There but for the grace of Grace

For the Week of January 17, 2022
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Steffy did the Decade Challenge by suddenly reverting to her anti-Logan stance, while Deacon did the Two Decade Challenge by professing his love for Brooke. But the arrival of Paris' mama kept things in the present and future! Bust out the bubbly with Two Scoops' Mike!

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did your newly arrived mom make your world turn? Did you throw away ten years of history in an attempt to reunite your parents? Did you try to mop up your love life? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Walton-Buckingham clan this week!

Happy 2022, Scoopers! It's Mike back with you, after an extremely soapy couple of weeks, traveling down to Florida during COVID to wrap up my mother's affairs. Given Mom got me into soaps, as I've mentioned, it was all very appropriate. As I write this, I am in quarantine ahead of getting my test results. And so, I've settled in to catch up on B&B, and I felt like I was in the wrong year.

Seriously, what is up with Steffy and all her anti-Logan talk? Aside from the fact that the only Logans in Ridge's life are Brooke and Hope, Steffy blowing the Forrester trumpet again rings so hollow when you remember that she's actually a Marone! Then scruffy AF Deacon professed his love to Brooke, and I wished it was me. But it's the introduction of Paris and Zoe's mom, Grace, that has me the most intrigued. Y'all ready? Let's Scoop about it!

GRACE PERIOD

We got out of the gate Monday with the arrival of Cassandra Creech, who played Denise on As the World Turns from 1999 to 2000! I remember liking the spunk Creech brought to Denise (and how about Denise's BF Ben! Yowsa!), so I was pleased to hear she was coming to B&B. Also, remember what I kept saying about Paris being rudderless with Zoe gone? I feel like someone listened. Now Paris has roots.

Of course, it's not unusual for B&B characters to surprise their paramours by bringing in one of their parents. Zende got his proposal to Paris shut down before he even made it, so he somehow tracked down Paris' mom for an impromptu meeting. Grace wasted no time singing Paris' praises, but at least she has maternal bragging rights, unlike everyone else who runs around polishing Paris' halo.

I'm not sure what to make of Grace yet, but that's to be expected. I did think she would get to mentioning Reese and Zoe faster, since those are her other links to the canvas, but it took her awhile. After lauding Paris' accomplishments, Grace finally addressed "both my girls," and later brought Reese up when she apologized to Ridge for how her ex-husband's stealing of Beth affected Ridge's family.

Yeah, well, let's not forget, Grace, that your daughter Zoe was complicit in keeping Beth's existence a secret. At least Grace didn't forget to counsel Paris to do better picking a mate than she did. But I wonder already how Grace is being positioned. Regarding Zende, Grace cooed, "If I was just a few years younger...!" Plus, Grace follows the guy on social media. Then Carter showed up.

I definitely felt a chill when Grace met Carter, and it wasn't coming from the ice machine in the commissary. Yet later, Carter wondered why Grace had been so friendly toward him. Um, Carter, did we watch the same scene? Because it seemed to me like Grace was giving you the stink eye. As well Carter deserved, for turning Zoe over for Quinn. It's only right that Zoe's mama would go mama lion in such a case.

Which probably means it won't be long before Grace and Carter are in bed together. You know it's gonna happen. That is, if Grace doesn't pilfer Zende from Paris first. Question: why make both Reese and Grace doctors? And give Grace an opportunity at the same hospital where Finn works? To get the most use out of the hospital set, I suppose. I'll admit I'm curious to see what the show does with Princess Grace, though!

FALL FROM GRACE?

I also have to ask, what the hell is up with Carter and Paris kissing? I thought he was set to carry on with Katie. Paris is young enough to be Carter's daughter; eww. Paris said she would have Carter's back if her mom talked smack about him because of Zoe. So, in this year or so that Paris has been with Zende, she has also entertained the idea of being with Finn, Thomas, and now Carter? Even Brooke never moved through the cast that fast.

The flip side to all this is that now Paris is the one who wants to slow things down with Zende, when he was the one who slammed on the brakes last summer. And don't get me started on Zende being glad for Carter's friendship when Carter is making eyes at Zende's girlfriend. That's exactly how it was when Quinn became besties with Zoe, only to bag Zoe's man. Can we at least attempt some originality here?

