No more core four

by Mike
For the Week of September 24, 2012
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B&B Two Scoops: No more core four
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The week of September 24, 2012
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Ridge is gone, and those remaining were there to peripherally prop up Leffy/Lope. And wasn't Deacon a beacon that had Katie freakin'?! Dig into a Ridge-less B&B and say goodbye to the so-called Core Four -- and say welcome back with the return of Two Scoops' Mike!

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Was Patti LaBelle's "New Attitude" your new favorite song? Did you look as if you just walked in from Oakdale Memorial? Did you almost have a baby in addition to having a cow? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

Hello again, Scoopers! Mike reporting, after yet even more time away. This time it was a trip to my hometown. Let me tell ya, nothing is bolder or more beautiful than standing in the house you grew up in for the first time in 36 years. Thank you to Allison for covering for me! Since fair is fair, I will now be covering for her until October 29 as she takes some much-deserved time off from Scooping. I guess you're stuck with me!

And what a B&B to come back to: Ronn Moss, gone from the show. (Did it seem Ridge's final episodes were more about Brooke than Ridge? Or was it just me?) Of course, we were already used to his absence, since Ridge was mostly only there to prop up Leffy/Lope. In an interview last week, Ronn came right out and said that being asked to take a significant pay cut did have something to do with his departure, not to mention his feeling disrespected over being upstaged by Leffy/Lope. Told ya.

In another article, Brad Bell basically said he wanted to turn B&B into One Tree Hill. Ah-ha! Now doesn't that just make sense after he's phased out the grownups and focused on the kiddies for the past year? Now, I never watched One Tree Hill, but I do know the typical teen/young adult angst type of shows that WB/CW churns out, and B&B has read like that since Summer 2011. So, kudos, Brad -- your transformation of the show is complete.

But those aren't congratulations on my part. In fact, it makes me really sad -- no, scratch that...mad -- that this transformation happened in the first place. B&B was never meant to be One Tree Hill. Even in its beginnings 25 years ago, Ridge and Brooke were young but not part of the teen set, and Eric and Stephanie's middle-aged dramas got equal time. Now, anyone over 25 is just on the show to talk about, advance, or impede the never-ending Leffy/Lope triangle.

And even if a B&B viewer could accept having only twentysomethings on their screen or monitor, from what I can tell, Brad's much-imitated One Tree Hill had multiple characters. Sure, the main trio led the pack, but theirs wasn't the only tale to be told. How about copying that, Brad Bell? How about copying that?

Yes, if you watched this week, you could be deluded into believing B&B actually had other stories. But everything -- from Rick's machinations to Deacon's reappearance to Katie's latest trip to the hospital -- could all be linked back to Leffy/Lope. When does it stop? Deacon's reappearance to Katie's latest trip to the hospital -- could all be linked back to Leffy/Lope. When does it stop? Maybe B&B's newest viewers are less likely to take issue with it, but the show has legions of fans around the world who liked the show the way it was. If Brad Bell isn't careful, all his other veterans will soon be walking, too. I can't see Hunter Tylo keeping quiet much longer about Taylor only showing up to give Steffy advice about Liam!

There is a certain amount of intrigue for me in the possibility of Rick commanding a larger role in Forrester Creations, and on the show. He was the first child born on air, he's not a member of the Kiddie Patrol, and he's right -- he is the only Forrester/Logan of that generation with any corporate experience. You may recall that, in 2002, Massimo Marone trained Rick in how to run a corporation -- if only to annoy Ridge into joining Marone Industries. But still.

I just don't know how I feel about Rick drooling over the CEO chair. I liked that I saw inklings of Jacob Young's AMC character, JR, as Rick spoke of wanting to preserve his father's legacy. I know some of you don't like Jacob Young as Rick. I do, because at least he's the original adult portrayer. And, while helping Hope is beneath him, Jacob can easily make Rick into a force to be reckoned with, given a powerful enough storyline. But having Rick make his move the very week after Ridge just seemed underdeveloped to me.

Then there's Rick's plot to snag Caroline for himself by pushing Thomas toward Hope. Win-win, right? It might be, if there wasn't so much wrong with the dynamics. Forgetting that Thomas and Hope are related by marriage and grew up together (which obviously I can't forget), their connection earlier this year was quick, contrived, and the very definition of underdeveloped. So I can't buy Thomas having residual feelings for Hope, because it felt like he didn't have substantial feelings for her to begin with.

