One-plot wonders: Why can't B&B characters get a life?

For the Week of February 18, 2019
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Zoe confronts her father and Thorne tells Katie it's over
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As Flo predicted, all hell just broke loose in Los Angeles. Zoe is body-shaming fake birth mothers and busting up baby brokering rings. Bill just learned to do magic, and his biggest trick was making Thorne disappear. How's that for not even trying? The abrupt departure of a signature Forrester begs the question: Why can't B&B characters get a life and keep it?

You ever wonder why Katie can't keep a good man? The answer isn't that she doesn't get married for a living, like she claims Brooke does. I never would have thought Katie could go wrong by marrying an anchor character on the show. I also never thought B&B would develop the unseemly habit of bringing on star performers only to rob them of storylines in Backburner Alley, either, but that's exactly what happened to Thorne Forrester and his marriage to Katie.

Why does the show bring on promising characters without any clue of what to do with them, and why does it only focus on one-dimensional plots? The soap used to burgeon with characters, major and minor, and rarely left little plot choice other than to drift off set to Paris. So many of them are there today that I might be more interested in seeing the show filmed there than L.A.

Of course, not all actors are meant to remain on the scene. Take, for example, Wayne Brady. Now that the not-so-great baby caper has broken harder than Hope's water in Catalina, we expect to bid farewell to the misguided doctor and his overly helpful sidekick, Flo. We aren't upset to see these characters go because we know that one-plot wonders aren't meant to stick around like staple characters, who, for some reason, hop on and off the show like Frogger at rush hour.

One-plot wonders are like shooting stars. They barrel through a storyline, shine bright, and disappear back into the fabric of Los Angeles once their part in the telling is done. But what about our lead and supporting staples? Aren't they more like the moon, which we expect to see in the same place each night, even if only in phases? And just like the moon, sometimes a staple's part is just a sliver. Other times, the character is the full moon at the center of the story.

Nowadays, our staples are permanent slivers. The main characters are burning out and disappearing in one-plot-wonder fashion. With the breakup of Thorne and Katie and the return of one-plot-blunder Thomas, I have to ask -- are our leading ladies and gents in danger of becoming one-plot wonders? Or, as evidenced by Wyatt -- who does nothing more than have sex and obsess about Lope -- has it already happened to B&B greats?

In this feature, we'll get two scoops deep into the climax of the plot we've all been begging to end, the annulment we saw coming from a custody-battle loss away, and the epidemic infecting characters who just can't seem to get a life on the Bold and the Beautiful.

"You are an obsession, my baby obsession..."

Last week, Hope and Zoe had one thing in common -- an uncanny obsession with baby Phoebe. Steffy is worried about Hope's obsession, but it's Zoe's fixation that could cost Steffy a daughter. Zoe's obsession could save Hope from a lifetime of obsessing about the baby that never was and the baby that she thinks can never be hers.

Undoubtedly, Reese and Flo are on the waning end of their business in L.A. They will spend the remainder of that time in a panic over what Zoe will do with the information she forced out of them. Zoe has always wanted to believe the best about her father, but at the same time, she has always known that he is one shady dude. Can their relationship survive his debasement of parenthood through his cruel act of allowing Hope to think her child was dead for $250,000?

In the short term, I doubt it. Remember: the Forresters forgave Zoe for her showstopper and stalking stunts. They gave Zoe an incredible career. How can she, in good conscience, keep it a secret from her boss, Steffy, that Steffy just adopted her daughter's real sister?

From Reese's point of view, it's probably worth it to lose his daughter's respect and have to work to regain her trust because, after all, she's alive and unharmed. He never cared about Hope, Flo, Steffy, or Taylor in the first place. They were just a means to his ends. He's fine as long as he believes he did it for Zoe -- and he doesn't have to pay any legal consequences.

Whether Reese faces legal jeopardy or not depends upon Zoe. He'll try to talk her out of revealing what he did, but can he? Though Zoe has done questionable things herself in the name of love, I doubt she'll just dismiss her father's actions as misguided but well-meaning. She'll want justice for Hope and Steffy in the end.

Zoe continues to threaten to call the police, but she might not have to. Hope might beat Zoe to it if Zoe keeps insisting that Reese tell Hope the truth before Zoe does it. Steffy and Taylor might want him prosecuted, too. Orange isn't Reese's color, so how will writers resolve the baby-switching dilemma without risking his freedom?

My first instinct is to say Reese can offer to repay the money, but a refund on an illegal adoption is woefully inadequate. Besides, I'd be afraid of what he'd do next to raise the cash. Do you think Reese, the snake charmer of women, can convince everyone affected that all's well that ends without a prison sentence?

