Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did a sassy new hairstyle fill you with chutzpah? Did you have a baby without all those pesky labor pains? Did you decide you didn't like that TV show Three's Company after all? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
A short week for CBS viewers, but B&B was not short on story. Let's Scoop about it, shall we?
First off, even though it already happened, how cool was it to have Thorne back in the spotlight, even briefly? Having his DNA tested gave him more airtime than he's had all year. And throwing him into the mix with Bill and Liam was fun all the way around. It harkens to what head writer Bradley Bell said in a recent interview about changing it up on the canvas. There's more of that coming, but we'll get to that! In the meantime, it's nice to know Thorne and Darla's girl, Aly, is still around, although I was dubious that Thorne said she was getting to an age she didn't need him as much. Aly is what -- five? Smells like more SORAS on the horizon to me!
Speaking of fathers and their children, it was time for scrappin' again when Katie invited Liam over for a pow-wow with Daddy Dollar Bill. I'd been wondering why Bill, who had almost mellowed too much after his marriage to Katie, was back to his snarky self times a hundred once Liam showed up. Bill has seemed overly hostile. So good on B&B for hinting at an explanation in the form of Katie addressing Bill's own childhood abandonment by Bill Sr. Bill was not going to let those walls down, even for Katie, but he couldn't keep it from cracking a bit; Don Diamont threw in just the right amount of subtle vulnerability.
Still, isn't Katie being rather pushy in terms of getting Bill and Liam together, to say nothing of forcing Bill to confront his childhood? She means well, but she's overstepping. And somehow the whole thing would have more impact if we'd seen some of these abandonment issues between Bill and his father for ourselves. Bill was introduced as a never-before-mentioned son when Bill Sr. was on his deathbed; I don't think they even had scenes together. One scene showing their conflict and lack of resolution would have clued us in to Bill's rationale and lingered into our current story so that his resistance to Liam would make more sense. Overall it's good stuff, but it does feel a bit hollow.
And what is up with our poor victimized Hope? After months of being set up for and traumatized by the mask-boink, she went out, got some funky new style, and voilà! -- it's more of a "new Hope" than Star Wars! She went right up to Dollar Bill and told him what's what about his piss-poor attitude toward his insta-son. Hope, you go on wit'cho bad self! So what if she seems to have recovered from her bummer summer too fast -- it's fun seeing her strong and confident. And with more than a few kind words about Liam. The scene didn't need to drag over two episodes, and my eyebrow arched when Hope said, "I would trust [Liam] with my life!" (is that how you feel about someone you've only known a few weeks?), but it's a whole new dimension to Hope, and I like it.
So does Liam, as if his feelings for Hope weren't already tattooed on his forehead. Yet, as I watched Liam and Hope throw '80s subreferences into their post-Bill impressions (cute, but they weren't even born when Dr. Huxtable ruled the airwaves!), only two words dominated my mind: "OLIVER WHO?" I didn't lose respect for Oliver because he managed to boink his girlfriend's mom while thinking he was taking his girlfriend's virginity against a wall. I lost respect for Oliver because he's really a rather boring character. But because Oliver was lackluster from the get-go, I kind of went with it and stopped noticing. Liam, on the other hand, burst onto the scene full of life, and ultimately he highlights Oliver's dullness. Plus, Liam and Hope have chemistry to spare. It's like Oliver never existed. So, go Lope! Or Hiam. Or whatever abbreviation couples earn now because folks are too lazy to use the full names!
Up at the Forrester cabin, Bridget gave birth where she herself was born. Good nod to history, but I'm really disappointed in its timing. If B&B had waited two more months, Bridget could've popped during November sweeps -- and brought her risky gestation to a more normal eight months. Instead, we've done it in six. That's better than Y&R's four-month pregnancy with Billy back in 1993, but B&B still missed a really good opportunity. And, while the connection between Owen and Bridget was generally warm and affable, it was laced with enough syrup to give their kid diabetes. Yeah, the miracle of childbirth and all, but the real miracle would be if soaps could do these scenes without so many clichés.
Of course, with all the fuss over baby Logan Knight (nice touch, by the way), where does that leave Jackie? That's exactly what Stephanie was wondering, and boy, was it nice to see Benevolent Stephanie reappearing after over four months of dragon fire. It's gotta be Jackie M -- Stephanie became a bear again as soon as she left it, but returned to niceness as soon as she got near it. What does that tell you? Anyway, La Forrester tried but couldn't get her head around Jackie's suitably European attitude about the happy Knight household. Not sure I can either, but at least it's different -- until it implodes, of course, because we all know it will.
