Sweet Caroline
by Mike
For the Week of April 9, 2012
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The arrival of the Spencer ingénue has Brooke shoppin' and Amber hoppin', while Hope's pills are still a-poppin'. Is Caroline 'Kiddie Patrol' or relief from it? Find out in this week's Two Scoops commentary from our columnist, Mike.
Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you find yourself running match.com? Was there a whole lotta shakin' goin' on? Were you maybe just a little too good to be true? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

Once again, I come back to B&B two weeks later and it's a whole new show. But who's complaining? All the emphasis on the new Caroline Spencer has created enough balance and involved enough characters that even Leffy/Lope is almost tolerable! But we'll get to all that. First, let's quickly revisit the much-ballyhooed anniversary episode, since it didn't fall during my week!

Obviously B&B could only do so much in just under 20 minutes...but they could have done more if they'd left Leffy/Lope out of it. Loved the flashback to Ridge and Brooke's first meeting...would have been nice to get a glimpse of Eric and Stephanie's first scenes, too, instead of an obscure Christmas chat that happened as they were divorcing. The Core Four focus wasn't inappropriate, but why were Thorne and Felicia there if they only got to utter one line? Even Taylor was no more than a glorified extra. Again, I know B&B couldn't do everything -- which is why an anniversary week would have been nice. Okay, I'm greedy...I wanted all the long-term characters to get their due...and I really wanted some Sally love!

But boldly on we must go, heralded by the arrival of the heretofore unknown Caroline Spencer. So, Karen had a daughter. With whom, I wonder? My guess is Connor, because that was the last man we saw her with (and B&B could use Scott Thompson Baker stat!). So far, I like Caroline, although the introduction of her cancer foundation made things a little sappy. Fortunately, that syrup was diluted by an unexpectedly gripping series of flashbacks featuring Ridge's last days with the original Caroline. It sure gave Ridge some substance, finding out he was still so affected by his late wife's passing. Boo-hooing over the younger Caroline's neck tattoo was a little much, but the way this girl's entrance is being weaved into the show's history is very satisfying.

It's also unearthed another piece of the show's history -- Brooke's Stephanie-like crusade against Amber. Not sure what to make of it, especially with Brooke being unusually overbearing. Yes, only last year, Amber caused trouble for Hope by pretending Liam was her baby daddy. But Brooke's sudden intense interest in Rick's love life is unnerving. Where was Brooke when Rick was going after Jackie? When he flirted with the not-surprisingly-absent Beverly, who is as much from "the other side of the tracks" as Amber? And why would Brooke push to hire the inexperienced Caroline as a designer? There hasn't been a non-Forrester in that position since Grant, and that was in the '90s!

The other head-scratcher here is Rick. He says he's not involved with Amber, but, before his flirtation with Steffy, he and Miss Moore seemed to be reconnecting romantically. He tells Brooke "I'm not dumpin' her." The next minute, he wants to go after Caroline. Personally, if B&B wastes the original history with Jacob Young and Adrienne Frantz, it would be a shame. But, more to the point, this story needs to go back in the oven for a while, because it's clearly undercooked thanks to Leffy/Lope. Another thing -- everyone seems smitten with Caroline; Brooke even says Caroline is everything Amber isn't. But they only just met Caroline! She could be the biggest bitch on earth! Would serve them all right if Caroline turned out to be a psycho, the way they're all making idyllic assumptions about her.

Catering must be in Brooke's blood, because for the second time in two weeks, she's thrown together a swanky soirée in no time flat. In the middle of the day, no less! It was a great party, and Caroline basked in the attention, but I almost felt sorry for her. Not one day on her own (after Karen mysteriously had to return to New York; uh huh) and the Forrester brood waged separate campaigns to set Caroline up with the suitor of their choice. I hope Caroline tells them all to stick it, because she certainly seems capable of deciding for herself who she wants to go out with.

It was nice to see Thorne and Taylor for a millisecond (still not buying their romantic do-over, but I'll take it), as well as Taylor's sweet exchange with Thomas over his latest instant infatuation. Now, sit down, Scoopers, and get ready for a shock. You all know I have come to loathe Thomas in the guise of Adam Gregory. I haven't forgotten Taboo or the berries and all Thomas' spineless behavior in the midst of it. Drooling over pseudo-sister Hope made me hate him more. But you know what? Thomas and Caroline would be a good match. Yes, I said it.

