The sweetest taboo

by Mike
For the Week of November 22, 2010
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B&B Two Scoops: The sweetest taboo
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How much clearer can it be that Brooke didn't kiss Thomas on the runway? Thomas kissed her, and he admitted that. Surely, Taylor has watched the video of it on her laptop so many times that who kissed whom should be abundantly clear.

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you try to redeem yourself by arranging for someone to lose their virginity? Did you get a laser beam pointed at your head? Did you do your best imitation of a volcano? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

Oliver, Oliver, need to let it go. Hope has moved on with Liam. You had your shot and you blew it. Of course, we've all been there -- mourning a lost love and wanting that person back. But Oliver and Hope were never an engaging enough couple to where there's any real desire for them to be back together. Now, Hope and Liam? Lots of fans find them boring -- I don't feel like I need to see them, but they do rather have chemistry to spare. And so, strangely, do Oliver and Amber! Who'da thunk it?

Two weeks ago, in my last column, I said there really was nowhere else for Amber to go. There still really isn't for the moment, but at least watching Amber trying to make things right with Oliver does have its intrigue. After all, aren't Amber and Oliver both screw-ups in their own right? And Amber is much more palatable with the vulnerability we saw this week than she is simply vamping it up as a vixen.

Still, while it does seem Amber's always had a thing for younger guys (as evidenced from her very first cradle-robbing pairing with Rick), it seems odd now that this woman in her 30s always ends up in the teenybopper storylines. It happened on Y&R, too. Of course, aside from Rick, there's no one her age to put her with on the canvas. Maybe when mama Tawny shows up next month, she'll call Amber on that point!

In the meantime, Amber is once again rummaging through Sally Spectra's bag of tricks, this time to pave the way for Oliver to romance Hope. What I want to know is, how, in no time at all, did she manage to commandeer the limo Bill arranged for Liam and don a disguise, let alone procure one? Since when is Amber licensed to drive a stretch limo? Sure, it was all amusing enough, even if Amber did look a lot like Lady Gaga. But what's up with trying to appoint Amber the new Sally? La Spectra can't be replaced -- certainly not by Amber. The only B&B woman I could see successfully pulling off disguises like that is Jackie! Now that I'd like to see.

Did anyone else have flashbacks of Hope's graduation party during the sudden party thrown for her? I would almost rather have heard Daddy Yankee again than that generic surf music left over from the '90s! And really -- "Endless Summer?" With the summer Hope had, you'd think she'd want it to be anything but endless. Seemed odd, too, to throw a teenybopper party in the middle of what has so far been a rather lackluster November sweeps. The only stakes here are that Liam might not get to the party and Oliver might finally boink the right girl. Hardly a nail-biter.

Couple of questions, though: what was all this talk about Liam being MIA and neglecting Hope? We just saw them a few soap days ago at the fashion show. Why suddenly does it seem like Rick has an axe to grind with Thomas? Judging by the way Rick stepped in with the press to put the spotlight back on Hope, I guess he doesn't want to see his "sister" upstaged, which was actually kind of sweet. But I'm thinking it's really because Rick is still pissed that Thomas blew up his car! And, to wrap that up, how would Amber know that Hope is "ready"? She's only observed Hope a few times, and she's no Dr. Ruth!

Let's leave Teenland and rush to the hospital, where we were treated to two similarly rushed "By the way, I still have cancer" episodes for Stephanie. Oh, they just happened to have a cancellation for their Gamma Knife surgery procedure? How convenient for La Forrester. Yet, I'll admit, it was interesting to hear that brain tumors can be treated in this non-invasive way now. And I thought the actual sequence where she underwent the procedure was very effective -- it was kind of like watching ER. Plus, after all the silliness with the kids, it was good to actually have B&B be a soap again. But did anyone scratch their heads when Stephanie didn't want to tell the family about the procedure until it was over? It was shades of the early part of this story where Stephanie wanted to hide her cancer from them completely.

One of the soap magazines pointed out that it seemed a shame Stephanie's bucket list arc was over so soon, and I agree. There was a great deal of intrigue and drama in having Brooke be the only one who knew about the cancer. I know all soaps tell their stories faster these days, but I don't necessarily think that's for the better. The same holds true with Stephanie's continual vow to help the homeless -- and now Eric's. "There's so much to do," they say. Yet, with all the talk and no action, it rings hollow somehow. At least Dayzee's still around, and it's great to see Eric get some screen time. But did we really have to have the Gamma Knife surgery explained to us twice in two episodes? We got it, B&B...this isn't an ABC Afterschool Special.

