Boys 'n' berries

by Mike
For the Week of May 23, 2011
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B&B Two Scoops: Boys 'n' berries
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Hope has been all but ruined, going back and forth from Oliver to Liam so often that it makes Ridge's infamous waffling look amateur. Oliver has started to get pissed, and who could blame him? Hope is jerking him around.

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you make a major life decision based on a text message? Did you swear loyalty to your marriage -- using your tongue? Did your living room floor become an ocean? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

When I lived in L.A., I did some freelance work writing script coverage. That's where you read a movie script, analyze it, and determine how marketable it is so the studio knows whether to continue the development process. The first thing I was taught about this kind of writing was, even if you're covering a crappy script, start out with a positive. And here at Soap Central, I have always tried to hold to that.

But oh, Scoopers, it's getting harder and harder. I mean, there were some bright spots this week, and maybe B&B's current doings would be all right -- though uninspired -- if it weren't for the berries. We start, though, with a storyline that would benefit from hallucinogens: Hope and Liam.

It began as typical baby scam fare -- if redux, since Amber already tried passing off a baby twelve years ago. It was tolerable, although it would have been nice to dig a little deeper and depict Amber as obsessed with having a child of her own after Daniel's Y&R refusal and her long-ago miscarriages. But now it's just a big mess. Not even a hot mess. And the culprit isn't Amber!

No, it's Hope and Liam themselves that have sandbagged this already flimsy story. Hope has been all but ruined, going back and forth from Oliver to Liam so often it makes Ridge's infamous waffling look amateur. Oliver was getting pissed this week, and for once I actually was on his side -- Hope is jerking him around, which seems out of character for her.

And Liam is no better, vowing allegiance to Hope and then setting up house with Amber. As soon as Hope and Liam -- the victims of said scam -- lost their backbone, this story lost its momentum. Where's the resistance? The conflict? The agony we should feel? The rooting value? And Tawny's texting machinations just make them look dumber. Why is Hope taking her cues solely from text messages? Shouldn't she let her fingers do the walking, old school? Has Liam lost the ability to dial a phone as well? To say nothing of his cell constantly going missing. No, Scoopers, the lights are on, but nobody in this storyline is home. I only hope Amber's baby comes out black, so things finally start getting interesting.

Dovetailing Amber's motherhood mischief into Bill and Katie's marriage was an inspired move, I admit. It was great to get the Spencers off the backburner and discover that Katie was just as strong a personality as Bill was. Note the tense of the verb: "was." Steffy's reintroduction into this story has only succeeded in lowering the IQ of everyone involved. Now Bill loves both Katie and Steffy? He goes to tell Steffy (again) that he's devoted to his wife, yet also that he meant it when he told Steffy he loved her? And then gets all hot and heavy? No, wait, I'm married. No, wait, let me kiss you some more. You know it's a sad day when even Dollar Bill Freakin' Spencer has lost his backbone.

There are some interesting angles in play, though. I like the friendship between Bill and Justin. It was good to see Bill confiding in someone, if not entirely. "Do not betray my trust," he implored. Wouldn't it shake things up if Justin did? And much was made of the Forrester stock Steffy owns. How about Steffy offers it up to Bill like she's been offering up her body? Steffy could defect to Spencer -- that would shake things up, too. What if, in the end, this is all an elaborate revenge scheme on Bill's part? He pointed out how Steffy's the only one to beat him in business, after all.

Any of that would be more compelling than Bill simply being in love with two women. Or Katie going back to being clueless, as evidenced by her chat with her sisters. Bill's observation that perhaps he wanted to redeem himself for the murder plot by rescuing Brooke and Thomas was the most satisfying thing to happen in the story this week. Hmm...Bill also lamented that he could still be about Amber finds out and puts him in jail? Talk about dovetailing.

Where to even start with the berries? Taylor essentially giving Brooke therapy was intriguing (though uninvited) -- sometimes it felt like Taylor really cared. But it also felt like Taylor was badgering Brooke. Taylor should know that trying to make Brooke talk when she wasn't ready and laundry-listing the details of Brooke's ordeal could have been psychologically damaging.

Don't you guys find it odd that everyone is urging Brooke and Thomas to open up about what happened on the island? How do they figure anything happened besides fighting for survival? Why the need to get specific about it? Because Brooke freaked at the press conference? Surely someone would realize that constantly asking what happened would only make Brooke clam up more. Thomas isn't exempt from this questioning, either -- Ridge even sicced Dayzee on his son to get the scoop.

Sure, it was sweet for Ridge to get Dayzee dolled up for a special dinner. Dayzee did look lovely -- although the way Forrester cranks out dresses so quickly anymore I have to wonder if Santa's elves don't work in their sewing room the rest of the year. I did say I thought Thomas and Dayzee were too rushed as a couple, so their spending more time together is a step in the right direction. Except...I'm still not feeling a connection between them. Thomas coming to understand the homeless better because of his island experience was a nice touch, but if there are sparks between these two, I'm missing them.

