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If I wrote B&B
by Mike
For the Week of January 16, 2012
Erratic pacing, dropped storylines, and rehash got you down? Tired of the same faces on your screen all the time? Take a flight of fancy into the B&B that could be with Two Scoops' Mike.
Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you propose a business plan that was part Tom Ford and part Cyrano de Bergerac? Did you get the itch to be a bitch? Did you go shopping and buy two doctors? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!


Hello again, Scoopers! We're two weeks into 2012, but on B&B, the memory of 2011 lingers on. As promised, this week we'll explore some ideas that would give our show a serious reboot -- and just in time for its 25th anniversary. But first, let's rap a little about what we're currently seeing on our screens.


I've always felt lukewarm about Jackie and Owen -- not because of the cougar thing, but because they never did anything but drool on each other. Now, Owen made a good point when he said he can't be fully present for baby Logan because his mind is always on Jackie. I get that he wants to be "Jowen" again, and Jackie didn't seem opposed. It's gratifying to know Owen couldn't just turn off his feelings! But if they reunite, what was the point of Jackie's sacrificial breakup? Hey, at least their divorce wasn't instantly final.


Then there's Nick and Donna. The best part of their story this week? Brooke's lowered opinion of Nick after the design theft, when usually she would have championed him! I actually kinda like Donna and Nick together, but Nick has now romanced all three Logan sisters (and a Logan daughter). Knowing that these four ladies could have dinner together and compare notes on Nick pretty much kills it for me. And what's up with usually upright Nick wanting to steal more designs? Out of character much?


Of course, that's all a setup to give Pammie something to do -- a double rehash! She's playing pranks on Donna. Again! Last time, that led to Donna almost being eaten by a bear! Really, this whole Pam/Donna rivalry is so tired. As is this continuing design-stealing retread. You mean to tell me Forrester really can't figure out Pam did it? Will it actually take Beverly to nab the culprit? What business did she have bitching out the Marones, anyway? Yes, she got blamed, but it seems inappropriate for any intern to get up in the faces of her company's competitor. Just sharpen the pencils 'til you're given a position to go with the mouth.


And how is Jackie M doing so well? Surely Forrester could prove their designs were stolen, which would sandbag any Jackie M business. Why not just have Jackie arrested to make her talk? B&B is needlessly dragging out this "investigation." And what do you mean, Forrester now has no line? What about Intimates? Or Hope For The Future? Of course, maybe Hope's mixed messages tanked that advertising campaign.


The Hope/Liam/Steffy madness never seems to end. At least we only had to endure it three episodes this week -- they're improving! Nothing much has changed, except this week Bill pulled jumbo-sized strings to keep Steffy and Liam together. Wow! I admit it's interesting that this time Steffy has no knowledge of the shenanigans. But paying off two doctors to make everyone (including Steffy!) think Steffy has a life-threatening blood clot? And one of the doctors, Dr. Ramon, played by A Martinez at that. The man is soap royalty! And he got less to do than a day player! For shame!


Ridge and Taylor already lost Phoebe, and last year they almost lost Thomas. Bill helped rescue Thomas; he saw what Ridge and Taylor went through. So it's deranged that Bill would manipulate them into thinking their other child could die, just to keep her marriage intact! Yeah, so he showed remorse for about 0.4 seconds. But could he have been more overbearing with Liam? I was glad Liam finally stood up for himself! Even if it came months too late.


Now, everyone (except Brooke and Katie) wants Liam to stay with Steffy because of this "blood clot." They all know that Liam loves Hope. Do they really want Steffy to stay in a loveless marriage? It's not like Steffy doesn't know Liam's heart is with Hope -- that's why Steffy kept them apart in Aspen and Cabo! I think I liked bitchy Steffy better! This desperate, codependent version isn't working for me. Katie was the only one who wasn't enabling her -- although Katie's timing going in that room was pretty bad. I hope Katie divorces Bill's ass as soon as she finds out he engineered all this to keep Steffy unavailable!


Really, the shining story of the week was Team "Ramber." I totally believe that Amber would pretty up Rick's sketches and let him take the credit for it as a way of redeeming herself. Believe me, she needs redemption! So does Rick, for that matter. But I loved seeing their original chemistry again, all grown up, not to mention Rick's commanding presence in that business meeting! (Learned much from playing AMC's J.R., Jacob Young?) I did find it odd that Eric could decide to put "Rick's" line into production. Stephanie was right -- Ridge is CEO! They can't just go over his head.


