Susan Flannery
Dude, where's my company?
For the Week of December 4, 2006
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Eric has made his share of mistakes, as many men and women do in marriages, but after seeing how Stephanie's emasculating behavior found its genesis, it's clear that he never stood a chance.

I never thought I would ever see the day when Eric Forrester was not sitting in his mahogany walled office presiding over his sketchpad and his family of designers but, alas, I have. Last week offered a vision of the truly bizarre future for our favorite family of fashion...and a peek into the pathos of one Stephanie Forrester. But first, a man without a company...

I actually feel a little bad for Eric these days. He tried doing the noble thing in protecting his wife and then she vilifies him for it. I think he will make the most of his liberation from Forrester and make come back better than ever, though it was hysterical to watch him and Stephanie sitting there over morning coffee with nothing to do but look like two lost retirees that actually have to find something to do to pass the time. As far as why they are in this position, I personally think she would have beaten the rap but that's another story. Though I am not sold on the whole 'Here's how we conveniently explain years of bad behavior' abuse storyline, I did like that it was Eric's blow-up that finally sparked her to take a good hard look at herself and her inner motivations for why she does what she does. He hit the nail on the head and I thought that has spawned some of the best acting Susan Flannery has done on this show (and I, too, have watched from the beginning). Eric has made his share of mistakes as many men and women do in marriages but after seeing how her emasculating behavior found its genesis, he never stood a chance in Hell. I always felt he loved her but it seemed he never got the attention from Stephanie that he needed and thus the philandering in the early years. It's a sick and tragic syndrome that makes some adults almost wish for their spouses to act like the parent that abused them. Hopefully B&B will not squander a great opportunity to educate viewers on the real problems of childhood abuse.

But for all the discovery going on at Taylor's office, Eric is reaching out to a woman that never had a shortage of attention for him...Jackie. Her recovery is astounding, by the way! Anyway, he goes over there in search of that which ol' Queenie can't give him now which is a sympathetic ear. WHAT? Her son railroaded you out of your company and that's your first stop? Hmmm. Well, at least it didn't go badly as Jackie thought it would when he came storming through the door. I have said this before and I'll say it again...those two should be together. They have a romantic spark that I have never seen between Eric and Stephanie and this show is in such HUGE need of sizzle that, at this point, I would be willing to take from anyone. He doesn't hate Jackie for what Nick did and she has always wanted to be with him. Why not? Forty years with Stephanie has yielded little more than heartache and empty fame so why not spend your 'golden years' having a little fun, huh? Therapy or not, Stephanie and Eric just don't give us that warm and fuzzy feeling anymore. Time to move on.

As for Stephanie's voyage of self-discovery, well, I think it was a little bit of a stretch on the part of the writers to have 'something' happen with Stephanie's character now that she can't ghoul around the halls of Forrester now. 'Hmmm, let's see...AH-HA! Stephanie was abused as a child and...YES! This will explain so much about her and make Eric and her face their crumbling marriage thus forcing Eric to either stand by her or go running to a much sexier and lively life with Jackie, the mother of the man who forced him to sell his company.' Can't you hear the brainstorming sessions around the water cooler in the writer's offices at B&B? I see how this could work but I suppose it all seems too neat and tidy, you know? Why spend so much time of this when there is so much in flux now? The Forrester Kiddies off trying to start a new company, Nick floundering around acting like he knows something about fashion to save a whole lot of 'face', and the ultra nauseating reunion of the single most boring couple in daytime TV. Then there is the Taylor-Thorne romance that's trying hard to blossom and the 'what the heck is going on' with Phoebe-Harry-Shane. Is Storm sticking around? See? There is more that needs to be fleshed out and this story about Stephanie's abusive childhood is standing in the way for that a little.

I will say this...the scenes with her and Taylor were fantastic and better, still, will be the scenes between Stephanie and her mother. I was a bit skeptical when I read the casting news announcing Betty White being cast as the mother but I think it will be great viewing for us. Her sister, though, well I'm not as sold on that but we'll see. What I want to know is how Stephanie could having kept this a secret all these years with all the trials and tribulations that family has been through and not one try at communicating? Hard to believe. It will explain a lot, though, and that will ultimately give us all a better understanding of what makes one of the more powerful women in daytime tick.

