Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did your houseguest want more than clean towels? Did your antidepressant figure in making you more depressed? Are you pushing 50 and still want Mommy and Daddy back together? These and more situations faced the Forresters this week!
So, there were really only two storylines this week. Hey, that works for me -- makes Scooping for you guys that much easier. Let's get some of the peripheral stuff out of the way first, shall we?
What? Whip put off his honeymoon by coming into work the day after his wedding? "Oh, I wanted to try out my Cabana line idea first." Why, when there's already a lingerie line in progress? And why did he treat Owen so badly? At least he acknowledged Owen afterwards, and his proper British introduction of Jackie was priceless. But the PR man shouldn't be letting Taylor out of his sight right about now -- she might decide over breakfast she wants Ridge back!
Over at Forrester, Steffy is still smoking whatever it is she's been smoking -- Hope went to the wedding to steal Oliver away? Pull the compact from the Prada bag, look into it, and say that again. How interesting that Jarrett said Spencer Publications was blackballing Forrester from all their media! I can see Bill doing that -- although I suspect there'd be a backlash from the readers of Eye on Fashion! And finally, how 'bout Ridge praising Eric's sketch as bellisima? Nice nod to Ronn Moss hoofing it on Italy's version of Dancing With the Stars. Maybe Ridge and Brooke's next storyline should involve some ballroom! Charity talent show? Dance-off with Jackie M? I'm just sayin'.
And stallin'...puttin' off "The Rehash Hour with Eric and Stephanie." I was afraid of exactly this when Stephanie left Jackie M -- she could have been brought back to Forrester without resorting to this tiresome triangle again. And B&B, don't even try to paint Eric and Stephanie as some sort of supercouple. As I've mentioned in previous columns, Eric spent most of the relationship we viewers have been privy to trying to get away from Stephanie! And you know something's up when it takes Steffy to say "I thought you weren't going back to him" -- that's the smartest thing she's ever said! Oh, that declaration was only made in the heat of the moment, Stephanie? Man, I'm really mourning the loss of the strong, rejuvenated Stephanie we were finally given. Now we're right back where we started.
And wow are they pushing that whole "Donna was so horrible during the Spencer takeover" at us! Let me just point out that the first thing Katie did as CEO was offer Eric, Ridge, and Thorne the top positions -- which they stubbornly declined. Yes, on principle; I understand that. But if they'd accepted, they would have had a better handle on the takeover, and prevented much of what happened during it. Donna got caught up in being VP, yes -- at least she owned it! -- but the position would never have been available in the first place if the Forrester men hadn't been such buttheads. None of the multiple characters who are reminding Eric of Donna's "selfish" behavior seem to be remembering that. And how about Stephanie throwing The Catwalk in Donna's face? Sure, Donna hosted it when Eric didn't want her to -- but no one complained when Pam meowed her way through that studio! If Donna was disloyal, then Pam was, too! Hypocritical much, Stephanie?
I admit to being torn about Stephanie being in the guesthouse, because I can actually see both sides of the conflict. So can Eric, Donna, and Stephanie. Eric is standing firm in his decision to let Stephanie stay, yet understands why Donna is upset (only why doesn't he tell her that?). Donna is torqued about her guest, yet is trying to rise above her displeasure and be fair. And even Stephanie, who obviously has her own agenda after lucking into being evicted from Taylor's (why couldn't she bunk with Thorne?), actually seems to have a little respect for Donna's marriage. So at least it's not a totally black-and-white situation. What also has me on the fence is that I'm not rooting for Eric to be with either of these women.
I've already explained how I feel that ship has sailed with Stephanie, but I've never been a fan of Eric going male cougar and getting with Donna, either. It was different with Sheila and Lauren, somehow...maybe not so much with Brooke! At any rate, there are really no winners here -- not even poor Thorne! It's wonderful to see him again, but does he do anything but campaign for his parents? (And in a Southern accent -- Winsor, your Lou'sian is showing!) Rick's back, too -- and being the voice of reason he was before TPTB turned him to the Dark Side! "What the hell are you thinking?" he demanded of his father. Maybe his snazzy new haircut has something to do with it.
Stephanie has decided to make it her mission to get Eric back -- without manipulation. Quite self-aware of her to admit being prone to that tactic. But isn't her big tribute to Eric -- no matter how heartfelt -- a bit of a manipulation in itself? Nothin' says lovin' like grand speeches and video tributes -- especially tributes punctuated with photos of yourself and the object of the tribute. Obviously it worked, because it resulted in another smooch -- this time photographed by our Miss Pammie. (I guess Oliver wasn't available to iPhone it himself.) And you know Pam's gonna use it to stick it to Donna. Speaking of Donna, since when is Bill her new BFF? If his advice wasn't so good, I'd say that her continuing to encounter him while shirtless was a sign an affair in the offing. But I hear rumblings that Bill has something else in mind -- and one can only hope it has something to do with finally getting revenge on Steffy!
Fortunately, the Quadrangle Quandary at Jackie M isn't rehash. But who goes to work after a wedding -- and still garbed in their wedding finery? Owen and Bridget, that's who! And Aggie, so she can come by in time to catch the guilty in-laws in yet another charged moment. But what could easily have been another catty exchange actually turned into a vulnerable admission from Bridget, who apologized to Aggie for being holier-than-thou and lamented how much she missed her friend.
