Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: GH Sonny’s transformation

Finally!  FINALLY!  Someone gets to have a grown up conversation with Sonny Corinthos about why his “shoot first and ask questions later” policy is just a tad bit dangerous (like the plague, diving without a parachute, and flying a plane without refueling).   You’d think that shooting his pregnant wife in the head while she was  delivering their child would be a bit of motivation to become a little more reflective and not so blantantly self-indulgent in his rage.  That would mean that you a – live in known universe and adhere to the laws of phyics and reason, and b – you haven’t imagined Sonny as a living person who is totally so cool, and that he would totally be your best friend and play Xbox and Dungeons and Dragons with you  if he knew you.  I’m not sure the GH writers could claim either of the above.

While I expect to hate any moment that gives Patrick the right to utter the big, “I told you so” moment to Robin, I did savor this one just a bit!  I didn’t enjoy seeing Robin shot, it was awful.  I did enjoy the fallout once she was ok.  Patrick fearlessly snarling at Sonny to get out?  Thank you, writers.  Robin telling Sonny that he should have been more concerned for Emma’s emotional well being?  Awesome!  For little Emma to have to say to her father that “Mommy was shot” was excruciating.  What child should ever witness the violation of a parent or any loved one?  The short answer is none, but when Sonny is a part of your life, it’s evident that at some point your children will experience an event that most children won’t ever witness – and that’s scary when you realize that fact includes soap children was well.  Most soap children have never seen their parents shot in their own home:

That scene is devastating.  (And P.S. LOVE new little Emma. She could teach a few of her older colleagues in daytime how to convey emotion).  What that scene also tells us is that:

1.  Sonny’s disregard for Emma’s psychological pain is an indication of his inability to consider his own children’s psychological pain – given that he loves Robin as if she’s family.  His own expectations of becoming a victim of his lifestyle seems, as the writers convey it,  to mean that his stubborn and irascible egocentrism allows him to believe that everyone, children included, should be able to accept death, and anything that falls shorts of that is… WINNING!… Loser.  He is only lucky that the gun wasn’t aimed in Emma’s direction when Robin fought to stop him from killing Jax.  No one knew the child was in the room.  She could have just as easily been a victim of a stray bullet.  Just as he expects his children to recover from kidnapping, assault, and the constant threat of becoming victims of his enemies, he expects children who don’t live with daily violence to live happily with the consequences of violent outburts.

Further consider the Doomsday Don’s treatment of his firstborn, Dante (another shoot first/ask questions later victim) .  Sonny spents months on end trying to convince everyone of his great love for his son.  Then he assaults Dante in order to be able to get to Jax.  Killing Jax was more important to Sonny than the already fragile relationship he has with his first born.

His children, other people’s children, they’re all for show, and how little they count when they’re in the way of what Sonny wants.

2.  Sonny is blinded by his hatred.  DUH, right?   It’s not just the obvious things (like the fact that he DRIVES people away, not that they leave because they’ve been tricked by others or that they’ve misunderstood)… it’s the little things, too.  How was Robin supposed to live in that house, with her family, if Jax’s blood was spilled in her home?  For Sonny, replacing the carpets, drapes, and cleaning the walls would have been sufficient, for people who’ve chosen to save lives – not take them, it’s not that easy.  They wouldn’t find comfort in new drapes knowing that unseen traces of a good man’s life were left in their hardwood floors, the pores of their walls, and  in their memories.  They would remember Jax in that room and  remember what Sonny did to him. 

While Jax’s death would haunt the Scorpio-Drakes, it would have given Sonny endless satisfaction.  As Carly pointed out, Sonny does not care that he killed her father and has taken every possible father-daughter moment away from her.  Yeah, Carly, who cheered Sonny on when he set Jax up to lose custody.  At least there is some point at which she says NO… too bad that point is death (or least death as far as they know it).

