What's a little lie between friends?

by Mike

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you want your granddaughter's last name to be Benjamin? Did your ends justify being mean? Did your wife swapping put Henry VIII to shame? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week! Whoo! Amber's baby saga wrapped up in a neat little pink bow! But first, some Two Scoops business:

    "Great column as usual! [You said]: once [Amber] realized Marcus could be the father, why no reference to the previous will-the-baby-be-black story with Raymond?...Amber did actually say Friday 'oh no, not again. Why is this happening to me?' So although brief, Amber did allude to it!" -- Lori

Right you are, Lori! Confession time: I had to write the last column before I was able to see that Friday's episode and therefore relied on an apparently incomplete recap elsewhere on the Web. As soon as I saw the scene, I realized my error! But I don't mind being kept on my toes, so thank you, Lori, and, since I have seen all five episodes this week, no such error will be made!

Amber had a confession of her own when B&B followed through 1999's story and placed a bundle of brown sugar in Miss Moore's arms! I have to admit, it was satisfying -- especially since the bad comedy aspect was thankfully shelved in favor of some let's-get-to-it storytelling. Interesting that Liam looked all happy at the moment of delivery, but even more so that Tawny would be the one to question the color of the child's skin. You'd think the schemer would keep quiet if she sensed something was amiss! But she didn't know about Marcus, and Amber rightly admitted she finally had the baby she always wanted. Like Bridget. Shame they can't get together and knit booties! Designer, of course.

Now, was it just me, or did the fallout to this story fall out awfully fast? Amber, Tawny, and Carl knew they could go to jail for faking the paternity test. Yet Carl was the one to offer up the results of the correct test! And Bill -- whose fury toward Amber led him to try to off the pregnant woman -- only scowled a bit and refrained from calling the law because Amber just gave birth to his best friend's grandchild! I could see Bill throwing everyone in jail for a night to teach them a lesson and then bailing them out and declining to press charges the next day. The slap-on-the-wrist thing seemed odd.

And Marcus, who just moments before had been doing his best imitation of Isaac Hayes (since when is he a player? And what happened to Forrester's much-ballyhooed "no dating the models" policy?), readily accepted his newfound daughter. But dang it if it didn't make Marcus a likable, more viable character. Texas Battle's ease and warmth made Marcus' willingness to step up totally believable, which grounded the character and made me want to see more of him. Who couldn't love it when Marcus told money-grubbing Tawny where to go? It was even cute when Marcus came up with the nickname "Rosie" after Amber inexplicably named the girl after herself (!).

The issue of Rosie's last name just goes to show what a mess B&B has been these past few years. Marcus was born a Barber but raised a Walton. Considering he was grown when he found Donna, there was no need for Eric to adopt him. And now that silly plot point figures into poor Rosie's legacy, especially since Justin wants Marcus to take the name Barber. Confused? Try being Rosie! Whatever the kid's last name, mama Amber has a chance at redemption, between Marcus' hint at it and Tawny throwing up her hands at Amber's attempt to do the right thing (heartless much, Tawny?). I suspect the whole lot of them will now be backburnered for a while. Until Rosie graduates high school next year, at least.

Another story that wrapped up nice and neat was the Oliver/Hope/Liam triangle. And thank the soap gods for that. Oliver has never been more pathetic, delusional, and codependent. "Do you like the ring? We can get another ring," he blubbered during his ridiculous proposal to Hope. He knew Hope loved Liam, but because of the baby thought that Hope could turn around and marry him. "I don't want to stress you out," he claimed, yet five seconds later asked, "Am I pressuring you?" Even Hope was, like, yeah! His profession of love wasn't romantic -- it was actually creepy.

Until Liam burst in with the news that not only was he not Amber's babydaddy, but that Amber thought she had been trying to pass off Oliver's kid as his! In your
face, Oliver! Only two things about that bothered me. Would Tawny really have blurted out Oliver's potential parenthood in front of everybody like that? And how did Liam get up to the cabin so fast? It takes over two hours to drive to Big Bear from L.A. Yet he managed it over the course of Oliver's proposal. Beam me up, Scotty (Clifton)!

But it was worth it to see the whole carton of eggs on Oliver's face as Hope realized he had slept with Amber. I did feel for the kid in his very heartfelt admission that he loved Hope, but she had turned him away, and he was only human. Still, I was happy to see him duck out with his tail between his legs, and, since he now has no story, let's add Clueless Jones to the backburner list. If B&B does bring Oliver back, I hope it's in a more worthy storyline in which he isn't made to look like a complete imbecile. Zack Conroy, it's you I really feel for.

Of course, Liam and Hope played kissy face ad nauseum. That's okay. Let them have a little happiness. But did you catch Hope's blissful "What could possibly go wrong" query? What indeed! In the soap world, that's like walking under a ladder with a broken mirror in one hand and a litter of black cats in the other. Nail Thomas for his lie instead, Hope -- that story needs to be wrapped up far more than yours!

