Let 'em have it

by Mike
For the Week of August 16, 2010
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B&B Two Scoops: Let 'em have it
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How skeevy did it seem that Hope was having a conversation with Brooke and Oliver about their mask-boink in the exact place that it happened? Eww and double eww.

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Were you a kitten who found yourself jealous of the cougar that's with your lion? Did you and everyone you know seem to take stock? Did you prove without a doubt that you rule with an iron palm? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

As the radio disc jockeys of old used to say, "the hits keep on comin'" -- but it looks like B&B has taken that to a whole new level. Let's start out with the least violent storyline of the week first and work up from there!

Why exactly were Bridget, Jackie, and Owen -- who once again is incapable of buttoning a shirt -- sitting around talking about the debacle with Hope? If it weren't for Bridget being the president of the "Yeah My Mother Boinked My Man" Club (with Hope as the newest member), the conversation would have been completely pointless. Bridget spoke of Stephanie being supportive back during the Brooke/Deacon affair -- I do vaguely remember that Stephanie was fairly mellow about it. That didn't last, did it? But we'll get to that.

Meanwhile, as accepting as this trio seems to be about their unusual cougar/lion/kitten set-up, if you were Jackie, wouldn't the sight of your husband massaging the shoulders of the girl he knocked up bother you at least a little bit? Bridget may be right to ask herself "Am I going to end up like my mother?" The irony is, she really ended up like Aggie, since Bridget is now a kind of surrogate for Jackie and Owen. Will history repeat itself and see Bridget take Owen the way Aggie did Nick? Those longing looks do make a guy wonder.

How skeevy did it seem that Hope was having a conversation with Brooke and Oliver about their mask-boink in the exact place it happened? Eww and double eww. They keep begging Hope for forgiveness -- as if that's something Hope could grant instantly! As Taylor rightly pointed out, it'll take what it takes. While this part of the storyline has mostly descended into "how could you not know" rehash, Hope made the spot-on observation that Oliver should have seen Brooke's eyes were a different color. For that matter, Brooke, who has known Ridge 23 years (or many more thanks to soap opera aging), should have noticed those weren't Ridge's eyes staring lustfully at her. It's just one of the many things that makes this "mistaken identity" arc pretty contrived, even for those of us who are trying to go with it.

I keep asking myself why Oliver looks constipated throughout this whole thing. The need for Ex-Lax notwithstanding, what is it with Oliver and videos? First he "accidentally" shot Bridget and Owen's tryst (which turned out to be nothing but a disappointing red herring), then he's the co-star of the tampered tribute that ended his relationship -- now he thinks a new montage is going to tug on Hope's heartstrings. Obviously he's completely ignored Taylor's advice to give Hope space. Then he barges in uninvited and kisses Hope when he knows his kisses are the exact things that give Hope flashbacks? This kid might be a whiz behind the turntables, but these days he's earning the nickname "Clueless Jones" in my book.

Over at Forrester, the horses have left the starting gate, and everyone's jockeying for position when it comes to Forrester stock. Assuming that the Articles of Incorporation are being signed now and not when Steffy made that whole R.E.S.T arrangement(!), shares seem to be changing hands faster than a juggler's oranges. First, Taylor dropped the bomb that she's transferred her 25% ownership to Steffy. Once again, poor Thorne is left out in the cold. Naturally, everyone was appalled at Ridge's reaction to the news. But is he really wrong? We all know that Steffy wasn't responsible for the scandal-breaking tribute video, but Steffy had already proven herself adept at manipulation, coercion, blackmail, and humiliation. How could Ridge not feel that Taylor was simply rewarding Steffy's bad behavior? That's how it came across to me.

Of course, does Taylor even know what Steffy's been up to these past months? Taylor proudly crowed to Steffy that Forrester wouldn't be back with the family "if it wasn't for you outmaneuvering Bill." She wouldn't be so proud if she knew what that maneuvering entailed! And Taylor should be mortified that her daughter is capable of blackmail, period, even if nemesis Brooke was the target. For that matter, Brooke knows the truth -- since she's also convinced Steffy outed her mask-boink to the world, you'd think Brooke would strike back with a little truth of her own!

If there's a Guinness Book of World Records record for fastest arm-twisting, Donna Logan certainly holds it now. In a matter of minutes, she placidly signed over her 12.5% to Bill. Her contention that Brooke should get the stock -- one I happen to agree with -- faltered with just a little persuasion from Katie and Stephen, and the number of zeroes on Bill's stock transfer. I never fell in with B&B fans who declared Donna a gold digger, but even my eyebrow arched when I saw how fast she lit up at that.

