Summer fallout

by Mike

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you throw more than rice at your wedding? Did you get out of your misdeeds for a song? Were you slippery when wet? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

Soo-WEE!! What a week to get back to Two Scoops! Many thanks to Allison for covering for me so I could do the birthday thing. And, it's "old" news now, but three cheers for All My Children and One Life To Live being picked up online! For the first time since Guiding Light was picked off two years ago, I'm feelin' soap hope again. Once ours is written better, I will be deliriously happy!

The Berries is still the dumbest story in B&B history, and Stephanie's plot -- along with Ridge's latest flip-flop -- still makes zero sense and made all the characters look like idiots. The summer fallout, however, has been quite juicy. Let's go down the list of Stephanie's victims, shall we?

Go, Taylor, GO! Y'all know I have not been a fan of the good doctor in recent times. I adore Taylor; I just think the writing hasn't been true to her character since Prince Omar saved her from Sheila's bullet. Giddily agreeing to marry Ridge ten seconds after he left Brooke was just the very thick icing on a seven-layer dunce cake. I knew she was cruisin' for a bruisin' in a big way.

But I really felt for Taylor as it came out that her son and best friend made deception an Olympic event so she'd be Mrs. Forrester again. Did Taylor ever let Stephanie have it! The sensible, forthright, non-paranoid Taylor Hayes I remembered was back. And how! "I can't believe you'd sink to this level," she seethed. "You didn't care what happened to Brooke!" Taylor not only said everything I was thinking, but had compassion for her long-time rival. I was cheering! Give me strong Taylor any day of the week. She left the moping matriarch in the dust as she stormed out. Hallelujah!

She didn't go easy on her wayward son, either (double hallelujah!) -- although why she didn't boot Thomas out on his pampered posterior, I'll never know. He may have promised Brooke he was going to show his regret with his actions, but I think he should be shuttled off to Forrester Siberia pronto. The character's ruined, and poor Adam Gregory will always be associated with that. At least with Brooke refusing to have anything more to do with Thomas, we know this torrid Taboo tale is truly terminated!

Also making Thomas talk to the hand was Dayzee, and what a dressing-down she supplied. Again echoing the sentiments of the audience (or me, anyway), she called Thomas out for only thinking of himself and letting his greed rule him. I've never gotten behind this pairing -- it was too underdeveloped and I never saw any real chemistry -- so I was just as well glad Dayzee put an end to it.

Yet, the whole confrontation felt flat. Dayzee said all the right things, but the scene should have crackled with emotion and intensity. I don't know if it was a choice on the director's part or Kristolyn Lloyd's, but I expected Dayzee to lay down the smackdown, and she didn't. It was disappointing.

Dayzee should have taken lessons from Eric! John McCook was on fire -- why doesn't this man have his own long-term storyline? He showed layer upon layer -- Eric has seen it all from Stephanie, but he was still disillusioned, taking Stephanie to task for trying to satisfy her "original bucket list" (nice reference to last year's story!) by getting everyone back under her roof, "where [her] word was law."

He also wasn't buying Stephanie's claim that she'd changed because she confessed before letting Ridge and Taylor get married -- instead he denounced her wanting credit for it. He reminded her that she took Taylor down with her, and that Thomas would always be tainted by her bribery. A fine performance...I was blown away. The writing was great, too. Why can't it always be like this?

And didn't they sneak in a zinger from our man Thorne! His post-wedding discussion with Eric was calm enough. He even asked the very rational question of whether Stephanie's diabolical deed was triggered by the brain tumors. (Why not? Thorne is also the only one who suggested that Thomas might be gay, which I still think is the case and the reason behind Thomas' recent behavior! But I digress.)

But when Thorne went to retrieve his unneeded wedding gift, did he ever speak softly but carry a big stick. Thomas had 30 percent of the stock, he noted, "and as usual I get nothing." Yes! Thorne should be right up there with Ridge and Eric, and yet he's always banished to the basement. But he took it in stride, telling Eric it was all right because "I don't want to have to spend that much time around you people!" I believe the proper term is, "Oh, snap!" If Winsor Harmon can kick this much ass in a 30-second sequence, why is he not front-burner? Give "Bridge" a rest and let Thorne Forrester show us what he can do!

Now let's get into the nuts and bolts -- about being nuts. Ridge was as much a victim here as anyone else. But why did he exacerbate it by playing into Stephanie's hands? I know "it's a soap," and therefore our degree of belief-suspension is required to be higher than in other forms of entertainment. But please! Walking out on Brooke was one thing -- marrying Taylor immediately after was the most dunderheaded thing our well-moussed designer has ever done. Excuse me, but doesn't it take 90 days for divorces to become final? Had his divorce from Brooke even gone through? Had Taylor's from Whip?

