Will your week be bold and beautiful? Will you put mints on the pillows for guests coming from Genoa City? Will you go for some lights/camera action? Will you find yourself fantasizing about a post-lockdown B&B? These and more situations will face the Forrester-Logan-Spencer clan -- and us -- this week!
Holy soapness, Scoopers! It's finally happened: B&B is back in business and filming new episodes. Of course, with social distancing guidelines still heavily recommended (please, y'all -- be safe out there), that's going to affect what kind of scenes can be done, and how. Should our fictional L.A. be afflicted with COVID-19 to explain it? And can storylines benefit from the gap in filming? Let's Scoop about it!
When B&B ran out of fresh episodes, we were in an interesting place. Several characters were missing and/or without storylines. Bill got booted by Katie over a hard-to-justify kiss with Brooke. Ridge and Shauna may or may not have gotten married in Vegas. And most of all, Sally was about to jump the shark by kidnapping an unconscious Flo. Have I got all that right?
The steady stream of encore performances we've been getting has given me a lot of food for thought. More days than not, we used to get two, even three separate storylines sharing screen time in an episode, even when one story was coming to a head. And everybody spent time on the backburner eventually, but most characters ended up returning with their own arcs after a while.
I realize today we all have the attention spans nature gave a gnat, but that's no reason to pick one or two characters and give them all the story for weeks and weeks on end. Ditto with the repetitive dialogue. Of course, you need a certain amount for viewers who may not tune in every day. But if we're going to have it, how about at least phrasing the same information differently instead of recycling lines over and over? And maybe make it so exciting that people will want to tune in every day so they don't miss anything!
Now, anyone who's read my columns for any length of time knows I haven't felt the show has been in its best creative period. Too many been-there-done-that stories, too many loose ends, too much sacrificing character for the sake of plot, too many romances with no foundation. But one thing I've always held to is that B&B has a bounty of talented and insightful actors. Isn't it time to give them new material?
I've often acknowledged how soaps' reduced budgets have limited story possibility. Yet I've only recently realized just how much a network's decisions can affect a show, too. I still don't think that means B&B, in this case, can't find creative ways to satisfy viewers and higher-ups. I'm sure particular stories bring in higher ratings than others. But no viewer is going to turn away new twists on the tried and true.
Soaps will always need to rely on certain tropes. But it seems to me we used to see characters in novel situations from time to time. This is something I would very much like to watch as we pick up where we left off. Ordinarily, I would judge a time jump as lazy story writing. However, in this case, it might be the perfect place to begin! Because one can nix arcs that would otherwise be hard to write one's way out of.
I think the show has a golden opportunity here to reboot itself, do course corrections, and give characters some instant therapy. Sally, for example, was about to cross into unredeemable territory by kidnapping Flo. A jump would allow us to skip past that. A jump is also about the only thing that can save Thomas, and Taylor could have gotten some intensive therapy along with him. (Group rates?)
Such flash-forwards would also let us fly past silliness like the fallout from Brill's unnecessary tonsil hockey. It would allow for new romances without us feeling like they sprung up out of nowhere. It could even pave the way for new characters. And, like DAYS when they time-jumped, little mysteries could be created by being thrown into new situations that require investigating their backstories. Tantalizing!
From what I understand, shows that go back into production will have to write and stage scenes in a way that puts actors at as little risk for contracting coronavirus as possible. As well they should. But it's going to change what we see. No characters in tight quarters, perhaps digital trickery to make it seem like characters are together. And love scenes? Forget that. Which would reduce a soap to about five minutes.
This is all the more reason B&B should incorporate the pandemic into its fictional world. Characters could wear masks, which would permit them to be closer together and send a healthy message at the same time. Watching how couples deal with the virus potentially interfering with their love lives would be interesting -- and also give a lot of us something to relate to. Not to mention insert some drama.
Imagine having to protect our elderly characters, Pam, Charlie, and Eric. And then there are immunocompromised characters like multiple organ recipient Katie and now Flo, from her having donated a kidney. You'd also have to let someone come down with the virus. I know we watch soaps to escape reality, and we hear enough about COVID-19 as it is. But it's one helluva way to make lemonade out of that lemon.
Besides, even though suspension of disbelief was probably invented by soaps, there would be no way to avoid current circumstances by watching characters talk from six feet away or have them CGI'd to make it look like they're in scenes together. So, why not just go with it? B&B has done ripped-from-the-headlines stuff before, and this is one that could make for some compelling episodes. And, perhaps, provide inspiration to us.
