Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you bounce between girls so fast you might as well have been made of rubber? Did you have an Emmy reel conversation in God's office? Did you have a big, healthy baby after only four months? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
It's Mike once again, Scoopers! I'm back with my nit-picking ways. Though I have to say, B&B finally felt like a soap again there for a few days, after a long detour through Teenybopper Land. Not that we didn't still pay a visit there, but the drama surrounding Katie's dangerous delivery -- and I do mean drama! -- easily outshined anything Hope, Liam, or Steffy had to say. This is what B&B can do when they really make an effort!
Gotta get one quibble out of the way, however: Katie only announced to Bill that she was pregnant on May 18. Realize that this was barely four months ago. The only pregnancy I'd ever seen happen that fast on a soap was back in 1993, when Jill had Billy on Y&R, also after four months. What was the rush? Ronn Moss was gone, so they fast-tracked Katie's story? Or maybe Katie spent the first five months of her pregnancy scared to tell Bill about it, and we actually saw her carry to term? All right, quibble over. Let's Scoop!
I've been saying all along that the problem with Bill and Katie is that he does whatever he wants, and she only holds him accountable for a millisecond. And that Bill never pays for any of his actions. This was rectified a bit this week as Bill was faced with losing Katie, or his baby, or both, while Katie lay desperately trying to keep her heart rate under the much-mentioned 140. As Bill threw his weight around, Dr. Meade countered by telling Bill to pray. "Yeah, I don't do that," Bill snarked.
Oh, yes, he did! The cynical part of me was thinking "Emmy reel," but I honestly have to say that Bill's unique and heartfelt prayer in the hospital chapel was pure gold, from the writing to Don Diamont's powerhouse performance. Bill expressed thanks for the competitive nature and mental acuity that made him into a giant, then took responsibility for probably causing Katie's crisis, yelling, "Take me instead!" The heavenly "light" from Dr. Meade's entrance was overkill, but it didn't take away from what was perhaps Don Diamont's finest moment on B&B.
I know a lot of you had to have balked when Bill referred to Katie as "pure goodness." I, too, wish B&B wouldn't just paint Katie as a paragon of strength. They should acknowledge the stunt Katie pulled on Bridget with Nick four years ago, and show that Katie knows what she did was wrong. However, maybe Katie's near-death was enough to satisfy some audience members' need for justice.
Katie, in a great speech, told Bill to "love first" instead of reforming Liam or ambushing Hope or hating their child. So all went well as Katie gave birth to the biggest, healthiest-looking premature baby I've ever seen on TV -- maybe there really is something to the genetics of Spencer men. Then, suddenly, Katie flatlined -- what a cliffhanger! And on a Tuesday, no less! I admit, I didn't see that one coming.
I must take issue with the doctors working on restarting Katie's heart for almost a whole episode (she would have died before the first commercial break, or at least would have suffered major brain damage by the end of the show instead of gleefully welcoming visitors). But I applaud Donna's recap of how Katie ended up with Storm's heart, complete with powerful flashbacks! Plus, it gave Jennifer Gareis her meatiest material in, well, forever. Donna Logan with substance: who knew?
Not sure how I feel about Katie's out-of-body experience. I think it was handled well, and shot well, and there was some good continuity about Storm and their mother, Beth. (Who was that playing Storm? Did they actually get William DeVry back in for an episode?) I loved the line "Our heart is stronger in you than it ever was in me." But there were also a lot of clichés in the sequence, like "it's not your time yet." Oh, well. At least it was better than Taylor's near-death experience in 1999!
Was it just me, or did it feel funny the next "day" when Katie was telling everyone about the experience? Not that she shouldn't have shared about it, but something about that whole sequence felt really contrived. And how many times did the word "miracle" get thrown around? Yes, Katie's recovery was nothing less. But too many characters used the word, and somehow on soaps when people talk about miracles, it comes off mawkish. I think Katie should have kept her vision of Storm between herself and the audience.
However, I should credit B&B with two things. One, that Katie's heart transplant hasn't been forgotten. Does Y&R's Victor, who also received a donated heart, ever have any related health issues? Are he or Rick, who received Amber's kidney, ever mentioned taking anti-rejection drugs like Katie was? Nope. So Katie's ongoing heart saga is realistic and refreshing. And, unlike her last heart attack in 2011, Katie didn't just jump up and get back to normal life after one episode.
Do any of you get the feeling we're not done with this yet? There were still a lot of comments like "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you" and "I don't know how many years I have left." Hey, most of us don't, but it does feel as if Katie may be joining Storm, after all, sooner than later. Hopefully, with Bill remorseful about almost losing Katie, he'll finally start treating her better. This was the first week in ages that I felt like they were an actual couple.
In fact, I was heartened to see that Katie wasn't letting Bill off with a free pass for his Deacon stunt, even after all the tears and heartfelt admissions. And Bill owned his crap, for the first time maybe ever. "What you did could land you in jail," Katie warned. Plus, with the possibility that Deacon could come back for some serious blackmail, it finally feels like there are actual stakes in this story. Why can't B&B deliver like that all the time?
Did any of you see the Michael Fairman interview with Bradley Bell? Brad is sort of recanting his desire to turn B&B into One Tree Hill and is now admitting that Leffy/Lope is overplayed (he says part of the reason he did it was because "I was not sure who I had on the canvas"). He also says that he's opening "new avenues for characters that had been backburnered," that Jon Hensley's Dr. Meade "has a storyline that is developing," that Katie will have a "great women's issue story," and that we'll see more of Thorne and Taylor, with Taylor "very much as a professional and a doctor, and as someone who is really in the middle of a great dilemma." Is Brad finally -- hallelujah -- getting the message?