Naturally he'd reunite with Brooke once the truth came out. But in the suit he would have married Taylor in? Ridge's behavior this entire storyline has just stretched credibility beyond its limit. What saved his chiseled cheeks was his contention that his mother and son weren't going to be forgiven so easily. I hope he holds to that. Because right now, I feel that Stephanie and Thomas are only being slapped on the wrist when they should be spanked and sent to bed without supper! For starters!

And that brings us to "the slut from the Valley." I've heard unsubstantiated rumblings that Katherine Kelly Lang wants Our Miss Brooke cleaned up after years of sexy scandals. I think it must be true, because why else would Logan not bitch-slap Thomas into oblivion? Like Dayzee, she said all the right things, but it wasn't nearly what Thomas deserved, or delivered with the fury that would have been perfectly reasonable to expect. Even her dig that Thomas was "going to get a lot of money out of it" didn't dig. I know KKL can play it, so the restrained nature of the confrontation must've been scripted.

Speaking of the money, I'm confused. The stipulation was that Thomas would get that 25 percent when Stephanie died. Even Brooke mentioned it. Stephanie's still alive, and the plot wasn't even carried through. Yet in the same episode, Thorne bewailed Thomas having 30 percent. Does Thomas not still only have five percent? From there on, it was made to sound like Thomas already had the shares. This is an important piece of information -- it needs to be clear and not just changed on a whim.

Then, like the "heat-seeking missile" Eric described, Stephanie went straight to Brooke to explain the rationale behind her nefarious plot. La Forrester's contrition was played for sincerity, but might Felicia have been right that Stephanie only did it to be forgiven by Ridge? Because you don't just destroy the marriage of the person you already buried the hatchet with and then show up on the doorstep with an "I'm sorry." Stephanie blamed it on old patterns. Not good enough, Stephanie! Not hardly!

I only saw the light in one defining moment where Stephanie asked Eric if it's possible to bring cancer on yourself. There's a school of thought that suggests you can, that it's caused by festering anger that eats away at you -- anger Stephanie said she was still full of. She didn't know how to fight the cancer, she said, so she reverted to fighting the one battle she could fight blindfolded -- the one against Brooke. See, I like a little psychology in my characters; I like to know why they do (or don't do) things. So this admission really got down to the core. It still didn't make sense considering Stephanie had already mended fences with Brooke last year, but I did appreciate the soul-searching.

Brooke was silent as Stephanie explained how she couldn't help taking advantage of the opportunity to get rid of Brooke given to her by The Berries (ugh). Stephanie offered to do anything to atone for her sins. "Anything?" Brooke asked, a glint in her eye. Here's where everything took a rather silly turn.

Sure, Brooke could have put Stephanie through the wringer on that one. Sure, it's cool that Brooke took the high road (which lends further credence to the rumor that the character is being laundered). But just making Stephanie "sing" You Always Hurt the One You Love in public and that's it? (I'd think Brenda Lee's I'm Sorry would've been a better choice.) Being willing to humiliate herself in public for Brooke doesn't even begin to make up for what Stephanie did to her.

Now, if B&B really wanted Brooke to take the high road, you know what she should have done? Gotten Stephanie to do something amazing for Taylor. That would have better emphasized the dignity Stephanie said Brooke now possessed. Taylor was as hurt by the deception as Brooke was, if not more! And both Brooke and Taylor showed empathy for each other during this fallout, albeit separately.

See, I think everyone is letting Stephanie (and Thomas) off too easily. Brooke and Taylor both got hurt -- let them team up against Stephanie! It wouldn't be the first time Taylor turned on La Forrester -- Taylor called her on her Oedipal obsession with Ridge in 2006 and got slapped for it! So how about Brooke and Taylor plot to take Stephanie down? And while they're at it, how about they both reject Ridge? For a few months, anyway. How refreshing would that be!

To me, there's only one way to redeem Stephanie after this. Have everyone walk out on her. Everyone. Eric said he couldn't throw Stephanie out but he certainly could leave the mansion; he's done it before. Forresters, Logans, Marones -- all turning their backs on the manipulating matriarch. Stephanie cold and alone. Then, she gets really sick and goes into a coma, thinking she's hated by everyone she loves. Of course they all rally at her bedside and all is forgiven when she rejoins the living. More than just being refreshing, it would give one the sense that Stephanie has paid the ultimate price for her misdeeds. Do it, Brad Bell. You'll get a fourth Emmy. I guarantee it. One you'd actually deserve!