Meanwhile, Brooke and Thomas have taken a page from Bridget and Owen's book of obviousness and wear constipated expressions whenever someone sees them together. To say nothing of discussing their secret ad nauseum where anyone could overhear them. No less than three times this week did Brooke insist she had to tell Ridge the truth while Thomas insisted a lid be kept on everything. Now, I've gotta side with Brooke on this one. She was roasted by fans and foes alike for keeping the plane kiss a secret, and it's only right she 'fess up now. Whether or not Ridge "understands" is almost immaterial. "I just wanna forget that island and what happened," Thomas droned. Yeah, so do we! But it is what it is. So hopefully Friday's cliffhanger, which showed Brooke about to tell all, won't be interrupted.

The best part of the week -- surprise, surprise -- was the big convo between Brooke and Stephanie. Now, you wanna talk sparks? Electricity like this should light up every scene on the show. You had to love the irony of their role reversal: the usually dismissive Stephanie comes by to renew their friendship and the usually approval-seeking Brooke could take it or leave it! "It seems like you only liked me when you were sick, and when I was there for you," Brooke sassed. "You're just tired of me rejecting you so you're going to reject me," Stephanie retorted. Easily the best couple on B&B. Easily!

I was rooting for this friendship to come back strong, and yet I could see why it might just be impossible. "I did something you didn't like," Brooke snapped, "and suddenly I have no redeeming value!" The ball B&B dropped when they had Stephanie "bail" was meteor-sized, and it made her look flaky and superficial. So I don't know if the friendship can be resurrected, much as I would like it to be. They seemed to end things on a good note, but, unfortunately, from what I'm hearing, Stephanie's about to do something that's going to blow it all to hell in a more permanent way, and I'm really heartsick over it.

My head, though, is hurting from the physical reminder of the berries. Let me get this straight: Thomas, who was starving, dehydrated, and coming off a hallucinogenic high, had the presence of mind to grab a handful of berries to take home for testing? Then, he stuffed them in his nasty jeans, where they would get filthy dirty and crushed. But they didn't look too bad in that plastic bag, did they? Wouldn't they also be more dried out after however many days? The one that fell into Taylor's fruit salad seemed as fresh as the rest of the dish. And don't even get me started on Thomas handling the berries in the living room where Taylor could walk in any moment -- and did!

However, as ridiculous as it was, as much as I should have sneered at it...I enjoyed Taylor's hallucination. The main reason? It's a nice change of pace to see the almost-always dour Taylor out of control. Also, the green screening and interspersing of 1992's St. Thomas remote was, for the most part, pretty well done, and even clever. Given Taylor's not-well-hidden feelings for Ridge, going back to the time of his proposal made the most sense. Sure am glad Speedos are out of style now, though! And the passage of time for Taylor was pretty obvious. Still, it wasn't a bad job. And now that Taylor has experienced the berries for herself, maybe she'll actually understand and defend Brooke and Thomas when the truth comes out. Or am I just hallucinating?

Oh, but poor, poor Whip. With Rick Hearst being bumped to recurring, I would say the handwriting is on the wall: we're going in for another ride on the Brooke/Ridge/Taylor merry-go-round. Not that there's anything to save between Whip and Taylor at this point. Which is a real shame, because they started out as a refreshing, sexy couple when they were brought together via the Internet. The first sign of couple failure came when they were rushed to the altar. Even with the influx of speedy soap marriages these days, I knew Whip was toast during last year's closing of the Café Russe, where Taylor mooned over Ridge, then suddenly did a one-eighty and devoted herself to Whip. Mr. Jones, crack PR man that he is, should have stepped a little more lightly until he was sure the devotion was true. And Taylor, top psychiatrist she's supposed to be, should have known not to marry anyone while still in love with her ex.

So what's happening now is certainly no surprise. The only fascinating aspect to it is Whip essentially declaring he's mad as hell and not going to take it anymore! Good for him for finally calling Taylor on her crap: that Taylor is suspect of everything Brooke does, and most especially how Taylor is still in love with Ridge. In your face, Taylor! The confrontation was all the more reason Rick Hearst should be on screen more often. When he goes, Oliver will be the only Jones left on the canvas -- believe me, I'd rather have Whip!

But you'd have thought Whip would catch on to Taylor's abrupt behavior change a little faster. Maybe her call to look for treasure didn't raise any red flags, but digging around on the floor? Better than disco dancing, I suppose -- anyone remember when Taylor was hypnotized by Bailey in 1998 and she went all Saturday Night Fever? At least we're now seeing the more immediate effects of the berries. Taylor got even more sick than Brooke and Thomas did! Maybe from all the bacteria in Thomas' grungy pocket. And how was Thomas able to deduce that Taylor ate a berry? What, was he playing Yahtzee with them near Taylor's fruit bowl?