To paraphrase Casablanca, when is a kiss not just a kiss? When Taylor Hamilton Hayes Forrester Jones says it isn't. My goodness, I certainly understand how the mama lion comes out in mothers when they want to protect their children, but Taylor is acting like Brooke is the Antichrist! What a shrill, Screaming Mimi she's become. I get why Taylor (and Stephanie) would be suspicious of Brooke, especially with the memory of the mask-boink still lingering. But how much clearer can it be that Brooke didn't kiss Thomas on that runway? Thomas kissed her! He admitted that, and if Taylor watched the video of it on her laptop as many times as I think she did, who kissed who should be abundantly clear. And Thomas is right -- Taylor has no call saying she won't allow anything at Forrester. She doesn't own 25% of the company anymore!

Remember when Taylor was the most sensible character in the bunch? No matter what craziness those in her circle were caught up in, she could always be counted on to stay down to earth, offer sage advice, and listen to both sides -- the mark of a good psychiatrist. Now she's judgmental and paranoid with a short fuse -- it's almost as if she's drinking again. Taylor didn't fly off the handle this much back when Brooke actually was a threat! I wish Brad Bell would bring back the real Taylor -- and I'll bet Hunter Tylo does, too. Because I don't know who this Taylor is, and I don't want to know her.

Interesting, though, that Ridge would decide to embrace the scandal and rebrand Thomas' collection the "Taboo" line. (Cue up Sade song here.) I know a lot of you are probably scratching your heads about it, and to an extent I am, too -- I think even Ridge is. But doesn't it almost make sense to tackle this supposed scandal head-on? It fuels the press fire and yet douses it at the same time. If anything, "Taboo" should show that the kiss was a publicity stunt and not real.

Jarrett rightly reminded Ridge that he used to be edgy, and I think Ridge's decision to go with "Taboo" was heavily influenced by that reminder. It's very much in line with who Ridge used to be -- as much as it is for Eric and Thorne to be against it. The idea of publicizing the kiss sounds like when Whip suggested Jackie M dress up their models in masks to ride piggyback on the mask-boink scandal. Of course, Jackie M pooh-poohed that. But I'm very intrigued by Ridge's decision.

Still, how exactly is this kiss spiking sales of Thomas' line? The scandal put the name in the press, we're told, but now the public is interested in the clothes. I'm not sure I see that. What I also don't see is B&B's obvious attempt to position Thomas as the new Ridge -- complete with Thomas whipping off his shirt to a well-timed underscore. When the show started in '87. Ridge was edgy, playful, devil-may-care. It worked, because that's who the character was. But that's not who Thomas is. "I like to live dangerously," Thomas bragged to Marcus. Since when? Personally, I now find Thomas pompous, arrogant, and not very likeable. And that's not even factoring in Adam Gregory's wooden performance.

I suppose it was effective, though, to leave Monday on a cliffhanger with Thomas implying he wanted more kisses from his stepmother. It probably ruffled the feathers of any number of fans until we got the "Psyche!" treatment on Tuesday. Since so much of the audience thinks Brooke and Thomas will sleep together, I suppose it's good for conflict and drama to hint at that possibility every once in a while -- as long as it doesn't happen, of course!

And it can't, because Brooke promised Ridge there'd be no more scandals. I do think that this time Brooke is taking more heat than she needs to. Mistaken identity or no, she was culpable in the whole mask-boink event, and in any number of other gross missteps on her part that brought scandal to her family and her company. But what was Brooke supposed to do -- slap Thomas in public and humiliate him? I totally agree that Brooke shouldn't have blindly gone along with whatever stunt Thomas had planned. She should have gotten him to define things before going out on that stage. But that's her only crime here. Now she's being treated as if she was sleeping with Deacon again! Especially by Stephanie.

Of course, two months ago, Stephanie's refusal to give Brooke the benefit of the doubt wouldn't have been anything out of the ordinary. But now? What happened to looking through a new pair of glasses? Brooke shouldn't have had to convince Stephanie she didn't instigate the kiss. Yet, how cool was it that Stephanie admitted to being disappointed in Brooke, and that her focus the last 23 years had been on getting rid of Brooke? Those underlying reasons made Stephanie's brief return to form so much more justified, because they were based in real emotion and not simply autopilot hate.

Fortunately, Stephanie and Brooke got past that fairly quickly -- because anything else would have really undermined the way they've come together recently. My only grumble is this: I knew once Stephanie and Brooke buried the hatchet, their resolve would be tested eventually. It only makes sense. But was it necessary to test their newfound friendship so quickly? And over something this silly? I have to tell you, though, Scoopers -- I smile every time Brooke and Stephanie bond. From the inside. When Brooke promised Stephanie no more scandals, I believed her. And, as I said, this one wasn't even Brooke's fault -- for a change!