One final, unintentional victim of Stephanie's plot turned out to be her namesake, Steffy. Now, you know there's no love lost between me and the anti-Logan chaser of unavailable men. I have hated her and gnashed my teeth at her immaturity, snobbery, slutty behavior, and sense of entitlement. So you may want to alert the media here as I admit I really felt for her this week. Gotta give it up to Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, too -- she knocked it out of the park like I'd never seen her do before. Steffy not only opened up a can of Whoop-Ass on her brother, but a 24-pack! She flamed Thomas for his move to get control of the company and selling Taylor down the river in the bargain. She got physical, and her rage was 100 percent understandable. Did you ever think I'd cheer for Steffy? I sure didn't!

Ridge didn't escape her anger, either -- she wasn't wrong when she blasted him for getting her hopes up by rushing into marriage with Taylor. But she lost me when she whipped out the "Daddy, don't leave me" card. Yes, JMW nailed these scenes, too, but is Steffy not an adult? Does she really think she's going to lose her father just because he's not living there with her mother? Steffy cried she wanted to go back to the time when they were all together. If I recall correctly, Taylor was "dead" during most of Steffy's formative years, leaving her to be raised by Brooke! But I guess you can't blame the girl too much -- all those years of Uncle Thorne and Aunt Felicia whining about reuniting their mommy and daddy is the only example Steffy has had to work with.

Another thing -- there's so much emphasis on "my" family. What about reuniting "my" family, Steffy pouts. Hope smiles that things couldn't have worked out better for "my" family. Both girls need a reality check: Ridge had children with both Brooke and Taylor. Ridge adopted Hope. That means, like it or not, they are all family. There's no "mine" and "yours." Steffy forgot that most when Ridge spoke of little R.J. needing his parents and Steffy whined "I'm talking about me!" I know she did not just put her own needs above the needs of a child! Don't go there, Steffy!

Where she did end up going was straight to Bill. I finally get what her attraction is to him -- Bill satisfies her Daddy issues! (All right, he also looks good in a wet shirt, but let's stay on topic...) Yet it was Bill who instigated some cliff house canoodling. Question: Katie was disillusioned with Bill because he plotted to kill Amber, and Bill was pissed at Katie for walking out again and forcing him into therapy. Did they ever resolve that? Because their scene would lead you to believe they did, but I've seen no proof they did. That's kind of important, considering it factors into his supposedly growing feelings for Steffy.

He swooped to Steffy's side, citing her determination during Thomas' rescue as the catalyst for his newfound love. Now there's fire burning in more places than the fireplace. Hey, at least it wasn't because Steffy wore him down with her seduction routines. But some lids are going to be flipped in the near future -- and not just Katie's, who just showed compassion for Steffy to a worried Ridge! The irony!

Whew! That was a lot of ground to cover. But I still have some Points to Ponder:

Why all the effort to "shield" R.J. from everything? Shouldn't the kid at least have been given the G-rated version? And sorry, the boy playing him is cute enough, but I'm not feelin' the R.J. love... "I'd like to speak to your wife," Stephanie told Ridge. Isn't Brooke now an ex-wife through a divorce Stephanie orchestrated? How did Stephanie know they were going out to dinner, anyway?... Wasn't it odd that Brooke, Ridge, and Eric sat down to dinner with Stephanie just hours after the revelation of her lie? And how does Brooke figure she and Stephanie "understand each other better than before" because she made Stephanie warble in public?... Stephanie again mentioned not waking up, going to her grave, and her last breath -- is B&B telegraphing her death, or is she trying to gain sympathy after what she did?

Suddenly there was pouring July. Which never happens!... Steffy and Hope have another thing in common: driving off hysterically and almost getting into accidents after upsetting news... Did anyone see Bill's wheels turning when Katie talked about Steffy's vulnerability? There's a lot of "Still" fans out there, but I "Still" wonder if it isn't Steffy that Bill wants, but her shares... Bill said he got a sense of family watching Ridge and Taylor rescue Thomas. Didn't he already get a sense of family last year from the Logans between Beth's death and Stephen's arrest?... Poor Whip is still in the opening credits, even though he's been taken off-contract. Time for an update!

And that's all the update from me for's good to be back! Next time, we'll also get back to your thoughts, so fire them off to me and let's talk turkey! In the meantime, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

Mike (Adam-Michael James)
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