There is WAY more yum where that came from:

3.  It’s likely that in the take down of Sonny Corinthos, this one vile act that FINALLY turns everyone against Sonny may also be connected to Jason’s storyline and may be the final nail in the coffin.  Everyone hating Sonny so quickly makes me wonder if these scenes are re-shoots and are tied into Jason’s eventual recovery.  IF Jason wakes up and becomes a new person, as has been hinted in GH promos, what will he become? WHO will he become?  Assuming he has no memory of being Jason Morgan, he can become anything and anyone he wants to.  Let’s assume he wakes up remembering what he’s done, but it’s as if someone else commited those acts.  He dissociates, disgusted by the acts committed by the man with face.  After a period of self-loathing, he moves away from the mob life and rejoins the Qs (rebuilding the family).

Suddenly, Sonny is totally and utterly alone. The only true friend he’s every had is gone.  Carly finally sees Sonny for what he is and she’s done with him (whoda thunk that would ever happen!?!)  Brenda has escaped his clutches.  His children are angry at him.  Robin won’t speak to him.  His world is shattered.  Given the sudden onset of the Sonny disgust, I’m not sure if the storyline is meant to garner sympathy for the character or serve as the lead in to character growth:

  • Will Sonny change and permanently put the mob behind him, becoming a legitimate business leader?  If so, that new role should come  with a less Valdermort worthy wardrobe.  There’s no shade of black and gray the lollipop mob boss hasn’t worn.  It’s time to let it go.
  • Will he be “redeemed”, GH style, when it’s revealed that Anthony Zacharra really is a bigger monster than Sonny?  That Anthony has successfully killed before our eyes, and that Sonny’s kills are offscreen is not redepemtion.  The writers should know that.
  • Will he assume that saying he’s sorry is enough, or will we see true remorse from Sonny who works to make amends with those he’s wronged?  Sonny will eventually be forgiven, I have no doubt about that, but it’s a process that should take time, and maybe not have forgiveness be given from everyone.  Robin will forgive, of course.  Even after her shot her in front of her daughter, she didn’t want to have the police called.  She put her license on the line, and that of her husband’s, by treating a gun shot wound without reporting it.

What can’t happen is having the writers “save” Sonny by having him fall into a bout of depression and blame his recent actions on his bipolar condition (they’ve gone to that well far too many times).   It works about as well as having him continue to fault his stepfather for the fact that he continues to kill others for a living and puts his children at risk.

What also won’t work is for Sonny to become all goodness and light.  Who would buy it?

What would/might work is making Sonny the new Luke in the sense that he becomes the show’s new anti-hero, the anti-hero Luke once was, at least.  Sonny could spend his days not worrying about other people’s problems (like now) but get involved when he has to protect those he loves, or others, from bad guys by working with Dante to bring them down.  Luke Spencer and Robert Scorpio become Sonny Corinthos and Dante Falconeri. Luke and Lucky become Sonny and Dante.  It takes a while to get use to the thought of it, I know, but give it some time.  Wouldn’t anything be better than the doom and gloom Sonny brings to the show, now?

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Second Verse Same As The First? Why RH’s Todd Had To Win Out

TSJ’s last day filming for the show was late July (the 22nd).  The entire time I’ve been hoping that TPTB released the information to throw fans off track (much like the ‘Todd’s execution scenes when, I believe, TSJ’s contract was up and TPTB kept us guessing about whether or not he would return.  At time moves on, I realize that it’s utterly hopeless to believe that TPTB are playing a waiting game and I realize that RH’s Todd has indeed won out.  While I’d preferred having both men onscreen, it’s clear that RH’s Todd had to win out.  Bummer, but I accept it will adjust.

Bummer?  Yes, bummer.  I’ve been adamant that I want TSJ to be declared the ‘real Todd’ while keeping RH’s Todd on as the  newly discovered brother brainwashed into believing he was Todd  Why? Although it took me a while to warm up to him,  I’ve been a huge  TSJ supporter since Todd’s “death row” storyline.  It’s one of the most ethereal,  hauntingly beautiful, storylines OLTL writers have offered.  A rapist, who later became a rape survivor, is on death row after being convicted of killing his assailant.  I think TSJ added an intangible quality to the role that RH’s Todd didn’t have.