STINKING THINKING

Ridge accompanied Brooke to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, which struck me as odd at first until I realized there are such things as open meetings where addicts' loved ones can sit in. But there's also a 12-Step saying, "you're only as sick as your secrets," so when Brooke made herself obvious about taking forever to answer whether she was alone when she relapsed, she embodied that saying.

And I really have to say, there were TOO MANY FLASHBACKS this week! Yes, that's in all caps! Does B&B really think we're so flighty that we have to be reminded every five minutes of airtime that Brooke took a drink and kissed Deacon? Ridge did take an important step by carting all the booze out of the house, but it does make you wonder why any liquor was there in the first place, given Brooke's history.

We also have to talk about that history. #DrunkBrooke lasted all of a few weeks in what, 2015? Like Steffy turning to pills, I find it hard to believe that Brooke developed an addiction that fast. #DrunkKatie went on longer, and you'd think Brooke would turn to her sis, but Katie was nowhere to be found. Ironically, Taylor also struggled with alcohol. Wouldn't it be something if Brooke and Taylor bonded over it?

Hope spent some time with Liam, blaming herself for Brooke's sobriety slip (this girl needs an Al-Anon meeting; if she attended, she'd know the only person responsible for an alcoholic drinking is the alcoholic), then joined up with Ridge to offer Brooke support -- a Hallmark moment that was nearly toppled by Hope's mere mention of Deacon. Ridge had been so great until he freaked out over that.

Ridge wasn't surprised that Deacon was suddenly MIA. "That's what he does," Ridge growled. Never mind that it was Brooke who pushed Deacon out of Hope's life when Hope was a baby. Or that if Ridge had walked in a minute later, Brooke would have confided to Hope about what had happened with her and Deacon. She was about to. And Brooke should tell somebody, before the guilt has her reaching for the bottle again. Doesn't Brooke have a sponsor?

INSANITY IS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS

B&B has made a big show over the years about Steffy and Hope creating a blended family, despite both women having children with Liam. And the former rivals have been really good about it. I mean, it's been really sweet. Then Taylor comes back to town, and suddenly, the gloves are off once again. Are we really going here? Can't any character on this show experience growth and maintain it?

It was bad enough that Hope laid down the law to Taylor, essentially warning the shrink not to use the unelaborated troubles Brooke and Ridge were having to wedge her way between them in a bid to get Ridge back. But then Steffy upended years of growth by snorting to Hope that Ridge had two families. Then, when Hope left, Steffy went on a tirade about her father making a mistake by choosing the Logans!

I'm sorry, this is not 2010! Or even 2011, or 2012. It's 2022 now; even in real time, Steffy is a full decade older. This is a woman in her early 30s, and she's whining about how her parents aren't together. It's like Steffy switched out her painkillers for immaturity pills, because the effect was that instant. I could barely watch it. Steffy outright told Taylor to fight for Ridge so she and Thomas could have their parents back.

And Steffy was relentless! If Steffy had never evolved beyond that mindset, I might have understood it, but it's a complete retcon and really undermines Steffy as a character. I'll give Jacqueline Macinnes Wood mad props for seamlessly taking Steffy back to her earlier years, but as a story, it's simply a bad look on Steffy now. I really hated her back then, and I can feel it creeping up in me again.

You know it's bad when Taylor has more sense about her not being with Ridge than Steffy does. Taylor did not want to spend the second half of her life wishing for Ridge and declared Ridge's union with Brooke "is what it is." But Steffy wouldn't hear it. Hope had robbed her of Liam (despite being "happily" married to Finn now) the way Brooke had robbed Taylor of Ridge.

With Sheila back in town, the history should be even more clear. Ridge reunited with Brooke not because Brooke stole him from Taylor but because Taylor was apparently dead! And yet, all Steffy wanted to do was encourage Taylor to get back at Brooke because "we are in a war" with the Logans! Give me a freaking break. Even Hope's goodness was now "just an act to get what she wants."

Speaking of goodness, how come the show is portraying Taylor as if she returned from 2002 and not 2019? Up until Taylor took Sheila's bullet, Doc was pretty much as upstanding as Steffy is portraying her now. But when Tay-Tay came back from the dead the second time, she slept with Brooke's father and son, ran down Darla, and let's not forget, Taylor shot Bill in the back and showed little remorse about it.

