That's Italian?

For the Week of June 26, 2023
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In Italy, Bridge reunited in one Rome-a-rific reconnection. But have we seen too many of their reunions to invest in this one? And has B&B gone beyond bold by having Hope bust a move on her one-time tormentor, Thomas? Get ready to mangia mangia mangia with Two Scoops' Mike!

Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did your tour guide guide you back into her heart? Did you change Rome to the City of Brotherly Love? Did you bring back an old romantic pattern like it was the iPhone 4? These and more situations faced the Forrester-Logan-Spencer-Walton clan this week!

Mamma mia, Scoopers! Our B&B characters roamed through Rome, but while we haven't seen its spectacular sights on the show before, we have seen these stories. Ridge and Brooke took things to a new level, and Liam kissed Steffy after a disappointment from Hope, just like they did in Puglia in 2012. Only now, Hope topped it all by kissing her stepbrother! Did the show go too far? Let's Scoop about it!

ROMAN HOLIDAY

Liam and Finn had an amiable chat as the former passed Kelly's glitter shoes on to the latter. These guys seem to have developed a nice friendship, and it was unexpectedly refreshing to see. The camaraderie didn't even get interrupted when Eric and Donna got inserted into Liam's decision to surprise Hope in Rome. When Finn expressed the wish that he could tag along, Liam was all, "Pack a bag, bro!" I liked it.

Poor Donna and Eric, though. All she ever does is babysit; she didn't even do that when she was a teenager in the Valley. And Eric -- is he even divorced from Quinn? (Maybe not, because Quinn is still in the credits ten months after her exit.) After the oldest Forrester and the middle Logan exited following their token appearance, Liam got on the phone to book himself a flight to Italy.

Do people still do that? Maybe it's just my own post-Internet phone phobia that makes it seem odd to me that Liam didn't sit down with a laptop or start scrolling through apps. Liam grew increasingly frustrated as he couldn't get a direct flight and became willing to settle for connections. I grew frustrated, too, because since when does William Spencer III have to fly coach?

As if in answer to my query, Bill brought his muscled self over to the Logan cabin, responding to a text of Liam's. Liam actually hung up on the airline representative who had been working to squeeze him onto a flight. Wow, rude! Anyway, Bill asked the question we were all asking: "You think you might be forgetting something?" And just like that, Liam and Bill were on the Spencer jet to Europe.

Really, that jet wasn't Liam's first thought? Lucky for him, Bill "just happened" to be taking off for Monaco that very moment. Bill probably wished he had opted for the in-flight entertainment, because naturally, Liam whined about Hope being in Rome with Thomas -- when he wasn't declaring how much he trusted her, of course. Was it convenient that the Wi-Fi on Bill's plane happened to be out? Hmm...

CINEMA PARADISO

I think, if the show had cut out all the dialogue with characters fawning over each other this week, we could have trimmed the five-episode running time of 90 minutes in half. The syrup sure was thick. "You two just love singing each others' praises," Steffy commented to Thomas and Hope at one point. Of course, Steffy laid it on for the dynamic duo herself, and on Carter.

If it were any more of a love-in, Thomas would have had to scrap his couture and outfit Hope in a sack dress and beads instead. Not helping was that the compliment meter pegged even further once Hope was alone with Thomas. Did AI write the show for this remote? The excessive number of tributes quickly became overkill. Seriously, I had to just start tuning them out to focus on the actual story.

Carter broke through the gushing long enough to take Hope and the gang to Rome's famed Piazza Navona, where he asked Hope if that would be a good enough spot for the fashion preview. The locale wasn't settled before they even left L.A.? Carter just came up with this less than 24 hours before? Some COO! Carter must have been listening when Steffy extolled his virtues as a lawyer and wedding officiant, though.

As Ridge's best friend -- and I admit it's cool the show has kept them BFFs since 2015 -- Carter decided Ridge was grumpy and in need of relaxation. How about, Carter suggested, taking Brooke on a sightseeing tour? Ridge decided it was a good idea and caught Hope in the middle of shipping Bridge to Brooke, after which the long-tortured duo put on their walking shoes and hoofed it around Rome.

