Rush, rush

by Mike
For the Week of October 24, 2011
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B&B Two Scoops: Rush, rush
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The idea of Jackie coming around and deciding to set Owen free so that he can be a father to Logan is actually a nice one, but wouldn't it have felt more organic if the show's pacing was more realistic?

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you tell the truth because your daughter wouldn't? Did you cram a year's vacation into a week? Did you take Sting's lyric "if you love somebody, set them free" too seriously? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

"Rush, Rush" isn't just a Paula Abdul song anymore -- B&B finally got away from The Kiddie Patrol long enough to tell two intriguing (and, in my opinion, dovetailing) stories, only to blast through them at hyperspeed like they were on the Millennium Falcon! But first...

Eight weeks. That's how long the Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle has been on the front burner, and at the expense of everything else on the canvas. I liked Liam when he showed up last year, but now he may well be one of the dumbest soap characters of all time. Couldn't he tell when the usually independent Steffy became a Cling-On that something was up? Didn't he find Steffy's professions of love suspect when just three months ago she wanted to be his stepmother? Not our Liam. And in the few moments Steffy actually left him alone, he thought about Hope. You'd think those would have been clear indicators that marrying Steffy on the rebound was an A-Number-One no-holds-barred bad idea.

Harder to believe is that all this chaos resulted from a mere, muddled lack of communication. So Liam just took it at face value that Hope wanted out of the engagement because she left her ring, and didn't bother to follow up with a personal appearance for answers when he couldn't get her on the phone? Hey, lots of good soap stories are based on miscommunication, but we spent weeks watching Steffy, Bill, and complete strangers keeping Hope from having a simple conversation with Liam. Seriously?

Hope isn't much better, I'm afraid. She was so determined to tell him about her "mistake" -- could she only do that in person? All right, she couldn't call Liam because he conveniently forgot his cell phone. But Hope couldn't e-mail the guy? And let's just get into this mistake that Hope kept beating herself up about. She sighed that she'd overreacted by breaking off the engagement. Um, not really! Her fiancé was making out with another girl, and her rival no less! She had every right to dump his ass. The real mistake was that she didn't get up in Liam's face first and demand to know why he was kissing Steffy. Had she done that, we would have been spared all this.

I thought maybe, when Brooke delivered Hope to Liam's front door during his party, we might get some action. Hope certainly seemed poised for it. She got tough with Steffy and was even piecing together the deception, especially with Steffy not lying very well. But when Steffy wouldn't let Hope see Liam, did Hope push past her and see Liam anyway? No. She wussed out and left with her tail between her legs.

Man, was I disappointed. Maybe it's the old-school Dynasty fan in me, but these girls are long overdue for a knock-down-drag-out catfight. Not that I condone violence, mind you! But Hope looked about ready to clock Steffy and the tension would have justified it. Maybe Liam could have come out, seen the girls scrappin', and gotten so appalled that he'd push Hope away regardless of her explanation! See, that would have been different. But B&B's not huge on originality these days.

And Steffy needed to be clocked, too. How about those oh-so-sincere pleas for her marriage to be respected and suggesting that everyone call a truce? Are you kidding me? She only did that because she got her own way! She'd be the first one to keep the war going if she didn't have Liam's ring on her finger. Not to mention her daddy's support -- which is, of course, at the core of everything Steffy does anyway. At least Ridge expressed unease about the instamarriage, even if he gave it his blessing in the same breath. (God love him, he found a new way to waffle!)

Not surprisingly, Taylor sassed Katie and Brooke about Steffy's marriage. But I sure was taken aback when Taylor twisted psychology to rationalize that marriage. She didn't have questions about it? How could she not have questions? Any viewer of Dr. Phil or Oprah would have clued in that something was rotten in the state of Los Angeles. And what did Steffy think she was going to accomplish by asking Hope to tell Brooke to back off? All that did was tip her well-manicured hand.

Yes, yes, I know how many of you hate Brooke Logan Forrester. But you know what? Thank the soap gods for her, because finally someone stopped this crazy not-amusement park ride and gave Liam the real 4-1-1. It may or may not have been Brooke's business, as Liam pointed out, but someone had to do it, since Hope was being such a ninny. "Maybe you don't deserve my daughter," Brooke scolded. "You never did love her!" Yeah, I'd have to say that was about the size of it after putting his hormones first and not even fighting for Hope when she walked away.

