Rocky mountain high

by Mike
For the Week of October 10, 2011
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B&B Two Scoops: Rocky mountain high
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Bill's like a snarky, gee-I'm-glad-my-son-got-laid version of James Bond. Two months ago, he had his tongue down Steffy's throat. Now he's patting his son on the back for going further than he got to? Weird.

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did settle for the son, since you couldn't have the father? Did you return your old fiancée for a new one? Did you play Battle of the Private Jets? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

This week, the Steffy/Liam/Hope trio took their troublesome triangle to Aspen, Colorado, as The Bold and the Beautiful went "Rocky Mountain High." Beloved John Denver song or indication of what the honchos are getting in their offices before writing the scripts?

Oh, yes, he did! Our show is a hot mess right now, only without the hot. Sure, it's nice to have an actual location shoot somewhere outside of the immediate L.A. area (though it has to be said that it was kind of lame to drag everyone up to Aspen just to film outside the Bells' vacation house). There were some very movie-quality shots (Liam going up in the gondola, for example.) And yeah, there was a certain amount of suspense in whether or not Hope would catch up to Liam. But the story that set the stage for all that was so ridiculous that none of the Aspen antics could be taken seriously!

When you watch soaps for any length of time, you come to realize that a healthy suspension of disbelief comes with the territory. You go with it when someone wears the same outfit for two weeks because it's the same soap day. You nod knowingly when a beloved character gets amnesia or is afflicted with a nameless disease. You even learn to accept that the nubile teenager you're seeing on your screen was in kindergarten just last week. But there are lines. And once they're crossed, you feel that it's not just your intelligence, but your allegiance as a soap fan that's being insulted.

Case in point: Hope sees fiancé Liam making out with Steffy, dumps her engagement ring on his mantel, and breaks up with him over the phone without telling him that she saw him in a liplock. Just a few minutes later, the jilted Liam plops the same engagement ring on stalker-in-training Steffy and takes her to bed! Does this happen in real life? For that matter, does this happen in soap life? I've logged over 25 years watching daytime and nighttime soaps, and I have to say this is the most preposterous plot twist I've ever seen.

I did rant that if Liam cheated on Hope with Steffy, it would ruin his character. Okay, at least he waited to nail her until Hope dumped him first. But this is almost worse. Liam is not a testosterone glob who only thinks with his disco stick. Yet, that's exactly how he's being written. If this character had any integrity, it's gone now. I certainly wouldn't want Hope back with Liam after he traded up brides-to-be so easily!

That, dear readers, is what this entire Aspen remote is based on. And the worst part of it? The unbelievable goings-on took up every single episode this week. The story's so flimsy, a gentle breeze is all it would take to blow it over, yet The Powers That Be decided it was worthy enough to dominate the screen five days in a row. And I just don't understand why.

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the "good old days" of the '80s and '90s. Used to be, even on this half-hour show, you'd get two or three intercutting storylines in an average episode. You might see Ridge and Brooke in one scene, Sally and Macy in another, and maybe you'd see then-young'uns like Jessica and Dylan put through their paces. There was variety. The only time you'd see multi-episode focus on a story was when said story was coming to a head. But not anymore. Isn't it ironic: they speed up storylines, citing shortened attention spans, then cram a story down our throats every day, which would only frustrate a short attention span! I know it frustrates mine!

I know the soap world of the 2010s is vastly different from the one that existed when I got hooked. But no one storyline should ever dominate this much airtime for this long. Wasn't Bill trying to buy into Jackie M so he could destroy Forrester? What happened to Thorne heading up a revolt against Ridge? Intriguing plots such as those have been dropped so we can watch Steffy, Liam, and Hope fumble over each other as a result of unlikely miscommunication. B&B, if you've got to run with this turkey, how about at least balancing it out with a couple of unrelated storylines so there's something for everyone?

No! Instead, we were subjected to three whole days of Brooke and Taylor arguing about their daughters. It would have been so novel if they had continued along the lines of the momentary compassion Brooke showed toward Steffy, as Taylor did toward Hope. But it was too good to last. How can Taylor, as a shrink, stand there and champion Steffy's cause without being able to see Steffy's engagement to Liam is the biggest case of rebound in recorded history? Taylor was almost gloating to Brooke!

