Hi ho, Silver (Anniversary)!

by Mike
For the Week of March 26, 2012
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B&B Two Scoops: Hi ho, Silver (Anniversary)!
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The week of March 26, 2012
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Hope's troubles continue in earnest, but Two Scoops' Mike shares his favorite bold and beautiful moments as the soap celebrates a quarter century on the air. Happy 25th anniversary, B&B!

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Were you in a state of weeping in two states? Did a stranger's cell phone plan cause you a heap of trouble? Was your favorite metal silver? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

I'm bummed, Scoopers! For months, the calendar indicated that I would get to cover B&B's 25th anniversary episode. Then President Obama's preemption bumped everything forward a day. Now Allison will get that honor. I'm definitely looking forward to her take on this very special episode, but it kind of left me feeling like there was supposed to be a party and nobody came. So, later in this column we're going to do a little celebrating of our own. First, though, the business at hand!

Marcus and Dayzee certainly had a reason to celebrate! And why not? Marcus' simple but poignant shopping spree proposal was one of the most romantic gestures I've ever seen on a soap. As was Dayzee's choked-up response. Forresters, Logans, Spencers -- they all could take lessons from these two. I really like them together -- not because of their obvious similarity, but because they really come alive around each other. It was good they mentioned little Rosie; the tyke picking out the ring was a nice touch!

But how much nicer would this romance have been if we'd been able to see it develop? We've only been privy to brief glimpses, and being told how they've gotten to this point made me feel a little cheated. Also, Marcus bragged about having invited friends and family -- so where were biological parents Justin and Donna? Adoptive father Eric? And why was it so important that Liam be there when Marcus hardly knows him? Ah. So Hope could be accosted by a party crasher.

Any of you who have read my columns for any length of time knows how I am in these paragraphs. I'm critical, I nitpick, and I call 'em like I see 'em. Two Scoops reader Brandy commented: "...All [you and Allison] do is complain about B&B!...It's a damn soap opera...fake over-the-top melodramas! They're for entertainment purposes only! Not an educational tool for real life!...B&B is a wonderful escape from all these sickening reality shows...so enjoy being entertained and transported to a part of LA that is fictional and Hollywood created!"

Now, Brandy has a good point. At their core, soaps are entertainment. Sure, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit watching them! That's what makes them fun. But when a show goes too far over the top, when characters become cartoons, when plots have holes you could drive a semi through, the whole thing becomes a farce. Amnesiacs and evil twins are all well and good, but it's substance that made soaps great. And there's far too little of it on B&B these days.

I can't speak for Allison, but the reason I hold B&B up to such scrutiny every two weeks is because the show has been better, can be better, and should be better. All the ingredients are there. Oh, I know -- styles, formats, budgets, and public taste have changed the last 25 years. But seriously -- look up old episodes on YouTube, and compare them to what we're seeing now. The really kick-ass stuff comes from proper build-up, and from digging deep. And I don't think that's living in the past. Good, solid storytelling is timeless.

We did get some of that this week when Hope returned for a session with Dr. Barton (the day after her last one, but that's just me nitpicking again). Finally, with Brooke out of the room -- where she never should have been in the first place -- Hope delved into growing up with a sex symbol for a mother, and, glory be, the trauma of her graduation party. I always thought she'd recovered from Oliver and Brooke's betrayal too quickly! It was easy to see how her current problems stem from the mask boink, and the flashbacks illustrated that beautifully. This is what I mean by digging.

And good on Dr. Barton for not letting Hope slide when she said she was fine, instead suggesting that Hope hasn't worked through her issues! Unfortunately, the story itself could use a little therapy. Taking one antianxiety pill does not "make the stress melt away." They're only designed to help you function, and they need to be taken a whole week before they have any effect. Yet here was Hope behaving erratically, from uncharacteristic displays of anger toward Steffy to giggle fits with Liam, after only two pills -- and in the prescribed amount, at that! Soaps' best addiction stories took more time to get their heroines hooked. This one has such potential, but rushing it like this will only undermine it.

Fueling this is Hope running from the big, bad word "adultery." And golly whiz, a teenage girl saw Hope with a married man, so her mother immediately ran over and called Hope a hypocrite, a fraud, and an adulteress! "That was so over the top it was ridiculous," Liam said afterwards, and truer words were never spoken. Sure, Liam and Hope shouldn't have gone back on their decision to be discreet in public. But he's in the process of a divorce, which Mama Wingnut refused to hear. This scene made me furious! And how innocent could Daughter Wingnut have been, when she obviously sold her cell phone photo to the highest bidder the first chance she got?

