Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did your date smell something fishy that wasn't the caviar? Did you come home and find yourself a year behind? Did you use real estate as a plot device? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
So, what do y'all think of the show's new credit sequence? I must admit, I was dubious when I heard about the change -- I hated it when B&B replaced the original opening sequence in 2004, and, in general, most changes on soaps these days aren't for the better. But, like McDonald's, I'm lovin' it -- and actually more each time I see it. Very classy, very slick, and thank the soap gods it still includes a quote from the original theme. I do think the names go by a little too fast...and like some, I question why Taylor comes in after Katie and Donna. If they were trying to group characters by families, then shouldn't Taylor, Steffy, and Thomas be right behind the Core Four? But I quibble. Overall, the new opening rocks!
I said in my last column that B&B had become a bit ho-hum. I'm glad to see that wasn't the case this week! Explosions, plotting a murder -- much more what February sweeps are all about. And apparently that's true behind the scenes, too: Kyle Lowder (Rick) and Sarah Joy Brown (Aggie) dropped to recurring? The show getting sued by the Naked Cowboy? (Zack Conroy should sue for having to do that scene, and we should for having to watch it, but I digress...) Was there as much turmoil on-screen as off? Let's find out, Scoopers!
First up is Thomas and Dayzee. I, for one, don't think this coupling works. Let me step in and say I have absolutely no problem with interracial relationships -- that's not it. I'm just not buying Thomas. Scant a month ago he was drooling all over Brooke, and now he's going after Dayzee like gangbusters because he heard her sing one time. She was so right to turn up her nose at his "seduction food" and to question his "ambush" -- "I do not want to be your walk on the wild side," she scolded. But let's backtrack and ask why Thomas decided to have a first date at his house! And why would Dayzee accept? They both said they didn't know each other that well -- haven't they heard of meeting in public places? Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Bad enough Dayzee ended up sending Thomas mixed signals by dissing him, then kissing him.
It was nice to hear Dayzee speak of her upbringing and feelings of abandonment, and Thomas' take on fashion was interesting, although when he talked about wanting to dress everyone on Skid Row, all I could think was "I'd like to buy the world a Coke..." -- anyone remember that? Pairing the pampered rich boy and the wily street girl isn't new, but it might have a chance of working here if it wasn't -- once again -- being rushed. And I'm sorry, but Thomas is just too creepy and too smarmy (even in the credits!) to be even close to endearing. With Marcus returning, supposedly the you-know-what will fly. Why? Because Marcus and Dayzee have become "good friends"? When? Over one episode? The only thing that would make such a triangle watchable is if Thomas warned Marcus to stay away from Dayzee, and Marcus fired back, "Or what -- you gonna blow up my car?"
Meanwhile, Ridge and Brooke hung out upstairs during this date -- weird! What is Thomas -- fourteen? (Well, technically, he's almost thirteen, but we won't go there.) Would you hang out in your skivvies with your kid and a stranger downstairs? However, I absolutely loved Ridge and Brooke looking back on their first meeting from today's perspective. Call me sentimental, but referencing history on this show makes me smile. Ridge also seemed right when he said that Thomas has "been interested in things before -- for 15 or 20 minutes at a time." But when Brooke spied Thomas kissing Dayzee, I couldn't tell if her shock was from finding out it was Dayzee or from the fact he was kissing someone that wasn't her! God knows I'm glad the Thomas/Brooke Affair is over -- if it really is, especially since Ridge still doesn't know about Thomas' kiss.
Speaking of people finding out about kisses, it looks like Katie better watch her back, 'cuz Hurricane Steffy has blown back into town! Staring at Bill's picture...mentioning Katie's tenure as Forrester's CEO -- I think we're finally going to address a loose thread that has been hanging for a year now: Steffy's seduction being the reason Bill gave up Forrester so quickly. You all know I'm not a fan of the show's blink-and-you-miss it pacing, but I also don't go for dropped storylines, so the prospect of Katie finally getting wind of Steffy's antics is most intriguing to me.
You also know I'm not at all a Steffy fan, so you're going to be surprised that I actually found myself enjoying her return! For half an episode, anyway. I couldn't believe I grinned when she breezed into Dayzee's, snarking, "What does [Thomas] know about T-shirts except for wearing them three sizes too small" and asking Stephanie what I've certainly been wanting to know: "When was the last time you saw your surgeon?" Alas, my newfound enthusiasm for Miss Forrester (ahem, Marone) cooled faster than the cup of java she was savoring.
The one thing I will say is that it makes total sense for Steffy to now be a bit of a square peg in a round hole. B&B's landscape has changed a helluva lot (for the better!) since she left. The fact that Steffy hasn't changed makes for an interesting culture clash, if you will. She's a 2010 character in a 2011 storyline. Naturally she would refuse to accept Brooke and Stephanie's newfound friendship (why aren't we seeing more of that, by the way?). And even I had to concede that Steffy made some good points -- questioning the financial soundness of Dayzee's arrangement, implying that Stephanie is running from her fear of cancer by burying herself in her new passion, and feeling insulted that it was Dayzee that made Stephanie want to live and not anyone in the family. I've never been comfortable with that declaration, either -- especially because it was Brooke who rallied at Stephanie's bedside, not Dayzee!
