Has your week been bold and beautiful? Was your first time first and foremost a failure? Did your therapist have one life to live? Did that door-to-door salesman sell you a wedding instead of a vacuum cleaner? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
There was movement in the Force finally as the word "virginity" became a thing of the past, and Eric and Stephanie looked to the future. Did President Obama merely preempt the show, or did he hand down a presidential order to actually get The Powers That Bell to shake things up a bit?
Admittedly, the week started with people discussing Hope's potential loss of purity yet again. Only this time, the discussions were more substantial, and it made things so much more bearable. Except, how can Bill and Katie be all loving and sexy? As I said in my last column, we never saw them resolve their issues. It's hard watching them now without feeling like something major is missing.
But who knew it'd take Bill to suggest that Hope's parentage may be the root of her issues? In particular, her father, one Deacon Sharpe. What Hope may or may not have inherited from Deacon is something not often examined on B&B. Before migrating to Y&R, Mr. Sharpe sometimes exposed his vulnerabilities to the Forresters and Logans. Of course, he also had quite the dark side -- anger, deception, manipulation, occasional violence. Children don't necessarily exhibit all their parents' traits, but it's not impossible that there are aspects to Hope's personality she (and we) haven't seen yet.
That said, there were two major things wrong with Bill and Katie's chat (aside from the fact they were even having it). First, neither Bill nor Katie has ever met Deacon. Katie can only go by what Brooke's told her about him. So the Spencers' theories about Hope are based on a lot of hearsay. Second, Bill talked an awful lot about Deacon -- who was absent during Hope's childhood -- but ignored the more direct impact that Brooke had on Hope! There's biology, and then there's environment.
Brooke, at least, was more aware. I cringed as she and Ridge again weighed in on Hope's devirginization, but was amazed how far Brooke was willing to dig while taking responsibility for how her behavior affected Hope. "All my life I was in love with you," she told Ridge. "And yet I went from man to man to man to try to replace you." Yes! That's what I always thought! I just never thought I'd hear it addressed. "Growing up with me as a mom couldn't have been easy for her," she continued. "It certainly wasn't for Bridget." How awesome this show can be when they finally stop skimming the surface and dive into the murky depths!
Brooke even brought up her rape, and Hope's near-rape two years ago at the hands of Aggie's attacker. Of course those events would help color how Hope feels about sex! I'm just surprised Brooke forgot to mention the mask-boink with Oliver. But she did ruminate on Deacon as well -- "Her father certainly didn't look out for her...she could have turned out so differently." If current rumblings are true, Hope just might, and the time has never been riper for Hope and Deacon to meet. He might finally be able to do right by his daughter in what may well be a serious hour of need!
Meanwhile, Stephanie and Taylor also had to have their say. But you know what? The Taylor I'd been missing finally came back in full force! First, she called Hope out for bragging to Steffy about her plan to sex Liam (that was pretty immature). Then, instead of coddling Steffy like usual, Taylor said she wanted Steffy to move on, citing her own unhealthy tendency to wait for Ridge! This after weeks of encouraging Steffy not to sign the annulment papers, et cetera. Good for you, Taylor!
What was Stephanie smoking, though? The thought of Steffy getting the annulment caused the Queen to cry "And admit defeat? No!" It was an odd stand to take, no matter how much Stephanie favors her namesake. Thankfully, Taylor read my mind and said, "This isn't about admitting defeat!" Stephanie dug her heels in with Eric, but they had been married a zillion years by the time she did; Steffy barely even acknowledged Liam's existence until last summer. But the bigger question remains, when did Taylor and Stephanie become chums again? The Christmas episode? Refresh my memory, Scoopers!
Now for the main event. Hope moved into Liam's and flooded the place with candles. Now, if Hope was willing to change her wait-until-marriage stance for Liam, why did she still feel she had to move in with him? And wouldn't that very house make her uncomfortable? Hope had once been grossed out by images of Oliver kissing Brooke, so how could she think she could have her first time in the same house (and bed!) where, not long ago, Liam was having sex with Steffy?
Was Liam and Hope's long, drawn-out discussion supposed to be foreplay? My mind was screaming "Just do it already!" But I did like their flashing back to their first encounters in 2010. Leffy/Lope's saga has been awash with meaningless flashbacks, but revisiting Liam and Hope's beginning was refreshing. It nicely grounded their current story. Their romance really was that sweet at first. It was sad to realize how convoluted it's become, thanks to Amber and Steffy's interference.
