Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you tower above them all? Did you make backpedaling an Olympic event? Were you jolly well taken off contract? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
In response to my last column, "If I Wrote B&B," many of you sent in extremely flattering compliments about my ideas to reboot the show, and I just wanted to say thank you! Of course it's a huge ego boost (and who doesn't want those), but it's also a confirmation that B&B viewers want some major changes. I knew it wasn't just me! Brad Bell, the fans have spoken. (And yeah, I'm available for head writing or story consulting...friend me!)
I get the feeling Mr. Bell is attempting a reboot of sorts -- this past week alone came the news that Brandon Beemer (Owen), Zack Conroy (Oliver), and Lesley-Anne Down (Jackie) were taken off contract. Now, I hate to admit it, but what has Owen really brought to the show? He's nice to look at, but he's mostly been relegated to superficial stories, which more often than not found him without a shirt. And poor Zack Conroy, like Sarah Joy Brown before him, has been totally wasted. He proved his mettle on GL but was only brought on to mask-boink Brooke, and all Oliver has done in the 18 months since is moon over Hope. Sad. And what about my TEAM THOLIVER!
The real waste here is Lesley-Anne Down. This woman can deliver silly comedy and intense drama, all with flair and style and straight up luminosity. So much more could have been done with Jackie; "Jowen" was never really worthy of her talents. Jackie and Clarke would have been magical! Not that B&B's giving much time to the grown-ups these days...that's because the younger actors work cheaper than the vets. Thought we didn't know that, B&B? Guess what? We did!
Well, even though another whole week was devoted to Steffy/Liam/Hope (yawn), at least there was movement in the Force, powered by some kick-ass performances all around. But first...
Did anyone want to smack Thomas when he tried to lend an ear to Hope? I didn't buy his "sincerity" for a second. I was glad Hope went off on him and accused him of trying to get her in bed! Because he was trying to do exactly that in Cabo, egged on by Steffy. Hope should have known not to trust him after he lied about her mother last year. I told you that Thomas was dead to me then, and he hasn't resurrected in my eyes yet. And Adam Gregory, please stop squinting through your scenes...
I found it interesting that Hope would challenge her beliefs and values, especially after tying them into Hope For the Future. But that goes back to my original problem -- since when do messages of any kind get layered into fashion lines? All right, way back when, Felicia tied an environmental message into hers -- but her designs reflected it. What do Hope's cute dresses have to do with virginity? Unless they come with chastity belts. Another thing -- it's not Hope's line to pull! She "conceptualized" the line? Baloney! Katie actually came up with it, and Ridge created the designs. All Hope did was model them. Virginity had nothing to do with the line for over a year after it was "conceptualized!"
The Forresters wouldn't let Hope change her wedding date because of the line, so why did Hope think they would let her cancel the whole thing over her identity crisis? (Hey, if they'd moved up that date, Hope and Liam would have gotten married, and we wouldn't have had to sit through four months of this mess.) Brooke's support regarding Hope's values was missing something. I knew what, but I didn't think B&B would go there. So knock me down with a feather when Brooke said "God knows if I'd had someone like you when I was growing up, things would've been a lot easier for me." Whoo hoo!
I actually got a little teary. Not because of Brooke per se, but because that kind of attention to continuity and the emotional underpinnings it can allow for really move me. I was thinking an acknowledgment like that would have been so powerful, and it was. "You're everything I couldn't be," she told Hope. It just really got down to the very core of both of these characters. Even though Hope's questioning was dragged out too long and her decision to stick to her message came about too quickly, it was all worth it for this one moment between her and Brooke.
But the real ish was going on at the cliff house. Katie blasted Bill for faking Steffy's MRI and micromanaging Steffy and Liam's marriage just to keep Steffy close. "If you can't keep her in your bed," Katie seethed, "you'll keep her in your son's!" Isn't that really what this is all about? And has been since last August when Bill dumped Steffy, and Steffy glommed on to Liam moments later? Katie called Bill clueless and admitted her own blinders when it came to his feelings for Steffy. Heather Tom rocked this scene. But the best was yet to come!
I only have one quibble with how it came about. Some are saying it was wrong, illegal, etc., for Katie to take Steffy's MRI to a different doctor. Well, it may or may not have been. But how come that MRI was sitting out in the open on Allison's desk for Katie to see, anyway? Don't you think Bill, Mr. "I'm The Only One Who's In Control," would have kept that locked in a safe? And that he'd have kept it a secret from Allison and Justin to keep them from being accessories to his dirty deed? Duh!
