Hooray for Stephanie and Eric, two mature, interesting, complicated characters who are at loggerheads over the most delicate of dilemmas, intimacy. Eric wants to make love with his wife, but Stephanie has lost the desire to be with him.
For most of the past week, the Forrester-Spencer-Logan cha-cha-cha has been the dominating dance on The Bold and the Beautiful. The storyline goes around and around in a circle and comes out nowhere. But in the middle of that silly situation of young love and the great gondola conspiracy, Brad Bell turned the attention to the adults on the show for a spectacular storyline involving Stephanie and Eric. So while I will expound on the vixenish vices of Steffy using the thin Aspen air to bewitch Liam, first let's sing the praises for the AARP crowd. Let's hear it for the adults -- Eric and Stephanie.
The week in general was tilted in the direction of young love and misunderstandings, but for that one glimmer of greatness, the story of a longtime married couple facing new and real challenges, B&B must be applauded. Hooray for Stephanie and Eric, two mature, interesting, and complicated characters who are at loggerheads over the most delicate of dilemmas -- intimacy. Eric wants to make love with his wife, but Stephanie has lost the desire to be with her husband. It could be the aftereffects of her cancer or her age or even her self-image, but the hard truth is this: Eric wants a sexual partner, and Stephanie doesn't want to be one. He doesn't want Donna or Taylor or Brooke…he wants his wife. Unfortunately, his wife doesn't want anyone. She doesn't want to be touched. She's not frigid; she's damaged, and for Eric, this is a heartbreaking development.
When she finally confessed to Eric that she'd accepted that the sexual aspect of their marriage was a thing of the past, it was shattering. She desperately wants him as her partner for life, she wants him to love her and support her and be her mate until she dies -- and vice versa -- but Stephanie cannot force herself to feel desire. And Eric, in a magnificent performance by John McCook, was honest and real in his love for Stephanie. But he's frustrated because she continues to turn him away.
When Eric called her the most beautiful woman he's ever known, when he volunteered to rub vitamin E on her surgical scars, and when he gave her a negligee he'd designed just for her, that was the ultimate in romantic, married love. What woman wouldn't want a man to love her like that? But poor Stephanie is struggling with her body. She doesn't feel the way she has in the past, and she's shutting down the part of her life that is still important to Eric. Now what?
Those two days of scenes were the best thing I've seen on B&B in 2011! Better than the berries! Better than Brooke's breakdown. Better than any of the juvenile antics of the Bikini Bar crowd. There, I said it! I want more of the adults! Brad Bell wrote from the heart with Eric and Stephanie's story. It was sincere and truthful, dealing with real problems that people face after horrible diseases and aging and the trials of life. Stephanie wasn't wrong to feel the way she does, and neither is Eric. There is no villain in this storyline. And there may not be an easy solution. But, oh, the poignancy of those two characters talking about the most intimate and elemental facts of their lives together as husband and wife! You want to win another Emmy, save those two days for the Blue Ribbon Panel.
Of course, before we got to that good stuff, we had to endure the Aspen remote. No offense to Aspen; the place looks fantastic. I want to go. But please, that storyline! Somebody needs to be prosecuted for the great gondola conspiracy of 2011! Seriously, wasn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen on a soap? Somehow, Steffy managed to get a witness and a minister up to Ajax, just a few gondola cars ahead of Hope, then she arranged for Hope's gondola to be dangling in mid-air so she couldn't get to Liam to say that she wanted to kiss and make up. Then, Hope had to press her nose to the glass while she watched the mountaintop marriage of Liam and Steffy. Forgive my incredulity, but that was just too damn perfect for it to be realistic…especially since Steffy had no way of doing everything she did in all of two hours.
It also doesn't help the storyline that Liam is being written as the world's biggest lunkhead. If there was a Guiness World Record for the most gullible character on a soap, he'd win hands-down! I'm sorry, but I have to say it -- he's an idiot. One of the dumbest dopes to come along on a soap in decades! If you thought Oliver was a dunce for not realizing that he was boinking Brooke when he thought it was Hope, Liam has surpassed Mr. Jones for stupidity. He's being manipulated by everyone around him, and he's completely oblivious!
There was no reason for Liam to marry Steffy, especially since they'd barely enjoyed any time as a couple who'd just gotten engaged. This was rebound overkill! He not only took Hope's ring and put it on Steffy's finger while it was still warm, he then allowed Steffy to lead him around by the nose and coerce him into a mountaintop wedding before he'd even had a chance to contemplate what he was doing with his life. By the way, no blood tests in Colorado? No HIV test? No marriage license? No three-day waiting period? I guess Steffy greased a few palms to break the rules, whatever they are.
Maybe it was the high altitude that warped Liam's mental faculties, because he never once thought that maybe, just maybe, things were moving a wee bit too fast. We can't blame it on sexual frustration because he and Steffy had been at it for at least 24 hours before the nuptials. So it was a brain cloud caused by lack of sex. Instead of spending the time on Ajax, thinking about what he really wanted in a wife, Liam just went along with Steffy.