Enough about me -- let's talk about you for a minute:

• "I am so sick of the scandals with Brooke. Can they not write her any other way? I would like to see Ridge and Brooke become the solid couple on the show. They are so awesome together. I am also disgusted by how they are writing Taylor. She has never been this petty and insecure before. Years ago, she was always the one with class who 'rose above'. Bring back THAT Taylor -- don't make everyone hate the current one. Please keep Stephanie and Brooke together and not make them start warring again. I too like Drew Tyler Bell as Thomas. I do not miss Steffy, either -- hope she stays overseas. I miss Bridget and want her and Nick back together -- I do not like Nick and Aggie at all. And can we lose Amber again? They always write unbelievable stories for her and she's like a little mosquito buzzing in my ear that I'd like to swat!" -- Lori

• "Enough Brooke bashing. Taylor kills Thorne's wife and that's fine with everyone and forgotten. Leave [Brooke] alone or send her back to Nick...enough of hurting the poor lady. Bell must hate her. And all means kill off Stephanie but take Taylor with her." -- Loren

• "Why oh why aren't Bill and Katie featured more often. They are truly the best couple on B&B -- smart, sexy, and fun! Liam and Hope need to be a secondary relationship. Nick and Aggie are gross. Taylor and Whip are dull. Ridge and Brooke are scandal-ridden. And except for Bill's ill-advised almost affair with the immature, vile, pathetic Steffy, [Bill and Katie] have had no scandals. They have all the ingredients to be the supercouple of B&B. They need to be used!" -- Monique

• "Is it just me, or has everyone seemed to conveniently forget about Taylor's past antics? Can't anyone (hint: Brooke) remind Taylor about her former relationship with Rick? Taylor got involved with her daughter's boyfriend, slept with him, and got engaged to him. Her holier-than-thou attitude toward Brooke is way off base." -- Deb

• "I've been watching since 1989 and it's clear that Mr. Bell is going to have to quickly decide how to write [Brooke] other than a walking, weekly scandal, as she will become the central focus of B&B whenever Susan Flannery finally hangs it up. I'm definitely concerned about the fixture of this show the moment Stephanie is not the main fixture." -- Larry

Look out, Taylor -- the ranks are swelling! Reading everybody's comments made me think: wouldn't it be great if Darla's ghost showed up again once in a while to be Taylor's voice of reason? Maybe Taylor's being such a shrew because she feels underlying guilt for hitting Darla with her car -- what great sense it would make to bring Darla back to get Taylor to work through it. (Not to mention, we'd get to see more of the much-missed Schae Harrison!) And hey -- Y&R brings back John Abbott's ghost all the time, so why not? Brad Bell, I hope you're reading this. You can have that one for nothing.

Some points to ponder: Isn't Taylor's claim that the kiss is "embarrassing" more about how she's afraid it will reflect on her than about any actual fear she has about Thomas working with Brooke?...Did anyone want to smack Thomas when he boasted "People want to wear my name because people now know it"? Someone please stick a pin in that balloon that used to be his head...Isn't Madison planting a kiss on Thomas a violation of some sexual harassment rule at Forrester? And why would she spill to Oliver that Hope and Liam were going to have sex?...Oh, Amber, tsk -- playing with Liam's iPhone while driving! Isn't that illegal now?

And last but not least: Why does Amber need to crash at Oliver's? Where was she living before she got fired from Jackie M -- in their broom closet?...I thought Marcus was all curious about Dayzee -- so why didn't he bring her to the party instead of April, who we'd all but forgotten about?...It was nice to see Donna hanging out with Bill and Katie (for that matter, it was nice to see Bill and Katie!), but the whole thing seemed rather superfluous...Did anyone else laugh when Taylor lambasted Brooke for modeling the Brooke's Bedroom line herself instead of getting a spokesmodel? B&B makes the characters model clothes themselves instead of using spokesmodels all the time now!

I came, I saw, I Scooped. But don't let me have the last word -- post some of your own on the Soap Central message boards! Keep the comments on this column coming, too -- you might find them here in a future column. In the meantime, looks like the Thomas-Brooke Affair will continue into the new year -- just got word that The Bachelor's Jake Pavelka (gag; more stunt casting) will be piloting the "Taboo" duo in January. But you know what? I still don't miss Steffy! Nonetheless, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

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