CHEF BRIDGE-AR-DEE

At the Colosseum, Brooke told Ridge that she wanted to be "his Logan" again. Ridge countered by asking Brooke to model one of Hope's gowns. And Brooke countered by saying she wanted to see Ridge dress as a Roman soldier or put on a toga. Hell, I woulda been down for that. (Oh, Thorsten.) After the levity, Ridge got surprisingly serious...and astute...trying to reply to Brooke's original request.

Ridge admitted that his love for La Logan would never die, but, as for another reunion, he "didn't see it." He wondered if it was worth it if they had to try so hard to make something work between them and asked Brooke if she was tired of it. Now, of course, we knew where this was all headed, but these were fair questions for Ridge to ask. How, even in soap land, can any couple with so many breakups and makeups work?

Brooke determined that they were lost, and I wondered why the hell neither of them whipped out their phones for some GPS. Hell, I'd still be wandering around Arnhem if Siri hadn't led me back to my AirBnB last summer. But Brooke's disorientation was a little more calculated. She had arranged to bring Ridge to the Colle del Gianicolo, where a cannon is fired every day at noon.

With a wink from the...cannon firer?...Brooke prophesied that Ridge simply needed a sign to confirm Bridge was back...and BOOM! Well, that was quite a hint. How funny would it have been had Brooke hidden an engagement ring in the cannonball the way Ridge hid one for her in a Puglia olive the last time they were in Italy in 2012? All we need is for Brooke to dump Ridge via text once they get home to complete the cycle.

ITALIAN JOB

Back in La-La, Eric continued to lead the B-team by gathering storyless waifs R.J., Zende, and Paris together to talk about how things were going in Rome. What was the point of recasting R.J., since he's been given nothing of import to do? Eric said Zende and Thomas had hit it out of the park with HFTF...but if that's true, how come Zende's name never comes up in the press? Everyone else acts like Thomas is its sole designer.

R.J. at least stayed consistent when he exhorted his compatriots to send out "the no-drama vibe"; after all, the Roman showing was a Logan-Forrester event. Said event began in front of the fountain at the Piazza Navona, but it was kind of a strange fashion show. Hope presented one gown...while Brooke stood at the ready in her gown in full view of the public. Shouldn't Brooke have emerged from a hidden place?

Speaking of the public, people were just milling around. Just anyone was allowed to watch the fashion show? That's if it even was a fashion show. Twice, it was referred to as a shoot. Yet the implication all along had been that it would be a proper showing -- which it couldn't have been, since this big HFTF collection consisted of only three dresses.

I don't know what Brooke and everyone else did while Hope was off changing, but she soon retook her place in front of the fountain, wearing the apparent showstopper...which Thomas stepped up to fix in front of everybody. So, maybe it really was a shoot then? Why would Forrester cart everything to Rome just to take pictures of three dresses? And who were these other anonymous models Steffy was leading through a separate shoot? Were they wearing HFTF wear, as well?

At any rate, the beautiful but somewhat-of-a-letdown shoot/showing concluded, and Hope and Thomas were mobbed by the press. Hope made a speech based on what she had told Thomas about helping the environment and young women through fashion. But...like...how? I've never understood that. Nothing Thomas designed looked particularly sourced from sustainable fabric. But what do I know.

Thomas and Hope fell back into their pattern of bowing at each other's feet so much that Brooke and Steffy were unified in side-eying the whole thing. Ridge and Brooke got a moment in the spotlight, during which the 'razzi asked them about the status of their relationship. It's not the first time they fielded such questions, but it seemed out of bounds here to me. Then Ridge divulged something -- publicly -- that got me thinking.

He told everyone that he "may have lost a step, lost some passion and some drive." Brooke was alarmed enough at this admission that, afterwards, she conveyed this concern to him. "Maybe I'm just tired," Ridge said with a shrug. He pondered if he'd been through too many marriages and breakups. The soap gods know he about holds the world's record for those, but it all had me wishing we'd go in this alluded-to direction.

Ridge is a former playboy who, if nothing else, has certainly been vital all his adult life. This is a man who crawled into bed with his brother's wife as a prank and left a permanent butt print in the Forrester sauna with his sexcapades. Ridge already faced male infertility with a low sperm count as far back as 2015, and he is an older guy. How innovative would it be for him to question his vitality and identity at this stage of his life?