Anyway, Bill tried the soft sell to placate Katie, but she wasn't having it. It didn't work for me, either. I'm sorry, but Bill treated Katie like crap over his plot to kill Amber, then had an "affairlet" with Steffy because of it. Sure, he stayed with Katie after her heart scare, but he's completely disrespected her since, and his declaration of love didn't ring true to me. As proven when he threw her over his shoulder and locked her in the cliff house tower! Who knew that house had one?
Seriously -- everyone had been so worried about Steffy possibly dying if she had any stress. Couldn't Katie have had another heart episode from the stress of being imprisoned by her husband? But things did get interesting once Steffy and Liam came home. "I didn't see your car," Bill stammered. Um, wouldn't Liam and Steffy have seen Bill's car when they drove up? Or Katie's? And while it was clever of Bill to try to head off his exposure by telling Steffy her blood clot was gone, did he really expect her and Liam to believe that Dr. Ramon would call him and not them? Even though they did...after Liam questioned it...for 0.3489 seconds.
Bill trying to keep Steffy and Liam from discovering Katie in the tower was good soap -- even quite suspenseful. But if I'd been Katie, I would have started banging as soon as I saw Steffy and Liam pull up! Or at least try to break the window. I did think the mere existence of the trap door, not to mention Katie busting its lock so soon, was a little trite. But the ensuing chaos once she was free was worth it. Loved the comedy bit where Bill made it look like Katie had just walked in, and even where Katie briefly "went along" with it. But when she spouted off "Not another word, Quasimodo," I knew Bill needed to get the butter, because he was most definitely toast.
What followed was one of the strongest sequences I've seen on B&B in some time. It was like February sweeps territory a little early! Katie busting Bill while thinking Steffy was conspiring with him again ("I don't care how many rooms you lock me in!") was powerful enough by itself. But wake up, because Scott Clifton finally got something to do! Liam's quiet horror as he took in the truth built up to a volcano of rage, and it was a joy to watch. "Don't B.S. me!" he screamed at Bill. "You have nothing left to say to me!" Personally, I think Bill and Liam's relationship has always been underexplored. Liam should have been much more independent from growing up without a father instead of bending to Bill's will the way he has. Some kind of wish fulfillment on Liam's part, maybe?
Anyway, I also loved Liam laying into Steffy. "Our whole marriage has been about keeping me away from Hope," he fumed. "It's not even about us!" Like Katie's contention that Bill's done everything for Steffy, Liam's words here also get to the root of this story. I also liked that Liam stayed firm in thinking that Steffy was in on the whole MRI thing. Because I mean, really, why wouldn't he think that? Yes, Steffy was innocent -- this time. It was like when Steffy was accused of doctoring Brooke's tribute video -- she hadn't done it, but after all her anti-Logan vitriol and how she blackmailed Brooke after the mask-boink, it was perfectly reasonable to expect she had. So while I felt a little sorry for Steffy, she did bring it on herself.
But only to a point. Even I would say that nothing she did deserved being made to think she could die at any moment because of Bill's machinations. "Do you know what you've done?" asked the stunned Steffy. Katie thought the question was directed at her. But when Steffy yelled "I meant him," their always-charged dynamic took on a new dimension. Now they both had being duped by Bill in common. And Jacqueline MacInnes Wood became the third performer to knock it out of the park. Steffy, who always "got" Bill and teamed with him regarding Liam before, gave Dolla a tongue-lashing that made Katie's look like a mild scolding. I've always thought that her devotion to Liam was just a cover for her feelings for Bill. I wouldn't say "Still" is dead, but it's most assuredly comatose. And I think "Batie" is done for, or at least it should be at this point, because Katie would be a fool to take Bill back now.
Unfortunately, the proceedings went downhill a bit from there. Liam raced right over to Hope to tell her he wanted to be with her, but are we really supposed to believe that? How many times has their reunion seemed inevitable -- even last year through Amber and Oliver -- only to be prevented by yet another obstacle? What needs to happen here is Liam and Hope finally get together, stay together, and get backburnered for a while, because as the old disco song goes, "enough is enough is enough." But the younger performers do work cheaper. And the way Liam looked constipated and tears streamed down Hope's face when Bill confirmed Steffy was innocent, we may not be out of the woods with this story yet.