In the late '80s, B&B and I had a whirlwind courtship. We were so young, so inexperienced...but so in love. Still, we knew enough to get to know each other a little better first. So by the early '90s we were ready to take our vows, secure in our commitment. And oh, the happy years that ensued.

Today, I have to keep reminding myself that I took those vows for better or for worse. The fire that once crackled between us seems lost in the past, dulled by constant disappointments and broken promises. I should probably walk away, but there's the comfortable familiarity, the commitment, the fear of going it alone -- and the hope that the magic can be recaptured. What hurts most is that it's being ignored instead of nurtured, and it's killing our relationship.

Last week, B&B won a "threepeat" Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Did it deserve it? If you based it solely on Stephanie's cancer and resulting truce with Brooke, yes. Sure, lots of fans didn't want to see these enemies as friends, but it worked because it was deeply rooted in history. It relied on heart, on character -- not plot or shock value. But nothing else -- not the contrived Forrester/Logan feuding, not the mask boink, not the look-we're-going-there tale of Taboo -- was enough to merit Outstanding Drama Series. And it's more than ironic that our show should be so honored by the industry when we're smack in the middle of the stupidest, most implausible storyline I've seen in its 24-year history.

I have often been accused of being pro-Brooke. I have called Taylor an idiot a lot since I started writing these columns, so I can understand how I've given that impression. So let me be totally fair when serving up this week's Two Scoops -- everyone in this current storyline is being an idiot. Including Brooke!

Considering she thinks she slept with her husband's son, it's almost gratifying Brooke would be into some serious self-loathing right now -- it shows that even she has shame. It's even understandable she'd set Ridge free by filing for divorce (with Connor Davis as her lawyer! Yay! Now how about an appearance by Connor -- or better yet, bringing the dashing barrister back for a whole storyline?). But painting Taylor as a saint? Pushing Ridge to marry her? Great drama, maybe, but totally unrealistic. Even Ridge was all "Hold the phone!" He didn't think a divorce was necessary in that moment.

So what's the very next thing he does? He runs over to Taylor's...and proposes to her. Whaaaat? Does that, in any universe, make any kind of sense? First off, what message does that send to the vaunted key demographic? Marriages -- hell, relationships in general -- aren't computers! You can't just replace them every two years. If B&B really wanted to make a "Tridge" reunion viable -- despite how tired the triangle is -- wouldn't it have been more effective to let Ridge find his way back to Taylor slowly? Maybe backburnering the trio for a while to give others a chance at story?

Instead, we're told rebound is the answer. Even Donna remarked that Ridge still loved Brooke! So how was Ridge able to propose to Taylor -- twice? ("This time in front of the kids," he crooned -- except the first one was also in front of the kids!) Not surprisingly, Taylor jumped all over that like a five-year-old in a bouncy house. But lo, could she actually be having glimmers that this isn't psychologically sound? She expressed hesitation to make herself vulnerable to Ridge and asked for patience, even putting the kibosh on a physical relationship. If I hadn't heard it myself, I never would have believed it.

Two Scoops reader Kathrine asks: "If [Taylor] was such a good psychiatrist, wouldn't she notice that something was very wrong with her son (i.e. that he is guilty over lying)?" Glory be, Taylor did inquire into Thomas' moroseness. For all of 0.2 seconds, anyway. It's a start. Also interesting is the reversal that happened between Taylor and Stephanie. Last week, Taylor accused Brooke of instituting the Stephanie Forrester Foundation as a grandstand play to win Ridge back, while Stephanie claimed Brooke was genuine. This week, Stephanie accused Brooke of maneuvering while Taylor said Brooke was genuine. Somebody needs to stop flipping a coin in the writing room.

And I still don't get why Stephanie would turn on Brooke to the point of destroying her marriage. Stephanie tried to rationalize it when she told Thomas there were issues he didn't even know about (replete with flashbacks, which was nice), but supposedly Stephanie had gotten past all that. Now suddenly she's made it her life's mission to clear the way for Taylor. Why? Pushing so hard, playing the heavy with Thomas? Are her pills or chemotherapy altering her behavior? Or is Stephanie really going to die and hence is this desperate to make her son's love life right? By her definition, anyway.

"You're not very subtle, you know," Taylor commented. I almost wonder if Taylor isn't picking up on all this, but is too gaga over Ridge to acknowledge it. Has Stephanie thought about what's going to happen when this blows up in her face? She's so inconsistent -- she's supposed to be "seeing life through a new lens," yet couldn't wait to rub Brooke's nose in Ridge's proposal to Taylor. Then, she hugs the sobbing Brooke. Why was Brooke all boo-hoo anyway? She told Ridge to marry Taylor!