Finally, he's showing interest in someone who isn't a member of his extended family (unless you want to count his connection to Caroline through Steffy's Spencer marriage, which I don't). Thomas isn't even as creepy around Caroline, amazingly. Besides, as I said before, Rick has history with Amber that the show would do well to capitalize on. So why not give Thomas a real shot at redemption through Caroline? Of course, first we'll have to sit through Brooke and Taylor battling over whose son is better for the Spencer ingénue. You can totally see that coming, can't you? This is me yawning in advance.

Amber certainly isn't helping her own case, is she? First off, I think she's a little misinformed regarding Rick's intentions (not her fault, due to the underdeveloped storytelling I previously mentioned). I can understand her getting up in Brooke's face to defend herself. To be fair, Amber has tried to turn over a new leaf since the birth of Rosie. But sashaying into that party, babe in arm, laying that backhanded "you've got a lot to learn" stuff on Caroline? "Subtlety" obviously isn't in Amber's vocabulary. That New Yorker Caroline thought Amber's speech was "sweet" was a little hard to swallow.

Not as hard to swallow, apparently, as Hope's pills. Amber was all up in that, too, having overheard Hope's frantic call to Dr. Barton. Unable to convince Hope that a mutual friendship would help them with the men they love (and somehow, I believe Amber's reawakened feelings for Rick are genuine), Amber cast herself as your friendly neighborhood pharmacist and hooked Hope up with the pills Dr. Barton denied. Anyone else catch the irony in that? In 2002, Sheila framed Amber by making it look like she was on drugs. Surely Amber would have learned from Sheila and worn gloves while handling those pill bottles? Amber was never the sharpest cactus in Furnace Creek!

I don't get how Amber scoring pills is supposed to endear her to Hope. Amber delivered them anonymously; Hope thinks they came from Dr. Barton. Why didn't Amber just hand Hope the bottle directly? That would have given Hope a concrete reason to lean on her. And poor Jake -- why bring him in just to be Amber's messenger and pop off about how Amber is acting weirder than usual? How would he know? And why can't Jake get his own storyline? Bring historic characters back to be more than day players, or don't bring them back. (Anyone seen Rocco lately?)

Hope's anxiety level is rising, but it would go through the roof if she saw the way Liam let Steffy nibble his ear with her "cha cha cha." Twice! All right, last column I sneered at weepy, whiny Steffy, but I'm no more impressed by this supposedly empowered Steffy deciding to fight for her husband. Please. Steffy only wanted Liam before because Hope had him, and it's no different now. Although I did detect some genuine concern from Steffy when Hope got all mellow yellow from that "allergy pill."

Our fearless editor informed me that I'd confused antidepressants and antianxiety pills, saying the effects of the latter are much more immediate, debunking my claim they would take a while to get into Hope's system. Point conceded. But I still question how a freaked-out Hope could pop a pill as Steffy walked in, then melt into euphoria during the ensuing conversation. Only on Bewitched could a pill take effect so magically! But at least now, Hope is taking more than the prescribed amount to combat her shakes, making this a much more valid soap addiction. And Kim Matula is starting to turn in some very interesting performances as Hope gets more drugged out. I like it!

Liam is as clueless as ever, so I'm not surprised he didn't catch on to Hope's erratic behavior at Caroline's party. But why didn't Brooke? Certainly she hasn't forgotten how tripped out she was on the berries (not that I want to remember that horrid chapter, but since it's there, we might as well use it for history). She already thought Hope had too much champagne, and you'd think she'd see Hope wasn't right, especially after expressing concern to Dr. Barton about Hope taking the pills in the first place. Yet, none of Hope's cackling fazed her. Caroline must've been all, "Oooookay, I'm just gonna check out this plant over here..."

But no one noticed Hope, because they were all too busy fawning over Caroline. Thomas and Rick have a new reason to be rivals, and this development intrigues me, even if different actors played them when Thomas blew up Rick's car. I loved Caroline's savvy as she turned the tables on the Testosterone Twins by inviting Hope to join them at the now-very-different-and-outside-rather-than-inside Forrester pool! (Note to Brad Bell -- changing that infamous set 25 years into the show with no explanation is a no-no. Yeah, it looks better! But that's not the point.) I hope they keep Caroline smart like this. It was fun watching Thomas and Rick's faces as she one-upped them!