The clothes finally came off, and Liam and Hope found the boudoir lit by completely implausible, completely CGI fireworks. Talk about cheesy! Who would set off fireworks in Malibu in the middle of March, anyway? Oh, it was painful. But presumably not as painful as Steffy's words in Hope's ears: "immoral," "tawdry," "adultery," "stealing my husband." No wonder Hope started freaking out!
But how exactly is this adultery? Liam left Steffy and filed for a divorce. It's not like he's cheating on her. "She's not your wife, I am!" Steffy boo-hooed. Legally, maybe, but the relationship is over. Is Liam really not supposed to move on with his life for six months because of a piece of paper? I admit he shouldn't have ping-ponged back to Hope so quickly. Tawdry it may be, but Steffy's claim that Hope is committing adultery seemed far-fetched, like she only said it to get under Hope's skin.
And boy, did she. Maybe Hope even had it coming after popping off to Steffy. But, after hearing about Hope's virginity for two years, wasn't there something satisfyingly soapy about her first time being a bust? I did feel bad for her, but it was much more interesting storywise than it would have been if everything had been picture perfect. Could have done without the weird switching between the dramatic and near-porn music cues, though.
Like the old song goes, there's got to be a morning after. After an uncomfortable sequence that had the camera panning over Liam's body(?), Hope woke up with more on her mind than morning breath. Liam caught on but got nowhere inquiring into his girl's distress, except for her admission, "I grew up thinking I must have certain boundaries, or bad things happen." But when Brooke inexplicably showed up to make breakfast for the couple(!), Hope burst into tears!
If Brooke has been too invested in Hope's sex life, Bill has been too invested in Liam's. And both parents wondered why Liam would come to work after a night of deflowering bliss. Um, isn't that what you do when you have a job? Work? Even Hope had that one figured out. Bill dialed down his usual bad attitude and smugness when he sensed Liam's evening had been disappointing, but did that really merit Liam putting the sword necklace back on? Bill still wasn't exactly being Father of the Year. I guess Liam learned from Katie that anything Bill says or does is gold. I don't get it.
Hope's issue with Liam being married to someone else was lost on Brooke (one could say that's not surprising). So Brooke suggested Hope talk to her friend, Dr. Barton. (Brooke knows a sex therapist? Where was this woman last year when Brooke thought she'd slept with Thomas? The year before when she did sleep with Oliver?) Wasn't it wonderful to see a post-OLTL Hillary B. Smith on our screens? Her calming, classy presence is something the show really needs now. Thank the soap gods Dr. Barton told chatty Brooke to let Hope speak for herself! You know why Hope overrode the doctor's insistence that Brooke leave the room? So Brooke will be there when Hope gets into the real reason she's frigid!
But the roots B&B tapped into this week weren't just psychological. The 25th anniversary month is here, and so we went back to where it all began -- Eric and Stephanie. Finally it came out that our original Forresters didn't remarry after Eric's 2010 divorce from Donna. And glory be, Ridge and Brooke, the other half of the Core Four, finally addressed that they never remarried after the berry fiasco! What took so long to acknowledge these major, major story points?
Brooke mentioned it would have been Eric and Stephanie's 50th anniversary. Who's playing fast and loose with the calendar? When Eric was divorcing Stephanie in 1989, she lamented they'd been married 29 years. That means today they'd have been married 52 years, not 50. Nitpicking, maybe. But I did love Brooke's suggestion of a double wedding! That would have been a killer Core Four anniversary event. Eric and Stephanie had other ideas, though. And if it wasn't killer, it was at least a killer Diller!
Yep, we found the ever-vivacious Phyllis Diller standing in the Forrester living room. (Tell me it wasn't awesome to see that set again after being in storage so long.) Has it really been 17 years since Taylor brought Diller's Gladys onto the canvas? Remember that? Taylor hired the makeup artist to give her an "unbeauty" treatment so she could gad about town without people finding out she was back from the dead. Phyllis Diller may be 94 now, but she's still got it.