I am all for Taylor having recovered from her mental decline -- in fact, this character, in particular, needs that redemption, which I have expressed many times. But let's not pretend Taylor is some white knight. Brooke may have slept with anyone, but at least she didn't shoot anyone. We can't just act like Taylor didn't turn to the dark side. I hate it when B&B buries these major story points, which they do far too often now.

Not content simply to bludgeon Taylor with hopes of Tridge reuniting, Steffy noticed Brooke's absences from work and then went to work on Ridge. Worse still, Thomas likewise chimed in about how much he missed being a family with Ridge. "What is this miss-you drama?" Ridge wanted to know. That's how out of left field this is. Maybe the Taytots can just install a Ridge mannequin in the house? Thomas can get one cheap.

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID

Sheila began 2022 the way she ended 2021 -- by staring at pictures of Finn and Hayes. And by repeatedly thinking back to switching the labels of Brooke's non-alcoholic champagne to get Brooke to fall off the wagon, all because Brooke vowed to keep Sheila away from her son and grandson. Wonder if Sheila will ever get caught? After all, no one ever learned that Sheila spiked Macy's drink in 1993, which led to Macy lying drunk in an alley.

And since when is Sheila so sensitive that she would plunge someone into alcoholism for making one threat? If she had been that reactive back in the day, she'd never have had time to marry Eric or James, much less give birth to Mary. It feels like overkill to me. It's especially weird because Sheila used to consider Brooke her best friend, which we're not hearing about. (At least Sheila finally mentioned that she used to work at Il Giardino!)

Sheila also promised to destroy Brooke before Brooke could destroy her, but Brooke never even mentioned destruction. Brooke just didn't want Sheila around Steffy, Finn, or Hayes, all of whom Brooke considered family. Do you think Steffy would be so anti-Brooke right now if she knew Brooke had stared into the jaws of Sheila on her behalf? That act just makes Steffy's behavior even more petty, if that's possible.

Sheila found Deacon mopping up at Il Giardino and nearly gave herself away, asking how his New Year's Eve had gone with Brooke. She then red-flagged when Deacon revealed he hadn't seen Hope nor Brooke since ringing in the new year. Deacon split, leaving Sheila to wonder if she had succeeded in returning Brooke to the bottle. You'd think Brooke would have tasted the difference between non-alcoholic bubbly and the real thing...but then, she couldn't, er, feel the difference between Ridge and Oliver, either.

After evading Hope's queries into why Brooke suddenly didn't want anything to do with Deacon, Mr. Sharpe showed up wearing clothes much fancier than he got out of jail wearing. Did Hope spring for a new wardrobe for him, or does mopping floors make one that much moolah? Brooke didn't want Deacon there, but he suspected that, like him, she couldn't stop thinking about their midnight kiss.

Deacon correctly deduced that his sudden absence from Hope's life was only going to make both Hope and Ridge suspicious. But the logic was wasted on Brooke, who maintained that she wanted Deacon to stay away. Based on that, Deacon opined that they had kissed for a reason. He was tired of holding his feelings back. He loved Brooke! And Hope would love to have her parents coupled finally.

What is it with this show and grown people wanting their mommies and daddies together? My parents split when I was ten, and I never gave it a second thought after that! Maybe kids have the most sense -- and on that note, you know Douglas is going to rat Brooke and Deacon out before long, anyway. Let's see if Brooke is as impressed with Douglas' honesty then as she was when he blew up the secret that Beth was alive!

Where are you with 2022's offerings so far, Scoopers? Do you find Steffy's return to her anti-Logan ways welcome or out of place, considering the show's evolution? Is Brooke overly worried about Ridge leaving her for kissing Deacon, considering he instantly forgave her for sleeping with Oliver? Is Sheila wasting her time targeting Brooke when she should be working on Taylor? And is Grace going to ground Paris or make her even more superfluous? Talk your '22 in the Comments section below or the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could be in a future column!

On Monday, B&B is going to acknowledge the passing of Betty White, who traded her goofy brand of comedy for a deeply dramatic role by playing Stephanie's mother, Ann Douglas, from 2006 to 2009. It's hard to feel too bad for a woman who lived 99 years and was still entertaining us, but dang, she missed 100 by 17 days! So unfair.

B&B's definitely going in some new directions for the new year, so keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold. And for soap's sake, get vaccinated! Because protecting yourselves and others from a virus and its variants is always beautiful.
AMJ

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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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