Rather than build on the magnificence of that storyline and send Todd on a journey of introspection, OLTL writers took the opportunity to make Todd meaner, angrier, and more vile with each act -primarily to prop other characters and storylines.   TSJ’s Todd was sacrificed to sell Cole and the Starr as a burgeoning supercouple and the writers wasted no time in taking TSJ’s Todd to a new low (battering Cole, knocking a pregnant Starr down a flight of stiars, threatening to kill orphaned adolescents, bullying Starr’s friends, etc).

Todd had become such a heinous character that OLTL writers wasted months creating a new ‘high school musical’ around the “eternal” love of Starr and Cole, with Todd being cast as evil personified.  Much of Langston’s play centered around the heartlessness of a man like Todd, who’d lost the ability to recognize and bask in the glow of true love.  When an entire town’s collective life revolves around a high schol musical on the glory of teen love/pregnancy as a lesson about love for the ages?  Your show and its characters are doomed.  I think the show for far too long leveraged its credibility on the backs of its youngest performers (not their fault at all) in the hopes of bringing in newer/younger viewers — and  as has always been true of daytime, younger viewers are as uninterested in hot mess storyline about their lives as the rest of us.  It didn’t stop TSJ’s Todd from becoming a causalty and beginning the downward spiral toward irrelevance.

Like RH before him, TSJ’s  portrayal of the character became one of boredom and he began projecting ‘shorthand’ acting.  His  responses became quick quips. Facials expressions (plural) became facial expression (singular).  The return of Marty Saybrooke was the death of TSJ’s Todd Manning.  His struggle for redemption – post Marty’s rape (the first time) was gone.  His sad realization that he would never be able to make up to Marty, or the community he offended and terrorized, for his actions was gone.  His struggle to forgive himself for what he’d become, was gone.  

The writers, I can only guess, felt that they’d found the one sure fire way of giving all of that back to fans.  RH’s Todd gets a fresh start.  If he becomes ‘Real Todd’, it means that the writers can take us back to the place where we loved the flawed Todd Manning because he would still be struggling with his humanity and his fighting his  fear of returing to the sociopath he’d once been (the sociopath TSJ’s Todd was sacrificed to become once again). 

Watching Viki with Todd, even I began to long for old Todd.  I remembered how instrumental a role Viki played in Todd’s redepmtion and how much closer to human she made him. The few minutes of Viki with the RHTodd’s (the Todd who was allowed to experience human emotions) made me “homesick” and sad that the writers had wasted the gifts that TST brought to the role at the same time.   There is something special in RH’s Todd’s relationship with Viki that TSJ’s Todd  was never allowed to capture.   I felt like an intruder watching Viki watch her baby brother (RH Todd) sleep.  The moment felt so real and I could only imagine that in fictional Viki’s shoes that I, too, would long for the brother with a  familiar face, a  familiar sound and familiar mannerisms. 

I get it, because as much as I’ve loved TSJ in the role and for as much as I hope there is a way to bring him back, afterall, I can see the emtional threads of this storyline braiding themselves together to give fans the Todd they’d hoped they would get with TSJ and were disappointed when the writers had other plans.  EZ’s Viki and RH’s Todd have the opportunity to bring viewers back to what feels like ‘home’.