Of course, Hope's bikini-clad quaking and staring at her pill-laden purse can only mean trouble. (Dig the forged note saying to take the pills for anxiety, just in case we were too stupid to remember why she's taking them.) Will Miss Logan find herself admiring the tile at the bottom of the pool? I'd like to see Hope's addiction deepen for a while before the show calls in the cavalry, but I have a feeling the jig will be up sooner than later. Maybe after, Hope and Taylor can hit 12-Step meetings together!

So, how are you feeling about B&B's new direction? Love it? Hate it? Or do you want see Leffy/Lope back on your screen 24-7? (Just kidding.) Speak your mind by dropping me a comment. It might just end up in a future column. Like these!

    • "Love your columns! Was wondering if anyone else is as annoyed with Hope constantly pushing that piece of hair off her forehead? Drives me nuts!" -- Linda

    • "I am OVER THE MOON that B&B is taking a much-needed break from [Leffy/Lope] and focusing on the other 10 cast members they've tossed aside these past few months. I love the Brooke/Amber rival story that's developing here...[and] Nick, Jackie, Owen, and Bridget need to be put back on contract and given a new storyline!" -- Jimmy

    • "I enjoyed the anniversary show, but was miffed that we couldn't even have THAT without [Leffy/Lope]...I would have preferred to have more reminiscing about the good old days instead of the very boring present ones..." -- Mary (AUTHOR'S NOTE: Amen!)

    • "I am sick of Hope and the pill addiction. Why are they making her such a spineless person?" -- Pat

Let's finish things up with some Points to Ponder:

Amber asked for the pills to be delivered "whatever it costs." How can she afford that? What is she even living on? And, if Forrester still gets requests for the Ambrosia line's showstopper, wouldn't that negate all the money problems Amber's had on Y&R and B&B?... With Hope keeping her pills a secret, why would she just chuck the bottle in the office wastebasket?... Hope sure got it from all sides, between a surprisingly unsympathetic Stephanie saying it must be hard for Hope to be at a party with another woman's husband, and Dr. Barton reminding Hope the public labels her a hypocrite and a fraud...

"There comes a time you have to pass the torch to the younger generation," Brooke speechified at the party. Nice justification, Brad Bell, but we want to see more than the young set, you know... "It's ridiculous Rick and Amber have a line," Thomas groused. "I'm a designer!" Yeah, well, Amber was designing when you were in Pull-Ups... Why would Caroline be so emotional over an aunt she never met? Much less describe the Forrester compound view to Rick when he's only known it since birth. Have he and Brooke not noticed he's a decade older than Caroline? That makes Thomas the better match...

"Now she's back," Brooke lamented about Amber. She's been back almost two years!... "I'm trying to take responsibility!" Amber insisted to Brooke, then contradicted herself by saying Tawny encouraged her misdeeds. Likewise, Amber told Hope "what they're saying about you isn't any more true than what your mother's saying about me" -- yet Amber's history rather speaks for itself... "You had your life with Amber" was the only good point Brooke made in discouraging Rick from Miss Moore... What psychiatrist only doles out two pills at a time?... Brooke was feelin' the love for the original Caroline, but didn't they go to war over Ridge more than once?

Great lines: "You are not a Forrester," Brooke spat to Amber, "and you will never be welcome here." Funny considering how many times Stephanie said the exact same thing to Brooke! "You don't owe her a thing," Brooke said to Rick of Amber, causing him to counter, "Except maybe a kidney." A+ for History!

Well, it's getting interesting, and anything's better than all Leffy/Lope, all the time. And at least "Caroline 2.0" seems too mature to end up in the Kiddie Patrol. But here's hoping Brad Bell isn't putting the original Forresters and Logans out to pasture! After all, Eric was older than Brooke is now when he was got hot and heavy with Sheila, then Lauren! Balanced storylines are great, but so are balanced demographics. Keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

Mike (Adam-Michael James)
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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.

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