I'd suggested this for Brooke when she was shown to exhibit menopausal symptoms in 2013, but that ship has long sailed. Yet Ridge talking about how tired he was, how lacking in passion and drive...it would be a cool story. B&B won't tell such a tale, of course, but they ought to. Soaps are always at their best when they combine fantasy with relatable storylines. I don't find a 30th or 40th reunion relatable, do you?

WHEN A KISS HITS YOUR EYE LIKE A BIG PIZZA PIE

Sometime later, Carter found Brooke, presumably nowhere near Piazza Novano, still wearing the dress she had been modeling. Didn't that strike you as odd? Carter assured Brooke that Ridge had just been feeling down, which even more makes me want to see the story I laid out for you above. Ridge joined the duo, and then the trio was joined by some Italian lady they all knew who had more sightseeing tips to share.

It was something about a keyhole that one peered through, and by so doing, one could scope their destiny. Naturally, Brooke pinged hearing her signature word and was all about it. Rather than accept Ridge and Carter's offers to wait while she changed out of the HFTF gown, Brooke told them to go ahead, despite Brooke's apparent propensity for getting lost.

At least this time Brooke consulted her phone's GPS, but not for long -- her battery crapped out. Meanwhile, Ridge and Carter found the not-really-named-by-the-show Aventine Keyhole, which lies atop one of the Seven Hills of Rome. Carter squinted through after waiting in line and was pleased by what he saw, but when Ridge took his turn, he delayed the poor tourists behind him so long, Carter had to apologize for him.

Instead of just spotting St. Peter's Dome, like most people do, Ridge spotted the landmark and Brooke. He took off running to find his way around the building so he could get to her. He even snuck in through a gate from which a guy looking like a priest had emerged! So, Ridge broke onto church property...in/near Vatican City? How many Hail Marys do you have to say for pulling something like that?

Besides...haven't we just seen this scenario? Just over nine months ago, Ridge was running through the woods of Aspen to find Taylor. At least the Puglia stuff was beyond a decade ago, but this was too fresh to copy. Now, if Ridge had to commit breaking and entering to get to this spot, how did Brooke get there? And Ridge, who, moments before, wasn't ready for another ride on the Bridge-go-round, bought and presented his ticket.

Explaining his experience at the Keyhole, Ridge said, "I saw beauty, I saw grace..." All I could think of was, "I see England, I see France...!" Well, I guess Ridge will again be seeing Brooke's underpants, because she was all about the takebacks. And so, Ridge and Brooke are officially back together. Are they going to get married again? You know that would be their ninth wedding, right? And that doesn't even count all the aborted ones.

Was it romantic? Sure. But how many times can we watch these two split and reunite before we just can't invest in them as a couple because we know they're going to tank again before long? I know most of us passed that point a long time ago. Bridge's 2018 marriage should have been left intact. Adding to my previous point, how about watching this highly sexed couple deal with getting older? That would be a story.

I "COLO" LIKE I "SSEUM"

Out of nowhere, Carter was curious why Liam hadn't accompanied Hope to Rome, and Hope herself began lamenting Liam's absence. So much so, she complained to both Brooke and Thomas that she hadn't heard from him. As for Liam, he must have been distracted, because he asked Bill about a waiting driver when Bill had already told Liam the guy would be on the tarmac. Listen, Liam. Listen.

Steffy was surprised to see Liam bursting in to the quickly emptying set-up site for the shoot/showing. But, despite the stink eye she had leveled at her brother and former rival earlier, Steffy told Liam that she had been wrong to question Hope in regard to Thomas. Everything was cool! Steffy didn't know where Hope had gotten off to, so Liam decided to run around Rome, looking for her. On foot!

Even Steffy pointed out that Rome was a big city. But you know, GPS is built-in when you're in love. Liam's quest mirrored yet another sequence from last year -- Finn's search for Steffy in Monaco. Finn conveniently found Steffy at a church over there, but we already knew that Liam was going to need one himself when he finally caught up to Hope because of mega spoilers.