Which brings us to my main quibble: Amber encouraging Rick to dethrone Ridge as CEO. It's kind of a cool idea. But we just tried that with Thorne! And he got his ass kicked! Amber went on about Rick being the true Forrester son. Oh, yeah? Thorne was repping FC when Rick wasn't even an afterthought in Brooke's uterus. Why another takeover story just three months after the last one, which was badly done? And what was in Beverly's coffee? "I think Rick's pretty into me," she beamed. I like that Beverly comes more alive with Rick, but she doesn't stand a chance against TEAM RAMBER BABY!


All right, that's what we saw. But what could we see? I think we all know B&B is in a serious rut. Even head writer Brad Bell seemed to sense it, and spoke of cutting Pam, Owen, and Justin as a way of revamping (even though they're all still here). However, that's not nearly enough. Wasn't the whole first week of January taken up with Steffy/Liam/Hope? The balance was better this week, but the first thing that has to happen is, we need two completely separate stories running per episode. That's how B&B used to roll, and it was a good system. That way we don't get any one story rammed down our throats.


Remember when Port Charles experimented with the telenovela format? They would run a story for thirteen weeks, then move on to something else. B&B could learn from this example. Do those two concurrent stories, on alternating cycles maybe. Because there are way too many characters. And most of them get sidelined for the same six or seven faces anyway. Even the mainstays of the show don't need to be on all the time. Switch it up!


Another thing is that pretty much every story is a romantic one. Hell, not even that -- usually it's someone manipulating someone else in the name of love. There's very little actual romance! But, Mike, you say -- it's a damn soap. Of course people are going to be trying to sex/marry each other, and backstabbing is part of it. I agree. But that's all B&B characters do. Can't we also have mysteries? Psychos? Danger? Court battles? Things where romance still figures in but isn't always the main focus? And please, no more overnight relationships/breakups/marriages/divorces. Let us fall in love with couples as they fall in love with each other!


Finally, there's all the rehash. I think it's safe to say there's really nothing new under the soap sun, but B&B just rips itself off all the time. Nothing feels fresh. They need to stop trying to bank on past glories and come up with some new ones. Either Brad Bell is tired, has run out of ideas, or is being convinced to keep churning out the same-old same-old. If B&B has a chance in hell of being renewed past 2013 (assuming that's what CBS/Sony/Bell wants), they need to reboot like DAYS. I have some specific ideas on how to do that. You may love 'em -- you may hate 'em. But they're my carefully considered opinions as a 24-year viewer, and isn't that what this is? An opinion column? :)


B&B ACCORDING TO MIKE: Katie finally gets tired of Bill trampling on her and divorces him. Of course, she gets a huge Spencer settlement. Steffy slips about her dormant feelings for Bill, and Liam returns to Hope. Bill and Steffy come together as a powerhouse couple (she forgives him for the blood clot thing, though, because she "gets" him). Steffy gives her 25% share of Forrester to Bill. Meanwhile, Taylor can no longer hide her rage toward Stephanie, Ridge, and Brooke, and lets Steffy talk her into selling Bill the "irrevocable trust." Now owning 67% of Forrester, Bill takes over and becomes a corporate bad-ass again, with new bad-ass Steffy at his side.


Taylor is initially happy to have finally stuck it to the Forresters! But when James Warrick comes to town for a visit and finds Taylor so bitter and full of anger, he stages an intervention with the help of Steffy, Thomas, Ridge, and Stephanie. Reminded by James how grounded and sagelike she used to be, Taylor sees how irrational she has become over the last several years, and decides to go away for a while to find herself, feeling guilty about triggering Bill's takeover of Forrester.


Rick and Amber, whose own takeover scheme was rejected by Forrester, are at rock bottom until Katie (who finds romance with Jake!) uses her Spencer settlement to set them up in their own design house. Marcus joins the new business, as do Liam and Hope -- this has Hope and Steffy competing in a completely new way. Hope, however, has her hands full with the arrival of daddy Deacon, who encourages her to run roughshod over Steffy. Since Hope is also a Sharpe, she becomes aware of her own dark side and struggles to contain it. Liam, already upset by this, begins having blackouts -- we discover that his recent erratic behavior was caused by his having had two concussions in the space of one year.


Meanwhile, as CEO of Forrester, Bill calls in his considerable resources and discovers that Pam stole the designs. She goes straight to jail -- and as she's taken away, mama Ann appears to call her out for stealing from Stephanie. (Who doesn't need a little more Betty White in their lives?)


Steffy wants Bill to boot Brooke from Forrester, but when Bill researches history and discovers that Brooke created the BeLieF formula, he commands her to do her magic again. Brooke rises to the challenge and returns to the chemistry lab, creating Forrester's most groundbreaking formula ever. Everyone celebrates -- including Steffy! -- but as Brooke sets up the formula to be mass-produced, there's an explosion in the lab that takes out half of Forrester in a disaster that endangers most of the cast. Brooke is disfigured and forced to re-examine her own self-worth and how she always tied her beauty into it. Even Ridge (who remembers being blinded in his own explosion) ponders just how much of his relationship with Brooke has been based on looks.