Initially, this storyline led me to imagine the Emmy worthy work Erika Slezak would deliver as the emotional heart of the Lord family, torn between two brothers who want to be loved best by her – one who now had everything and one who’d pretty much lost it all.  Both brothers would be fearful of being rejected in favor of the other. I thought of the stress and pain it would cause Viki to constantly be asked to choose between them, as it has caused her the same gutwrenching  pain she experiences even still with her daughters. Ithought of the comic moments with the two sets of long lost Lord twins, RH-Todd and his favorite, Jess.  TSJ -Todd becoming Natalies’s champion.  In the end, while both Todds are familiar to Viki, both would be strangers.  Now it’s becoming clearer that the writers are going to make a ‘choice’ themselves, and I’m resigned to the fact that their choice won’t be mine and TSJ won’t be back.  More is the pity.

Ultimately, it must be hell to work for an ABC soap in a familiar role.  From the return of the “Real Greenlee” to the return of RH’s Todd, any actor would probably be smart to consider themselves just a temporary long-term replacement in any ABC soap role.

OLTL: Todd/Todd2/ Irene – Clouded Destiny

Oh, OLTL writers.  Why wait until AFTER the show is cancelled to write a compelling set of plots!?!?!  We have two key pieces of information that help put the T/T2 storyline in broader perspective, I think.  The first is the unaired woman’s face, head of a secret organization which held Todd (or Todd2) prisoner.  The second is Viki looking over the picture of Todd/Todd2’s mother, Irene — nice touch! 

Speculation time:  Irene and the heartless head of the spy organization one in the same person. 

Was Irene a plant, sent in from this secret  spy organization to get close to Victor Lord?  Was she a dangerous spy of some sort who was supposed to uncover Victor’s coldwar dirt (to whom was he selling secrets/weapons/etc) and then meant to kill him?   Did the organization fake her death when her mission was over and allowed her to recover one of her sons only to send him off somewhere safe when she realized that a child was in the way of her ambition to rise to power in the agency?  Did she plan to bring the unknown twin in to replace the known twin (Todd), who is obviously a bitter failure in her book since he couldn’t be controlled? 

Of course, a complete and utter indifference would explain why she didn’t care that her brother subjected one of her sons to incredible torture during his childhood and why she never intervened to help Todd as he careened out of control in his young adulthood.  In hindsight, it benefitted her.  She later realized that she needed a sociopathic cold-blooded killer she could trust or at least control, someone linked to her.  It’s exactly what she thought one of her sons became.  Thanks to her brother’s cruelty, Todd had learned to not care about others and to inflict pain without remorse.  The trouble with him would have been the fact that he doesn’t take orders, and that he felt no allegiance to anyone – not even his believed dead mother.  Allowing the other twin to be beaten, tortured and brainwashed in her own agency  made Todd1’s  failure to become her puppet immaterial.  She could create the cold-blooded killer-superagent she needed in Todd2.

Oh yes, I’m intrigued, OLTL writers, and enough  so that I forgive you for creating yet another set of mystery twins in the Lord family and hope that the execution of the Todd-Todd2 storyline is far more successful than the mind numbing Jessica/Tess/Hot Messica-Natalie storyline.  I’m even willing to pretend that the other twin pair doesn’t exist at all!  Yeah, Todd and Todd2 are just that interesting.  By the way, does this now mean that Todd1 has to split his inheritance with Todd2?  Now THAT is going to be the place where these brothers part company!

Destiny – Nora:  The mother of all showdowns?

Love or hate her, the one consistency about Nora is that when it comes to the law, she’s willing to do what she can to help those she cares about and believes in escape what she thinks of as an unfair prosecution. When it comes to her children?  There is no such thing.  Hell hath no fury! The Ford Brother (whichever one it is, they’re all the same to me) only escaped having Nora give him a proctology exam like no other because he had something to trade, his freedom for Matthews’. 

As much as Nora loves Destiny, is there anyone who doesn’t believe that if the writers are consistent, Nora will take young Destiny to court to prevent her from aborting Matthew’s child if she doesn’t decide on her own to keep it?  I can’t see Nora talking Destiny into keeping this baby if her own mother wasn’t able to, and I can’t see Nora sitting idly by while Destiny makes this decision.  I could see Nora on one side, Bo in the middle and Destiny and her mother fighting for her right to not have to keep a child she’s not ready to raise on her own, or even with the help of the Buchanans.

