after all this time, don’t know the definition of shade (many people do not, as evidenced below), this scene is a masterclass in how to give and respond to shade. ETI breaks down the Masterclass of throwing shade from the 1984 episode of Dynasty between Joan Collins and Diahann Carroll.

An insult is not shade! Learn the definitions of words, folks.

Before Dorien Corey defined shade for the uneducated masses, before Nene blooped her way to the top, and before Cookie dragged that “fake ass Lena Horne” on Empire, there was…DYNASTY. So let’s analyze the wisdom this scene from Dynasty has bestowed on us, shall we?


In the penultimate episode of the glitzy fourth season, “New Lady In Town,” Dominique Deveraux (played by Diahann Carroll) has a sitdown with Alexis Carrington (played by Joan Collins).

1. To engage in a shade-off, there must be a warning shot

Translation: “You’re not a guest, don’t get comfortable.”

This is more explicit than subtle, but in correcting Dominique, Alexis isn’t truly insulting her. To get upset at this would make Dominique look crazy, so she merely moves things along and asks why she was sent for.

2. Then outline the theme of the shade session. What will you be discussing?

This one’s tricky. Alexis isn’t just saying she doesn’t like Dominique. She’s asking Dominique to explain herself to Alexis. That is the purpose of this meeting. It’s not a social visit. Alexis is feeling some type of way about Dominique and wants to put her on NOTICE.

3. Now, when someone engages you in a shade-off, there’s no need to get your feathers ruffled

Take a seat. Have some champagne. Stay cool.

4. Use “I” statements to express your feelings

Translation: “Keep my name out of your mouth. And if you want to know my business, ask me, not other people.”

When you shade someone using terms like “I feel” and “I don’t,” it keeps the attention on your feelings. You can’t be told your emotions are invalid. It’s a subtle way to shade someone without being direct.

5. Question your opponent’s subjectivity

Translation: “I am very rich, bitch.”

By asking a question that is mostly rhetorical, you’re basically asking someone, “Are you dumb?”

6. But remember — no question is allowed to be rhetorical during a shade-off

You asked for that, Dominique.

7. But you can add to sentences

If someone answers a rhetorical question with a shady response, you can and should respond to their response. Shade is like a tennis match.

8. If you’re feeling confident, fire off a set of rapid-fire shady, yet FACTUAL comments that CANNOT be challenged

This one is masterful. It’s a compliment, with an added “I’ll buy that now,” meaning it’s a begrudging compliment. But taking offense to compliments (however backhanded) makes you look crazy, so it must stand, which is what makes the shade beautiful.

9. Like this:

This line is so shady because it depends on the adjective “showplace.” By describing Alexis’ penthouse in such a way, she’s calling it basic, like Alexis merely copied a catalog’s aesthetic and didn’t bother hiring a designer with taste.

10. Or this:


This one’s just rude. That’s like telling someone they have a gorgeous, Olympic-size swimming pool, but then reminding them they never even placed for a bronze medal.

There CAN be responses to these, however. Alexis turns the shade around and uses it to insult Dominique. “Only small yachts.” Yaaassss, my yachts are bigger than yours, boo. Who wouldn’t get sick on your Gilligan’s Island dingy?

11. Do not slut-shame

Translation: “You paid for your European vacation by prostituting yourself to some sleazy German, probably.”

This is where Dominique falters. You’re both strong women, there’s no need to call anyone a ho.

12. If you get out of line (like using slut-shaming), be prepared for a clapback:

Translation: “Nah, it was a sexy guy from Belgium, actually. And is there a point to this conversation beside being tacky and letting me know that you Googled* me?”

*Whatever the 1984 version of Google was. I guess… libraries were a thing?

How does one end a shade-off?

They can go on and on until someone delivers a crushing blow. Either the person who initiated the shade-off will finish things quickly, or the shade will turn the tables with a quickness.

13. It takes preparation, precision, and timing to absolutely shade someone within an inch of their life and render the shade-off fini

Domique’s secret is that she takes not a GULP of that champagne during their entire conversation. She cannot shade this woman’s champagne from the jump, because it will seem desperate. But if you engage in false pleasantries long enough, you will lull your opponent into a false sense of security and attack.

And in case you didn’t know what Dominique meant when she said the champagne was burned? She expounds:

14. Know when you’ve met your match


15. You can attempt to deflect:

Translation: “Look at my caviar. CAVIAR. That’s a thing RICH people eat.”

16. But your desperation will be obvious

Oh, Alexis talmbout caviar now? Not today, Satan!


17. You cannot win a shade-off without an exit line


18. And your own personal variation of “Bye, Felicia!”

Any questions?

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