It took Ridge -- certainly no Dr. Phil when it comes to relationships -- to step in and suggest that Hope, Liam, and Steffy all sit down in a room together and talk things out to a conclusion. And Taylor was even against that! She seemed to think that Steffy was entitled to Liam, since Ridge threw Forrester's entire ad budget behind Hope's line. Who kidnapped the real Taylor and is letting her smug, psychologically unhealthy clone run around?

Another contender for Parent of the Year was none other than Dollar Bill Spencer. Some fans say that Bill is becoming the new Stephanie in terms of meddling in their children's lives to suit their own purposes. That may be, but even Queen Stephanie never had surveillance cameras, magazines, TV show hosts, and corporate hideaways at her disposal. He's like a snarky, gee-I'm-glad-my-son-got-laid version of James Bond. What exactly is going on with him? Two months ago, he had his tongue down Steffy's throat. Now he's patting his son on the back for going further than he got to? Weird.

There are also those who suspect that Bill is throwing Liam at Steffy simply as a safety so he won't be tempted to snag Steffy for himself. I agree that could be the case. But, more so, I think Bill and Steffy know this engagement to Liam isn't going to work. Why else move heaven and earth to make sure Hope can't actually have a conversation with Liam? I did like Hope getting up in Bill's face. It's not the first time, either. She's so much more interesting with a little strength behind her than she is as a mere damsel in distress!

And speaking of formidable females, Katie was all up in it once she discovered what her husband was up to. "We just got Steffy out of our lives," she scowled. I guess she had to know it wasn't going to be as cut-and-dried as that, although no one could have seen Bill's involvement with Steffy taking on this form. Surely this isn't going to bode well for Katie's marriage...and personally, Bill has been such a butt-head all year that I don't know that I want to see that marriage continuing. Bill's becoming just a bit too cartoony for my taste.

Leave it to the new-old Rick to ask the most pertinent question: "Is Bill that desperate to hang on to Steffy?" Even I have to admit that it's been so long since Jacob Young walked in Rick Forrester's shoes (twelve years!) that I'm not sure he still fits in those shoes. But so far, even though I hate that they've dragged poor Rick into this ridiculous storyline, I very much like that he's sticking up for Hope. And he's certainly matured enough now to where I could see him as savvy and pulling a few strings of his own. Does anyone else see shades of All My Children's J.R. in this incarnation of Rick? Plus, coming to his half-sister's aid is almost making me forget what a psycho Rick had become...almost.

But while Steffy is living in a fool's paradise (again!), the blame for this tomfoolery lies squarely on Liam's shoulders. The boy's a yutz! He sees Hope in streams, mistakes other girls for her, lingers on lengthy flashbacks of her. He even occasionally questions the wisdom of his engagement switcheroo. So how is he able to be all lovey-dovey with Steffy? And can't he tell, after months of dealing with Amber, that he is so being played? I've honestly got to say that I don't really care how this turns out. All the pretty mountains and funky distracting taxis and clear glass gondolas aren't enough to make this clunker of a story palatable. It's gone on for six weeks now...I'm at the point where I just about miss the berries! And you know that's bad.

It seems the majority of you aren't thrilled with this story, either. You may side with Hope or side with Steffy, but the general consensus is displeasure in what message all this sends to young people -- that a girl waiting to have sex should be scorned and that a boy should put his hormones ahead of his heart. Keep sending in your comments and they might just end up here. Like these!