Whatever the decision, I hope it’s Destiny’s to make and I hope she can handle the consequences.  If true the form, the writers will have Matthew wake up and remember Dani alone,  and his great love for her.  Destiny’s face won’t ring any bells for him.  He won’t feel close to her or her child (should she decide to keep it).  If Destiny decides not to keep the baby, I can see Matthew waking up, again in love with Dani, and having the poor girl feel twice as lonely and in despair — no child, no Matthew, just heartache.  Either way it rolls, insanity is in Destiny’s future — because women in daytime go crazy without the love of the objects of their affection.  I think it’s a rule, or just a misogynistic wish on all soap writers’ parts.

OLTL:…”and I like… TWINS” – The Todd and Todd Saga

Shared DNA?  Who DIDN’T know that Todd and Todd would be identical twins!?!?!?  So one twin, never knowing about the other, was used to take his brother’s place.  Only which is Todd original, and which is Todd2?  I’ve been hoping that RH’s Todd would be the removed twin, given away at birth, and brainwashed to believe that he is the original Todd.   RH’s Todd has no idea he’s been brainwashed, and every memory he’s had and treasures has been programmed and belongs to a brother he never knew existed.

From a producer’s perspective, I can imagine that it would be easier to make RH’s Todd the original… think of all of the footage sitting around waiting to be used.  If TSJ’s Todd becomes the Todd clone, however, it ruins so many of the past storylines — especially since TSJ’s Todd seems to have more history and knowledge of what the hell is going on.  Why would TSJ’s Todd have ” fallen in”  love with Marty Saybrooke (and raped her yet again)?  Why would he have so many memories of Tea and fought so hard to keep her in his life?   What happens with Sam, if TSJ’s Todd is not ‘real Todd’?  Does Sam become an ‘unlucky cousin’ who loses his family and sense of place?

With RH’s Todd as the clone Todd (the twin given away), it gives the producers the excuse to remove the scar which was added for effect (free RH of probably an hour a day in a make up chair for the scar alone) and allows his ‘Todd’ (renamed) to start over.  Honestly, I’m sick of that scar, given its original meaning and how the writers have already perverted the purpose of Todd’s scar, so yes, my reasons for wanted RH’s Todd to be Todd2 are in part personal.

I think the writers will play, for some time, with the ‘wrong test results’ angle, but I can’t see any other logical way out of this storyline other than to make the two Todds twins.  Time will tell.

B&B: The heart, mind, and soul of a woman – Part 2

Heather Thom (Katie Logan Spencer)

Give a mouse a cookie, and it will ask you for a glass of milk. Give Heather Thom a reasonably good line or two and she’ll spin that stuff into PURE GOLD! HTom made sure that Katie got her BEYONCE on! Partial lyrics to the song, “Irreplaceable”

You must not know ’bout me
You must not know ’bout me
I can have another you by tomorrow
So don’t you ever for a second get to thinkin’
You’re irreplaceable?

So go ahead and get gone
Call up that chick, and see if shes home
Oops I bet you thought, that I didn’t know
What did you think
I was putting you out for?
Because you was untrue
Rolling her around in the car that I bought you
Baby, drop them keys
Hurry up, before your taxi leaves

I would have paid cash to have Katie break out in song when telling ¢Bill that he was free to “get gone”. So much of Katie’s dialogue spoke to the things women believe they’d say to a cheating partner in her shoes. While these are not exact quotes, the sentiment is the same: “How long have you been kissing her with the mouth you use to kiss me?” “Who are you lying to, me or her, because this is not an open marriage?” “You have dated, slept with, and dumped dozens of Steffys, they’re all the same. You married me because I challenge you and you challenge me. Is the dime a dozen type what you really want to go back to?” “Beg me to take you back, and if you come back, things WILL be different in this marriage. I’m taking control.”   Masterful. Those were Bold AND Beautiful.

