The bland and the baffling

by Mike
For the Week of April 15, 2013
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B&B Two Scoops: The bland and the baffling
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The week of April 15, 2013
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Once upon a time, the denizens of a faraway place called Los Angeles delighted in high romance and evil deeds, all of which came with very high stakes. But when even Brooke's scandalous romp with Bill seems to fall flat, it's a sign that this storybook's pages may be yellowing, as observed by Mike, your Two Scoops narrator this week!

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Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you turn in your frequent flier card for a frequent hospital card? Did you get two big breaks in one day? Did even your very scandalous affair lack drama? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!

What is up with The Bold and the Beautiful right now? On the surface, all the elements for soapy goodness are there; the actors are game, and their performances are just fine. But there's little-to-no pop! The entire week felt flat, and a large part of that is because, while the stories themselves are okay (if not particularly inspired), what led up to them doesn't really make much sense! Let me try and explain.

First, there's the Caroline/Rick/Maya triangle. On paper, it should work: bitchy debutant girlfriend tries to crush earnest hunky boyfriend's interest in spirited newcomer. That's great, except not long ago, Caroline wasn't bitchy, Rick gleefully stole Caroline from Thomas, and Maya practically threatened to cut Dayzee if she didn't make with Maya's kid! Does that sound like the trio we're watching now? The disconnect between who they were and who they are is preventing me from investing in them. They don't feel real.

Caroline snarked that Rick was "too gullible," citing Rick's past with Amber as the reason he should see that "Marcie" was playing him. Interesting point: that's the exact reason Rick should see that Caroline is playing him! It was a year ago this month that Amber cast him as a cross-dresser via Photoshop -- why isn't Rick's alarm system working? And Caroline, really...bragging that Rick would soon see what a skank "Marcie" was? Way to tip your hand, girl. She must be new at this.

Maya, who seemed to show street smarts when she arrived on the scene from jail, walked into a casting director's office and took forever to clue in that she was on a porno set. Really? I don't expect her to be wise in the ways of triple-X, but her apparent naïveté just didn't ring true. Maya's not new to Hollywood; surely she'd heard of porn producers pretending to be legit before.

And poor Carter. His request for a date gets interrupted by a phone call from Rick, yet Carter postures that he's "not afraid of a little competition"? Carter, there is no competition. For Maya, it's all Rick, all the time. That Carter can't see that makes him look like a first-class chump. Now, to me, Karla Mosley and Lawrence Saint-Victor were hired at the same time for their GL connection, so I feel that Carter and Maya are the endgame. But so far, Carter's brainlessness isn't exactly giving him rooting value.

I have to admit to a couple of moments of intrigue with Caroline. Why was she feeling up porno stud Herc so enthusiastically? What exactly about Caroline do we not know? Also, what would happen if the press found out about Rick's interest in Maya? Will Caroline tip them off? Personally, Caroline, if you want to get rid of Maya, just look into why Maya was in jail! Caroline could pull a few strings and get Maya thrown back in the slammer. Guess she was too distracted by Herc to think of it.

Rick and Hope's brother/sister dynamic continues to be sweet, but their conversation about Liam and Maya was a total yawner. It's not even worth mentioning, except for when they touched on Hope For the Future. It actually made sense for Hope to allow that she'd put too much of her personal life into it (ya think?) and that Forrester needed to take it in a different direction. That direction, according to Rick, is Maya, who ended up with two job offers in one day. Score!

Speaking of Hope, wasn't it kind of silly that she and Liam both ended up at Bill and Katie's at the same time? Would they really be that friendly with each other after all that's happened? Nice try, B&B, having them fly to Katie's hospital bed together, but Leffy/Lope has zero life in it anymore. Honestly, Hope, give it up. Whether or not you were robbed or Steffy trapped Liam with a baby is irrelevant. Move on. And not because Taylor said so.

Taylor was seriously out of line, telling Hope to split the Forrester compound. I get that Taylor is being protective of her daughter and grandchild. But how would Taylor have reacted if Beth Logan had confronted her before one of Brooke's myriad marriages to Ridge and told Taylor that she needed to learn to accept it? Besides, when Steffy was in full huntress mode, did Taylor tell Steffy to respect Liam and Hope's relationship? Not hardly. Hope's response to Taylor's insistence that she move on? "Kind of like you helped Eric move on from Stephanie?" Pow! Easily the most impactful line of the week.

There is an interesting commonality between Hope and Taylor now, as Hope pointed out. They both were in love with waffling men who ditched them. That could have made for a really nice moment of connection between Taylor and Hope. But Taylor messed that up by bitching, "Ridge and I had children, and your mother couldn't have cared less." Yeah, except most of Brooke's pursuit of Ridge happened before the kids were born. After that, Brooke was busy with Thorne and Deacon, and then you "died." Get it right.