Where exactly does Jackie get off calling the kid "my baby" and scoffing about his name? Her husband might be the father, but Logan is ultimately Bridget's child, no matter how you slice it. (The situation, not the baby.) I'm not sure why Jackie feels she has this much claim to the child -- what exactly is driving her? She's acting like Bridget was her surrogate. Could it stretch back to some feeling of failure raising Nick and a resulting desire to redeem herself? It seems both Bridget and Owen are already starting to feel like Jackie is an intrusion -- Jackie's mine-mine-mine behavior is only going to intensify that if she doesn't watch out.
And Bridget had better watch out for Stephanie, because our Queen came across a little two-faced this week! Stephanie was "Bridget, I only want the best for you" one minute and "Jackie, watch out for that Logan girl Bridget!" the next. Huh? Jackie was quite right -- as Eric's daughter, Bridget is a not a Logan, but a Forrester, and more so than Stephanie is. Besides, if "it all comes down through the mother," Stephanie, then what does that say about you? You raised a Marone as a Forrester and played favorites with him. Better get out the Windex for that glass house of yours, Steph. At least her self-righteousness was much more balanced with compassion this week, and it's great that she cares about Jackie now, but her sudden attitude switch regarding Bridget was more than a little baffling.
Now, are we sure Bridget isn't Ridge's daughter after all? Because the doctor-turned-designer was flip-floppin' like she was a flapjack at the Waffle House. Of course, we've all seen her feelings for babydaddy Owen growing since her marriage to Nick went down with the ship. And it's reasonable the birth experience would heighten those emotions even more. But she can't seem to make up her mind. Bridget waxed poetic about Owen to her mother and brother, then resolved she wouldn't dare interfere with Owen's marriage to Jackie, then turned around and wanted to give baby Logan brothers and sisters by Owen! B&B dropped the ball again by not having Brooke make reference to her own experience having a baby with Bridget's husband, since it mirrors Bridget's situation. And Bridget, of all people, should remember what it's like to be in Jackie's shoes. Not that it's going to matter, since Owen has re-evaluated things and told Bridget he now knows what to do, and I don't think it involves taking Jackie with them to Ikea to pick out baby furniture.
And I don't know about Jackie's shoes, but it now suddenly seems that Rick wants to get into a different garment of Jackie's! Where the hell did that come from? Bad enough that during the "extended family" gathering, Jackie said she hadn't seen much of Rick -- seems to me the only time she even met Rick was when he stole Forrester designs to give to Jackie M last year! Now they know each other and Rick has the hots for her? If I missed a chapter, someone please let me know!
It's true Jackie has a history of liking younger men (Owen and Deacon), and the once noble Rick Forrester moved on from Amber with older women Ashley and Taylor. So I can almost see it. It's just way too sudden to be plausible. Since he stopped being Evil Rick last year, we've barely seen him, and the last thing we saw, he was playing tonsil hockey with the recently returned Amber. If we'd ever actually seen Rick and Jackie in a scene together before, and maybe seen the slightest hint of an attraction, Rick's flirtation would be more justified. Obviously it was designed merely to shock -- and it did. Good Rick wouldn't hit on a married woman. Is Evil Rick coming back? Or is he just trying to impress upon Jackie -- with his lips! -- the futility of the Bridget/Owen situation? Stunt or no, Bridget's about to get an eyeful, so we'll have to wait and see where this out-of-nowhere attempt at seduction goes. I told you Bradley Bell was all about mixing up his cast these days.
Some interesting observations this week: Eric's designing! Glad to see somebody is -- will we ever get a 2010 fashion show?...Brooke's a grandma! Loved how Stephanie snarked "I wonder how that feels"...Donna and Eric had their first conversation since their implausible and rushed divorce -- and since Donna signed over her stock to Bill. It was actually a rather sweet scene, considering...Rick called Bridget "Budge"! Nice to see that nickname from the '90s lives on.
Got to call B&B out on some bad continuity, though: There was snow on the ground in their establishing shot of the Big Bear cabin -- that wouldn't happen in September! Is Bill wearing the same shirt he wore through the whole DNA debacle a few soap days ago? Why would Liam even consider taking a job at Spencer when he already promised to help Forrester in their lawsuit against them? Why did Owen refer to "that time at the cabin" when "that time" was only last night? And where in Malibu do you find a beach laden with rocks and plants and tropical flowers? I've seen Malibu -- not even close.
