Lack of consent isn't bold or beautiful -- it's offensive and B&B needs to do better

For the Week of February 12, 2024
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When will B&B writers learn that pills, berries, alcohol, mints, and sex don't mix? Zende and Luna fall victim to the soap's most controversial and repeated plotline. Is it compelling storytelling, or did Zende get sacrificed for the golden child? Bill stepped up, only to be let down, but maybe there's a cosmic reason he should feel lucky not to be obligated to "Nozawa Power." Eric made an honest man of himself by marrying the most deserving bride in show history.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEK'S COLUMN

Soap Central's Two Scoops column was designed as a place for fun and witty conversation about what happens each week on the soaps. But sometimes, like in real life, things happen, and it's hard to find humor or light.

Sex and soap operas are nothing new. Soap operas were once referred to as "love in the afternoon," and that love came in a variety of packages: married couples, young lovers, secret affairs, and love triangles.

The Bold and the Beautiful, perhaps more than any other soap, has been built upon the love triangle. But what's troubling is that the show seems to believe that adding alcohol, drugs, or some sort of psychotropic fruit in the mix makes those stories entertaining or, even worse, light-hearted.

The writing team at The Bold and the Beautiful has chosen to create a storyline where two characters -- Zende and Luna -- have sex. Luna, however, is unknowingly impaired from taking some sort of laced candy. Luna has no idea that she is intentionally drugging herself -- and neither does Zende. Viewers watched as Luna hallucinated seeing her boyfriend, R.J., instead of Zende.

Impairment means that consent cannot be given. There are no blurred lines here.

And while what happens next doesn't take place until next week, it is impossible for this week's Two Scoops column to exist in a vacuum where this is ignored.

The optics of this storyline are made even worse by B&B cheekily referring to the mints as Poppy's "little happy mints." Plus, Zende, one of the show's few Black male characters, has been without story for months. The character reemerged with jaw-droppingly appalling traits as an opportunistic and lecherous creep. And now the writers have chosen this version of Zende to end up in bed with an impaired woman.

This is not a 1980s soap opera, where sexual assault was somehow "romanticized," and executive producer and co-head writer Bradley Bell should never have allowed this story to move forward.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available at 800-656-HOPE or through an online chat here.

Please continue reading for Chanel's Two Scoops column. I know she has worked hard, as she always does, to put this week's challenging column together.
-- Dan J Kroll
Founder, Soap Central

Carpe Diem or Carpe puella?

If ever, oh, ever there was a creep on this show, it has to be Zende with those lustful, half-devouring, half-crazed gazes he casts on Luna any time anyone is looking -- or not. I commend Delon de Metz for his ability to convey just the right message through his eyes and facial expressions, and through his eyes, Zende tells Luna that it's midnight, she's the cookie jar, and he's about to raid it over and over and over.

And that would be fine if Luna was interested. But she's not. Luna is into two things and two things only: R.J. and mints. One is about to get her in trouble with the other, because I suspect that the creeper Zende won't be the gentleman who escorts Luna out of his bed due to some sense of loyalty to his cousin. Hey, like Eric says, Carpe Diem. Or is it Carpe Puella? Eric did both that night, so why shouldn't Zende?

Why would Zende, after all the work he did at Eric and Donna's wedding reception to convince Luna to drop that loser R.J. and stroll across the courtyard for some real action, suddenly back down when Luna is naked in his bed, saying, "I've been waiting for you..."? I figure Zende's gonna think, "Mission accomplished," right?

Now, before we get all into Zende should be a gentleman, and Zende should know that she was all over R.J. two minutes ago, so it's obvious she doesn't want Zende, let me speak from young, college-days experience. I dated a guy in a fraternity, and I was completely loyal to him. He was a neophyte and the first pledge on his "line." That means he received the most hazing. So, it was his first year as a prophyte when I dated him, and even though I was committed, the frat brothers who had hazed him the previous year constantly flirted with me and outright told me that they knew I'd cheat, so I might as well do it with one of them. That way, they could help him get over me.

Yes. They said this to an 18-year-old freshman girl and thought I'd be dumb enough to do it and get used by the whole fraternity. They didn't care that he loved me, because if I did it, it meant I wasn't any good for him, anyway. So, I say all that to inform people that young, immature men will try each other's women. They just will, so don't expect Zende to be any different than a sober Ridge with an inebriated Caroline Senior. However, Zende is not young or immature. This is also why, even if I understand if Zende raids Luna's cookie jar, I don't condone it because Zende should not be in the kiddie pool with R.J. and Luna to begin with.