Liam and Steffy's baby blathering certainly was charming on the surface, but again, it's hard to take them at face value when you consider everything it took to get them on that patio furniture. Especially the part where Liam proposed to Steffy because Hope told him to. No indication of that now, but the specter of that facet lingers on.

And why did Liam not react when offered a chance to marry Steffy at the mansion? Eight months ago, he stood there in his underwear, wanting to marry Hope! You'd think Liam would have quietly suggested another venue. I'm sure it'll be a beautiful ceremony, but getting married in that house isn't exactly novel, even if it's in the outdoor courtyard that used to be an indoor set. (Good transformation, B&B.) And Eric designing the wedding dress? Ooh, excitement! Like that's never been done before.

Eric's professions that Taylor has brought light and love back into the mansion were nice, and I loved the wink-nod in his confessing that he'd had decades of practice getting stressed-out women to cheer up. And that's the thing: Taylor gushed how happy she was and how perfect everything was. So why, then, is Taylor intent on inserting herself into Brooke's attraction to Bill? "Sometimes I let Brooke get under my skin, and I shouldn't," Taylor admitted to Eric. But that self-realization didn't last long.

The whole drama with Katie fighting for her life in a hospital is standard soap fare, usually guaranteed to jerk a few tears from the viewing audience. But again, what brought us there was so contrived that I really can't feel anything. Yes, I know Katie is a heart transplant patient. But her having a heart episode every time she has a spat with Bill has turned into a joke. Three times in two years, one being just seven months ago? Come on. It's like the boy who cried wolf. Who can take it seriously?

Naturally, Bill and Brooke were there to exchange guilty glances and shed tears. I can't believe B&B actually had them sleep together. One could argue that Katie chucking her wedding ring and telling Bill she was done sent Bill and Brooke the message that it was okay to give in to their desire. But it wasn't. Bill was so horned up for Brooke and Brooke was so lonely without Ridge that they looked for the smallest loophole so they could bump uglies.

Do you guys know the term "jumping the shark"? It's a television term used to mark the moment when a show passes the point of no return, derived from a Happy Days episode where Fonzie literally jumped over a shark while water skiing. Has the Bill/Brooke boink caused B&B to jump the shark? Where can the characters of Bill and Brooke realistically go after this?

The one I'm most disappointed in is Brooke. I know how a lot of you feel about "the slut from the Valley," and you know I tend to be a little more lenient with her. But has this woman learned nothing? Did she not swear to clean up her act after Oliver and Thomas? Did she not make the same promise to Stephanie? I keep saying it: having Brooke struggle with her demons and lose would have been one thing. But she jumped into bed with Bill without the slightest hesitation. So much for character-driven humanity.

Additionally, not only does Bill never learn anything, he also never pays for his sins. This violates a very strong unspoken rule about soaps, because no villain can continue doing what they want without the walls caving in on them once in a while. Katie needs to wake up, file for a divorce, get sole custody of Will, and take control of Spencer Publications, all while having a steamy affair with Bill's best friend (and lawyer!), Justin. But I have a feeling Katie's going to give Bill a free pass again. Boring.

Then there's Bill's drunk-driving accident. Great on the surface, but just happening to crash into Brooke was ludicrous. I already mentioned that in my last column, but my feelings about it haven't changed. Are we to believe that Brooke actually obstructed justice by hiding Bill's car just to avoid plunging the families into a scandal? Since when has Brooke been concerned about preventing scandals, especially considering she just slept with her sister's husband?

And if Brooke wanted to hide Bill's accident from Katie, why didn't she come up with some other reason Bill couldn't come home instead of cryptically saying Bill was spending the night, which only made Katie worry more and storm over to Brooke's house? Oy. Brooke and Bill didn't win any awards for discretion, either, since they were blurting out specifics of their tryst with Taylor in earshot. Of course Taylor was going to see their huddle and suspect something was going on!

The one thing I will say is that I was impressed that Bill owned his "frat boy" behavior, admitting he had tormented Katie just because he didn't want to be told what to do. It was surprisingly astute. Unfortunately, it does nothing to raise Bill's likeability quotient in all this. Taylor's constant hovering seemed very off, too. "Why are you always creeping around?" Bill demanded. "Don't you have other patients?" Apparently not, Bill. Apparently not.