At least we did see some other characters this week. Though I thought the Pam/Thomas confrontation was silly, Pam redeemed herself with her sincere concern for Donna during Katie's crisis. And Thomas...was that actual emotion he showed Caroline? To say nothing of the awesome continuity when he mentioned having married Gabriela to keep her in the country. (Anyone remember that 2005 storyline?) It was all better than the latest Leffy/Lope offerings we got, which were out of step with the whole rest of the week.
I get that soaps usually balance their seriously dramatic moments with lighter fare, but did we really have to see Taylor and Thomas talking about Liam? Or Steffy and Liam talking about Hope? Or Steffy and Taylor talking about Liam? It was boring next to Katie's life-or-death struggle in the hospital. Besides, Liam bounced like a bad check in the course of a week -- again! He implied "maybe" to Steffy, told Hope he wanted to marry her, then let Steffy kiss him when Hope told him no. I'm gonna rename the boy Pinball; I really am.
Steffy's an idiot for waiting "until Liam is ready." Isn't she supposed to be stronger than that? And did we need more flashbacks? The only corner of this never-ending triangle that showed any sense was Hope, who again told Liam that she loved him but couldn't take him back. She didn't even want to take any more Hope For The Future pictures with men in them! Right now, she's coming off as the most mature of the three, and I don't have to tell you how scary that is.
But lo, were those hints we were being hit over the head with? "You'll be a good father someday" and "Remember how many times we talked about having kids" were just two of the references Hope and Liam made to potential offspring -- when we've never heard them talk about children during their myriad involvements. This kind of telegraphing can only mean one thing: get out the pickles and ice cream. Not that this story needs any more "twists" (I'm still dizzy from the first several thousand), but I know paving the way when I see it.
There is also a fair amount of ish that could still hit the fan here. Hope still thinks Liam and Steffy "did it," thanks to Rick and Othello's lie. Liam and Hope don't know that Alison wrote the letter in Italy -- and that Steffy knew about it. And couldn't Hope and Steffy still expose Bill for the faked MRI? Seriously, let's just explode all these bombs so Liam can choose somebody and stay with the "lucky" girl so we can move on and forget that this triangle dominated for a year!
Well, I promised that this week I would return to including some of your comments about B&B and Two Scoops. Let it not be said that I don't deliver! Check out what your fellow Soap Central readers had to say, and if you've got something to say, get typing, and your comments may end up in a future column. Like these!
• "[Brad] Bell might want to check the numbers on One Tree Hill. It was on the CW, a network that is consistently last, and its ratings were mediocre (at best) for the last 6 or so years of its run...I get that he's going after the younger demographic (my guess is there were talks at CBS daytime that basically said 'bring in a younger demo or else') but completely alienating your current base of fans is not a good idea...I started watching Y&R with my grandmother when I was 12, and started watching B&B when Sheila Carter moved shows. I would venture to say that most people watching soaps now, young or old, starting watching because their grandmother or mother or uncle (in my case) etc watched. If that older demographic isn't watching, the younger won't come to daytime all on their own. Watch yourself, [Brad] Bell.." -- Gerry
• "B&B needs to be [an] hour long...I personally enjoy the show, and as much as viewers [bash] the show a fan is a fan forever regardless. I do believe the writers need to let [Taylor's] children shine some. Brooke shined in her day; now let Steffy shine and Hope take a back seat. Let Liam end up loving Steffy the [way he loves] Hope...we wanna see love for a while the drama is overrated now." -- Chance
• "B&B should go straight into the trash bin. I don't know why I'm still watching. Thank goodness for fast forward." -- Donna
• "I think I must have slept through the summer episodes or maybe I just woke up from my own coma... but how did the storyline write out the Marone clan?? It seems to me that one day they were taking up boring screentime, and then unceremoniously gone..." -- Adrienne
Now, what would one of my columns be if I didn't end with some Points to Ponder?
Nice continuity, bringing Dr. Caspary back for Katie's delivery! Shame she didn't make a reference to Katie's previous failed pregnancy, which she was there for... How does Hope even know what preeclampsia is? Just because she's a girl, she's automatically privy to this knowledge?... "I still can't believe we almost lost Katie," Steffy lamented. Are we supposed to believe she's sincere? Because I had a hard time believing it... At least with the baby being named William Logan Spencer, there's no William Spencer IV, although I'm sure in two years, the tyke will be aged to compete with Liam for women!
Hold the phone! Bill seriously sold the beach house and bought Taylor's estate with no previous mention that Taylor even wanted to sell it? Weird. The only interesting thing is, now Taylor is back living in the beach house like she did in the '90s... "She makes you feel okay no matter what you're feeling," Steffy said, in praise of Taylor. Unless it's Brooke that's feeling it, eh, Taylor?
Liam and Hope's "maybe we're supposed to be building that world here" conversation was very interesting, and surprisingly profound... "A girl's gotta have hope for the future to think she's gonna look good in this!" Pam snickered about Thomas' design... "I'm allowed a lunch hour!" Donna insisted -- yet in the establishing shot that set up the scene, it was dark... "Rick decided to spread the work around [so we'd] experience all the facets of running the company," Steffy complained. Really? Someone actually wants Forrester employees to learn about its corporate ins and outs? That's more training than Eric or Ridge have ever offered over there!
Well, thank the soap gods we had a better week on B&B -- quite possibly the best we've had all year, dare I say it. And there's more comin': Brooke is about to come home from her honeymoon without Ridge, and Stephanie's ultimate send-off is inching closer. Will Brad Bell hold true to his promise to focus on other characters and storylines? Keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold! See you again next week here at Soap Central!