Zende is Thomas' age, older than Steffy. He's been married. He had his bout with the intern Nicole already and even had a toilet pregnancy scare with Sasha. So, I resent Zende being thrown into the shallow end of the kiddie pool and turned into a creeper just to make Runa (R.J. and Luna) interesting. I'd rather be bored blind by him and Paris than to see him turned into the worst creeper since Thomas with Caroline just to give the golden child R.J. a story. Look, R.J. was boring with Coco, and he's boring with Luna. Zende, however, wasn't boring. Please bring back Nicole and stop wasting Zende on Luna.

Is Luna's breath really that stank?

These men go on and on about how great Luna is and how perfect Luna is; however, I have to wonder if she has a mental disorder about these mints or if her breath really is that hot, kicking knockouts stanky. It was cute the first time she wanted to take a mint before kissing R.J., but this girl is reaching for mints instead of toothpaste first thing in the morning. Does she understand that, without brushing, R.J. will get a kiss full of minty foul?

I have a feeling Luna is also one of those people who covers her mouth when she talks while chewing instead of just chewing, swallowing, and then speaking. She probably sprays Poo-Pourri before every flush, even at her own house, and walks around smelling like a perfume bath. I'm joking about it, but it's not funny. It's a real disease called Olfactory Reference Syndrome, a disease in which people think they stink even when they don't and constantly try to cover up their own, nonexistent odor.

Along with wondering if Luna is really that stank, I wonder if she's really that stupid. When she changed purses, the camera panned to her mint box. It was square. Poppy's was round. Luna seriously didn't question how she wound up with a strange-looking, round pill case full of mints? The other day, my friend left her jacket in my car. It was a jacket I'd never seen before, and it puzzled me to no end how that thing got in my car. Likewise, I'd think Luna would wonder how she got a weird container of mints in her purse -- or she would have known it belonged to her mother. Are Luna and Poppy actually all that close if Luna doesn't know about these mints?

It seems to me like Poppy might be keeping a lot of secrets from Luna.

As I said, this isn't the first time and probably not the last time that B&B has used an inebriation prop to foist a shocking sex hookup on the audience. Is it a compelling plot device, or is it too '80s for modern times? Let's take a look back at all the drama "drugged" sex can conjure.

It happens once or twice a decade

It never fails. At least once or twice a decade, someone on B&B has some drunk or otherwise inebriated sex with someone "shocking." Does this make for must-see TV, or does it anger those in current times who believe in the #MeToo movement and laws such as "too impaired to consent"? Is there a cultural message in this storyline, or is it just a cheap way to up viewership? If we take a look back at past stunts like this, I will conclude that it's the latter. What do you think?

Ridge has sex with a drunken Caroline I: It was the '80s, and I was too young to have a political or social opinion of it when Ridge thought it would be funny to slip into Caroline and Thorne's marriage bed while Thorne was downstairs, making a sandwich. As it turned out, it wasn't so funny to Thorne, who wound up shooting Ridge in the head over it.

Thomas lies about berry sex with Brooke: In a twist, Thomas lied about what happened when he and Brooke got high off berries on the deserted island they'd been stranded on. Stephanie had put him up to it, and he lost the stocks she'd promised in exchange for the lie.

Ridge has drugged sex with Taylor: Taylor was doing what she does worst, playing therapist to people she has no business therapizing, and she gave Ridge medication to cope with their daughter's death. Ridge took pills from her purse without her knowing, and they wound up having sex. When he confessed it to Brooke, she said thanks, but no thanks, and broke up with him.

Ridge has drugged sex with Brooke: Brooke took some type of medication when she was torn between Nick and Ridge. Ridge slipped into her bed and had sex with her.

Thomas has drunken sex with Caroline II: After Caroline took Pam's anxiety meds, Thomas and Caroline got drunk. They had sex, and Caroline told Ridge that she hadn't consented. It resulted in Ridge pretending to be Douglas' father. Like her namesake, she claimed later that she'd consented, but the laws of California do not work like that.

Liam has drugged sex with Steffy. Thomas gave Liam the Funky Cold Medina, and Liam had sex with Steffy. Thomas never faced consequences.

Now, Luna accidentally drugs herself and has sex with Zende? After all these years, is this still compelling drama? I think the writers should stop telling borderline rape stories. I think the newly deflowered Luna being so in love with R.J. makes it that her first time is forever linked with Poppy's little pills.

And the most disturbing part of this story is that it is true for so many women (and men!) who are raped by people they would never choose to have sex with, just because they had a couple drinks too many. A story like this is not entertainment for them. It is a reminder of the very real trauma they live with every day. This is not entertainment for them, and it never will be.