Taylor's reasons for even being at the hospital were invalidated left and right. "Katie is my friend," Taylor claimed. Since when? Oh, but Katie is Taylor's patient. Um, not really, not since Bill fired Taylor a couple of weeks ago. I'd like to believe that Taylor cares for Katie, but I think Taylor's hatred for Brooke is far stronger. And, as Donna pointed out, Taylor is/was Katie's psychiatrist, not a heart doctor. In fact, Donna was the sharpest knife in the drawer in all this. Not bad for a former honey bear!

The silent moment when Donna realized Katie wasn't wearing her wedding ring, replete with extreme closeups of Donna's eyes, was the standout scene on B&B for me this week. Then, when Donna took Brooke and Bill into the hallway for a serious Q&A, well, I've never seen Donna, or Jennifer Gareis, for that matter, so intense and compelling.

I also loved when Donna realized the seriousness of Brooke's complicity in hiding Bill's accident and decided to keep mum about it, even stepping up and telling Taylor to butt out because it was "a family matter." If only Donna hadn't blabbed about the whole thing to an unconscious Katie so Taylor could overhear part of it. Soap Rule #414: never yap to comatose patients in hospital rooms. You never know who's going to walk in!

So, while B&B is coming off like they're serving up some real drama (including two back-to-back episodes that ended with Taylor swearing, "I'll find out"), pretty much everything on the show right now is paper thin. As Daytime Confidential pointed out, it's all talk and no action. B&B needs to dig more deeply into its history, tie things together better, and stop stretching believability out like a piece of chewing gum in trying to force-fit characters into stories. Although I don't know why I keep going on about that; obviously B&B isn't listening.

But we're listening, Scoopers, as in listening to you! There have been tons of comments on the message boards, the comments you've left on this page, in the emails you sent us, and on the voicemails you've left for our 24/7 caller feedback line. So keep using those avenues to tell us what you think! Your comments could end up in a future column. Like these!

Meanwhile, here are some letters from the readers!

    • "I may have watched my last [B&B] episode. I can't believe that Brooke slept with Bill, her own sister's husband...and someone please put Taylor Hayes and her whining kids out of their misery. I am so sick of her sticking her nose into everyone's business...someone please hand her a mirror!" -- Barbara

    • "This show is out of control! Why is Rick more preoccupied with Maya than figuring out why his girlfriend is someone he doesn't even recognize?" -- "Soapstef"

    • "It'll be aggravating to see how many times Brooke [will try] to hide what she and Bill [did] just minutes after Katie stormed off (Steffy/Liam rehash)... I mostly just read recaps...because too many [B&B] characters are so lacking in basic decency, instead of just a few being over the top. Is this really the only way B&B can think of to try to hold onto viewers?" -- Patricia

    • "I love the new Taylor. I'm glad that the writers have given her a backbone to stand up for herself and her children...the joke in all this is Brooke trying to be the new Stephanie when she really has never stood for morals and values...[it] would have been cool if we would have seen Stephanie's ghost hovering over Brooke and Bill while they made love." -- Stacey

    • "Caroline...[having] a brain injury from the fall...would be a great storyline. Frontal lobe damage can affect one's personality. This would give [Linsey Godfrey] a chance to add layers to her character...and give Dani and Karen more to do. P.S. I think [Dr. Meade] would be a good match for Katie." -- Sani

And we need more Dr. Meade! Which is just one of many Points to Ponder:

There was only one flashback this week; we're improving... Brooke took a cell phone call in a hospital, which as far as I know is a no-no... Eric's hair was messed up as he was talking to Taylor, then when the scene cut back to him, his hair was fixed... Wonder what Mark, the porn director, is going to do with the footage he captured of Caroline caressing Herc? And did any of you notice that Mark's office looked suspiciously just like Thorne's with a few things moved around?

Caroline's a bitch, but she had the best line: "[Maya] should still be in jail for crimes against fashion..." Does Hope really keep a change of clothes waiting at Rick's so she can use the pool? Speaking of the Forrester pool, it's kind of cool that it's now outside, but would the Forresters really live somewhere where there's so much traffic noise?... Even though Leffy/Lope has always been a mess, it was good continuity for Liam and Steffy to refer to and compare their wedding in Aspen...

Coming up, Oliver crosses over to Y&R (maybe he'll get lucky in Genoa City), and Bridget makes a visit to B&B. It would be kind of cool if Bridget, Hope, and Katie all did a Sexual Compulsives Anonymous intervention on Brooke, since Miss Logan's libido negatively affected all three of them. Will Brad Bell come up with something that interesting? That's the real cliffhanger, Scoopers!

I will be back next week, covering for Allison, so be ready to once again throw down with me about all things B&B. In the meantime, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!

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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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