What a drag
by Mike
For the Week of April 23, 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? Were you a walking medicine cabinet? Did you take advantage of being sloppy seconds? Was your favorite song "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)"? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

Remember how, in my last column, I said I'd come back to B&B two weeks later and it was a whole new show? Not so this time. Now B&B seems stuck on repeat. A lot of stuff happened, but nothing moved forward. And the characters who got new information didn't really use it for anything!

Hope's addiction isn't playing out the way I hoped it would. Initially, she was given two pills. Then Amber gave her twelve more. And Hope is supposed to be hooked. On fourteen pills? All right, so Amber slipped her another handful. But that's just the thing. Concerned that the meds she bought online were tainted, Amber told all to Hope -- and that seemed like the end of it. But because Hope claimed the pills helped, Amber relented, and Hope took them anyway, knowing they didn't come from a reliable source!

Where is Brooke in all this? Didn't Amber just last week tell Brooke that her daughter might be addicted to the pills? This started off so well, and Kim Matula is adding some nice things to Hope's drug-addled demeanor, but there are too many plot holes opening up. The way Brooke has coddled Hope up 'til now, you'd think she'd have rushed right over to see if she really is hooked. Especially after hearing about Hope's accident in the pool. Instead, she's too busy trying to run Rick's love life? Not even.

Liam's only slightly better. So he thought pills were all right if Hope followed the prescription. Except the day before, she almost drowned after exhibiting bizarre behavior! Shouldn't he be more concerned and watchful? At least he's gotten proficient at putting his foot down with Bill, unlike before when he'd just stand there and take the tirades. But yapping with Hope on the phone about pills and therapy within earshot of Bill? Good one! Even Bill said Liam should have excused himself!

Bill is the most annoying factor in this equation. I might have bought his opinions once he found out about Hope's sessions. But he made unfounded claims that Hope was a head case long before that! Like he has room to talk? A year ago at this time, he was trying to off Amber! His talking smack about Hope while encouraging Steffy to hang on to her marriage has really gotten old. Don Diamont hasn't had too many new lines to memorize since we've had "Broken Record Bill!"

The one thing Bill got right was his contention that, eventually, the public would become entranced with a new scandal. Really, it should have already. Hope is no Lindsay Lohan, no Britney Spears. Would total strangers care that Hope is with a "married man" (a man she was engaged to herself!) who is in the process of a divorce? Much ado about nothing. I doubt people would be blogging about it weeks later, or that reporters would be so aggressive in their name-calling. Though I loved Marcus coming up and going all street on them (and the ineffective security guard)! If he hadn't, Steffy was about to. It actually looked like she cared!

Wouldn't it be cool if, ultimately, Steffy ended up helping Hope? She did show compassion for her rival more than once this week. Which is what made it so bizarre that she told Hope "you got involved with a married man -- and there's a price to pay for that." Steffy sure likes to throw her connection to Liam in Hope's face -- but last year she was all hot and heavy pursuing the very married Bill! What price did she pay for that? Hitting her head stepping into a bath and "falling" for Liam five seconds later? Is Steffy that much of a hypocrite, or just the victim of bad writing?

Of course, Liam may clear the way for Steffy all by himself. It's such a rerun of last year, isn't it, his letting Steffy kiss on him at Bikini while involved with Hope! And why would he have his wedding photo with Steffy as his laptop wallpaper? That wasn't a web site Hope saw. That's as dumb as him telling Steffy "all my memories of you are spectacular." Her lies about Hope in Aspen and Cabo equate to spectacular memories? And please, Steffy -- no more "cha cha cha." That's getting to be as bad as "annulment." Or "lemon bar!"

Now, in what universe would Donna and Pam be hired for the same receptionist position? The Bell Universe, that's where. Both Donna and Pam have run their course as characters, as far as I'm concerned, and I've long since tired of their "frenemy" schtick. Going on game shows, hosting talk shows, now drawing a line down their desk? This stuff isn't funny -- it's stupid, and painful to watch. Both Alley Mills and Jennifer Gareis deserve better. How about putting Donna with Jake? He's another character with ties to the show's beginnings who only gets thrown the occasional crumb. "Dake" would be hot together!