    • "I, for one, am glad [Jacob Young] is back! Hopefully he'll be written better from now on." -- Alana

    • "Steffy is beautiful and a wonderful actress...but I find her character is being overplayed..." -- Anne

    • "I am glad that Liam and Steffy [are] together because Hope played too many games for him..." -- Keturah

    • "Am I the ONLY person who thinks Taylor is being ridiculous about her daughter?..." -- Margaret

    • "I don't even watch Steffy & Liam anymore. Just hit the FF button and move on..." -- dawn47

    • "Liam don't want Hope anyway. If he did, he would not have been kissing on Steffy...Steffy is the real show stopper. Let her WIN." -- Sonya

    • "Since when is it anyone else's business when a girl and her intended decide to have sex? I can just see Brooke and Ridge waiting by the phone with the two aunts on speed dial..." -- Virgie

    • "Why don't you like Taylor and her kids? You must be a new viewer because you couldn't speak of Taylor that way if you knew what she has been through. Very sad." -- Rene [AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've watched since 1988. To me, Taylor hasn't been Taylor since her 2005 least, the writing isn't true to her character. That's what I don't like.]

    • "Bad Bill doesn't give a lick if Steffy and Liam are happy, he wants [Forrester] Creations back in his control...this way, he has it all: Forrester, Katie, and Steffy. You go, [Dollar] Bill..." -- Grandma

    • "This storyline is not about premarital sex, [but] abstinence from masturbation...I drive a school bus and any 12-year-old could tell [Liam] how to solve this problem..." -- Annie

    • "For one brief shining moment the show had reached beyond the petty [incestuous] straps and did something noble by reaching out to the homeless, then they sank back into the most degrading message they could come up with...[they] blew it big time!" -- Loretta

Now, I realize it's easy for us to complain about B&B and its stories -- to say "I could do it better" when we, as the general public, have no real idea what it takes to produce a soap or what kind of pressures are caused by budgets and advertisers and networks. But I'll tell you this: I have read about the inner workings of soaps long enough to know that if any other head writer had turned out this much substandard material this consistently, they would have been replaced, and that's all there is to it. If you watch non-Bell soaps, you know it's true. The only reason Brad Bell is still at it is because it's his family's legacy. And you're damn straight I went there.

I'll go even further by saying that I think Brad lost his touch several years ago -- I don't care how many undeserved Emmys they have decorating the studio. The show needs a serious overhaul -- and maybe it's time for Brad to at least give up his pen and hand the creative reins over to someone who can bring something fresh and new (and plausible!) to the table. Sure, I'm available. But I'd settle for anyone who can write multigenerational tales that honor character histories and personalities. If DAYS can reinvent themselves and get back to basics, why can't B&B?

Now to follow up those "scandalous" statements with some Points to Ponder!:

Hope looked like she was ready to smack Steffy during their umpteenth confrontation. That would have been different!... "Why do I have to micromanage everything?" Bill said, complaining about his staff -- right before micromanaging Liam's love life by sending him to Aspen... Steffy claimed that she "dated" Marcus and Rick and Bill and Liam - well, Marcus, maybe... Bill asked Liam if he was hung over - now that would explain Liam's sudden switch to Steffy! Plus, Liam kissed Steffy enough times that he should have at least considered the possibility that Hope found out about it!

Loved Ridge's deadpan "What happened now?" upon walking in on Brooke and Taylor's argument... "Are they going to miss you at work?" Liam asked Steffy on the plane. Not hardly -- Steffy never works anymore!... Steffy told Liam she goes to Aspen a lot with her family. Since when? Only mountain we've ever seen the Forresters on is Big Bear... "I want to share the news with my friends!" Taylor told Brooke. Taylor has friends?... Bill told Katie that Hope ended the engagement "the other night" -- nope, that was still last night in soap time... How would Rick know the tail number of a Spencer jet? But did any of you smile when Rick suggested Liam might be "at a B&B?"...

"Call me a hopeless romantic," Brooke said while telling Ridge things would be all right for Hope. "It worked for you and me." And look how long we sat through that triangle -- are we about to get 20 years of Steffy/Liam/Hope?... Loved that Othello's iPhone was scratched up; nice change from the usually shiny technology being carried around... How come when Hope stood in line at the gondola it was completely sunny, but from Steffy's vantage point at the top of the stairs it was completely cloudy? It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature!

Let's "hope" that Hope, Liam, and Steffy are all soon rounded up and sent to bed without supper, and that the grown-ups get a turn in soaping things up. In the meantime, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

Mike (Adam-Michael James)
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