The only saving grace to any of this is, now that Thomas has yapped about the funky fruit, maybe this story will be over soon. Where, oh where is the B&B of yesteryear, I ask you. Heavy sigh. Meanwhile, the Two Scoops e-bag was "berry" active:

    • "...This acid trip mess turns my stomach and reminds me of the reason why soaps are dying. It isn't that fans are no longer interested; instead TPTB give us nothing to be interested in. They no longer challenge us, entertain us, or respect us. Instead, they focus on shock value and then scratch their heads when a bad gamble doesn't pay off. I want entertainment that doesn't INSULT me. I don't want to see a stepmother and stepson having psychedelic sex...a little advice for the writers: WRITE! THINK!" - L.K.

    • "The whole situation with Amber/Tawny/Liam/Hope/Oliver is disgusting to me. Liam has truly disappointed me...Apparently, no one has learned that Amber has a strong history of deception, especially where her pregnancies are concerned. Bill's idea of verifying the test with another lab should have been done. Any halfway intelligent person would have done so...the writing is so poor, I cannot tolerate it. Dayzee/Thomas would be a redeeming storyline if an interesting writer was working it. Sadly, though, it just can't seem to get off the ground." - Dee

    • "So Bill trusts Steffy and not his wife...Steffy [stole] his wife's engagement ring. She blackmailed him. Switched business contracts on him. She asked permission to seduce his son, now she is seducing him. Steffy is a criminal. And Bill is a fool. What happened to the big bad macho Dollar Bill? Katie has never intentionally hurt Bill but Steffy has. Steffy laughed in his face when she got the company back. And Bill does not want revenge? Bill loves her now? A would-be baby killer prince of a man and his thieving, blackmailing princess of a love Steffy. Now what a sweet loving couple to root for! Not!" - Moe

    • "In case Mr. Bell needs yet another fan saying no to Brooke and Thomas having sex (either remembered or in the future), I add my DON'T WANT TO SEE IT...One thing [that's bothered] me about this whole Taboo storyline [is] that Thomas hadn't really been singing Brooke's praises. In fact he downright hated Brooke for we are supposed to believe that the guy who blew up Rick's car for dating one sister and driving the car that killed the other sister is pulling stunt after stunt for tabloid buzz while assuring his father that he would never cross the line with his father's wife...Nope I think something is just not right about this whole crazy storyline...I don't see where Brooke has done anything to deserve this from Thomas if he is playing her or setting her up. I just hope that if this is the way the story is going in the end Ridge will realize this was all Thomas' doing from the runway kiss onward" - Pat

Now, that would be inspired, Pat! Because otherwise, what's really the endgame here? If B&B is trying to orchestrate their own end, they're certainly doing a good job. Yes -- I said it. Here's some proof for your pudding -- last week B&B hit a new low in the always-desired demographic of women from 18-49. This is a dangerous time to be skating on that particular ice!
Let's finish up with some Points to Ponder:

"Taylor can always tell when I'm lying," Brooke lamented. Ah, at least she admitted she does lie... "You have a younger mind," she added, citing Thomas' lack of memory as proof no island nookie was had. Brooke made herself sound pretty old there! Steffy's still not a favorite, but the brother-sister connection with Thomas is really nice right now... Did any of you get the impression that Anthony has feelings for Dayzee? There's more chemistry there than with Thomas! Nice continuity, the photos of Beth and Storm on Brooke's mantelpiece... Hope sent a text that she was picking up R.J. -- is texting the only way she communicates anymore?

Why exactly is Steffy staying at the Forrester guest house? Doesn't she live at Taylor's? And what the hell was she wearing? Shaft called, and he wants his '70s ghetto-fabulous look back... Thomas told Taylor she and Ridge looked good together -- way to encourage your besotted mother, Thomas! Want Brooke for yourself? Then he complains to Brooke that it's hard for him to keep a secret from his father -- it didn't bother him before! Best line of the week: When Brooke said Stephanie would just have to be friends with someone she didn't always approve of, Stephanie mugged, "I don't approve of Eric, but I married him -- more than once!" It made me laugh out loud, and how self-aware!

Now if B&B would only be as aware of itself and whip our show into shape before we lose it. Contact CBS and Brad Bell and tell him we deserve better! And continue the fight for AMC and OLTL (and GH!) by using the links on's Support Our Soaps page. Whether or not we still have soaps in a year or two is the biggest cliffhanger of all. Keep watching (even when it's hard!), be alert, and most of all, be bold!

Mike (Adam-Michael James)
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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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