I am eager to see what kind of designs Clark comes up with considering we have not seen him around these parts in, say, a thousand years! But I suppose we have to dig someone from the past up when Forrester is without anyone to draw pretty dresses. And since WHEN did recent ex-waitress Donna Logan become adept enough at the fashion world to become a lead spokes model for an entire company AND creative consultant (or whatever she was called...I can't remember the exact title)??? She pranced around in sleazy teddies and the like from the Bedroom line for a couple of month and now she is Nick's right hand? Yeah, whatever. I see Jackie's role and understand Clark being there but her? A model, sure, but this? And Nick better watch his back...the mutiny by the old guard at Forrester may be a sign of things to come. He has bullied his way into that company and no matter how you cut it, I don't see such great thing coming out of that building with that cast of characters they have. As in the real-life business world, brand name is everything and without all the people that established that brand running things, it could get ugly. Besides, shouldn't he be running Marone Industries?? Have we forgotten about that? Shipping and fashion...what a natural business combination. They compliment themselves so well. I can hear it now...'Hoist that anchor and drop that hemline!!'

Which brings me to my next Nick the new 'villain' on B&B? Has the son become the father in a sense? Would Massimo have done this? I agree with many of my readers that I also don't like him sitting around moping for Brooke either. But this slick and ruthless persona certainly doesn't become him in my opinion. I know characters have to evolve...I get that. But this is so drastic and my hope is that by Christmas he has some kind of Dickens-inspired change of heart about his recent decisions and makes amends with the one woman in his life that he truly loved. He may have 'loved' Bridget but it was never anything like what he had with Brooke. Unfortunately she brought out the worst in him as her waffling led him to what I think was a big mistake in taking Forrester. I was also a little shocked to see him calling up the ex seeing if she would give him the time of day. Did he really think Bridget would hang out with him after that Patton-like behavior in the Forrester boardroom? Why do the writers have to have Nick be so na´ve? I don't blame her for telling him to take a hike, though she has a slight and fleeting look of weakness in her eyes. But she stood strong and walked out on him. He and Thorne are still my favorite male characters but I fear that Nick will be dragged around a little more through the mud before he gets a reprieve. After all, he must suffer a little in the likeability department to appease the Bridge fans out there that hated his existence, right?

Ah, Brooke and Ridge. I couldn't possibly let this week's opus conclude without commenting on the reunion of The Wooden and the Weak. I watched as little of them as I could and still be able to write about it and all I could think was how the actors must hate continuing to go back to the well over and over and over. Retread, repeat, it what you will but it just leaves me unbelievably flat as I watch. No chemistry, no sizzle, no passion. For more years than I can count I have watched this female character worship at the altar of a man that makes her brain turn into Jell-o and her spirit into mush. Brooke could be so much more as a female lead in this show but when paired with Ridge, the viewer is left to wonder when the 'other shoe' is going to drop leading Ridge to float to yet another woman. It's happened over and over and no matter how much people want to whitewash it, Brooke has never been his first choice. It's a fact. But here she is again, perched high atop his arm like another ornament in his life. I'm sure something will happen soon to tear them apart as is ALWAYS the case...I'm just not sure what or whom that could be. Maybe Deacon should come back and make a play for her again. He seemed to make all the women on this show weak in the knees but with Brooke there is the added factor of little Hope to work on Brooke. I personally loved the scenes between Brooke and Deacon...very hot. But it's ok, I can be patient. I won't be too hard on Brooke and Ridge for now... they can enjoy their few seconds in the sun as I know and the majority of fans know it will set soon enough.

Having said that, tell me who was the truly HOTTEST couple on this show. I mean the kind of hot where you can't stand to miss an episode. You can go to the back of the rack for this one as I have already weighed in above. I thought the forbidden nature of their relationship (or well, let's just say 'hot sex') made Brooke and Deacon scorching to watch. Now I am not sure if that had more to do with the characters or the people playing them but it was great to watch.

So who are my winners and losers of the week? Susan Flannery for continuing to deliver amazing performances week after week. My Loser...the writers for fostering this new 'Mr. Ruthless Businessman' attitude on Nick. But we'll see how long it lasts.


Adell says: I find it amazing that no one seems to be holding Brooke as responsible as Stephanie for the loss of the company. If she had chosen Nick instead of Ridge, he never would have taken the company. She should not have waffled with Nick's feelings and should have supported him during his trying time with his mother. If she had honored the part of her vows that said for better or for worse, then she would have tried to work through her marriage with Nick. I can not understand why no one else is upset with her and why they have embraced her into the Forester family.

Lorraine writes in: BRING BACK THE OLD NICK! Alas, another good man bites the dust. I hate to say it, but Ridge and Brooke deserve each other. I tried to like Brooke when she was with Nick, but she is - still weak, waffling, neurotic Brooke.

Donna says: Here, here!!! I couldn't have said it better myself. I am not watching this soap anymore. This Ridge/Brooke storyline is so OLD it's not funny. I am so over it!

Kristine Cain
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