So you would have thought I'd be glad when Hope and Liam finally got into a room together. Well, yeah, I was, in the sense that it meant finally getting past this silly miscommunication stuff. And at least Hope called Liam out for kissing Steffy. Really, Hope should have introduced Liam's face to her hand for that one. But when it came out that Liam went to the mountain to meet Hope, there was a big gushing reunion, which included sucking face!

Whaaaat? Liam is married, deception or no. And Hope shouldn't have been so quick to invite Liam back into her heart, especially when he never explained about kissing Steffy or even apologized for it. I admit, they still feel more right together than Liam and Steffy do. But the only way I could accept Liam and Hope again is if Hope makes Liam crawl back to her on his hands and knees. If Friday's finale is any indication, she's letting him off way too easily. Make him grovel!

At least we got a refreshing change of pace with the return of Bridget! I was really looking forward to it...but B&B blew it. First off, it was established a year ago that Bridget had gone to Hawaii with baby Logan. Now they're saying it was only a week, and that the "vacation" was completely planned by Jackie. Huh? Even worse, Bridget said how busy she was with shifts at the hospital -- when did she go back to doctoring? She couldn't have, because she's been in Hawai'i for a year. Until Brad Bell decided to try to slip a bit of rewritten history past us. Didn't work, did it!

The implication was that Bridget fell in love with Owen over a week's "vacay." Please! Bridget struggled with that last year already when she, Owen, and Jackie were living like they were in an episode of Three's Company. And, while I was super-jazzed to see Jackie again, I couldn't quite get my head around her change in attitude. She'd forgiven Owen's infidelity, embraced Bridget, and thought it rather merry the three of them were a family to the point Bridget got annoyed, and now suddenly Jackie decides to be a martyr and sacrifice her marriage so little Logan can have a mommy and daddy?

"I've been preparing for this a long time," she sighed. We wouldn't know, because the last time we saw Jackie and Owen, they were heating up Nick's living room, and there was no sign that anything was amiss with them. Now, I like that Jackie feels responsible for Nick not having a father, and wants to make up for it by giving Logan one. But why turn this story on a dime over the course of a single episode?

See, that's what's wrong with B&B right now. They take any one story and beat us over the head with it (in this case, Hope/Liam/Steffy), leaving no airtime for other ones. The idea of Jackie coming around and deciding to set Owen free so he can be a father to Logan is actually a nice one! But wouldn't it have felt more organic if the show's pacing was more realistic? If there was actually a rotation of stories as I mentioned in my last column? Instead, we got months' worth of story in one day. We should have seen Jackie's realization over time. It didn't make sense to do it so quickly.

Nor did it make sense for Owen to go from "I don't get a say in this?" to telling Bridget they'd need a bigger place the same evening. How callous did that make Owen look? Couldn't we have seen an occasional but steadily increasing awareness that he had fallen out of love with Jackie and in love with Bridget? Did he take spouse switcheroo lessons from Liam? These are emotional decisions! You can't just change a partner the way you change a light bulb! There's been way too much of this going on this year, and it's got to stop. Like now.

The best story on the show right now is the somewhat sudden, but completely believable, revelation that Stephanie doesn't feel sexual toward Eric due to her advancing age and bout with cancer. Wouldn't that totally happen? And Eric, still being vital, would naturally feel frustrated by that. It's an absolute pleasure seeing these two again, and in a solid story. Really brings the show around to its very beginnings!

I do have a quibble, though. To my knowledge, Eric and Stephanie did not remarry. I saw Eric returning to Stephanie after divorcing Donna, but I did not see or hear about a wedding between the exes. Yet they're being treated as if they're a married couple. I would also argue that Stephanie has never been particularly sexual toward Eric -- sure, enough to have four children (Thorne, Kristen, Felicia, and Angela; not Ridge, remember!), but it was partially Stephanie's lack of passion that drove him into the arms of Beth, then Brooke, then Sheila, then after being involved with Stephanie for over 50 years, this should be old stuff for Eric.

Still, it was wonderful to see them tackle such a rarely-discussed-on-soaps topic, keeping it real with the sublime awkwardness of two older people struggling to honor their partner's needs while sublimating their own. Stephanie hung up her hard-ass shoes and sincerely told Eric that she'd try if Eric could just be patient, while Eric put his love for Stephanie ahead of any physical desires. I think that's awesome, because if Eric had decided getting laid was more important, he would have been no better than Liam.