Instead of speaking up for himself, William Spencer the dolt just followed like a little puppy dog. He went along with the engagement, then the whirlwind flight to Aspen, then the trip up to the mountain and ultimately, the marriage in a minute with no family or friends to see what they were doing! He never once thought, "Hmm, let me call Hope and tell her that I'm sorry things went so wrong," or "Hmm, let me call Hope and give her the courtesy of hearing from me directly that I'm engaged to Steffy"?
We've been told over and over again that Liam is a good guy, right? Well, a good guy would have cared about the girl he left behind, even if he believed that she'd dumped him, and said something to her before she heard about it from the Internet. A good guy would think about something other than the schvantz in his designer jeans, looking for a fun time! A good guy would realize that marriage is a serious business, and you should know that the person you're marrying is your soul mate!
And that brings me to this point: Hope is better off without him! If Liam could be so shallow as to be manipulated by Steffy and Bill, he's not the man Hope thought he was. She deserves better. After schlepping all the way to Aspen, chasing after him to make him understand why she returned his ring, the bottom line is still that Liam cheated on Hope with Steffy. Hope shouldn't have given him the benefit of the doubt about his lip-lock with Steffy in the car after his bachelor party. Even if it was just a kiss -- or six -- It was wrong. He was engaged to Hope, and he was being disloyal. Had that been Hope going at it with Oliver, Liam wouldn't have been okay with that, would he? So even if Hope reached Liam on the mountaintop and made clear why she was upset, it was still his place to apologize to Hope…not hers to apologize to him!
While it's unflattering to watch Hope chase after Liam and disgusting to watch Steffy scheme and plot to get Liam to be her man, I think the show really went overboard by involving the parents. Attention, Brad Bell: Parents should not be this involved in their children's love lives. Bill had no business interfering when Hope said she wanted to see Liam. Bill may not like Hope as a bride for his son, but it was Liam's choice to make! What father gets so involved in his grown son's life that he throws his ex-mistress into the son's arms because he can't have her anymore (not if he wants Katie!).
Then there was the never-ending discussion between Taylor and Brooke about the rightness of Liam and Steffy's engagement. Jeez Louise, I thought they'd never stop with the back and forth about Steffy being there for Liam, and Hope making a mistake by leaving the ring, and why shouldn't Steffy wear Hope's engagement ring, and how much Liam supposedly loved Hope… On and on they went, two mothers who apparently had nothing better to do for three days than chew over this issue as if it was more important that their other children, business, family, and healthcare in America! Get a grip, ladies!
By the way, what happened to Brooke's foundation? And what happened to Taylor's practice? What about Taylor's takeover of Forrester Creations with Thorne as her ally/lover? Every other storyline was shoved to the backburner so that all we heard for days was Liam and Steffy and Hope! It was mind-numbing. I would have loved it if Ridge had walked into the office and told his wife and ex-wife to knock it off and mind their own business. Let Liam, Steffy, and Hope work it out amongst themselves!
At least Katie had the gumption to give Bill a little hell for his part in Steffy's wedding abduction. Of course, Katie was too late to do anything about it. Bill had already done his worst and was stuffing his face with goodies from the party platters. Note to Don Diamont: You're gorgeous, but don't do scenes where you're eating hors d'oeuvre…it not a good look for you! It was distracting.
There was another character who nearly did some good for Hope and Liam, and that was Rick. However, if my brother had come all the way to Aspen to help me get my man, I would have expected him to get off the plane. As a reader pointed out, why the heck didn't Rick use his powers of persuasion to keep Steffy away from Ajax, since he'd arranged for Hope to meet Liam there at the summit? The old Rick, the way he was written in the past, would have done that in a heartbeat. This Rick just watched and used the telephone. I want a more proactive Rick in the future -- can you hear me, Brad?
Meanwhile, here are some letters from the readers! Your comments are always welcomed at Soap Central, so stay in touch. And tell me which characters you want to see fixed or changed, or return to the show. Click the Feedback option at the top of the page, the email me link at the bottom, or click here
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• I can't stand Liam's character -- he's weak! First off, after everything Hope did to stand by him with Amber and even love him enough to let him go, he goes and puts her ring on Steffy's finger when he knows how she feels about her? If I was Hope, I wouldn't even want him at this point. And when did he get so obsessed about sex as much as he and Hope used to suck face all the time? Why would he continue to spend time with Steffy behind Hope's back when he knew she was after him, because he even told Bill that Steffy wanted him so he can't claim he didn't know. Still Hope trusted him and never told him to stay away from Steffy and now Steffy doesn't even want Hope to talk to Liam...seriously, is she that insecure because she knows that Liam still loves Hope? Hope is so much better than me because I would have snatched him by his hair out of that vehicle and slapped in into another galaxy had I caught him all over Steffy like a cheap suit. - Dee Dee
• Brad Bell may as well stop writing because I am not going to watch The Bold and Beautiful anymore. I hate that he let Liam sleep with Steffy. There are too many unrealistic things happening on this soap. Brooke, Taylor, Ridge and Bill are the worse parents I have ever seen. Bell needs to fix this mess by letting somebody be dreaming, preferably Steffy. -- Ruth
Allison J. Waldman
Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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INS AND OUTS: WHO'S COMING AND WHO'S GOING
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS