Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you waffle over your daughters the way you did with their mothers? Did you decide incest is best? Did you want to steam more than fabric? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
Ah, Scoopers, November sweeps ain't what they used to be. Not long ago, you'd see a story develop through September and October and build to kick-ass, must-see-TV in November. All month you'd be glued to the set. Now? When B&B should be at its strongest, it's hitting us with silly, implausible stories with holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through. Bold and beautiful? More like barely believable.
First in this parade of idiots is Liam. You'd think he'd have learned something after all the deception he endured at the hands of Amber. So when Steffy admitted she knew Hope was in Aspen, rigged the gondola (a word I hope to never hear again), and lied about it, did Liam kick Steffy to the curb? Nope. Steffy came clean and that's all that's important to him. What a doofus! The boy has a 15-watt bulb upstairs when he could use a sixty. That, or he's so blinded by getting sexed that he's willingly allowing himself to be duped! Never mind that he still obviously loves Hope.
Steffy knows this, but thinks because she has a wedding mood ring on her finger that she's free and clear. I've applied any number of adjectives to Steffy, but "dumb" has never been one of them. Until now. Did she marry Liam to get back at Brooke? Interesting point, but for once, I don't think so. However, Steffy damn well knew she didn't have a chance with Liam, or she wouldn't have moved heaven and earth to keep Hope from talking to him. And she still knows it. What's really going on here? Running from residual feelings for Bill? From being abandoned like she thinks she was by her father?
See, if we got into the whys and wherefores of these characters' behavior, that would make for a much stronger storyline. Instead, these guys come off as two-dimensional, plot-driven automatons because we're not being shown any layers. From the moment Steffy slipped in her tub and instantly developed feelings for Liam, this arc has just been completely out of touch with any sort of reality, yet pushed on us as if it were the Citizen Kane of soaps. This is November sweeps?
To make matters worse, Thomas has started sniffing around. Poor Adam Gregory. He's gotten nothing but crap stories since he took over the role. You know why Kyle Lowder was replaced by Jacob Young? Because Rick had been ruined while played by Mr. Lowder, and there was nothing he could've done to make the character palatable again in the eyes of the audience. Mark my words -- the same will happen with Adam Gregory. It won't be his fault; it's just that Thomas is being written so badly that he will be backburnered and recast to make us viewers forget. As if we will.
Bad enough Thomas went after his stepmother, then said he had sex with her just to snag a chunk of Forrester stock. Maybe, in time, we might have forgiven that. But for him to now be drooling over said stepmother's daughter is enough to make Jerry Springer gag. No, they're not biologically related. But they've been raised as siblings, which their parents aren't addressing. Not scripting it doesn't make it less true, and really, B&B -- enough already with these pseudo-incest stories! Shocking and pissing off viewers is a good way to lose them, not keep them. "HOT" is just about the last straw for me. Seriously. And it makes Thomas look like a total skank.
Hope is no wide-eyed innocent in this, either. All right -- we've all left common sense behind while nursing a broken heart at one time or another. But let's review, shall we? Thomas blew up her half-brother's car. He lied and made trouble for her mother's marriage -- and Hope was the first person to figure it out and take him to task for it! So are we really expected to believe that now she'd say something as insipid as "you are so much more than I realized" and tell him how kind and generous he is because he took her to a cheesy Veterans' Day celebration? Please! All this talk about Hope and her integrity...the real Hope would have avoided Thomas like the plague, not let him kiss her.
While we're on the subject of kissing, Hope's fatal flaw this week was laying her lips on Liam once she found out Steffy had indeed lied. Was Hope right that everything was different because Liam's marriage was based on lies and deception? Oh, yes. Was she right to tell him she loved him and that they could still be together? Sure. But she should have stated her case and left it at that. Kissing a married man, no matter the circumstances behind that marriage, goes against the values she infused into Hope For the Future and makes her no better than Steffy. I'm just saying.
I'm also just saying I was really stunned that Ridge got up in Hope's face, reminded her of her values, and sided with Steffy when he knew Steffy's marriage was based on lies. I did agree with his feeling there'd been too much divorce and infidelity and scandal in the family, and I liked when he owned up to knowing what it's like to love two women -- it was a good nod to his checkered history. "You have to hurt one of them to stop hurting both of them," he wisely added. But he ruined it by condoning Steffy's manipulation and telling Hope not to interfere. Where was he with this fatherly advice when Steffy was doing everything she could to interfere in Hope's engagement? He sounded like Taylor -- perhaps they keep a stash of the berries around to help with their parenting skills.