But no. Instead, the Dynamic Duo was so intent on their hackneyed bickering, they couldn't even stop Amber from storming a very strange business meeting. It makes total sense that Ridge would want to take the focus off Hope For the Future. That line stopped being about the clothes ages ago. I also get that Ridge would not want Amber working on designs with Rick. But Brooke is being absolutely insufferable, which surprises me. Yes, she and Amber have a disastrous history, but Rick was right: Brooke's crusade is personal, and it isn't fair. And talk about putting Caroline in an awkward position!

Admittedly, if Rick's intentions toward Amber were a little clearer, it would help the story. It seemed they were starting to reunite romantically last fall when Amber started touching up Rick's fledgling designs. Now he's sending her mixed signals. He defends her, acts like she's sticking around, doesn't discourage Amber's encouragement -- yet busts a move on Caroline right in front of her. That's what's giving Brooke license to keep shoving Rick and Caroline together, now in the form of an unrealistic photo shoot. "I know you haven't created a design yet," she admitted. Brooke barely knows if Caroline can draw a stick figure! Even Amber still knew how to flesh out Caroline's design.

What's so silly is how invested everyone is in Caroline's love life, wanting her in their camp for their own selfish reasons. What, Caroline isn't old enough to decide for herself who she'd like to date? If Rick and Thomas want to fight over Caroline, that's one thing (maybe this time their rivalry will have them burning down Forrester!), but Brooke, Ridge, and Taylor need to stay out of it. Brooke especially, who should have learned from 25 years of Stephanie interfering in her relationship with Ridge.

However, we did get some genuine humor out of it this week. I wondered what Amber was up to when she started altering her design and luring in an eager male model, which led to finally having a guy in a dress on B&B. Would it be funny when Amber pasted Rick's head on the cross-dressed photo? Surprisingly, yes! But it wasn't the image of Rick in drag that did it. It was Jacob Young's deft touch as he sauntered in just after Amber told Caroline that Rick likes to wear women's clothes. "Amber, I love this dress! It's sexy as hell!" I actually laughed out loud, and I don't "LOL" often!

That was some real humor, not like the forced Donna/Pam groaners we got. Of course, if Caroline had been more specific about Rick's "love for fashion," he might have caught on to why she broke their date. Did anyone think it strange that Rick got all pissy with Caroline about it? Way to endear yourself to her, dude. But it did allow for Thomas to swoop in and take Caroline out instead.

I really like them together. Not that I'm dazzled by their magical connection or anything, but Caroline is bringing out a new side of Thomas that may just be his niche. No, his having the manager's young daughter escort Caroline to the table didn't impress me. (Especially because the kid couldn't act.) It's just that Thomas isn't creepy with Caroline like he was with Brooke, Dayzee, and Hope. I don't think TPTB really knew what to do with Thomas after the recast. So this potential romance with Caroline finally does seem like a perfect fit. And it's better than Ridge trying to recapture the past by going after his dead wife's niece himself!

It is rather a drag that we're going around in circles again, instead of moving forward with story. Last week, Allison pointed out that there was a lot of beautiful on this show, but not enough bold. I couldn't agree more. There's too much talk and very little action. How about Hope holding a press conference to tell everyone it's her damn life and she'll live it with whom she wants? How about Steffy trying to piss off Liam by going after Bill again and realizing she never fell out of love with him? How about characters making bold choices instead of talking about the same things week after week?

Now we're going back to Aspen for a third go-round, this time for their fashion week. The only reason I'm looking forward to that is the inevitably brief but most definitely welcome appearance of ATWT's Jon Hensley, who will undoubtedly disappear after he outlives his usefulness to Leffy/Lope. Fools, B&B, fools! And Steffy is going to promote her new line? She's in public relations! Even when she took over Brooke's Bedroom as Intimates, she was only a model. Now she's designing, too? And a ski line, at that? Hardly haute couture. Guess this family simply absorbs designing talent by osmosis...first Bridget, then Rick, now Steffy. I'm sure R.J. and Jack, wherever they are, are holed up with sketch pads, cranking out classroom chic!

But I digress. Time for me to shut up and let y'all have your say. Got something to add? Send me a comment and let yourself be heard.

