Bold and Beautiful: The Lost Generation

A discussion began on a Bold and Beautiful board about Phoebe’s death, questioning why the writers decided to kill the character off.  Many of us have been asking the same question.  In the long run, there doesn’t seem to have been any real benefit to having the character destroyed.  There also doesn’t seem to be a formula for determining which characters are killed off in daytime and which live,  is there ever an objective assessment of what the long term impact is of killing off characters?

The ever stellar Lesli Kay’s Felicia was saved after ‘dying’ from stage 4 colon cancer.  Despite the improbable odds that Felicia could be saved and make a full recovery.  LK brought so much to the role of Felicia that her resurrection made sense.  It would have continued to make sense had  the writers then used the character or something other than window dressing for the rest of the  time she was onscreen.

Given the choice, I would have selected at least three or four other characters whose deaths would have better served the show than Phoebe’s death.  The only seeming long term effect of her death seems to have been the long term damage to a generation of  Logan-Forrester  legacy characters. The short term  fall out from the character’s death was marvelous!  Ridge tapped into emotions that even he didn’t know he had.   Brooke and Ridge were tested in a way that seemed to make it clear that they had whatever it took to survive any storm, even one as big as this – Rick is her son, but also Ridge’s his brother/nemeis and Phoebe is his daughter, Brooke’s beloved stepdaughter.  The writers then blew the BRidge relationship to soaphell (later recovering nicely).

The other short term event that played out nicely?  Rick had to face the fact that his hatred and spiteful behavior, contributed to Pheebs’ death. Even if he didn’t cause the accident he was responsible for the pain and anger she was feeling before she died.  It was tragic and poetic, but it went no where fast!  Rick became even more malevolent.  He became angrier and even more controlling and no one connected to feelings of guilt or anxiety linked to his role in Phoebe’s death.  Instead, Rick became a malignant narcissist and taunted his brother Ridge for his pain, he slept with Phoebe’s twin, informed Ridge that twin Steffy’s  ass was ‘his’, he stole from his family, and even told Ridge to say goodbye to his ‘other daughter’.  It would have been  a typical villain’ s act,  had the writers wanted us to view Rick as a villain.  BnB writers have a magnificent penchant for turning characters who would be villains in any other format into simply ‘misunderstood’ people (see Stephanie Forrester, who’s only counterpart is Hels Cassadine, GH).  Only, I consider it confusing and not so maginificent.

It would have been great for this to have been bratty Rick’s transformational moment and for him to have become a better person. I would have liked to have seen a complex, layered Rick struggle with wanting to support his mother, fight for HER happiness instead of her fighting for his – even with a man he couldn’t stand, and feeling troubled by the fact that supporting Brooke could hurt taylor and her brood. He could have been overwhelmed by the guilt of not wanting to cause them any more unhappiness. The guilt could have caused Rick psychological distress and he could have had some sort of genuine breakdown (a soapy approach to DID = multiple personality disorder? Depression and suicidal behavior? or A psychotic break?)

The storyline could have led to some sort of growth for taylor.  Instead of using Pheebs death to try to get back into Ridge’s bed, she could have had a crisis of faith. She could have become openly angry and vengeful and gas-lighted a psychologically frail Rick (rather than the passive manipulator she has always been). Who could blame her for hating him AND herself for letting Rick into their lives? It would make sense of her lie that Rick ‘took advantage’ of her. That lie would have become part of the game. She could have gone so dark that even satan’s handmaiden would have become afraid of her and the twist would have been watching Stephanie protecting Rick from taylor, for BOTH of their sakes.

Imagine, instead of Brooke and Ridge fighting over her protecting Rick, that they fought over Brooke trying to protect Rick from taylor!  Ridge would be too consumed with guilt to worry about whether taylor was actually setting Rick up to become even more divorced from reality and possibly setting Rick up to either hurt himself or at least institutionalized for the rest of his life. Even if he knew she was, his love for Broke would be in conflict for his desire to see revenge and he might let taylor continue on (not caring that she was being destroyed in the process). He wouldn’t help her, he just wouldn’t stop her.

A new woman would be cast for Rick to date many months after Pheebs died, but he would still have a hard time getting close to her because he would believe that he was undeserving of happiness. He’d end up seeing Pheebs dying every time he tried to get close to her. She’s the one would figure out hat taylor was setting Rick up and stop her. Rick would eventually recover, unable to hate taylor because of Pheebs

taylor would end up in the position she wanted to put Rick in and is institutionalized for the next 30 years – where soap time = real time!  Brilliant!

That’s what would have played out for me over the next year, instead of the pimping of Phoebe’s ghost for sex, the fighting between BRidge, Steph setting up her vulnerable son, Tommy boy bombing cars on public lots, Rick and Steffy having sex, and pretty much everything else that played out after she died.  Of the current generation of Logan-Forrester kids, only Bridget is left with the potential to be a heroine and likable.

I’m both excited by AJ’s Bridget being in an upcoming frontburner storyline with Sarah Joy Brown’s Sandy Sommers, and concerned.  The only BnB characters who can remain likable for long periods of time are often those the writers haven’t concentrated on.  With the spotlight on ‘Budge’, I’m going to have to count on Ashley Jones to navigate the character through disjointed dialogue, inconsistent plots, and the most improbable of situations.  Her Bridget is the last of her kind, the last likable character of her generation on Bold.

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