Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did everyone tell you your theme song absolutely should not be "You Light Up My Life"? Did you sample more than the muffins at your local coffee shop? Did you cheat on a test? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
On February 7, B&B clocked in with Episode #6000. With only six soaps left, B&B is now the baby of the bunch, but, with only six soaps left, six thousand episodes is nothing to sneeze at! Bold and beautiful congratulations all around, and here's to six thousand more! (Although by then Brooke will be Stephanie's age and Steffy will be Brooke's age -- won't that be interesting!)
B&B celebrated its milestone with an extension of Stephanie's cancer storyline, setting up an intervention for Nick and his cigars featuring lung cancer patients and survivors. The show's heart is in the right place -- and the facts about the disease, its causes, and its occurrence in those who have never smoked are irrefutable. And the "talk show format" was an interesting departure from the usual soap presentation. So why did I find this special episode kind of painful to watch?
It's certainly no offense to the actual cancer survivors who did cameos, including opera singer Zheng Cao and actress Kathryn Joosten. (Hey, Desperate Housewives fans, wasn't it a trip to see Mrs. McCluskey interacting with Stephanie Forrester? They should flip it by letting Brooke show up on Wisteria Lane!) It's just that the whole intervention felt rather forced to me. Or, as Allison pointed out last week, it's simply being overdone. Nick is being hit over the head from all sides about his cigar smoking, and as viewers, so are we.
Although I found most of the Jackie/Owen sequences particularly cloying (why is Jackie being this much of a twit?), I was pleasantly surprised to see Owen stand up as the voice of reason. He actually echoed almost exactly what I was thinking as I watched -- we (and Nick) are getting a lot of facts, but not a lot of emotion. Isn't emotion what we're supposed to get from a soap? Nick's cigar saga would be a lot more effective if it had been designed as a long-term story arc that focused on the human angle of the whole thing -- that's why Stephanie's story worked. Instead, as Owen suggested, Nick is being treated as if he's "bad"!
Isn't the man trying to give up smoking? He's chewing the gum, he's using the patch. Yet everyone around Nick is acting as if all he does is smoke cigars all day long. Stephanie, for all her good intentions, calls Nick a "naughty cigar smoker" in front of strangers and shoots him "I told you so" looks. I was so glad when Nick got up in everyone's faces and told them quitting would have to be his choice! It's like AA -- he has to do it when he's ready. Pressuring him to stop is only going to make him do it more. I was actually happy to see Nick pop a cigar in his mouth just to mess everybody up! And, of course, more so to see him destroy them of his own accord. Smoking is unhealthy, Scoopers, and B&B is right to remind us. I just wish they had gone about it a little differently.
There are other interventions to be had. But first, our wayward Thomas. Let me get this straight -- he spent weeks dreaming about Brooke and finally made a move on her, and now we're led to believe he's going all gaga over Dayzee, who he barely knows? Personally, I think his dalliances with Madison and Summer -- and now Dayzee -- are all ways that Thomas is unsuccessfully trying to forget about Brooke. He certainly mentioned her enough times during his convo with Stephanie -- isn't Stephanie the one person who would see that the "right girl" Thomas talks about is Brooke?
Of course, it could all still be Thomas trying to convince himself he's not gay -- and the ranks are swelling on that particular opinion. Because otherwise there's no call for hooking him up with Dayzee. She's already exploring things with Marcus -- who, of course, was already exploring Amber. So now Marcus gets conveniently shipped off to Forrester International to help Steffy. What sense does that make, considering Steffy will be back in L.A. by the end of the week while Marcus stays in Paris? All this so we can set up a Marcus/Dayzee/Thomas triangle? Yeah, that's going to be riveting television.
I do like Dayzee. She's fresh, sassy, and real -- and has a really mellow singing voice to boot. It was a little contrived getting her up on the mic just to give Thomas another reason to like her, but fitting -- both Amber and Macy sang there when it was Insomnia, after all. (How much did you love Carl asking if Dayzee would honor his Insonmia card?) Dayzee was spot-on when she referred to Thomas' staring as "creepy." I can see that he would find someone like Dayzee refreshing, but I'm not buying his sudden interest -- and what's up with Thomas going around kissing everyone? He couldn't have asked Dayzee out first? I hope Monday's episode finds Dayzee's hand singing a song to Thomas' face!
I tried, you guys -- but this incarnation of Thomas simply isn't working for me. The character's been written as an idiot since he was recast. It's actually making me miss sister Steffy!