Another thing we didn't need was Ridge, Taylor, Thomas, and Brooke chiming in about the state of Liam's love life. I'm at least glad that they know Steffy's no longer in danger of dying, since she repeated Bill's half-truth about the blood clot being gone. But did Steffy really think all her evasiveness wouldn't lead her family to think something else was going on? Taylor wondered how a blood clot could dissolve so quickly, and Ridge figured out Bill was somehow involved in it all. Once the real truth trickles down to them...well, I can't wait to see them go medieval en masse. Or is that, "go medieval Ronn Moss." (Okay, bad pun. But I had to try it!)
The best part of what we're left with are the juicy storyline possibilities left hanging, if B&B has the gumption to go forward with them, that is. "You're worried she's gonna go to the press," Katie told Bill. "This scandal could bring down Spencer Publications," Bill admitted to Justin. Now, wouldn't that be something to see? He wants -- and expects -- Katie, Liam, Steffy, and Hope to keep his MRI-switching a secret. First off, Steffy can't really clear herself if she does. But I hear she and Hope are going to pull together to keep that secret, and enemies who are forced to work together are always fascinating. And now both girls, as well as Katie and Liam, have something to really hold over Bill's head. Any one of them, or a combination of them, could blackmail Bill into doing their bidding, or destroy him by ratting him out to the media. Wouldn't it be fun to watch Bill twist in the wind for a while? I'm just sayin'.
Now, what are y'all just sayin'? Please feel free to make yourself heard regarding the show -- especially with what you'd like to see happen. Why should I have all the fun? Your comments could end up in a future column. Like these!
• "What about [a story] where we discover that the reason Hope has been holding off on having sex...is because she doesn't really want to have sex with a man? How about a romance [with] Beverly or a SORASed Ally?" -- Merima
• "Your ideas are fully developed, branch into surprising yet believable turns...would love for [them] to get into the right hands!" -- Michelle
• "The writers need to come up with better storylines besides making women look stupid over men and not competent enough to just having respect for themselves..." -- Suverne
• "How about [Liam and Hope] have an affair, be caught and the press crucifies [Hope For the Future]...giving Nick and Bill the key to owning [Forrester]...Bill marries Steffy and they run everything after firing everyone..." -- Nita
• "Your imaginary storylines for B&B are much more interesting than what's going on right now. And I suspect you only earn a fraction of what Brad Bell does." -- Alice
• "I...think that Steffy is the Spencer Family Dog and would follow both Bill and Liam off a cliff! I want...Karen to back Katie in the divorce and boot Bill out of the company..." -- Stef
• "Why has [B&B] become a LA travelogue? [Establishing shots] now are at the beginning of every scene! Can we say filler? If they have to resort to this, Brad must REALLY be out of ideas!" -- Mary
• "OMG You should be writing for this show Mike!...If I wrote the future right now: [Brad] Bell would read your column and hire you for head writer!." -- Vicki
Dr. Ramon looked sorry to be fudging Steffy's MRI -- I'm just sorry B&B doesn't put A Martinez on contract like, right now... "I'm a Spencer," Steffy bragged. Is she? Because even the credits still say "Liam Cooper" and I don't recall Bill ever adopting Liam, or Liam taking his name... Interesting observation Katie made about Justin's marriage to Donna failing because of his being Bill's lackey, even if it was just made to justify that sudden, implausible breakup... How funny was it that it suddenly became nighttime mid-conversation, and with intercutting establishing shots at that! Even more funny? The show's now in 16:9 HD, but Liam's flashbacks of Hope were in 4:3!
"I'm the only person who really knows you," Katie told Bill. Wasn't that always Steffy's selling point?... Katie and Hope should start a club, now that they've both been locked in glass enclosures by Bill... I think Bill thinks he has a dog instead of a son, the way he commanded, "Liam, stay!" Would Liam have gotten a Milk-Bone if he had?... Why was Brooke standing there watching Liam and Hope make out? Vicariously living through Hope? Not that we needed such an extreme closeup -- you could practically see their tonsils!...
"You respected my marriage," Liam cooed to Hope. Oh? She certainly vacillated between staying away from him and going after him often enough... Even though you could sometimes hear the buzz from the stage lights in certain shots this week, the city sound effects on the roof were very good... Bill was most astute when he told Liam he was there for him in ways his own father wasn't there for him -- good nod to Bill Spencer, Sr.! Wish he hadn't been killed off -- I would have loved to see Jim Storm and Don Diamont go toe-to-toe!
Will Steffy turn out to be pregnant, as many fans are guessing? More importantly, will we ever see a different story take the front burner for any length of time? February sweeps are upon us, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!