But when Steffy got all skeeved out by the homeless people (true to her character, at least) and accusing Dayzee of taking Stephanie for a ride, she lost me. I totally get that Steffy, from her spoiled rich girl perspective, would struggle to understand the changes in her world, and she wasn't entirely wrong about the ineffectiveness of merely throwing money at the homeless. But look up "callous" in the dictionary and you will see a picture of Steffy's face. Personally, Stephanie was way too mellow about the treatment she got -- she shook a finger at her granddaughter, but Stephanie could have easily wiped the floor with the whippersnapper, and should have! The mere fact that they're not on the same page about Brooke anymore is an awesome conflict -- wish they would have played it more.
Steffy is also on her own at Forrester, at least in terms of her anti-Logan vitriol. Which makes me wonder -- since she reminded us that she owns 25% of the company, and we now know she's got her eye on Bill again, will she defect to Spencer and sign her shares over to him? I certainly don't feel like I need to see any more "Forrester intrigue," but that, at least, would be interesting. Especially because I don't think Steffy belongs at Forrester anymore! If she's going to stir the pot, it would be far more compelling if it was as competition -- and Bill's been way too quiet about losing Forrester anyway.
Bill's not been so quiet about other things, but we'll get to him in a minute. How about first we talk about the completely out-of-nowhere antics of Jackie and Owen? Do they always do it at the office? And, on one hand, I'm glad the whole smoking thing wasn't just dropped -- with Jackie mentioning the stress of finding her with Owen possibly making Nick want to light up -- but it still seemed heavily contrived. Just as much as it did when Oliver walked into Nick's office and they acted like old buddies. Hello, have these guys ever even had a scene together? Sure, Nick is dating Oliver's sister. "I'm crazy about her!" Nick declared. Really? Since when? I always found that relationship heavily one-sided. Now that Aggie's recurring, that's probably closer to the truth!
Then we heard Nick's inexplicable advice to Oliver -- don't give up on Hope. Huh? Does Nick even know what's going on with Hope? If he does, he would know that Hope is sticking it out with Liam. I'd all but forgotten about Oliver...and would have preferred to continue. I about fell out of my chair when he offered to go see Liam in the hospital. Transparent much? Even Liam, suffering from dizziness, concussions, and smoke inhalation could see through Oliver's visit. Poor Oliver -- Liam's way more interesting in a coma than Oliver will ever be fully conscious.
So, Amber went to check a propane tank with a match (!) and blew up Tawny's trailer. Here's what I don't understand -- it's Tawny's trailer, but Amber kicked Tawny out of it. Tawny had no money, either -- where did she go? And how is she going to feel when she finds out her daughter destroyed her only piece of property? Now let's really nitpick: back in '99, the trailer was in Furnace Creek, which is in the desert over 250 miles northeast of L.A. Yet when Liam planned his visit, he said it was along the 210 freeway, which is 60 miles east of L.A. Then Lt. Baker reported that the investigation came out of Indio, which is in the desert, but 130 miles east of L.A. and nowhere near Furnace Creek! Where the hell is this trailer? Sorry, Scoopers...but this kind of thing really bugs me. I used to live in L.A., and if I can Google it, so can B&B!
I did, however, think it was great continuity for Lt. Baker to sympathize with Bill by saying "I have a son, too" -- where is Charlie? The shout-out is making me want a hot dog. And I loved Lt. Baker telling Amber she was in trouble "again." If anyone remembers, Lt. Baker was in the thick of it back in 2002 when Sheila was setting it up to make Amber look like she was on drugs and vandalizing property. Why is B&B so good about some pieces of continuity, and so bad about others?
Talking of Sheila, are any of you wondering if Bill has been studying her case file? Between Bill's cryptic comments, menacing looks, and even the same background music, Amber should be having Sheila flashbacks deluxe by now. I agree with Katie's contention that Bill is not used to feeling out of control, and it's perfectly natural that his paternal feelings for Liam have grown so much that now he's freaking out. But "not thinking clearly"? Understatement of the year, Katie. First off, he can't just bellow for Lt. Baker to cuff and arrest Amber -- it's not his call. And "contemplating murder" -- even to the point of implying it to Steffy! -- just seems way overboard. How does he figure Amber would benefit from trying to kill Liam in an explosion? And how exactly does Bill think he's going to benefit by killing Amber? Does he really want to kill an innocent baby by making its mother fall to her death?
Does Dollar Bill seem like a murderer to you? On the other hand, he came from New York with a lot of past behind him -- what do we really know about him? He could have a pile of dead bodies buried in Central Park for all we know. It's fun to watch him stalk and plot -- and I don't think he's really going to push Amber, despite Friday's cliffhanger -- but this seems off. Bill looked guilty just having that nifty colorized fantasy about Amber's plunge. And I don't get how someone would even sell a house when there's a danger of someone falling to their death there!