Brooke had every right to be cheesed with her family, which is an interesting position for her to be in given the usual unity of the Logans. You expect Bill to do most of the manipulating, of course, and Stephen to be his lackey. Donna just seems to go wherever the tide takes her. But hasn't Katie suddenly gotten diabolical! She's come to delight in Bill's scheming, encouraging him to play Steffy for the stock and finding it all very sexy. Katie wouldn't find it so sexy if she knew how Steffy played Bill for the company in the exact same way! Something tells me that, with Steffy now back in Bill's orbit, it won't be long before Katie finds out just how Spencer/Forrester business is conducted.

And it does seem that Steffy is, shall we say, ripe for the picking. All that karma finally having bounced back on her, Bill has rightly deemed her vulnerable. Naturally it would be quite a coup for Bill to snag an additional quarter of Forrester stock. But even if he did end up with three-eighths, he'd still need 13.5% to add to up the 51% he'd need for controlling interest -- where's that going to come from? And, most importantly, why exactly would he want Forrester Creations? When was the last time they put out a fashion line? So far there hasn't been a single fashion show in 2010. Not exactly a company it would be lucrative to steal ownership of! Come on, B&B...give us fashion shows again. It's what Forrester used to be all about! Right now, they could be selling tennis balls, for all we know!

While Steffy has lost her edge from being humbled, she's still not about to let her arm be twisted by Bill. He has the clear advantage, but in their seductive cat-and-mouse game for the stock, sometimes it seemed like Steffy might end up with Bill's percentage instead of the other way around. Katie better watch out -- there's still a spark there with all the hand-holding and prolonged eye contact. Or is Bill simply working the old attraction -- with Katie's blessing, no less? That's the thing about Bill -- he's very smooth and says all the right things to the right people to get what he wants. Except that he's usually on target with his observations. Steffy is living for her father's approval (it's almost incestuous!), and even I have to admit she's got enough savvy of a kind to forage a career of her own.

Which brings up the most interesting aspect of this storyline. It's a good angle that both Ridge and Steffy feel they'd be lying to themselves if they did what the other wanted to make peace. But will Steffy get pissed enough that she defects to Spencer? I've wondered ever since Justin hinted at it weeks ago, and Bill's certainly not blind to the possibility. Steffy's kind of cutthroat tactics are far more suited to Spencer than Forrester, especially when you consider Eric and Ridge's mellow-yellow way of doing business. I think it would be awesome if Steffy jumped ship. And she may just, now that Bill is holding out the truth of who manipulated the tribute video as a lifeline.

Now, would somebody mind telling me what is up with Stephanie? She's always been headstrong, opinionated, and the clear Mama Bear that you don't want to get on the wrong side of. But her recent rampage is going so far that it's thisclose to destroying the character completely. I said in a previous column that Stephanie was being quite the shrew. Acid has come from her tongue for decades, so that's not exactly a news flash. But now her altercations have become physical, and it's really wrong on several levels.

I know -- soaps are in rough waters right now, and the apparent cure-all is to shock viewers rather than tell them good, character-driven stories (note to soaps, especially this one: it ain't workin'). I'm sure many viewers cheered this week when Stephanie double bitch-slapped Brooke -- once for Bridget, once for Hope. More than once, I've been accused of being biased toward Brooke -- which I'm not -- but even I can say that Brooke deserved it to a point. Stephanie's never been a fan of Brooke, so I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought if B&B had left it an isolated incident.

But they didn't. Of course Stephanie would want to find out who altered the tribute video and let Steffy hang for it. Sniffing around Liam certainly made sense. But the comparisons to Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote end there. When Stephanie discovered Liam's badge from Spencer Publications (and why, when he's working at his second job, at the Forrester compound no less, would he even leave that out to be seen?), she went medieval on his buttocks. Not content to hurl accusations without evidence to back them up, Stephanie actually hit Liam not once, but twice, then prevented him from leaving and threatened to kill him! Hel-lo! Not only was that highly inappropriate, but Liam came to the compound as an employee. He would be well within his rights to not only sue Stephanie, but have her arrested and press charges for assault. This is not good storytelling -- this is character assassination scripted for mere shock value, and frankly, I'm surprised the consummate Susan Flannery agreed to play it.

What colors this in an even more unseemly light is the fact that it's been established that Stephanie was a victim of abuse herself, which is the root of her lifetime of controlling behavior. It would be one thing to have Stephanie smacking people around (and shooting people!) if we didn't know that about her. But ever since that truth was revealed in what was one of the most amazing, history-laden storylines I've ever seen on B&B, it's hard not to interpret Stephanie's actions from that perspective. After all those powerful, high-drama scenes with Ann, you'd think that Stephanie would have learned something about herself. Oh, she'd still slip into her old ways occasionally, but she should have become more self-aware. Instead, she's becoming more like her abusive father than ever before -- and it's not okay. Hitting long-hated rivals is bad enough, but now she's clocking complete strangers. What message is this sending out? It makes you wonder if she's knocking Eric around behind closed doors!