Let's see what you guys are thinking this week:
• "The reason there's going to be a new Thomas is because they are going to have him comfort Brooke. She is not at the company, going to be lonely, he's already siding with her, next as usual Brooke is going to bed him. Of course it won't be her fault. Or maybe Nick again, or both. How much will Ridge forgive. From her daughter's boyfriend to her husband's son. Wouldn't surprise me." -- Nancy
• "I sure hope you take [us] serious as [we] speak the truth about B&B, Shady Marlin style... This once great show is drowning down the toilet. Give this Hope and Steffy thing a rest and remember that $ Bill may be replacing Ridge as lead man, but Jack Wagner is still there. If it were me I would have been long gone...and we are sick of Owen the Cougar's boytoy! Take us back to some real B&B and get Brooke and Nick back on top as respected and confident." -- Brittany002, Shady Marlin deck hand
• "Mike, I love reading your column. I am waiting for Pam and Stephen to get married so that I can see Stephanie's head explode." -- Tonya
• "Oh my goodness! Today's episode with Bill, Liam and Thorne getting tested to see who [Liam's] father is was too funny! Bill was hilarious with his barbs. Definitely need to have more exchanges with these two!" -- Wanda
• "Hi, and excellent column this week. You may get flack for being hard on Stephanie, but I am a long-time viewer who is fed up with her running around on rampages and not paying for any of them. Think about it, this woman has a history of violent behavior [against Brooke]...for the record, when I first watched this show, I actually found [Stephanie] sympathetic and thought Brooke was a bit pushy. Keep being a voice of reason for fans and not bashing Brooke." -- Giovanna
• "I find it incredibly funny that Taylor and Stephanie continually harangue Brooke about her bad parenting skills...yet she has decent kids who recover from set-backs and move on. Taylor, for all her brilliant parenting ability, has a lying, manipulative daughter, a son who went around believing that bombs were the answer (luckily now he appears to be back on track), and a son that she has forgotten about. How Brooke or anyone never brings this up is beyond me. Brooke is the mother of the year compared to Taylor and Stephanie who has always played favorites with her children and alienated them all in the process." -- Katherine
Dish about all the latest B&B happenings on the Soap Central message boards, and of course I do invite comments about this column, so keep 'em coming! It's going to be a Very Brady B&B next week, as Christopher Knight (Bobby) shows up as Bridget's pediatrician. Stunt...casting...make it stop...
And pay particular attention to this past installment of Soap Central Live with host Dan J. Kroll, because B&B's senior producer Ron Weaver talked about how B&B inspired his novel Soul Mate, and the very-much-missed Bobbie Eakes chats about whether or not she thinks Macy is still alive. Of course, if you're reading this, you missed the live feed, but you can still check it out in the archives -- cool stuff!
I would like to take this quick moment to take off my hat and pay respect to As The World Turns, which, after an incredible 54 years, will be off the air by the time I next Scoop for you. It's a very sad day when any soap is cancelled and replaced by a dime-a-dozen talk show, considering soaps have been around for decades and are really part of the fabric of our lives. As I mentioned when I first began writing this column in January, I started watching the CBS block of Y&R, B&B, ATWT, and GL with my mother in the spring of 1988, fresh out of high school. So it's especially hard to grasp that this quartet is now down to a duo. Whether you watched ATWT or even liked it if you did is almost irrelevant -- it's that we've lost yet another soap whose tenure stretched half a century. And it matters.
ATWT had its share of clunker storylines -- like all other soaps -- but even though I've only followed the Reid/Luke/Noah story of late, the way it umbrella'd into a really solid tale that included that show's core families showed us exactly what a soap can do. And what we're going to be missing after September 17. It's a serious wake-up call. Unlike prime-time shows, soaps are not cancelled every day. Now suddenly it's happened two years in a row, and I'm sure we're all wondering who's next. Are soaps a dying breed? They don't have to be. Now more than ever, the remaining soaps should be mindful of the chopping block and give us plausible, character-driven stories that have roots in their histories. Give us substance. And when you craft surprises, make them real surprises and not over-the-top shocks that only resonate over a Friday cliffhanger. If we learn anything from losing ATWT, let it be that. In the meantime, goodbye Oakdale...this is one B&B fan who will miss you very much.
Now stepping down from my very appropriate soapbox, I implore you to keep watching B&B, be alert, and most of all, be bold.