The same goes for Thomas' relationship with Caroline. One bonding dinner with Caroline's two mommies and we're supposed to believe that Thomas and Caroline are the hot new item. Really? When did we ever see them together, except when they were being Mr. and Mrs. Columbo during Marcus' texting troubles? We didn't. So I don't get the sense that Thomas has any deep connection to Caroline or Hope. Which negates Thomas' supposed conflict -- and Rick's scheme -- in my mind.

And Caroline, who was introduced as this pillar of strength, has mostly been a big wuss from what I've seen. The only spark she had was when she was telling cousin Liam not to sass her! A sophisticated girl from New York moping around because Thomas is modeling with his stepsister? Where's the drama, aside from the music that indicates it's supposed to be dramatic? Which reminds me: Thomas causing trouble by kissing a Logan girl on the runway again? Is that all he does?

Hope showed some promise this week. Repeatedly saying she had to get off the merry-go-round with Liam and telling him he needed to leave were the smartest things I've seen Hope do in many an episode. Keep pushing him away, sister! He deserves it! Sorry, but I no longer buy Liam's professions of love to Hope. They just don't ring true. I don't say Liam loves Steffy or should be with her, but he's been laboring too long under the misapprehension that he can have his cake and eat it, too, and it's about time someone took the plate away.

And apparently Liam now thinks that treating your staff like crap is the way to be a stronger person. He's as malleable as he's always been, only now it's Daddy Dolla he's clay to. I wanted to feel for Liam when Taylor coaxed some genuine emotion out of him (self-serving as her "therapy" was), but his tears reminded me too much of when Bill emasculated him a few weeks ago. Besides, Liam's "personality" changed far too fast -- as fast as his mind did after Taylor told him one door closes and another one opens!

It's last year's Hope-dumped-me-so-here's-her-engagement-ring scenario all over again! "I love you, Hope, I wanna be with you...oh, I can't have you? Okay, Steffy, let's be together." Steffy is stupid to take him back. I don't know why I'm wasting the keystrokes complaining about this story, except that it's what's on our screens, and I have to Scoop about it. But I'm really disgusted with the whole thing. If we have to have Hope, Liam, and Steffy in our faces 24/7, can't we get something different once in a while? And did all three of them have to have flashbacks over three episodes? Yawn.

Not surprisingly, the really interesting stuff had to do with the adults, even if they were only there to prop up the kids. Freaky Deaky was back, although how he slipped past Forrester security in his less-than-convincing disguise is beyond me. But a certain maturity comes out in Deacon when he interacts with daughter Hope, and Sean Kanan sells it like a circus barker on the midway. "I kind of want you to stick around," Hope told Deacon. Us too, Hope! Us too!

Yet, I couldn't help feeling that Deacon's scene with Hope was merely written to rehash the wedding shenanigans for the audience. To hear Hope tell it all at once, it does sound rather ridiculous. Deacon blamed himself for the letter, but the fault lay with the writers who expected us to believe that Liam didn't know his own fiancée's handwriting. Bad form reminding us of a bad story point, B&B!

Still, Deacon seemed remorseful and nearly gave himself away to Hope, who seemed so in awe of her deadbeat dad that she didn't pick up on the clues. (At least she's consistent -- she does that with Liam, too.) The Logan sisters might be too biased to give Deacon a chance now, but is it realistic that Hope has zero conflict with Deacon, or that they resolved their complicated, long-held issues in those brief moments before Hope's Italian wedding? A better story would have been if Hope were mistrustful first until Deacon wore her down. Hope accepting Deacon so quickly just sucked all the drama out of an otherwise juicy scenario.

The same thing happened when Deacon confronted Bill in his office. It was exciting to see them clash, and it veritably dripped with possibilities...but somehow it lost steam as they decided to discuss Leffy/Lope instead. What happened to the suspense? The stakes? They should have had each other by the balls. The only intrigue was the hint that Liam would hate Bill (and Hope would hate Deacon!) if the truth came out!

One landmine that actually did go off was Katie finding out that Bill was up to his old tricks in Italy. Of course, this was the whole reason Deacon was brought back for these three episodes. Wasn't it great to see how Deacon quietly refused to cover Bill's tracks before exposing Bill in a few sentences flat? And that Heather Tom -- give her the bat, and she'll knock that ball out of the park every time. Did you see how Katie stepped into older sister Brooke's shoes and kicked Deacon out of their lives? Go, Heather!

Katie brought up the interesting point that now they are all beholden to Deacon, which Deacon could lord over them at any time. Can't you see Deacon doing that? Though now that he's changed, at least somewhat, he might just jam his foot in the door at Spencer as a way of avenging Hope. I'd dearly love to see Deacon bring Bill to his knees. I won't see it, though, because B&B doesn't have enough oomph anymore to bring us that kind of drama. Not for more than one scene here and there, anyway.