    • "I have watched...since [the beginning]...I am now thinking of not watching at all as the story line is just a lot of [female] characters doing anything for a man. It is becoming boring...[there's] no real substance. Enough already...Hope and Steffy dying for Liam, now Amber and Caroline...you know the rest. It better change or it will be off [the] air next." -- Sandra

    • "Does Bell not understand that we are sick of Liam, Steffy, and Hope? Hope is too young for marriage. Liam is a flat-out cheat. He cheated on Hope with Amber and Steffy. He is cheating on Steffy with Hope. And he has the nerve to demand honesty from Hope and Steffy. Steffy is too desperate for love. Three years of her begging Owen, Bill, Oliver, now Liam." -- Moe

    • "Has Taylor forgotten what she went through with Brooke? And she is advising her daughter to be just like the woman she despises...Taylor should be more understanding of Hope and what she is going through..." -- Jo

    • "I am SO sick to death of the lazy [unimaginative] writing on B&B. They push the ridiculous rewind or rewrite button every week and run a story into the freaking ground. I am so sick of Hope looking at the Internet, hyperventilating, and then popping a Xanax. I'm tired of Steffy playing sex like a broken record. I'm sick of Liam not having a spine. And I am REALLY sick of Amber's hi-jinx without ever getting caught, or not caught soon enough. I have tried to hang in there with B&B, just don't think I can much longer. Lazy writers!" -- Lori

I'm feelin' ya, Scoopers, I'm feelin' ya. Going around in circles is a good way to get dizzy, but not a good way to run a soap. Time to spin around some more with Points to Ponder:

"I don't see any weirdos in this room," Caroline smiled. Wait 'til she hears how Rick did himself up like a statue to seduce Jackie. How Thomas blew up Rick's car. And don't even get me started on Ridge, Brooke, and Taylor. Marcus was the only sane one in that room!... Surprises: Steffy not judging Hope for seeking out therapy since her mother's a psychiatrist, and her genuinely funny face-making while reminiscing with Liam. It was also nice seeing Steffy interact with her brother, considering they haven't had much screen time together since Cabo... "Hope is Liam's first love," Brooke bragged. Really? He's older than Hope and probably had more than one romance before coming to L.A.

Why would Amber risk getting caught by looking up information about the pills on Rick's laptop? Can you say "browser history"? Why did she receive a text about a meeting that was meant to be had behind her back? And what did she mean when she said she'd thrown herself in front of a bullet? I don't recall Amber ever being shot, unless that was a reference to when she saved Stephanie, who had already been shot by Sheila by the time Amber showed up... "[Caroline's] obviously taking Amber's place," Brooke declared at the meeting. Brooke used to be CEO, true, but she certainly isn't entitled to make CEO decisions now...

"I can't wait to meet her," Steffy said of Caroline. If Steffy was ever at work, she would have already!... Nice to see Oliver get something to do, but would anyone feel comfortable leaving him and Brooke alone together after the mask-boink?... Would Rick and Caroline seriously be thrown into a photo shoot in the clothes they came to work in?... Brooke pooh-poohed Thomas' observation that Rick and Amber's line already had preliminary sales -- not a good thing to do when your only other major line is going down the tubes... I know Thomas took Caroline out on a hot date, but it might have been even hotter, all those candles near all those gauzy curtains. The couple really would've been on fire!

Hope's drinking a lot of water -- which tells us her pill-popping will only get worse, and just in time for May sweeps. It's gonna be "sweepy," all right! First, Deacon returns at the behest of Dollar Bill to come between Hope and Liam -- she's finally going to meet her father! I've been clamoring for that since Kim Matula took over the role in January 2010. Will Freaky Deaky do the right thing when he sees his daughter in trouble?

And look out, Forresters -- Caroline's got two mommies! Yes, apparently Karen found something out about herself after her relationships with Thorne and Connor fizzled (still betcha Connor is Caroline's papa!), and found it out with the help of GL's Crystal Chappell! B&B finally tackles a gay storyline? About time, especially for a show that takes place in the fashion industry, and considering every other soap has taken that plunge. Will B&B get it right? May sweeps are upon us, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

Mike (Adam-Michael James)
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