Happy New Year, friends, and before the champagne buzz is completely gone, let's review how The Bold and the Beautiful rang in 2013. ...What? Wait, you mean the show didn't acknowledge that there was a New Year? Um, yes. That's exactly what happened. We celebrated Christmas with Eric and Celtic Woman (again), but there was not a single reference to the ball dropping in Times Square, nor did anyone make a resolution!
That's really too bad because these characters need to do some resolving for the year ahead. Let's start with the most dominant character of this past week, William Spencer, Jr., a.k.a. Dollar Bill. This past week, he was going mainly by the appellation Uncle Bill, but with an uncle like him, you'd be better off as an orphan! The way Caroline was chastised, criticized, and crushed by her Uncle Bill was just plain brutal. It didn't matter that he wasn't technically responsible for her fall; he'd already pummeled her with words.
That entire scene made me question why she was even bothering to listen to Uncle Bill at all. See, Caroline has only known her uncle for a short time. She didn't grow up with him as a presence in her life. He's not a surrogate father. He's virtually a stranger to her, so why should she care if he thinks she's not living up to Spencer standards? And his standards are skewed in any case.
It was ridiculous to me that Caroline spoke to other characters about her decision to face Bill and take his anticipated angry reaction, but she didn't go home to her mothers. Karen and Danielle are her parents. They live at the beach, in the same area code. Caroline should have talked with them before ever going to Bill's mansion. Wouldn't you?
By the way, it was also unbelievable that Caroline's mothers weren't called immediately when she was brought to the hospital. Have you ever been to a hospital? You only have a family member sign insurance forms for you if he or she is your legal guardian and you're unable to do it yourself. Yes, Caroline was going in through the ER, but Bill should have called his sister right away, before the ambulance was on the road. It was just disrespectful to Karen and Danielle.
And I didn't buy his reasoning that he wanted to wait until he had good news. Suppose the news hadn't been good? Suppose Caroline was paralyzed from the neck down or rendered blind? You don't mess around in an emergency; you call the family ASAP.
This incident was as dumb as the time Marcus got arrested for Anthony's car accident, but he didn't bother to call his father, Justin the lawyer, or his mother, Donna, who has connections with important people in the city. Wouldn't you want a lawyer to deal with the questions from the cops or a parent who could bail you out of jail? Instead, Marcus called Thomas! You know, sometimes Brad Bell takes shortcuts that defy explanation.
That's kind of how I feel about Bill's sudden drinking problem. Where did that come from? One minute Bill is a super successful guy, a control freak/bully with an ego the size of Montana. But now we're going to find out that it was all booze enhanced? We're supposed to think he's been a functioning alcoholic all this time? Hmm, isn't that what Taylor was until she killed Thorne's wife, Darla, by running her down with her car? From the tone of the instant intervention on Friday, anger management was going to be the focus of Bill's problem much more than the booze.
The instant intervention was a new one for The Bold and the Beautiful. Normally it's instant weddings that Bell opts for, but he clearly thinks that throwing together an intervention takes no more planning than a wedding ceremony. Within hours of Karen and Dani hearing about Caroline's hospitalization, they were joining Katie, Brooke, and Taylor in an intervention.
It was rather amazing that any of those characters (except Katie) would even think they knew Bill well enough to confront him like that. When she moved to L.A., Karen admitted that she and her brother had basically been strangers most of their lives. Bill hadn't even known that Karen was a lesbian until she told him. But now we're supposed to think that Karen and Dani are close enough to Bill to recognize that he's an alcoholic?
Getting back to Bill's confrontation with Caroline, the one advantage to hearing Bill blast Caroline the way he did was that he made it clear: Bill will never accept Hope winding up with Liam. If you think that sounds like a familiar storyline, it is. Bill telling Caroline that Hope was unworthy of his golden son, Liam, but Steffy was, is tried old tale on The Bold and the Beautiful. It's a replay of Stephanie demeaning Brooke for years as a slut from the Valley who would never be good enough for Ridge...but Taylor was. Just put a blonde wig on Bill's head and a pair of pearls around his neck, and he's Stephanie all over again! It'll take more than twenty years before he accepts that Liam loves Hope more than he loves Steffy!
See, that's Brad Bell, master of recycling. If it worked before, let's do it again. Of course, the situation is somewhat different, and fans recognize that. But Liam is a lot like Ridge in that he's completely indecisive. Liam loves two women and doesn't want to choose one or the other. That was Ridge for most of his life.
Lately, it's looked like Liam had made his choice. He's been happy with Steffy. Yes, Hope was miserable, but at least Steffy and Liam were moving on. But thanks to the liars and manipulators around them, Bill and Rick primarily, Hope and Liam are heading back in each other's direction. The troublemakers have undermined the Steffy and Liam opportunity at a "happily ever after," and this vexing triangle is destined to go on and on and on.
When Liam learned about Rick's big lie, Liam finally found his spine. He confronted Rick at the hospital and said that he didn't appreciate Rick's interference. And then he slugged Rick in a very manly moment. It was like a scene from an old John Wayne movie. "Take that, Rick!" Of course, Liam was still an indecisive ninny in every scene with Steffy and Hope.
Sure, he was telling Hope, "I can't do this," but he never walked away from her. Liam stayed in his office, the living room, on the balcony, and allowed her to seduce him with her eyes and try to convince him to give their love another shot. Liam should have been running in the opposite direction, but he just stayed there, gazing into her eyes.