Speaking of vixens, Amber was the focus of a big ol' Logan/Spencer intervention. Hey, why should Nick be the only one to get ganged up on? It started with Brooke and Bill uncharacteristically getting together for lunch to discuss their kids. It's interesting to see them interact! Although, Bill was looking like he'd lost his infamous edge, especially since he seemed clueless to Brooke's probing about Liam's situation with Amber. You mean to say that Dollar Bill, who can find mysterious limo drivers and all manner of other confidential information, had no idea his son was being pegged as a babydaddy? Do any of you believe that? I don't, not unless Bill ordered a side of stupid with his lunch.
Thank goodness Bill sprung back to life once Liam 'fessed up about his supposedly carnal concussion. "Why didn't I hear about this sooner?" he wanted to know. Then, when Amber found Bill on her doorstep and uttered "Oh, my God," Bill quipped, "Not quite, but it's as close as you'll ever get." Now that's Dollar Bill! B&B seems ten times smarter, snappier, and sexier with dialogue like that. Why can't we have it all the time?
Another nominee for the Sassy Award is our Miss Hope. I'm glad to see the backbone she developed after the mask-boink has survived into the new year. She faced Amber alone and made her take a pregnancy test. It's all sort of standard soap fare (that many are calling antiquated), but the scene where Amber provided the results to Hope -- with not a word spoken - was actually quite compelling. If Hope keeps up this level of strength, Steffy's gonna have to watch out!
There was an interesting dynamic between Brooke and Amber -- the two here who have the most history. Brooke almost seemed sympathetic toward her former daughter-in-law, didn't she? And I loved the moment where Amber stopped Brooke before she could say anything, popping off about what Brooke must be thinking because of the similar scenario with Rick, calling it "classic Amber." We all make mistakes, Amber pointed out -- "isn't that right, Brooke?" I'll keep saying it -- history is what makes these scenes work.
What doesn't, though, is repeating history -- even though B&B seems conscious of recycling Amber's story. Back in the day, Rick was a potential father, along with Raymond. But Amber had redeemed herself once she and Rick settled into their second marriage. She was only a bad girl again when she popped up on Y&R. And what about that? I'm glad Amber acknowledged her own history, reminding everyone she buried two babies, but why is Amber so gung-ho about having a child now? Because husband Daniel didn't want one on Y&R? Because the now-forgotten "little D" isn't actually Amber's biological child? I wish B&B would come out and say that Amber's getting close to biological-clock territory and that her maternal urge is blocking everything else out. At least her behavior -- and her looking to Rick, Nick, Oliver, Liam, and Marcus -- would make sense then.
What exactly is the endgame here? Eventually, the paternity of Amber's baby is going to be exposed. What then -- she gets shipped off to Y&R again until they write her into a corner, too? There'd better be some big, meaningful twist at the end of it all to make this worth it. And when did Amber turn into such a wuss? The only chutzpah she showed was when Bill grabbed her arm and she snatched it away. Bill, as he is wont to do, wiped the floor with Miss Moore. I'd been looking forward to the drama of their scrapping, but said drama never materialized.
Meanwhile, mama Tawny and Carl swooped in to "save the day" -- as in fix the paternity tests. The less said the better, but I'm here to Scoop after all. Who said sticking this very odd couple on a Hollywood tour bus was a good idea? As if how they ended up on the bus could ever actually happen! I appreciate the attempt at humor, but I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. Hell -- Carl was such a doofus that he made Tawny look sensible! Once at the hospital, why was Tawny allowed into the lab? Why risk detection? And if Carl fixed the test results, why did he not destroy the original, "real" copy first before the doctor came in for it? Oh, I know why -- for a flimsy attempt at suspense. Come on, guys, make it reasonable!
The bright spot in this week's baby drama? The return of A Martinez! For our younger readers, A Martinez was megawatt huge in the '80s as half of the Cruz/Eden supercouple on Santa Barbara. And I have personal reasons for being thrilled to see him -- in the late '90s when I was doing extra work, I did a pilot with Mr. Martinez -- we were dressed up as colonists on Mars and I sat next to him in a futuristic vehicle. And he was very cool. He deserves more than a handful of episodes as a guest star -- he should be added to the cast full-time. He's got the talent, he's got the clout, and his Dr. Ramon was as badass as Dollar Bill by his second scene. Don't let him go, B&B!