Steffy was almost the most sensible of the bunch when she told Stephanie she didn't want to push Ridge into a reconciliation with Taylor if he wasn't ready. Not that Ridge needed pushing. Also, Stephanie claims that Thomas is now safe from Brooke. Really? Brooke's free thanks to you, Stephanie! Nothing's stopping Brooke from getting with Thomas now if she wants to. Smooth move, Ex-Lax!

And Thomas Forrester rounds out this group of idiots. Look up "moping" in the dictionary and you will see a picture of his face. I'm sorry, but I'm not buying into B&B's attempt to make me feel sorry for Thomas. He's gutless, spineless, and the latest product of Brad Bell's "make-a-good-character-bad-for-short-term-story" school of soap writing. First it was Rick, then Steffy; now it's Thomas' turn. Soon R.J. will take everyone hostage. Or maybe Jack and Ally will knock over a liquor store in time for sweeps.

This plot against Brooke might have worked had Thomas acted alone. Having Stephanie instigate it ruined her character and turned Thomas into a puppet. "You make it sound like I accepted a bribe," Thomas whined. Well, what the hell else did you do, puppet boy! How about if Thomas had blackmailed Brooke himself, but only out of desperation? Perhaps while hopped up on berries, Brooke realized Thomas is gay, and Thomas lied to deflect attention away from it. At least that would have been interesting. This way, Thomas just looks greedy.

And wait 'til Dayzee hears about all this! I hope she opens up an industrial-sized can of Whoop-Ass on both Thomas and Stephanie! In the meantime, let's hear about all this from you guys:

    • "...I feel [the cancer/homeless storyline] was a deliberate two-pronged attack to pretty much solidify the 3rd [Emmy] win. Stephanie and Brooke putting decades worth of bad blood behind them was the best I've seen B&B in many, many years. So now we're dealing with stupid berries and paternity BS? Where is Bridget and the new baby, why did that get abandoned? I'm telling you right now -- we viewers will have to endure this crap for months until it's time for Brad to gear up for an Emmy worthy story to possibly get them a 4th Emmy. Yeah, good luck with that. " -- Shawn

    • "I gave up on this show when Bill decided to kill Amber. Bill was the best character on B&B, and when he went down that path, he was ruined...Bill is a thinker, he would have planned another way to get back at Amber...why would he want to be responsible for killing his grandchild? I hate to stop watching a soap, since they seem to be dropping like flies, but I just can't do it anymore. I'm starting to wonder if Brad Bell has a secret deal with CBS, and in order for that to go through, B&B has to be cancelled. His father must be rolling over in his grave, given the junk Brad is putting out these days." -- April

    • "With the way the writers are going, Bold and the Beautiful won't be long for the daytime world. Honestly, I believe the powers that be are trying to get B&B cancelled so they can have yet another talk/doctor/cooking show on in the afternoon. What's sad is they are all the same. And by the way, Brooke needs to kick Ridge to the curb. What a wuss!" -- Amber

The ranks are swelling! Hate to play conspiracy theorist, but what else explains the consistently bad writing these days? I'm here, for better or for worse -- but it's reasonable to expect better, especially when I know B&B is capable of it. How would you make B&B better? Click here to voice your opinions!

You didn't think I'd forget Points to Ponder, did you?

The week's episodes happened in the same night, during which Amber gave birth, Liam went back and forth to Big Bear, and Ridge left Brooke's house to propose to Taylor. Yet Eric, Katie, and Bill all "had meetings." It must have been midnight! Nobody has business meetings that late! And wouldn't these plots be a little more plausible if we didn't stay on the same soap day for weeks at a time?... Thomas came in all sweaty from jogging and then plopped down on the couch. Eww... Brooke leafed through her photo album -- filled with soap magazine shots instead of pictures you'd actually see in a photo album...

Ridge and Taylor reminisced about Phoebe, Steffy, and Thomas playing as children -- yet wasn't Taylor "dead" through most of that period?... Interesting that Katie and Donna didn't try to get at what was bothering Brooke before now -- but Katie, talking about Taylor, said, "Look what happened with Whip, and with Rick!" FINALLY! Someone brought up Rick!... So Ridge can forgive Thomas, but he can't forgive Brooke? Does it not take two to tango?... Liam lamented that now Hope had to deal with her mom's marriage -- except Hope has been dealing with it for weeks!

Stephanie's ring just happened to fit Taylor's finger perfectly? Sure... Brooke has been a raw nerve since being "exposed," but was calm and collected during Bill's toast... Pam did not hand Liam a container of lemon bars to take to Amber!... Why were Liam and Justin on their cell phones in a hospital?... Wasn't it a hoot when the nurse assumed Justin was the father of Amber's baby? Speaking of whom, the kid was yowling so loud it was hard to hear the dialogue during the all-important scene!

I could go on...but that'll have to do you until July 18. Allison will be filling in for me until then, so make sure to tune in for her own special take on things. And -- do I have to say it? -- keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

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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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