But Ridge stands by her -- as does Stephanie, who, in a role-reversal, rallies at Brooke's bedside. Even Taylor (before leaving) relates her own experience being disfigured in a fire long ago. But it's Steffy who tells Bill he's responsible for Brooke's condition, so he sends her to the best plastic surgeon in Europe. Ridge accompanies her. They're gone a few months, and when they return, Brooke's face is close to the original, but not completely, which forever humbles her.


Thorne is a big help in the rebuilding of Forrester after the explosion. But now that it's a Spencer holding, Bill's sister Karen returns to oversee the plans. She reconnects with former boyfriend Thorne, and they start a sweet romance. Thorne hasn't been this happy in years -- especially since being given a bigger position of authority in Ridge's absence. But what Thorne and Karen don't know is that they have a major handful in a SORAS'd Ally -- to avenge Darla's death, Ally rigged the explosion to kill Taylor and almost killed Brooke instead!


Taylor returns from her soul-searching stronger, much more like her old self -- and best of all, she's finally, truly, and really over Ridge. Wanting to make amends to the Forresters for her part in the takeover, Taylor joins Ridge and Brooke in the battle against Bill -- which puts her in direct conflict with Steffy. The shrink also finds an unlikely ally in Dr. Ramon, Bill's former friend who lost his medical license due to the whole "blood clot" scheme. As doctors, Taylor and Ramon find a lot of common ground -- and a healthy dose of romance! -- as they become targets in Ally's continuing plans for revenge.


Thomas despairs about letting himself get out of control the past year. He hangs out with Oliver, who also feels life is going nowhere. When Thomas starts having feelings he can't explain, Thorne shares his theory that Thomas might be gay. Thomas balks, but can't deny that he chased Brooke and Hope to cover thoughts he's had for years. Thorne and Karen remain a lifeline for Thomas, while Oliver turns to Hope. Liam is jealous at first until Oliver confides that he obsessed on Hope to prove to himself he wasn't gay. Thomas and Oliver come out to each other and fumble through a romance of their own. Ridge has a hard time accepting it, putting him in conflict with Thorne, but Steffy and Hope -- who fight over everything else -- fully support Thomas and his relationship with Oliver, getting Ridge to come around.


Near the show's 25th anniversary, we find out that the beloved Sally Spectra has died. This brings C.J. and Clarke together with the Forresters for a spirited memorial where everyone remembers Sally, with flashbacks galore. But Ridge, Brooke, Eric, and especially Stephanie reflect on how short life is, flashing back to their 1987 beginnings.


The memorial is wrapping up when a mysterious woman walks in -- it's Macy! It turns out Thorne has taken a page out of Stephanie's book and kept Macy on life support (much in the way Stephanie cared for comatose "daughter" Angela back in the '80s). He "pulled the plug" on Macy to give everyone a chance for closure in case she didn't make it -- and this secret is why Thorne was content to keep to himself in the Forrester basement all these years. Macy struggles to honor mama Sally at the memorial -- the chandelier accident has left her brain damaged. Karen, the Forresters, and the Spectras must find a way to deal with Thorne's well-meaning deception.


Finally, Sally's will negates the sale of Spectra to Jackie M, putting it back in the hands of C.J. and Clarke, who keep Jackie on. Jackie finds romance with Clarke, prompting Owen and Bridget to move away with Logan. Nick, who no longer has a company to run, sets sail with Donna for parts unknown in a grand, romantic adventure. Forrester, Spectra, and Ambrosia Fashions (Rick and Amber's company) combine for a Sally Spectra memorial fashion show, with all proceeds going to the homeless.


But I can dream...can't I... Or so the song goes. What do you think of these ideas to reinvent B&B? Got ideas of your own? Drop me a line here at Two Scoops and your comments may end up in a future column.


I would be remiss if I didn't take my hat off to pay my respects to yet another fallen soap, One Life to Live. It's absolutely criminal that we're down to only four soaps. Yet these last nine months of bad soap news have left me feeling a bit desensitized. At least four OLTL characters will show up on GH...and Hillary B. Smith (ex-Nora) will appear as a sex therapist on B&B!


Could Stephanie be taking more aggressive action to heal her relationship with Eric? I can't take credit for this last idea (you know who you are, Rita), but wouldn't it be cool if Eric and Stephanie had a double wedding with Ridge and Brooke for the 25th anniversary? After all, neither couple remarried, and talk about a major celebration for the Core Four. And Phyllis Diller is bringing Gladys back for a romantic event... You know what to do: keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

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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