Naturally, Aggie was skeptical after Bridget had been such a bitch to her, and she had to wonder if Bridget realized Aggie knew her secret and was playing nice to shut her up -- especially because Bridget practically confessed her infidelity right then and there. But it's obvious Aggie misses the friendship, too, so it seems their reconciliation is sincere. Wouldn't it be something at this point if Aggie gently told Bridget she knew what happened with Owen and swooped in to help? That would be a cool motivational counterpoint to Aggie wanting to expose the secret from a place of vengeance as she has recently.
So, Owen's back to being the sex object, and is understandably unhappy about it. But why is he more upset about it in light of the situation with Bridget? And why exactly is Bridget flustered? Could it be that their grief sex wasn't just grief, and that they've remained turned on by each other since their flirtation last year? Of course, Owen shouldn't be too upset, because Jackie M's practically turned into a nudist colony -- Nick stripping Bridget, then shucking off his own shirt (sure...ink...right), Jackie and Owen continuing the Cabana Boy game? At least Jackie locked the door, unlike Nick and Bridget! You'd totally need hazard pay to be a delivery boy at that company. Would Sally be happy to know so much hanky-panky was going on at her old office? (And where is Clarke, anyway -- foaming lattes at Insomnia with C.J.?)
The most intriguing part of all this is the revelation that St. John's Wort can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. I didn't know that! (Of course, why should I?) And saints be praised, former doctor Bridget realized that she should have known that. Still, what she really should have known is that having a panic attack in your office and talking openly about the possibility of being pregnant by your fellow adulterer can never be a good idea. Finally, they almost got snagged by Nick and Jackie.
Now, if Nick figured out that "something happened" between Bridget and Aggie, how come, having cheated himself, he's not putting it together about Bridget and Owen? I mean, they both might as well be wearing Demi Moore's Scarlet Letter, they're so obvious. It's also looking pretty obvious that Bridget is pregnant -- but who's the father? Wouldn't it be a hoot if it was actually Nick? And what I want to know is, how is it that Dr. Caspary could hand Bridget a packet of birth control pills without a prescription, then turn around and have to write one for antidepressants? And just how many hairstyles did Nick have in his I'm-remembering-good-times-which-can-only-portend-bad-news flashback?
I'd like to take this opportunity to soapbox a moment about more general issues, if I may. I've been increasingly frustrated with soaps lately -- all soaps, not just B&B -- but something I read has kind of put things into perspective. Here's what Ronn Moss told Michael Fairman in an interview:
We have had to change the way we do things so much...it's 8 shows in 4 days...I am really feeling we are churning them out. Honestly, I don't know if people can really notice that on-air, and that has to be a testament to the actors and the crew, and everybody working to make this still look like we are doing it as we used to and it still looks good! But, we are all fighting it all the time and it's something that has to be done for economic reasons; otherwise, we would not be on the air.
That explains a lot, really. It explains why sometimes stories and dialogue aren't very well thought out (how could they be when the show's being produced so fast?), and it explains characters having conversations in implausible locales (offices, sky lounges, etc.). It also sheds light on one particular pet peeve of mine -- fashion execs modeling their own lines! That just doesn't happen! Yet the Logan sisters have been in front of the camera constantly of late, and now Bridget is supposed to model Jackie M's lingerie line. (I'll give a pass to Jackie, since she's not designing and she pretty well is the company to the public.) Being made to realize how our shows are having to reinvent things to stay within slashed budgets, I find myself more appreciative of the hoops they're jumping through to survive. No wonder soaps are pulling so many stunts anymore -- which is ironically not helping their cause.
Notice how all the shows are doing crazy things to get attention? Firings, high-profile recasts, putting characters in one outrageous situation after another. But is it working? I don't think it is. Much of what soaps are doing to stay viable is causing the opposite effect. Nurturing OLTL's "Kish" into popularity and then chucking them like yesterday's garbage? Y&R having multiple psychos on at the same time -- and now completely disregarding history by giving Sheila kids and a sister made to look exactly like Lauren? And why did B&B make big announcements about bringing back '80s-'90s characters Jake and Rocco, only to not put them in storylines? (Sure, this week Jake escorted Eric to a chair. Whoopee.) I know this is a really scary time for soaps -- believe me, I'm freaking out, too. There's definitely a campaign to put them out to pasture. But are stunts, shocks, and completely unbelievable storylines the way to do it? Is rushing through stories -- even with today's shorter attention spans -- the way to do it? They're only perpetuating the stereotypes that have always made non-watchers dismissive, and now turning off long-time viewers which the soaps need to stay on the air.
Last year it was GL -- this year it's ATWT. The soaps need to get a clue before it's too late. Go in fresh, new directions -- but stay true to your histories. Give us the characters we love -- and pruning off the ones we don't could only save you money. Be flamboyant once in a while, be daring -- but don't go so far over the top that it strains credibility to its limit. Stop aging your kids, stop playing fast and loose with your timelines, and start heightening emotions and characters and continuity. You want stability in this rocky time? Stabilize the shows. And B&B, your only excuse for keeping this many characters is if you expand to an hour (would such a move help fill the void ATWT is sadly about to leave?). Otherwise, streamline and focus. God, I love the soaps -- and I don't want to see any more of them get axed. Take yourselves more seriously -- and networks and audiences will, too. And hey, I just read that NBC promotes DAYS during their prime-time schedule -- time to copycat, CBS and ABC!
Well, there's not much left for me to Scoop after that, is there? So why don't y'all take a shot at it on the Soap Central message boards. And I welcome comments, too, so don't be afraid to fire some off. Who will be Bridget's babydaddy? Who will Eric choose? And will we stick to only seeing Steffy one episode per week? All that and more will be revealed to us...keep watching, and be bold!