Regardless of whether the show attempts a time jump or works the pandemic into storylines, there are still the moments that were frozen in time that need to be moved past. Let's start with Katie finally leaving Bill once and for all. I have no interest in watching her take this guy back a fourth time. That would be insane. Their breakups have never been over misunderstandings or outside interference. Just Bill's D.
Brooke needs a sit-down, too. Granted, she's been relatively scandal-free of late; the Brill buss felt like an attempt to generate a mini-scandal. It's so been done. Sure, Ridge had virtually divorced Brooke, but I need, NEED, NEED to see her in different situations. What does she even do at Forrester? How about getting her back to her chemist roots and let her rely on her all-but-forgotten brain for once?
Of course, we need to just keep Bridge together at this point. Thirty-three years of back-and-forth is enough. But first, Ridge needs to work his way out of his 15th mid-life crisis. You don't just start kissing on somebody because you (erroneously) disagree with your wife about your psycho son. And you don't clutch your pearls over said wife kissing someone else when you've been doing it all along yourself.
The issue of whether or not Ridge and Shauna got drunk-married at a Vegas chapel will need to be addressed. I almost hope it happened. But we need to get Ridge out of it sooner than later. Let's get Bridge reunited and have them deal with the inevitabilities that come with being marrieds in their 50s. Lower libidos, fear of aging, stuff like that. B&B's supercouple tackling issues we Gen-Xers face would be awesomesauce.
I also would like to come back to find Eric and Quinn divorced -- or, at least, separated. I'm tellin' ya, if Sheila had openly uploaded a video to torpedo Brooke's marriage and bragged about it, to say nothing of smacking Brooke around, Eric would have divorced Sheila's ass so fast. And that was before he knew about Sheila's violent, criminal past.
Quinn's past is no less violent or criminal (just ask Liam), so I don't want to see Eric giving the jewelry jailbird who never served jail time a free pass. What I do want to see is Eric more front and center. We're not going to have John McCook forever; inevitably, he will decide to retire. Let Eric fulfill whatever dreams he hasn't yet. I've said for years he should record albums and do concerts! Stephanie would approve!
By the way, we should acknowledge the passing of Fred Willard, who played Eric's brother, John. I know we didn't see John much, but it would be fitting to give him a memorial of some kind, not just to pay respects, but to finally get his daughters, Ivy and Jessica, on-screen together, even for one episode. Get Jessica's mom, Maggie, and Ivy's mom, Claire, in there, too, since Claire has never been on-screen.
Save Sally from stepping into the unredeemable abyss, and get her back to the spunky Spectra she was when she debuted. Sally 2017 would not want a man who dumped her twice for another woman. Let's also rebuild Spectra and have it be successful this time. Bring back Clarke and C.J. for a few special appearances. Sally has become pathetic and needs to be pulled back from the ledge. Fast.
As for Flo, there's been a certain satisfaction in watching Sally victimize her. Sally's been right -- there's been too much of casting Flo as angelic when what she really is is a $50,000 richer babynap enabler. It was smart of the show to be self-aware about that construct. But most viewers haven't warmed up to Felony Flo. Have her not be a Logan, after all, and send her on her way. With both her and Sally ditching Wyatt first!
Then there's the Hope and Liam situation. Are they legally married, or was their wedding with little Douglas as officiant just symbolic? And while we're at it, let's leave Lope alone. I think everyone is tired of Mr. Waffle House flitting between Hope and Steffy every few months. It's done; let it be. But give them something internal to deal with. Deacon returning and being a bad influence on Hope, for example. Something new. Anything!
As I mentioned before, we have enough straggler characters on B&B to fill an elevator at the Beverly Center. And it's high time they get something to do. I realize soaps can no longer afford to pay to have everyone on at once. But, for years, the focus has been on only Ridge, Brooke, Hope, Liam, and Steffy, and sometimes Bill and Katie. There are too many other faces to not utilize them somehow.
Let's start by giving Pam and Charlie the wedding they deserve. We almost got it in 2018 until Quinn pitched a fit about the ceremony happening at the Forrester mansion under Stephanie's portrait. (Enough about the portraits already.) Seven years in, Pharlie (Cham?) is the show's most enduring couple. Their wedding would be fun and quirky and would shine some spotlight on our older cast.