Indeed, Thomas had advised Hope to stop checking her phone for messages from Liam and go away with him on a sightseeing safari. They climbed many steps and stared out over many vistas, but they finally planted themselves in front of the Colosseum, where Thomas, like Brooke before him, waxed lyrical about the age and permanence of the structure. Then Thomas remarked that he and Hope themselves had made history that day.

But that wasn't what Hope was interested in making! She suddenly grabbed Thomas' head and gave him a kiss that would otherwise cause the expired gladiators of Rome to rise in reverence! And so much for Thomas' word to Liam that he would reject any unlikely move Hope made -- Thomas kissed her back, and with no hesitation or resistance.

And wouldn't you know...Liam happened upon this impassioned scene. Gee...wasn't that an awful lot like Liam finally reaching the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 2014, only to find Hope marrying Wyatt? Clearly, Liam needs to stop taking international trips. He watched as Hope and Thomas broke their kiss, only for Hope to move in for another one. And Liam limped off as if he had been struck by a Colle del Gianicolo cannonball.

We then saw Thomas and Hope partaking in more sightseeing -- only this time, they were holding hands. They stopped off at an authentic Italian ristorante (won't Deacon be jealous?) and let some of the locals get a photo op...all without discussing their Colosseum make-out session. Didn't that seem off? A big shift like that, especially on Thomas' part, and he and Hope didn't even talk about it?

Most of you already know that I just can't with Hope and Thomas, and now I really just can't. All the Rome scenery was meant to put the Rome in "romantic," but no amount of classical architecture can take away the fact that Hope and Thomas were raised in the same familial ecosystem. They've been on-and-off stepsiblings -- a lot closer to "on" now that his father and her mother have reunited!

That alone the show should recognize, and that alone should be borderline gross to just about anyone. But let's say we've seen enough pseudo-incestuous goings-on with this soap that we can ignore these quasi-family ties. We also can't forget that Thomas lied, kept secrets, blackmailed people, and even watched a teenager die in his pursuit of Hope just four years ago.

And Hope doesn't even know that Thomas drugged Liam and tormented his own kid in this crusade. Add to that Thomas' 2020 "wooing" of Zoe to manipulate Hope into replacing her as his bride, and then there's Thomas faking the CPS call to break Bridge just last fall. Thomas is gorgeous, but not so gorgeous that Hope should be lusting after him and macking on him when she's married! What would 2011 Virgin Hope think of this?

Plus, as I said in a previous column, if we're going to watch Hope go in this direction, we need it explained. Is it some kind of psychological pushback from the trauma Thomas inflicted on her? Is she hooked on pills again? What is making Hope behave this way? Because it is completely out of character -- and just one more especially dubious example of the plot-driven stories we get over and over that completely ignore character.

Finally, just when I couldn't be more disconcerted by this turn of events, Steffy spotted Liam and asked if he had found Hope. Earlier, Hope and Steffy had agreed that they should do a better job of being friends. Well, that ain't happenin' now, because, as Liam burst into tears describing Hope's tonsil hockey with Thomas, Liam leaned in and decided to play his own tonsil hockey with Steffy!

For real? That's exactly what happened between these two when they were last in Italy in 2012. Why don't we just throw an errant iPad and have it record Steam's kissing just to really cut-and-paste things? You know, Rome as seen in these episodes was beautiful, but even this eternal city can't support these wispy, retread storylines. I know B&B can be better than this. I know it. So why isn't it?

What do you think of the Roman remote so far, Scoopers? Can you believe in Bridge with their record of breakups and makeups? Is something seriously wrong with Hope that's making her groove on Thomas? Did you sense some unexpected chemistry between Finn and Taylor during their chat this week, or was it just me? And has Liam learned anything in eleven years? Carve your thoughts into the stone of the Comments section below or the Soap Central message boards, or simply click here to submit feedback. Your comments could end up in a future column!

Bridge will be serenaded by legendary singer Andrea Bocelli on Monday; read about it in my first ever article for Soap Central after nearly fourteen years of columns, character profiles, and even recaps. As for Ridge/Brooke, Hope/Thomas, and Liam/Steffy...we'll just have to hold our collective breath and see if these folks can make their way into more original territory from where they stand now. Keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold! See you in two weeks, my Scoopnesses!

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