It's no wonder that Hope feels hopeful! She's confident that she can win Liam back because he hasn't done anything to make her believe it's not true. If Liam were sincerely in love with Steffy, why not just tell Hope, "I'm sorry we were lied to, but I'm committed to Steffy now." Or imagine if he said, "Look, we missed our chance to be together, but I can't blow up my relationship with Steffy to give us another chance. So I'm going to stop seeing you. That's it."
But no, not Liam. He just waffles. He tells Hope and Steffy what they want to hear, but he never makes a decision. It took Steffy -- who clearly wears the pants in their relationship -- to confront Hope. She was the one who told Hope, "Keep away from Liam."
The weird thing is that Hope is taking a page out of Steffy's playbook. Instead of "doing the right thing" and honoring the boundaries, in other words, letting Steffy have Liam, she's acting the way Steffy did when Liam was engaged to Hope. Remember how Steffy showed up for Liam's wedding in Puglia (which was completely inappropriate as his ex-wife)? And then the days before his Beverly Hills wedding, Steffy was getting him drunk and tattooed in a dance club so he could have a last fling? Was Steffy respecting the boundaries of Hope and Liam's engagement? Hell no. Steffy's motto then was "all's fair in love and war."
So now we have a new motto being enacted -- "turnabout is fair play." Hope's the aggressor, and Steffy's trying to protect her turf. It's kind of a delicious twist, but it only works because Liam is such an overcooked piece of linguine.
Or maybe there's more to it that just his inability to choose. Maybe Liam enjoys being the object of affection, with two women fighting over him? He probably gets a huge rush knowing these two beautiful, desirable young women are obsessed with him.
On the subject of obsession, it's time for Brooke to remember that she's still obsessed with Ridge. Unless she's not the same Brooke Logan anymore. Or maybe Brooke just really, really needs a man? Did you catch her say these words to Bill, "Seriously, Stallion, haven't you learned your lesson yet?" If that didn't make you toss your cookies, you're a better person than I am.
I've really had it with Bell's treatment of Brooke. This has just gone too far. Brooke has become a bizarre sidekick. She doesn't have her own life anymore. She's Katie's dialogue partner or Bill's sounding board. She doesn't work at Forrester Creations anymore. She doesn't volunteer at the homeless shelter like she did when Stephanie was alive. And what about her son, RJ? Is he ever going to return from camp/school? Doesn't she need to go see him occasionally? Or will he be graduating college the next time we see him?
But more than work or volunteering or worrying about RJ, if Brooke's destiny is to be with Ridge, why isn't she trying to contact him? It's inconceivable to me that Brad expects viewers, especially life-long watchers like us, to just accept that Ridge has walked away from his family, his business, and the women he supposedly loved deeply, to wander the world.
Is it really that difficult to recast the role? Come on, this is a soap opera. Recasts happen all the time. Look, on The Young and the Restless, for years and years Terry Lester was Jack Abbott. Peter Bergman took over (after a stint on All My Children) and has played the role ever since. Generations have accepted that he is Jack Abbott. We'd learn to accept a new Ridge. We certainly went through a bunch of Thornes, right?
I never thought I'd say this, but I want Ridge back! The show needs him badly. This nonsensical battle between Rick and Thomas at Forrester Creations wouldn't be happening, and the outlandish idea that Brooke would want to take Bill from Katie would be squashed.
Here's another thought: when Ronn Moss was originally cast as Ridge, he got the role mainly because he was gorgeous. It was eye-candy casting. Nobody would have ever confused him for a young Robert De Niro or Dustin Hoffman. He was a handsome young actor/singer who had the right style for Ridge Forrester. Ronn became a better actor over time, but even at his best, he never competed for an Emmy.
Well, it's over two decades later, and the character could still be a great-looking guy, but perhaps this is the chance to recast Ridge with a really strong actor? What about two-time Emmy winner Michael Park? How about charismatic actors like Ricky Paull Goldin or Wally Kurth? Where's Brian Bloom these days? And those are only some of the actors that came to my mind. Imagine if they put up a casting notice?
So, that's it for me. Please share your thoughts with me about what's going to happen in the weeks ahead, as well as your best and worst from the year gone by... I'm anxious to read what you all have to say. Send your comments to Soap Central, and stay in touch. Don't forget to keep on reading Two Scoops every week!
Meanwhile, here are some letters from the readers!
• Brad Bell has not done anything wrong. When Ronn Moss left the show Stephanie's exit had not even been written yet and at that point they did not even know when she was leaving and in the way the show is shot it wouldn't have worked for Ronn Moss to come in for one day to shoot a scene/scenes in the Stephanie's Goodbye storyline. Besides he had left the show physically and mentally and had already moved on to other projects, this is right from Ronn's mouth from the interview he did with Katherine Kelly Lang. And Brad has stated himself that Ridge will be recast. -- Merima T.
• The Bold and Beautiful has lost its edginess. Brooke has always been and always will be the piranha whore of the show. Yes, she will sleep with Bill -- even though she proclaims her love for her sister. She loved Bridgette, too, but slept with Deacon. Now the spawn of that relationship is acting goody-goody as if she owns Liam. Well, too bad. Stephanie has earned him and he needs to grow up and be a man. Make a choice -- the right one being Steffy. Eric needs time to mourn the love of his life. Ridge needs to come home -- to Taylor and she needs to turn him down -- at first, and let him work for her and make Brooke turn to Bill for comfort. We all know she doesn't need an excuse, but that one will work. -- Vanessa A.