I just wish her return hadn't been so contrived. Despite her claim that "a girl has to diversify," it was kind of silly that the makeup artist was also now a gardener, an actress, and could perform marriages. And how did Stephanie recognize her? Gladys worked for Sally after Taylor (that explains her using Sally's "Queen Stephanie"), but I don't recall the grand dames ever crossing paths. And while I'd pieced it together about the wedding, I thought Gladys would just be brought in to do the makeup. Upgrading her to a notary was fine, but she could have been that without adding all the other careers.
Still, what a refreshing break from Leffy/Lope! And Stephanie and Eric have never been sassier. "Would you like to get married for our anniversary?" Eric asked. "No, sweetheart, you're a terrible husband," Stephanie smirked. Their talk about marriage and aging, not to mention their history, was wonderful. But I was a little baffled over Stephanie's reluctance to remarry. Like Bill and Katie's instant resolution, we never saw Eric and Stephanie work through their issues over sex and romance. Stephanie said, "I'll try," which was the last we heard of it. So when she balked at marrying Eric again, it felt like an extension of that issue. See what happens when B&B doesn't follow through on important story points?
Gladys foisting a wedding on Eric and Stephanie ("I need the money!") strained credibility. Yet the scene was strewn with poignant moments. Gladys' joke "How much time do you think you have to think things over?" made much sense. And when Stephanie recalled how many times Eric went to other women, Eric replied that he had been a boy then -- but he was a man now. He wanted Stephanie -- the criticism, the cancer, all of it. There was more romance in that moment than in the entire Leffy/Lope saga thus far. Eric Forrester grows up; who knew? It was the strangest soap wedding I've ever seen -- but it kinda made me smile inside. And we still have the actual 25th anniversary to look forward to!
Now that you know what I think, why don't y'all go ahead and tell me what you think? Your comments are important, and they may end up here in a future column. Like these!
• "I am a new viewer that decided to watch after OLTL and AMC were canceled...I think I chose the wrong time to start because WOW are the 20-somethings on this show annoying. Why are there so many B&B cast members if they are never on...the show has become unwatchable." -- Denise
• "...this is the perfect time for a split personality storyline a la Viki/Nikki from OLTL for Hope with all her hangups about sex. She breaks down and her alter is a hooker!" -- AJ
• "...At this rate, losing 400,000-plus [viewers] a month, by the end of the year, there will be no B&B...wake up Brad!" -- Bev
• "I kept waiting for President Obama to say 'first of all, did you all know that Hope is going to have sex with Liam tonight?' during his press conference!" -- Mary
Stephanie claimed that Liam was more like Eric than Ridge. Doubtful, since Eric didn't waffle, and Liam is putting Ridge to shame on that front. Stephanie also groused that "the Logans are just riddled with problems." Like the Forresters ain't?... "Did R.J. argue?" Brooke wanted to know. Hey, the kid still exists, which is fairly amazing... "She trusts him," Brooke said of Hope and Liam. "That's all she was waiting for." Really, Brooke? I think Hope was waiting for a lot more than that!
"I can't believe your mother is living in sin," Brooke told Ridge. Careful, Brooke; you know what they say about pots and kettles... "I have a second career as an event planner," Brooke giggled when she dreamed up Eric and Stephanie's anniversary party. Hey, she'd probably be good at it, since her mother was a caterer!... What was up with the exceedingly bad "comic" music during Gladys' scene? It really took away from it, as it does when it's used during Pam's scenes. And where is Pam, anyway?... Does anyone know why Liam is suddenly wearing Oliver's sweaters?
Great lines: Gladys was full of them. Stephanie received the double whammy of "Who does your hair?" and "You're wearing that?" Gladys' quizzical "Haven't you been married since the beginning of time?" was also classic. Bill's comment about Hope needing to be in control got an "If anyone should understand that, it should be you" from Katie. But Bill's observation that Hope "has more rules than golf" certainly earned a "touché!"
When next I Scoop for you, I will be covering B&B's 25th anniversary. That is, if President Obama's preemption doesn't push it off from March 23 to March 26. Who else besides me is looking forward to that special episode? Hey -- Thorne will be there! And coming soon is the return of ATWT's Jon Hensley in a guest-starring role. Don't waste him like you did A Martinez, B&B! Plus the next generation Caroline Spencer is about to make her début. So keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!