"My God, it's strange how life can a moment. I can't remember what I was about to say..."

Anyone who watched Guiding Light during Reva Shayne's cancer story will recognize the above lyrics. If you don't, the song "In a Moment," written for her story, is worth looking up. Its haunting lyrics reverberated through my mind as Thorne broke off his marriage to Katie, who, like the song, seemed to be asking herself, "What if? What then? What now?"

Thorne has one heck of a way of avoiding Valentine's Day, doesn't he? He turned the day of acknowledging love into a day of denying it existed. Katie expected to open a box of chocolates, not an envelope from an attorney. She intended to fold back the bed sheets, not paper sheets that told her the reasons her marriage should no longer exist.

"It's not you; it's me," Thorne claimed. It's questionable that jealousy and protracted grief count as reasons for legal annulments, but shady breakups are right up Thorne's alley. Remember when he fax-divorced Macy? He left Brooke for the exact reasons he gave Katie -- that she was still in love with her ex. He blamed his separations from Taylor on Aly's grief and later upon his grief over Aly.

How long does it take to get over grief on a soap? If the writers can SORAS children, why can't they SORAS Thorne's grief? If Thorne really can't cope with Aly's death, why does he fail to mention it to Steffy, the person who killed Aly? Sadly, it's because the writers have no idea of what to do with an anchor character from the show's first family. Instead of giving him and Steffy a worthy storyline surrounding Aly's death, they'd rather express ship him to Paris in exchange for yet another new Thomas.

I predicted in another Two Scoops that Thorne would do this and do it because he was jealous of Bill. Once Thorne dumped Katie, I feared that Will would suffer. After all, wasn't Thorne's whole goal to bring stability to Will? How does walking out on the boy and his mom barely six months into the marriage represent stability?

Thanks to convenient writing, Will is cool with it as long as texting exists in Paris. Thanks to convenient writing, Will suddenly wants to reunite Katie and Bill. And thanks to convenient writing, when one Forrester designer shirks his responsibilities to run off in pursuit of his own selfish devices, another one crops up to take his place, namely the loser Thomas.

It's too bad that convenience ain't so convenient for viewers who the writers rob of gripping storylines from big-name actors like Ingo Rademacher. His arrival on the show came with the promise of storylines worthy of his stature, but they never came. It's also too bad that Ingo isn't the only plot-lacking actor to be relegated off the show or into the background to feature one-dimensional, plot-dictated tales involving Hope, Liam, and Steffy.

We saw the Batie reunion a stallion ride away. Now, Wyatt is shamelessly peddling it in a silent admission that he'd never had any business with Katie, either, because she supposedly belongs to the man who chose her sister over her twice. Wyatt might think he can say it because he is with Sally, but where one dressmaker leaves off, another will pick up. Thomas is headed back, and just as Thorne interfered with Katie and Wyatt, Thomas will stick his high-water pencil pants where they don't belong, too.

Maybe I speak too soon about the high-water pencil pants. Thomas' style might change because the show recast the character. Still, I can't muster up any excitement about it because -- well, I can't stand Thomas, for one. For another, I can't get excited about a character's return after the way so many character returns have fizzled into one-plot-wonder duds.

New characters arrive and old characters return at high rates on B&B, but there just isn't enough plot to go around. I miss the days when the writers could handle more than one or two storylines a season, involving several characters and complex dialogue. It feels like we're watching a sitcom or primetime show, whose single weekly episode is drawn out for five days.

I love you, B&B, but come on. Your actors, characters, and viewers deserve a soap opera, not a soapbox upon which all characters talk one storyline to death. To be fair, a few changes might be on the horizon -- see the spoilers section at the end -- but in the meantime, we'll review some characters who deserve much better than the show has given them.

"You got mud on your face! Plot disgrace! Ignoring characters all over the place!"

We won't -- we won't watch you! Watch you! Well, I ain't going that far. I just got carried away with Queen lyrics.

I'm always gonna watch The Bold and the Beautiful. I just want to trust that when I watch, I will see a variety of characters embroiled in their own stories, interwoven with other plots in a unique and dramatic fashion that tells the story of everyone involved. Soaps were called stories, not story, for a reason, writers!

I want to see new and old characters continuously developed and challenged by character-driven, not plot-driven, obstacles. I do not want to see lead characters like Thorne be brought in with nowhere to go and get bounced around in supporting roles until the actor bounces out the door. I do not want to see new characters like Emma having their storylines yanked out from under them to give a family to another new character for the sole purpose of propping the "Liam, Hope, and Steffy Show."