All right, Scoopers -- you sing the next one:
• "Amber trying to pin her pregnancy on Liam is so stupid!! I've just about had it with B&B. Amber is old enough to be Liam & Oliver's mother. Hope wasn't even born back when Amber was trying to trap Rick with the same thing. Carl was a janitor, not a lab tech. He has come a long way and knows his way around the lab enough to fake a DNA test. WOW. The writers need to WAKE UP. The show is so BORING. CBS may have only one soap [left] if B&B doesn't watch out." - Teresa
• "I have watched B&B from the very beginning and all I am wondering is where is my soap and what have they done with it? Lately, everything seems to be a big rehash of stuff they've done before. Don [Diamont] is a great actor, no storyline for this man -- come on! He'll get air time for [Amber]? [Brooke] does not need to keep screwing everything on two legs to have a legitimate storyline. They have turned [Taylor] into a shrew with no legs to stand on. They have [Stephanie] doing public service announcements! What's gonna happen when [Nick] gives up cigars for good, put him back in storyline [Siberia]? His relationship with Aggie is so [stilted] my soap and washcloth have more chemistry! The writers have taken a great soap and are ruining it! Thank God for the DVR where you can fast forward through the ridiculous storylines!" - Laura
• "Mike -- great column. I love it and look forward to seeing it. The Nick cancer-or-no-cancer story is intriguing but as one smoker who has fought hard to quit and stay quit (the real hard part) I did feel Stephanie was a walking billboard about it but at the same time I feel Nick's struggle with the easy reach of reaching for a cigar. It's not an addiction for nothing, take it from me...it is a struggle to quit once the will to quit is there. It could be a good storyline and to all B&B fans who are either struggling either with quitting or possible medical issues due to smoking please know you are in my prayers. It takes courage and strength to quit and if you are successful please help others of us out there who need more than just billboards, like AA we need others who've gone through it and understand the difficulties. Sorry but I've wanted to say that for a while now. Thanks again Mike for the column. Your words always spark thought with me." - Pat
• "Outstanding episode today about lung cancer. Thanks for a real life episode. It's so much better to have an episode about real life events rather than an episode about someone being in a car crash and being nursed back to health in a cabin in the woods. Thanks for a moving episode." - Glen
• "...You got something a little wrong in your recounting of the 'tricks' Pam played on Donna. Pam didn't lock Donna in a regular tanning bed, it was a spray tan bed. All Pam did was dial up the color and lock the door. Donna couldn't have been seriously harmed because the spray is released on a timer, there was no heat involved. Otherwise I love the column -- keep up the good work." - Kellie
Pat and Glen, I hear you on Nick's storyline -- I still don't find it particularly compelling soap, but if it provides support and encouragement to those who need it, that's definitely more important. And Kellie, thank you as well, especially for reminding me about Donna's dilemma in the tanning bed. It's easy to forget details like what kind of tanning bed it was! Speaking of details and forgetting them, let's explore some in Points to Ponder:
Bill suggested that Liam might get his memory back -- wouldn't it totally turn the Amber storyline on its ear if he did? As it would if Marcus turned out to be the father and not Oliver... Isn't it interesting that Brooke seems to feel Liam really is the father?... Okay, so Bill forked out a rush fee, but can you really get an appointment for a paternity test -- and its results -- the day of?... Months ago Amber was on a cell phone while driving a limo -- now she used one in the hospital? Tsk!... Tell me how much you loved Bill doling out hand sanitizer to his posse at the trailer park! Silent but effective.
"My daughter is too trusting," Brooke lamented to Bill. Yeah, she was, Brooke, until that business with the masks. Odd Brooke would be the one to make that comment... Did Jackie really interrupt her smooch session with Owen by suddenly saying "I'm glad you don't smoke"?... Zheng Cao's singing was beautiful, but does she always break out in arias as she's leaving a room?... How accurate was Owen when he said Jackie and Nick have an inverted parent-child relationship?... Stephanie said there was more to life than fashion -- yes, apparently, since we see so little of it on B&B anymore... When Stephanie mock-cried to Thomas, "You're all grown up!" all I could think was "He wouldn't be if he hadn't been SORASed!"
I hate to admit it, but our show is a bit ho-hum these days. Is it really going to take Steffy, of all people, to shake things up now that she's returning to a whole different playing field? The Soap Central message boards are just waiting for your opinions, so come on in and have your say. It's Valentine's Day, so share the love, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!