This has the Forrester and Spencer camps bracing for a media firestorm. Stephanie's "Steffy is the real victim" rhetoric annoyed me, but she called it when she said, "I always thought the Hope For The Future campaign was a mistake." Letting Hope layer a "message" into a fashion line is one of the biggest mistakes B&B has ever made. Now, Felicia's first line had a message (don't jack up the environment). Sally's Grand Diva line had a message (couture isn't just for thin girls). But only one-time messages, not continuing press conferences arranged to broadcast personal business. Hope's "message" has long since become more important than the clothes -- isn't this the fashion industry? I wish Ridge would pull the line already so we don't have to hear about it anymore.

Across town, Bill defaulted to harassing Liam about Hope. At least Liam kept telling Bill to knock it off! But the best part of Bill is his business savvy, and his observations about how the media latches on to a story and resulting advice that Hope and Liam tell theirs through Spencer's magazines was bang-on. I would have rather seen the duo heed that advice than spend the episode going round in circles, talking about how bad things were. Shut up and take some action!

Another character who needed to grow a pair was a thousand miles away. I'm so over weepy, whiny Steffy. Two years ago, the girl was a bitch on wheels -- I hated her, but now I find I preferred her that way! Watching her lick her wounds in Aspen (amid needless flashbacks) was really unappealing. How much more powerful would she have been if she had just given Liam the annulment, and went on being awesome -- wasn't her spunk what attracted Liam in the first place? That spunk is far more likely to entice him back than making him wait for a divorce. Sorry, but Boo-Hoo Steffy isn't working for me.

Steffy came up in two of Brooke's conversations -- first with Taylor (who unfortunately reverted to coddling her daughter), then with Stephanie (who seems to have turned on Hope, despite supporting her before). Thank the soap gods the subject turned to anniversaries! Wouldn't it have been nice to have a whole week devoted to that? Forrester could have had a giant fashion show with flashbacks galore. Instead, Brooke is throwing an anniversary party for Stephanie and Eric. It's okay. I'll take it.

But what was up with Stephanie telling Brooke she was just trying to win her approval? "I thought I had it," Brooke replied. Indeed! I don't recall their truce officially ending. "I only let you think that because I was dying," Stephanie added. Sorry, but the Best Story of 2010 suggests otherwise, as confirmed by the flashbacks. Kind of a shame B&B only focused on that part of their history when it would have been killer to see clips dating back to Day One. At least, when Stephanie recalled that Brooke made her life miserable, Brooke offered, "And I regret that." I don't think Brooke has ever made such an apology before! And now, on Monday, we'll get the true anniversary episode. Allison, I'm so jealous.

So I'm going to throw my own anniversary party right here by looking back over my own favorite B&B moments from the past 25 years. As I mention on occasion, I started watching in 1988, fresh out of high school. My first episodes are a blur, but I do remember the Ridge/Caroline/Thorne triangle being in the thick of it. Stephanie sneaking off to see her secret daughter Angela, who was really an impostor. Thorne shooting Ridge in a drunken stupor and Stephanie taking the heat for it.

But, for me, the show became must-see-B&B with the arrival of Sheila Carter in 1992. Nothing before or since was as electrifying as those crossovers, first with Lauren discovering Sheila was alive, then trying to stop Sheila's wedding to Eric. I filed in a hospital then, and I'll never forget me and a slew of nurses in front of that waiting room TV, wondering if Lauren would "tell Eric everything!" Of course the truth didn't come out until 1995, with Sheila locking James in the dungeon and holding the Forresters at gunpoint before attempting suicide. Now that was good soap, my Scoopers.

Then there was Sheila's imprisonment and subsequent release, where she tried so hard to be good, but just couldn't. Slowly poisoning Stephanie with mercury pills was the stuff of legend, and I was glued to the set when Lauren and Maggie tried to turn the tables on Sheila by gaslighting her. Sheila finally losing it and kidnapping her daughter -- shooting Stephanie on the way out -- was an unforgettable send-off.

I never got into the romantic entanglements, but I was mesmerized when Ridge and Brooke got married thinking Taylor was dead, ending up in Morocco at Prince Omar's palace, where Taylor was forced to watch them through a one-way mirror. I loved when Taylor escaped and went around L.A. in disguise, masquerading as a hospital volunteer and tending to a blind Ridge. But nothing could top the exquisitely slow build-up as Taylor first revealed herself to Brooke ("No. NO!" Brooke screamed), then Stephanie, and finally, Ridge. Bridge/Tridge was never better.