As BnB fans, specifically, and soap fans in general, have become too used to the idea of women begging, pleading and crying. While our sisters in primetime asserted their strength and power, women in daytime were growing increasingly powerless. Women in daytime were getting dumber and weaker. The BnB writers have literally flipped the script , seemingly realizing that women want to see other women stand up for themselves to a cheating spouse who seems to think that even when he’s dirty with the stench of cheating, he irreplaceable.

Heather Thom and Katherine Kelly Lang’s elegant treatment of the dialogue can’t be overlooked. They breathed life into words on a page. In true symbiotic fashion, between writers and actors, the BnB writers have made their jobs easier with the change in the context of the material, showing a renewed respect for the genre and fans, a change that keeps me on the edge of my seat. I could always predict what BnB women were going to say or do (Brooke would cry and plead, Taylor would cry and plead in between moments of she and Stephanie referring to other women as whores and sluts despite their own shady histories and the shady histories of the men whose love they craved). Now? I have no idea what will happen and what will be said. I’ve fallen in love with this show, for now at least, all over again.

Before this, the writers offered “bitterness” as the definition for ‘strength’ on this show. Wrong writers.  Bitter bitches like Stephanie, Steffy, and Taylor, might be fun to laugh at, but for most of us, they don’t become our heroes. Women are too busy with our real lives to sit around pouting and bemoaning our fate. That Stephanie, Steffy, and Taylor have the time to sit and obsess about Ridge, Brooke, the Logans, hang nails, vanilla pudding, paper cups, or whatever else they’re spending their days whining about, makes them the daytime equivalent of drying paint. They’re easy to write for because they never change or offer any new insights into their personalities. They’re just not easy to watch.

Jennifer Gareis/Ashley Jones (Donna and Bridget)

There is still two huge absences from the Logan renaissance. Jennifer Gareis (Donna Logan Barber), recently back from maternity leave, has not had the same opportunity as her onscreen Logan sisters to light up her scenes. I suspect that her time is coming now that Amber Moore is the mother of her granddaughter and is now after her son. Donna is the more enigmatic of the Logan sisters. She’s soft and warm on one had, and a cutthroat street fighter on the other. While Brooke hoped for more than 30 years (soap time) that reason, patience, and love would transform Stephanie Douglas Forrester into a decent human being, Donna wasn’t concerned about saving Stephanie’s soul or saving Stephanie from herself. Donna believed in fighting back.  I miss that Donna and think she’s needed in the B.S. battle between the Forrester and the Logans (who are truly more family than foes).

Also needed is Ashley Jones – Bridget Forrester (a Logan woman). She needs to be returned to screen and help continue to make the Logan women the unforgettable force they are, always should have been, and will hopefully always be. There is too much unresolved business needing Bridget’s attention (I still choose to believe that Nick’s son is Bridget’s child, that she was the ‘B Marone’ listed on the donor egg dish. Bridget’s story isn’t done. It should be just beginning.)  With Bridget and Hope in the presence of their matriarchs, and finding themselves pushed out of a company their mother made incredibly wealthy beyond anyone’s dreams, it’s time for the younger Logan women to assert themselves and reclaim their right to be recognized as an integral part of the history of the family and the company. And, given Steffy’s new plans for vengeance, Hope will need her big sister, right about now.

So, dear readers and friends, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go check my driver’s license to make sure I’m still me, check the net for predictions of the next “doomsday” date, and find out if someone has been slipping me hallucinogenic drugs. I just can’t believe this is happening. I’m not only loving the BnB, I’m imagining how many more years of this show I’d love to see, given the current directions of storylines.