Maybe if Ridge were doing this to keep Steffy from feeling more abandoned -- and if we knew he were -- his position might make sense. But for him to say Steffy wouldn't have had to lie were it not for Hope was stretching credibility to its limit. The only thing that saved this whole story (which Brad Bell won't stop bludgeoning us with) is Hope getting a backbone and telling Ridge what time it was. "Who was protecting me?" she rightfully asked. The shoe suddenly being on the other foot, Hope felt let down and told him "loving my mother doesn't make you my father," even questioning if his stance came from her being Deacon's daughter and calling Ridge by his name instead of "Dad"! Better yet, fire in her eyes, Hope defied Ridge and said she'd go after Liam anyway! Whoo-hoo!
Not that I particularly have a stake in any of this mess. But a strong Hope is better than a wimpy Hope. Sure, maybe she shouldn't follow in Brooke's (and Steffy's!) footsteps by chasing Liam; she should know right will win out and let Liam come back of his own accord. But at least it means Hope will tell Thomas to get over himself (despite sappy Friday montages) and we can stop this horrific storyline before it starts! And where is Daddy Deacon, anyway? Two mentions this week...this would be a perfect time to bring him back, and I hear he's languishing on Y&R, anyway.
I was thankful the grownups got some equal time this week, but I'm afraid the Jackie/Eric/Stephanie awesomeness I spoke of in my last column quickly devolved into a smoldering puddle of goo. Oh, it started out well enough -- Eric and Stephanie's cell phone switch caused Stephanie to intercept Jackie's cooing text to Eric. And Stephanie showed up to do battle on an interesting battlefield. Where once these ladies' claws would have been fully drawn, this time those claws protracted and retracted as they tried to reconcile their conflict against the friendship they've maintained since being Team Jackie M.
They each got in their share of catty comments. But finally they got to the crux of the matter: they both cared about what happened to Eric. Admittedly, their messages were a bit mixed -- Jackie said there was and would be no affair, yet said she wanted to offer him "comfort." Stephanie said she didn't want to be rivals with Jackie but that she and Eric had worked things out! Eric may have agreed not to roam, but I'd hardly call their problems worked out. At least Jackie and Stephanie's argument made sense. If only everything that followed did!
First, we cut suddenly to Bill pressuring Jackie to approve the merger with Spencer Publications. That's great, but do you realize Bill came to Nick with that three months ago? And that it has been constantly upstaged by the Kiddie Patrol? Whatever momentum that story did have had long since petered out. And then B&B dropped the ball by having Jackie nix the deal! Not only do we lose Jackie M actually becoming a real competitor for Forrester, but we lose the intriguing friendship between Bill and Nick. And for what? More silliness and retread!
Okay, Jackie's to be commended for wanting to fail on her own rather than be absorbed by Bill's "conglomerate." But hold the phone! Jackie M has no inventory because they have no designer? Oh, really! Clarke was designing for you guys long before Bridget showed up as Madame X! Where'd he end up, in the broom closet? Given Jackie M is on Spectra's turf and that Clarke is the last remaining connection to the much-missed Spectra clan, he's the perfect and only choice. But do we get that? No. Instead, Jackie decides Eric is the answer to all her problems.
Oh, dahling, you've been inhaling too much of your hair spray. Do you really think Eric would abandon his own company and defect to Jackie M because of his personal problems with Stephanie? Not hardly, and it's not like he'd dash off a few designs for a rival fashion house, either. So, with Stephanie putting an end to those possibilities before Jackie could ask about them, Jackie decides to go old school Spectra and steal Eric's designs. Are you serious? Just last year, Nick and Jackie fired Amber for doing the exact same thing! Besides, how many times have designs been stolen from Forrester? It was already old when Sally -- God love her -- was doing it herself. Bill, who desperately needs a storyline, was taken out of the mix for this?
But the biggest implausibility was yet to come. Pam, who we last saw planning her honeymoon with Stephen, showed up for lunch with Stephanie, crying that Stephen had dumped her over breakfast and flown off for business in Texas! Okay, nice reference to Patrick Duffy departing to shoot the Dallas continuation (doubly nice to see a continuation instead of a reboot), but how much sense does this not make? We barely see Pam and Stephen, anyway -- why not just table them again until Mr. Duffy could return? Instead, Stephen does a one-eighty and ditches Pam off-screen for no good reason. Sorry, B&B, but Stephanie's lack of support is a crappy excuse!