Unfortunately, Ridge seems to be learning from his mother and grandfather's example. Heaven knows he's thrown more than a few punches over the years -- most recently socking Oliver for his role in the mask-boink. But rearing back to pummel Liam seems much less justified here. Neither he nor Stephanie really gave Liam much of a chance to explain -- and when Liam finally got a word in edgewise, they were more angry at Liam for withholding the truth than they were with Justin, who engineered the whole thing. What -- Ridge couldn't be bothered storming down to Spencer, so he just decided to hit Liam, who was closer? It's ironic, isn't it, that earlier in the week Ridge promised Brooke that the company would be off-limits to Stephanie if she ever hit her again (not sure how Ridge would pull that off, but it would be fun to watch him try!), and then he turns around and also offers a stranger a knuckle sandwich.

The only thing that made that scene worth it at all was when Liam suddenly blurted out "Don't hit me! I'm your son!" Whoa, Nelly! Where did that come from? Now, wasn't that a much better shock than Forrester fists flying? The Soap Central message boards are buzzing like crazy -- understandably! If you want my opinion -- and that's exactly what I offer here every two weeks -- Liam absolutely cannot be Ridge's son. When would that have happened? And by who? Not with Taylor, not even with Brooke. And Caroline couldn't be Liam's mother, because he would have had to be born before the events of B&B that we've been witness to.

No way that's possible, because when B&B started, Caroline was with Ridge; then she was with Thorne for quite a while before reuniting with Ridge and dying. At no time was she pregnant! Although I admit it would be one hell of a reinvent of history if it turned out Thorne was his father! And it would finally give him a storyline -- even though Liam would have to be about 40 to make it work. My money is squarely on Bill. We know very little about him except that he's a corporate pirate who wears shirts well. So certainly, anything's possible -- and with the engaging Scott Clifton as Liam, I for one am very curious to see where this goes!

Here are some letters from the mailbox -- keep 'em coming, fans!

• After years of spineless, gutless behaviour l had given up on Ridge. He was a useless character that l and others l knew had no interest in. More than that we wanted him off the show. How wonderful it is now to see Ridge develop backbone and loyalty towards Brooke. I now love the character again. It has rejuvenated both Ridge and the show. It will make for interesting viewing again seeing Ridge be strong and independent and loyal. Go Ridge. Don't stuff it up again writers please. -- Katherine

• For years I have watched Ridge Forrester continue to go back to the emotionally blackmailing Brooke Logan and don't understand why!!??!! He seems to have completely dismissed Caroline Spencer AND Taylor Hayes as nothing more than bumps in the road. Brooke is all about her sexual superiority (over Taylor, especially) with Ridge and, unfortunately it takes more than that to make a true marriage of love work. I still believe he should have chosen Taylor this last time--even with her imperfections, she is still more loyal and classy than Brooke could ever be. No matter what Brooke does (no matter how BAD), Ridge keeps taking her back/forgiving her.. some things, yes, but not knowing your husband's body-type and freaking your daughter's boyfriend (second time at it) is dispicable and I thin the story deserves more fire from Ridge.. he needs to let her go--she will hurt him, yet, again, and the cycle of her abuse against him needs to STOP!!!!!!!!!! -- Brenda

• I've been finding it very difficult to watch the pontificating by Taylor, Stephanie and Steffy this week. Yes, Brooke let her libido get the best of her but neither of those three are exactly without a shaky past. Doesn't Taylor even care that her daughter was BLACKMAILING people? and why does Steffy think she is so innocent? Steffy keep repeating that Brooke "betrayed" Ridge but I think Steffy's betrayal of his trust by setting this whole thing in motion was much worse -- at least Brookes acts weren't intentional. And what about Taylor? I seem to recall her daughter Phoebe was none too thrilled when her mother was sleeping and almost MARRIED her old boyfriend Rick. And please, Steffy now cares about Hope? She just did all she could to destroy her relationship with Oliver, called her a "HO" at a press conference and told her and her campaign to take a hike. As for Stephanie, telling Hope that she believed Brooke intentionally slept with Oliver is really kind of sick -- even if she did believe it. I hope someone wipes the smug look off these ladies faces and soon! -- Ellen

• Hey, I just remembered something, neither of Stephanie's daughters want anything to do with her and they keep their children away from her as well so where does she get off trashin' Brooke's parenting? -- Mkh-Indy

As you can see, fans are pretty evenly split. In the meantime, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

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