So, Katie goes ballistic about Bill's latest scheme (I'm just waiting for her to let him off with a slap on the hand like she usually does), and zing! She's in the hospital. Did anyone not see that coming? Now her baby and her heart are in danger of giving out. But was that Dr. Holden -- I mean, Dr. Meade -- showing up to attend Katie? Yes! Now that I didn't see coming. And he got more to do here than in all of the previous Steffy scenes combined! Dr. Bob Hughes would be so proud!

Good for Dr. Meade, too, telling Bill that all his barking was not helping Katie to relax. Which was actually the perfect moment for Bill to flash back to tearfully admitting he was afraid he'd lose Katie and hate their child for it. Now that's a flashback! But could Katie be headed for a coma? Heather Tom will inevitably go on maternity leave, and there was a lot of telegraphing about "If you lost Katie..." "For as long as I'm able..." "Who's gonna teach our son how to be a man when his mother is dead..." Tantalizing hints...even if Stephanie has dropped similar hints since 2010 and is still with us...well, until December, anyway.

That brings us back to the changing face of B&B, which almost got lost under this week's goings-on. The biggest question is, how exactly will they handle Brooke coming back from her honeymoon alone? What will have happened to Ridge? Will it really be necessary for Brooke to pair up with Dr. Meade? (Especially when Deacon is right there?) Will Dr. Meade ever get a first name? (Maybe it's Snyder!) This is what lies ahead, and it's much more important than Liam instantly rekindling his relationship with Steffy...again.

Ordinarily, this is where I provide a smattering of your comments. But, since I've been gone so long, there are too many to wade through, so I'll make you a deal. Get writing about what you think of B&B's first truly Ridge-less week, and where the show's going from here, or where you think it should be going, and next week, I will indeed provide that smattering. One thing can't be denied: this is an important time for B&B!

In lieu of comments, I will wrap things up for now with some Points to Ponder:

Wonder how Spencer employees feel about Liam's 180-degree turn? "That's what I pay you for!" he barked. Really? Because I thought it was Bill who signed the paychecks... How come Rick always comes off like he's the one who's in love with Hope?... Notice how Liam is playing the dead mother card a lot lately to justify his actions... Thomas and Hope would do a promotional photo shoot in the clothes they wore to work? Is this the fashion industry or shots for the high school yearbook?

"Does Hope for the Future even have a line to promote?" Caroline wanted to know. Touché!... Did you see the way Oliver looked at Hope? If he'd just go after Hope again, he could stop Rick's plot, put Thomas out of commission, and finish Leffy/Lope once and for all... "No such thing as too much good publicity, right, Ollie?" Nice mask-boink in-joke, Rick!... Hope said she wouldn't get involved with Thomas because "it would just be sharing with another woman again." Is that wisdom I smell, Hope?

Did Steffy actually give Liam "noogies" upon hearing he wanted her back? Some romantic reconciliation!... Steffy and Taylor's rehash discussion was a total bore; the only good thing about it was the reminder that Steffy also knows what Deacon and Bill did in Italy. How is Liam going to feel once that little nugget gets dug up?... "I've never met the girl," Deacon said of Steffy. Wonder what would happen if he did? Steffy does like to work out her daddy issues with older bad boys, and Deacon has never been one to say no to a skirt...

Where is all of Bill's "Spencer men" rhetoric coming from? Certainly not from Bill Spencer, Sr.! Wouldn't it be awesome if it turned out Bill had a different father and that Karen was the true and only Spencer heir? That would shut Bill up in a hurry, wouldn't it!... Deacon telling Bill to get therapy was hilarious -- except Bill already tried that last year, with no results... "I have good kids," Deacon observed. How does he even know how "Little D" is doing? Deacon's been out of his life for years!

Finally, Steffy decried Hope's "impossible expectations" yet again. So, being decent and moral are impossible expectations in her eyes?... Pam and Donna are still fighting over their duties at Forrester while the phone rings off the hook? Seriously?... And do we have to have a "cold out" with a snare drum at the end of every single episode now? It screams, "This is a cliffhanger!" when not every episode merits it. Trying too hard, B&B!

I guess the biggest cliffhanger now is, what will happen when Prospect Park relinquishes its rights to All My Children? Will AMC make a comeback, since I hear other networks are interested in picking it up? What does any of this mean for One Life to Live? And, if AMC is reborn, what will that mean for B&B, since Jacob Young's AMC character, JR, was the focal point of AMC's final scene?

Thank you for reading us every week! See you next time...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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