But I smell something brewing, don't you? Eric wants to resume a sexual relationship with Stephanie, but can't. Suddenly Jackie is free. See where this is going? I will repeat what I have said in many columns: in spite of Eric's Day One history with Stephanie, he's a man who needs glamour in his life. I have long thought that he and Jackie would make an awesome match. That being said, I don't want it to be through Eric and Jackie having an affair, especially while Stephanie's battling cancer. And I don't think that's where B&B is going, regardless of the unsavory places they've gone this year.

No, I have a prediction. You'll hate me for it, but... "Imagine actually giving up someone you love that much so they can be happy with someone else," Stephanie pondered. "I suppose," Jackie told Eric, "some couples are 'til death do us part." The scuttlebutt is that we've been promised a huge Emmy-worthy story with Stephanie this fall. I predict that, despite the diagnosis that all the tumors are gone, Stephanie Douglas Forrester will die during November sweeps.

I know -- I can't believe I'm saying it myself. But Susan Flannery has her own health issues and has long expressed a desire to retire. I'm just seeing the signs, and hey -- B&B's 25th anniversary is coming up. Maybe it won't actually happen until March, but why else pave the way for an Eric/Jackie reunion and script such cryptic lines? True, the show wouldn't be the same without Queen Stephanie, but that would be one helluva Emmy-worthy arc if done right. And think of it -- next week Ridge compares Brooke to Stephanie! Methinks the Slut From the Valley is being groomed to become the show's new matriarch. This is one storyline I will be keeping my eye on in the weeks to come!

Got thoughts on that? On what's currently happening? On how you would fix the show? Get to typing and tell me about it. Your comments may end up right here in Two Scoops. Like these!

    • "Liam proposing to Steffy with Hope's ring isn't any different from how Ridge has acted in the past. He proposed to Taylor on the runway with Brooke's ring because of a [misunderstanding]. Every time [he] and Taylor or Brooke break up, he runs right to the other one and immediately proposes before he even has divorce papers...maybe Liam is really Ridge's long lost son instead of Bill's!" -- Karen

    • "I so agree with you. I was a B&B fan truly. [We] have not tuned [in] for a very long minute now and putting the ring on Steffy's finger was the cake for the majority..." -- Sandra

    • "Clearly I'm not the only one fast-forwarding through these episodes with Hope, Liam, and Steffy (or erasing completely)..." -- Ellen

    • "Congratulations, writers of B&B! I am so happy to see Steffy marry Liam and I hope you let the marriage last..." -- Susan

    • "Thoroughly disgusted with this soap, I'm giving it a break! Finally the triangle with Brooke/Ridge/Taylor is over but this is WORSE..." -- Jeannie

    • "I think they have made the men look very weak...the women as underhanded and spiteful..." -- Jackie

    • "Been watching since day 1 and I've never seen anything so ignorant in my life...I am starting to wonder if Sony is paying the writers to blow the soap out of the water..." -- Kat

I've been wondering that, too, Kat...I've been wondering that, too.

Now let's leave you with some other Points to Ponder:

Hope and Steffy have more in common than Liam -- their off-the-shoulder, Flashdance-inspired tops, for instance... It was only right that reporters would want to know why Hope's engagement fell through -- but why stunt cast a Big Brother contestant for three seconds to get Hope through the mob off-screen?... Steffy told Liam she wasn't going to work, then she did... Hope believed there was a conspiracy against Brooke regarding the berries, but she wouldn't believe there was a conspiracy against her regarding Liam?

Why was Thomas hugging all over Hope and telling her to let Liam go? Please don't tell me we're testing another near-incestuous pairing here... Hope told Liam she tracked him down in Aspen, but it was Rick that did the tracking... While talking to Steffy about her marriage, Taylor popped off with "And I'm taking a much bigger interest in Forrester Creations." Talk about a non-sequitur!... Why did Nick refer to his ex-wife by her last name, and the wrong one at that? Bridget is a Forrester, not a Logan... "He's a great guy," Rick said of Owen, "and an amazing father." Really? Last year at this time, you wanted that great guy's wife!

The mic was too close to Jackie and Owen's champagne -- it sounded like they were standing next to frying eggs... Jackie's buying back the loft she just sold to Steffy? That must be one happy realtor! And Steffy may need that loft when her marriage implodes... Rick wants to help Eric regarding Stephanie? Two years ago, Rick was battling Stephanie! Though I do very much like Rick's support of his father... Stephen, who tried to trigger Pam into shooting Stephanie, can just walk into Stephanie's house without knocking?... And I admit it: I loved Nick's bed head. It was a nice touch of realism!

November sweeps are coming and hopefully that will see this Hope/Liam/Steffy foolishness swept under the rug for good. In the meantime, keep watching, 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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