Why did we bring Donna back amid much fanfare 18 months ago when all she's been given is stuff a day player could do? This is a Valley Girl who once posed in a nude magazine and frolicked with the likes of the mighty Bill Spencer Sr. She deserves more than just giving her sisters a shoulder to cry on. Speaking of shoulders, did you see Jake in one of the rebroadcasts? Recall the hunk for some Donna duty!
Chanel columnized last week about how our diva Steffy Forrester should proceed. For the love of everything soapy, can we please give Steffy a new man? One that will make her leave Liam in the dust finally? There are always going to be Steam fans, but, as a character, Steffy is so vital, she shouldn't be pining over a giant photo of her ex while folding baby clothes. Let's put the intimate back in her Intimates line!
Any romance Steffy could enter into would be hotter than a California wildfire if written right. Carter is a favorite contender, but, failing him, the brief introduction of that Leo stud made me feel like someone completely new would be the ticket. Throw your hands up if you believe Steffy is entitled to be happy with a guy -- and one who isn't Liam or a relation! The Sexy CEO should demand no less.
Now, all the Sheila revisits of recent weeks again have me wondering -- where is she? Last time we saw her, she was polishing silverware at Il Giardino. Sheila Carter is too epic a character to not know what she's up to. Personally, I always thought Sheila was at her best when she was trying so hard to be good but couldn't quite pull it off. That is a Sheila I would love to see again. She doesn't have to be crazy!
On that subject, let's go back to Thomas for a moment. It was blink-and-you-miss-it, but remember a decade ago when Thorne suggested Thomas might be gay? Work with it! B&B has zero LGBTQ representation. Maybe the reason he absolutely had to have Hope was to prove to himself he didn't also like guys! Or make him gender fluid! This is the fashion industry, and that just might explain Thomas' dark turn finally.
As for other representation, this soap has a good number of Black characters, but they're almost nowhere to be seen. Many were written off -- like Dayzee and Marcus -- without even being given a chance to flourish. Zoe had a fair amount of airtime, but she was either tormenting Emma, covering up her dad's crime, or being duped by Thomas. I still need to know whether this girl is a criminal or not. And Carter -- who on this show needs love more? Maya dumped him in what, late 2013, early 2014?
There were hints before we ran out of episodes that Carter was interested in Zoe. Okay -- a time jump would make a love connection there possible. Carter doesn't seem to mind girls with murky morals; remember, his fiancée Maya didn't walk the straight and narrow herself. Carter has so much potential, and could easily be a romantic lead, but he's never had the chance. Now's the time to give him one.
Where we left off, Maya was still in the credits, even though she hadn't been seen since winter 2019, and we never were told why she and Rick split up. Being a Black woman, and a Black transgender woman, this is the appropriate time in history for Maya to take B&B's stage. It would only be relevant for her to attend protests and fight for her rights and the rights of those like her.
Yeah, yeah -- keep the reality out of soaps. I disagree. Y&R, more so than B&B, always used to have social issue storylines. B&B did a handful (homelessness, lung cancer), and certainly opened that door when Maya arrived. So, why stop there? Maya's resurgence would be a way to support Black Lives Matter, and a story could certainly be written around it. Picture Julius picking up a sign and marching alongside her and Vivienne!
Oh, yeah, Maya's parents -- remember them? Another layered Black character at B&B's disposal is Justin Barber. Aaron D. Spears was even upgraded to contract, but when do we even see his lawyer alter ego? He could represent Maya in a related legal fight, and he surely needs a love of his own (not Donna). The filming gap is a chance to right all kinds of story and character wrongs. Let's get after it!
What do you want to see when B&B resumes filming (hopefully next week)? Tell us what's on the TV screen in your head in the Comments section below or the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could wind up in a future column!
This coming week also brings some encore presentations of classic Y&R/B&B crossover episodes! Lauren Fenmore, Katherine Chancellor, Jack Abbott, Ashley Abbott, Victor Newman! "You got that?" (Conversely, Eric pays a visit to Y&R on its upcoming wedding week.) I was living for Sheila back in 1993 (and 1994, 1995...well, you get the idea), so I am looking forward to this one!
As always, we will keep Scooping for you, in addition to bringing you any updates about when to expect new B&B episodes. So, keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. And remember: fairness and equality for everyone is always beautiful!
What are your thoughts on The Bold and the Beautiful? What did you think of this week's Two Scoops? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.