Bill steps up to the plate and should be glad he struck out

Somehow Bill has convinced himself that after all these years, there was a greater love in his life than a Logan. When he first arrived on the scene, Katie was his life-changing love. When he fell in love with her sister, Katie got bumped to the second greatest. This week, Katie might be in fourth place, behind Kelly, Poppy, and Brooke as Bill confided in Liam that he has never felt for any woman the way he felt about Poppy -- except Kelly, Liam's mother.

Bill feels such a cosmic pull toward Poppy that he decided that it might be because Luna is his daughter. I have to advise Bill that this pull just might be indigestion because he surely didn't feel it for the mother of his second child, Quinn. Yet and still, he gently confronted Poppy about the possibility that he could be Luna's father only to learn that Poppy had had more sticks in the fire around that time than just his.

"This conversation is making me uncomfortable," Poppy told Bill. Well, lady, imagine how Bill feels to find out it was raining men around the time of his magical night with her! How special can he possibly feel now, knowing that Poppy was so "free" during that period? It's time for Bill to go get a test, and I don't mean a paternity test. Catch my drift?

Bill seemed disappointed that he isn't Luna's father, and he still might not buy it. Even though Poppy denying it proves she isn't a gold digger like her sister asserts, I still think Bill dodged a bullet with this one and should get out while he can. Why? I have three words for you: Emasculating Nozawa Power.

Bill has spent most of his adult life unaware of his children's existence except Will. He wishes he'd been around when his older sons were growing up, and Bill should have been able to be a father to them. Well, except Wyatt, whom he wanted aborted, but anyways...It was simply crushing and infuriating for me to hear Bill say that Luna hadn't needed a father growing up because she had a whole family in Poppy. To me, this statement marginalized Bill's role in the creation and raising of a child. It marginalized fathers everywhere, and to hear Poppy reaffirm such a thing with, "That's right. Nozawa Power," made me groan because #DadsMatter.

I think Bill is lucky not to be Luna's father because Poppy doesn't seem to have any respect for fatherhood or appreciate what a father could have brought to Luna's life. I'm not saying Poppy didn't do the best she could or that Luna is messed up, but Poppy should respect fatherhood, too. Until I see that she does, I imagine Bill would have had a hard time getting close to Luna because Poppy would have felt that "Nozawa Power" was being threatened.

What do Donna Logan and Phil Collins have in common?

They've been waiting for this moment all their lives! Oh, Lord! And we viewers could feel it coming in the air for years. Finally, Eric realized that the woman standing by him deserved for him to put a ring on it after all he'd put her through ever since their last marriage ended when Eric sided with Stephanie about Beth's drowning.

With what might have been the most beautiful marriage proposal I've ever seen on a soap, Eric not only asked Donna to marry her honey bear, but he proceeded to hold the wedding on the spot. Eric picked a gorgeous dress, a gorgeous ring, and the perfect timing (unless you had a sick child or a meeting). He also chose the most devoted bride.

Donna and Eric started their relationship by having an affair and reunited through an affair, but I cannot deny that this woman truly deserves to finally be wedded to the man she'd waited years and years for after Stephanie died. I remember Donna pining for Eric as early as Quinn's debut on the show, and I don't think Donna ever had a serious relationship after her divorce from Justin. She'd been waiting for her foolish honey bear to finally wise up, and it only took a near-death trip to the other side for him to realize he needed to marry this wonderful woman who fought against Ridge pulling his plug not once, but twice.

Donna and Eric's second union is the first wedding on The Bold and the Beautiful that made me cry tears of joy. Donna showed Eric how to live again, gave him a reason to live, and gave him a life free of ED. What bride is more deserving of honor than the one who saved her man in more ways than one? Now, let's just hope Donna's fears about Eric's carpe-dieming himself into a relapse are unfounded.

In a look ahead: Luna tries to figure out what the heck happened

Spoilers indicate that Luna wakes up in Zende's bed, and I bet a million dollars he has that creeper look on his face when she sees him. Maybe the hint that she wakes up to her new nightmare means viewers will not see these two have sex. That means we will not know if it happened or if Zende is lying or if Zende ever realized she was hallucinating. I'd love to see how she gets herself out of a morning-after conversation. Yeah, where are your breath mints now, Luna?

Eric makes Zende a new offer, and by week's end, Luna and Poppy make a confession to him. If the "Nozawa Power" couple reveals that Luna had been under the influence, then I hope for Zende's sake that Eric offers Zende a job in Paris somewhere to save him from the humiliation of seeing Luna every day and from R.J.'s wrath.

The upcoming week is about "Nozawa Power," and that includes Auntie Judgmental, who will weigh in on Poppy's life choices.

Happy Valentine's Day! But maybe not so much for Luna...

That's it, guys! I'm all scooped out, but I'd love to read your Two Scoops in the comments section below if you'd like to sound off on Zende and Luna. Until we scoop again, make sure your breath is always 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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