Amber's questionable here, too. She was savvy enough to sense that something was up when Bill suddenly gifted her with a house -- then she forgot all about it the minute she took in the luxury...to the point she didn't even lock the door, allowing Bill to walk right in. And, for all her protestations when Tawny insisted she pass the baby off as Liam's, Amber now sounds like she's convinced herself it's true. I did think it made perfect sense for Amber to turn to Stephanie -- after all, they used to be friends (and it may be appropriate to mention here that Amber risked her first baby fighting to save Stephanie from Sheila). So why did Amber have such a big chip on her shoulder talking to her? Stephanie was right -- Amber does have talent and a zest for life. I'd love to see her climb out of the hole using them, instead of using others, especially when it may destroy Bill -- B&B's most interesting character -- in the process.
Now, Scoopers -- what do you have to say for yourselves?
• "I so enjoyed your [column]. You have a witty strike of pen, and really came forth with a hilarious summation of all that's going on in the Forrester world. This soap is becoming too grim to watch. Having catastrophic illness flaunted before our faces daily is not entertainment, nor is being preached to regularly. Hopefully the return of Steffy will be accompanied by some new, juicy scandals and maybe the scent of some French fragrance to eradicate the medicinal odor presently permeating the premises." -- Judith
• "Since B&B is so into public service with the cancer storyline, etc., why didn't they take the Amber/Liam storyline and make it about her raping him. She's old enough to be his mother and if she took advantage of him when he was unconscious, that's rape. Okay I know nothing really happened, but it would have been such a good chance to expose male rape for what it is and not just a big joke..." -- Kathy
• "So sad to see Steffy back. She is such a one note cartoon character. Steffy is out of step with what is currently happening on B&B. Maybe she is going to kill her grandmother stirring all the 'Logans are evil' nonsense. She was a trashy bore before she left and she has returned a trashy bore." -- Moe
• "On Y&R [Amber] played somewhat of a decent girl. Cannot believe you would bring her back to B&B and up to the same old tricks when she supposedly left Genoa City to make her so-called son safe that it never shows, and she was so heartbroken over Daniel. Yet she's gone from Rick to Nick to Oliver and Liam. It is really insulting to us viewers..." -- Joan
• "Please let Amber's baby be black, but do not let us know until it is born. She slept with Marcus for fun. Let Ridge cheat on Brooke and break her heart this time." -- Natalia
• "Please do not end the relationship with Tom and Dayzee by killing him off or sending him or her away. It's 2011 and these stories never seem to last on B&B and your creators' other soap Y&R. It's time to let it play out since our world is more diverse than ever. If there are a few complainers just remember that just because they may be louder than us who are open to all relationships doesn't mean they are right and push you to stop this. Nice touch with Donna and her new husband, father of her child." -- Nitta
Let's see if any of you scratched your heads along with me in Points to Ponder:
Nick reminded Oliver "I was [Hope's] stepfather a few years ago." With Hope now 18 thanks to SORAS, it's not a "few" years ago anymore... Weird that Nick would broker the sale of a house suddenly, but interesting to see him and Bill in scenes together... Both Bill and Hope lamented that Liam was in a coma "a really long time" -- um, one night is "so long?"... Hope shook Liam as he came out of it -- not a good thing to do to a potential burn victim with a concussion... Yes, Amber was homeless...for about five seconds. It might have been cool to put her in the homeless storyline as a way of redeeming her. And why did Stephanie, of all people, laugh when Amber admitted she had nowhere to go? Plus, since the trailer exploded, where did Amber get clean clothes and a shower?
When did Thomas do all this kayaking and rock climbing? When he was backburnered in the form of Drew Tyler Bell?... How interesting that Steffy would mention no Forrester gowns being worn to the Oscars, especially considering the awards are this weekend... Stephanie loaned Dayzee her fancy car so she could drive to Thomas'? That strike anyone else as odd?... When Ridge met Brooke, he said, he could tell she wasn't afraid of men. Oh, really? I'd think she would've been, considering in B&B's first episodes, Brooke almost got raped... "You know how gullible Brooke is," Ridge joked to Thomas. Try looking in the mirror, Ridge! You don't even know your son kissed your sleeping wife... All right, I admit it: I just love Brooke's doorbell. Good continuity after 15 years... Wasn't it funny when Oliver and Brooke said hello in front of Steffy as if nothing had ever happened between them?... Dr. Ramon is a keeper. How 'bout putting him on contract -- and with Felicia?... Isn't it ironic that Amber is in a story with Liam, considering on Y&R she appeared on the arm of the returning Billy Abbott, who was then going by "Liam"?
Well, they're certainly mixing things up on B&B, and that's not a bad thing. Between the new credits, new character combos, and backstage drama, there sure is a lot there to fuel fan opinions. So click on over to the Soap Central message boards and tell it like it is. March madness is about to begin -- will Stephanie make Steffy wash dishes at Dayzee's to give the princess a reality check? Will Liam's next dizzy spell reveal that he's really Schuyler from OLTL and he thinks Amber is Stacy Morasco? Is Sheila really dead, or did she get plastic surgery to look like Bill so she could stalk Amber once more? Hey, it could happen. Keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!