Most of all, I do not want to see crotch-rocket Steffy drowning in baby laundry!

Thorne left for Paris without so much as a heart-to-heart with his father or brother, and Thomas will probably sit down in the HFTF designer's seat without consulting the head honchos, either. He'll probably go after Sally or Hope to form another predictable triangle before disappearing back to New York to be with Caroline and Douglas.

Spare me! I'd rather not go through this with Thomas again. Instead, I suggest the writers make better use of the characters and talent we already have.

Quinn Forrester. Rena Sofer -- That's titanium talent we can always depend upon. When we last saw Quinn, she was involved in a plot that threatened to make Eric choose between her and Pam. It could have been a unique in-laws story that anyone who's married can relate to. For some reason, the whole thing was scrapped, as was the renewed rivalry between Quinn and Donna.

If the writers must only tell monolithic plots, they could have involved Quinn in Hope's stillbirth storyline. Quinn was involved when Hope lost her first baby. Quinn also had conflicting feelings for Liam, who would readily lash out at her in his grief if she upset the mourning Hope. Instead of Sally and Wyatt eating ice cream in bed while pitying Hope and Liam, why couldn't Quinn, the last person Lope would want around, become obsessed with trying to help them through the stillbirth?

Maya and Rick Forrester. Why, oh, why would the show ever bring Maya back just to tell us some crap we didn't even want to hear about Raya? I hoped that Maya's return would be worth the sacrifice of Raya, but after two months, we have gotten nothing. Not even a scene with her and Carter, who'd expressed an interest in her before her marriage ended.

Karla Mosley deserves better than this, and Maya could have contributed to the one-plot wonder baby storyline. Why let Lizzy and Beth sharing a name go to waste? Maya should feel a kinship with Hope because of it. Additionally, Maya is on the HFTF team. It just makes sense that Maya would be there for Rick's little sister. Instead, Sally, who works with Steffy, is toting around puppies and designs Hope doesn't want, and the Logan women are sitting around doing puzzles! Puzzles? Did Donna lose her crochet hooks?

You guys already know how I feel about Jacob Young. How dare they take Rick, a superior villain, away at a time when L.A. needs a good villain and when Hope needs her big brother! I'd trade Zoe, Emma, Tiffany, Xander, Thomas, and every walk-on character they have to get Rick back -- with a storyline. Not a plot to stand around commenting on, but a lasting storyline.

Justin Barber. Justin needs to court Donna. I'm getting impatient waiting on it. As part of their love affair, the show should bring back their son, Marcus, instead of sticking Justin with a niece he rarely sees. He and Donna can bond over being grandparents, and I'd love to see Dayzee return to her namesake restaurant that Stephanie outfitted for charity.

What do you think? Maybe you have better uses for the characters on the show than I've come up with or have solid ideas for characters you'd like to see return. Maybe you don't want to see any characters return for fear that they'll meet the same fate as Thorne. On the other hand, some of you might be happy with the balance of characters and the way the show already rotates them in and out. No matter how you feel about it, let me know in the comments below.

In a look ahead: The Walls are Closing in

According to next week's climactic video preview, Reese tells Zoe that if she talks to Hope about the baby switch, he and Flo will go to jail. They will not pass go or stop at any slot machines -- it's straight to jail. Zoe doesn't know if she can keep quiet, and ultimately, the preview shows Zoe telling Steffy that Zoe needs to talk to Steffy about her baby.

Zoe isn't alone at Steffy's house. Though we can't see the other person, I suspect that with her is Xander, to whom she is seen in the preview divulging everything she'd learned about Hope's baby. If Zoe has the balls to out her father for this, then the baby caper is over. Hope can celebrate, but Steffy's sorrows have just begun. Just in time for the Jacqueline MacInnes Wood's rapidly approaching maternity leave!

In other spoiler news, Wyatt informs his father about the state of Katie's marriage, and Justin and Donna meet up to discuss reuniting Katie and Bill. If only Justin and Donna could worry about their own happily ever after...

Wyatt has big news for Sally. Wyatt reveals that Bill asked him to return to work at Spencer, and Wyatt made a counteroffer, asking Bill to revamp Spectra. Hmm. Sounds like HFTF, possibly designed by Thomas, will go head-to-head with whatever line Sally dreams up -- and it had better not be pencil-pants activewear. Just saying.

Thank you for scooping with me this post-Valentine's Day weekend. I hope that you had lots of good love and candy to make your day even sweeter. If any of you wound up with a broken heart in your Valentine's envelope, don't sweat it. The idiot who dumped you just made your future prospects bold and beautiful, baby!

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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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