So, single for mere hours, Pam set her sights on Nick! Yes, we saw her flirt with him when she was at Jackie M. But I can't see this coupling in a million years -- especially not right on the heels of an instant breakup. What's up with all these sudden marriages and breakups lately, anyway? I'm getting whiplash! Not to mention it will take a while to get the sight of Pam trying to hop Nick's bones in the steam room out of my eyeballs. I know it was supposed to be played for comedy, that Nick has been single all year, and hey, Pam deserves some love. But talk about the wrong way to go about it.
The real reason for all this? To have Jackie talk Pam into stealing Eric's designs in exchange for Nick giving Pam a little somethin'-somethin'! Nick would never agree to that, much less let his mother cement such a deal right in front of him. And how about Eric's designs just sitting out on the desk for Pam to photograph? You'd think, for as many times as Forrester designs have been stolen, they'd require a retina scan to access. Worse yet, Pam took photos with an iPhone that looks just like Oliver's. Is he going to get blamed for the theft? He's already responsible for one theft via Amber as it is. Maybe Oliver should find Daddy Yankee, because Ollie may need another job before long.
Finally, Pam returned to show Nick snaps of the designs, making some interesting confessions and observations about her previous life taking care of mother Ann and living in Stephanie's shadow. It was even kind of cool to hear Pam vent about Forrester and having to "answer their damn phones." It's true the Jackie M ensemble was a family of sorts, and I can see why Pam would want to be a part of it again. But like this? And then Pam, who clearly wanted sex, asked for a kiss "once in a while," and Nick, who was ready to throw up over the whole arrangement, declared it "nice in an odd sort of way" and planted such a smacker on Pam that she forgot about her lemon bars! I don't get it. I just don't get it.
I know these columns are not supposed to be bitchfests. I want to be able to be more positive about B&B. It's just so bad these days that I can't find much to cheer about. I'm hard on the show because I love it -- I want it to be better, and I know it can be better. Yes, I expect a lot of a soap I've given a quarter century to. But when that soap doesn't even try, I can't just roll over and accept it. I wish Brad Bell would read our columns so he'd know we want a better B&B, but clearly he has his own agenda, and I don't know if pleasing viewers is a part of that agenda anymore.
What would please you? What would make B&B rock your world? Send me your comments and they might end up in a future column. Like these!
• "I don't want years of another pseudo Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triangle with Hope/Liam/Steffy. Come on -- NEW STORY LINES." -- Tina
• "I would love to see Hope go to UCLA and meet some interesting new guys, preferably not the rich and self-absorbed type, maybe an artist or musician? Steffy is such a dynamic person, why can't she get some handsome professional that could give her a run for her money?" -- Jeanne
• "I have a blended family. Our children are raised in the same home and consider each other brother and sister. For two of them to consider a relationship just because they're not 'blood' would be DISGUSTING. Our whole family would revolt. Why do they keep doing these incestual storylines? They undermine and make a mockery of every family out there striving to blend children into one family unit. SHAME [on] lazy, uncreative writing!" -- Lori
Is that all Brooke, Ridge, Liam, and Steffy do -- light candles? Does B&B have a contract with Bed, Bath & Beyond?... "Have there been others?" Liam wanted to know when Hope said she had kissed Thomas. What right does he have to ask that after kissing Steffy and Amber while with Hope?... "She was involved with your father!" Hope said of Steffy. "Doesn't that bother you?" Good point, but Thomas made moves on your mother -- doesn't that bother you?... "I don't know what to do," she lamented to Thomas -- um, yes you do; just three seconds ago, you told Ridge nothing would stop you from getting Liam back!
Can Pam down all that booze while on bipolar meds?... What was up with the bad circus music while Pam stalked Nick in the steam room?... If Jackie M has no designs, why is there one by Jackie's desk? Kept one for old times' sake?... How, exactly, does Jackie think stealing two designs is going to produce an entire line?... Nick was pissed about being treated like a piece of meat, yet he didn't seem to mind when it was Owen on the platter... Pam sneaks into the office to steal but salvages a lemon bar, which is sure to get her caught! Then she told Nick she could go to jail for the crime, but in the same breath asked to come to Jackie M when Forrester fired her for it! Hard to answer phones from the slammer, Pammy!
One good thing about a soap -- no matter how bad it is, it can always get better. So keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!