B&B: The heart, mind, and soul of a woman – Part 1

You won’t believe this, but I am here to SING the praises of BnB writers!  I know, right?!!?!  How often has that happened?  I’ve been convinced, for EONS, that BnB writers fall into one of three categories:  1 – men who’ve never been in a relationship with a woman.  2 – men who have been in relationships with women, and hate them.  3 – women who haven’t had the heart to tell their coworkers that they’re putting utter bullshit to screen.  Yes, harsh, I know, but as a fan who’s watched the show from the day it aired, I’ve been one bitterly disappointed fan for roughly the last decade (though don’t ask me to explain why I continued to watch).  The tipping point?  I stopped watching after  Brooke “accidentally” had sex with her youngest daughter’s boyfriend, after all of her earlier trouble.  She had no idea that the person she had sex with wasn’t her husband – a man she’d been having sex with since her early 20s.  There is suspension of disbelief, and then there is flirtation with insanity.  There have been far too many times when BnB writers have asked viewers for the latter instead of the former.

So how did the same writing team move from the “mistaken stand up sex with a 20-year-old” to the Katie-Bill phenomenon?  It beats the hell out of me because like my continued fascination with this show, I can’t explain that either.  For the past two years, the BnB has won Emmys for “Best Writing” in storylines featuring the Logan family, in part or whole.  I can only believe that the writers are ready to explore the Logan women with greater depth and insight are and are beginning to play off of the strengths of the Logan leads (Katherine Kelly Lang, Heather Thom, Jennifer Gareis).   Between Brooke giving Ridge and Taylor the blues over their nitwit overly self-involved daughter, to Katie reading $Bill the riot act and busting him down to ¢Bill, this show is ROCKING!  The writers are finally writing as if they understand the hearts, minds, and souls of women.  I’ve finally watched a series of episodes that I could recommend to ANYONE I know, even friends who aren’t soap fans, and not be embarrassed to admit that I watch daytime television.   If it’s possible for the soap genre to be redefined at this late stage, as soaps lay dying, The Bold and The Beautiful has done it!

Katherine Kelly Lang – Brooke Logan

KKL’s strength has always been treating Brooke as a character with a heart and a soul, although her job was made a bit tougher during some of Brooke’s worst moments (sleeping with daughter Bridget’s husbands – Deacon and Nick, thinking of her daughter’s believed abortion to be a ‘moment’ in history for her to move on with Bridget’s beloved, accidentally sleeping with teen daughter Hope’s boyfriend).  If you erase those three horrific moments, Brooke has been the emotional heart of the show.  She brings love and forgiveness.  She brings insight and wisdom.  Unlike most BnB soap characters, Brooke admits her faults and lays herself emotionally bare to be judged by others.  She suffers humiliation and maltreatment and continues to move forward.  What she’s rarely been allowed to be, however, is the matriarch she is, a woman with a voice.  This new Brooke would have made Beth Logan proud!

Brooke telling the parents of a snake like Steffy that she SHOULD have her heart-broken if she thinks that it’s ok to interfere in someone else’s marriage  was positively inspired!   While Brooke has been reamed as a hypocrite in some quarters, I see her as a woman who is sadly speaking from experience.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t view Steffy and Brooke as the same, at all. The difference is that  Brooke had always been fighting to reclaim the love that was lost as Stephanie and Taylor fought to keep her and Ridge apart.  Steffy developed a crush on an older man and decided that he belonged to her – his wife be damned.  Steffy barely knew Bill.  There was no history, there was no backstory, there was only a pathetic attempt by a little girl to use a man to hurt a woman she’s hated without reason or limit.  Brooke nailed Taylor right between the eyes by reminding her that any other woman in her daughter’s shoes would have been deemed a home wrecker or worse (remember Taylor referring to Brooke as winning one for the ‘whores of the world’, when Ridge left her for Brooke, even though Brooke didn’t want him? 