The mystery of Grant's shooting played out for months, intricately involving almost everyone on the canvas. It pushed Thorne together with pregnant Taylor, who lamented that Ridge, the father of her child, was in jail. Tristan Rogers (GH's Scorpio) was hot on the case as a detective, but I loved how my jaw dropped when Grant confronted Ridge and confessed that the shooter was none other than pre-teen Rick! Watching these enemies form an unholy alliance to protect the clueless boy was riveting.

And, of course, no B&B character compares to the one, the only, Sally Spectra. Here was a woman who would do anything for her daughter Macy, for her company -- and for the respect of "Queen Stephanie". Her crazy disguises, battling with Stephanie over Taylor's father Jack, falling for Eric when he tried to trick her into confessing to another rash of stolen designs...Sally was a class act all the way. She was all heart and all guts, with a vulnerable side that made you love her even more. RIP, Darlene Conley. We still miss you!

The last truly great story I remember was in 2001-2002, when Massimo revealed that he, not Eric, was Ridge's biological father. It was delicious how Stephanie was the first to find out, the secret bubbling a whole year before Bridget got wise and confronted Massimo in Italy, culminating in fireworks when Eric and Ridge finally learned the truth. B&B just doesn't do build-up like that anymore. The only two stories that have since come close to packing that kind of punch were Stephanie confronting Ann about the abuse she grew up with (2006), and Brooke bonding with Stephanie over her lung cancer (2010).

Of course, there were all those memorable fashion shows, and the truly exotic locales. Even B&B seems to realize that Aspen and Cabo San Lucas don't really cut it, because they're heading back to Italy in May (though nothing can top Sally and Lauren flying there on that cut-rate airline in 1997!). And perhaps they're getting the message that there is such a thing as too much Leffy/Lope, because Karen's daughter Caroline is arriving next week to mix it up with Rick and Thomas.

And then there's that anniversary episode on Monday. What favorite and iconic moments will be revisited? More importantly, what are your favorite B&B memories from the past 25 years? Share your thoughts with me, and they may end up in a future column. Like these!

    • "I'd like to see Bell put Deacon Sharpe and Steffy Forrester together...Deacon is Hope's dad and she hates Hope and it'll be as if she's taking Hope's dad from her...and since when [are] Steffy and Liam best friends?" -- Edna (AUTHOR'S NOTE: Edna, I wondered the same thing!)

    • "Please go on with other stories...we get how ironic it is that Taylor's daughter is now Brooke and Brooke's daughter is now Taylor...give me back SALLY." -- Sue

    • "I feel as though Thorne's talent has been wasted. Also, I love Hope, she has tried hard to portray a girl true to herself and her morals...I really dislike conniving Steffy, she certainly [got] the right namesake..." -- Cynthia

    • "I started watching this show from day one with my grandmother and I hate to see where [things] are going...[Hope] is hypocritical. She blasted Steffy for not being honest with Liam and she is doing the same thing. Going to therapy for intimacy issues and taking pills while not telling the man that she loves so much is just plain stupid." -- Tonya

    • "...You [asked] how Stephanie recognized Gladys since you didn't recall them crossing paths. [Here is] a scene featuring Gladys and Stephanie (as well as Sally and Lauren) at a beauty salon. Love your column!" -- David

Thank you, David! And thank you for hipping me to that video. Gladys and Stephanie weren't actually introduced in the scene (probably because Stephanie was too busy reaming Sally for another classic B&B moment: putting the naked Eric/Lauren picture in the Bible at Stephanie's wedding!), but at least they did cross paths, and I loved being able to relive it!

I'm running a little long this week so I'm going to skip Points to Ponder until next time -- besides, I had so many of them, they'd fill up another column by themselves. I'll only leave you with some Great Lines: "Were you going for intimidation?" Steffy sassed. "Because dropping your purse all over my floor kind of ruined the effect." And there was an interesting, presumably improvised moment when Marcus got tangled in his chair and Stephanie said, "That's from Texas, right?" (Texas, of course, being Marcus' portrayer Texas Battle!)

Like our own lives, it's been up and it's been down, but The Bold and the Beautiful has been with us day by day for a quarter century. Happy 25th anniversary, B&B! And, as always, Scoopers, 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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