I don’t know if the writers remember that it was their decision to transform Taylor from sympathetic oncologist, to husband envying psychiatrist, in love with her dying patients’ grieving spouse.   Either way, they’ve continued to write Brooke as the woman with insight, who has been consistently able to call other characters out on their behaviors, motivations, and intentions.  Taylor is stuck defending  or minimizing the behaviors her daughter displays when she learns the Brooke despises those very behaviors, even when she herself initially disagrees with Steffy’s actions.  It’s Taylor who has missed the boat on some of the biggest behavior indicators of problems in the Forresters’ lives (like Amber’s skittishness when bringing faux Little Eric home, and Morgan Dewitt’s psychological instability, or children’s growing pathological behaviors which includes a car bombing and stalking).

I am so greatly enjoying Brooke finding her voice and defending her family that I can scarcely wait for the next scene!

BnB: The measure of a woman. The mismeasure of a girl.

Done, Finito, KAPUT!  I’m done trying to find a reason to like the BnB’s Steffy Forrester, DONE!  I usually love bad girls/bad boys in daytime;  although I almost always root against them.  I enjoy watching them unleash fresh hell on others, and later themselves as their plans backfire.  It’s the best of both worlds.  Truly great bad girl/guy characters feed your light and dark sides.  Most daytime writers have a tried and true formula and “get” what makes bad girl/boy characters so much fun.  They’re equal parts exhilaration and exasperation and just when you think you can’t love-to- hate them any more than you already do, the writers pull a twist.  The character you thought you knew, the character whose all-knowing smirks drove you to the brink of distraction suddenly has a vulnerable side.   You find yourself almostliking them!  When daytime writers want you to fall for a character, they know what it takes to make you fall hard:

  • AMC’s writers pulled the ’empathy card’ on Janet-from-another-planet Green when they revealed that she wasn’t simply pathologically jealous of her beautiful sister, Natalie Marlowe, but that she’d been the target of unrelenting taunting and teasing, merciless emotional abuse, all without remorse by a mother who felt justified in the emotional torture of her daughter.  Natalie was her blessing, Janet was her curse. Wilma Marlowe couldn’t wait to remind Janet, every day of her life, that she was the daughter she would have done without and when given the choice, that choice would always be the beloved Natalie.  Janet’s hope was to, just once, be chosen first.  The desire to be someone’s first choice – even Trevor Dillon’s, drove much of Janet’s continued march toward madness. 
  • ATWT’s  writers pulled the ’empathy card’ with Emily Stewart, who spent years dealing with her mother Susan’s substance abuse and emotional distancing.  Emily’s victimization at her mother’s hands turned into a worldview in which she was always the victim of the those around her – even as she drew first blood.  By soapgod, she was going to make the world PAY!    ATWT pulled the double whammy with heartless schemer, Angel Lange, who was the victim of longterm sexual abuse at the hands of her wealthy powerful father.  Angel’s scheming was directed at helping her secure her freedom from a powerful father who seemed unstoppable.   To that end she forced Holden Snyder into marriage, schemed to keep him, and with her brother, stole millions from their father’s company.
  • GH’s Stefan Cassadine’s ’empathy card’ came in the form of dysfunctional parenting as well.  He and brother Stavros were presented as the “Heir and a Spare”. While his parents groomed his brother for greatness (and you can read that as great darkness), he was expected to bask in the shaded glory of the pathological Stavros, accept the cast off crumbs of his parents’ affections.  It was a wonder that they allowed him to keep the Cassadine name.  Stavros was dangerous, but even Stavros was a kitten compared to their parents.   

Stefan never stood a chance growing up.  If it’s possible to assign behavior to soap characters, you could imagine that had Stefan’s parents paid more attention to him in his youth, there would be no need to discuss adult Stefan.  He’d have never nade it to adulthood.  

  • Long before Stefan, there was Bobbie Spencer, who curiously enough became Stefan’s wife.  In her youth,  Bobbie hadn’t met a man she didn’t want to control, nor a woman she didn’t want to destroy to have him.   We later learned that Nurse Bobbie’s early  trauma occurred when she was led into prostitution as a young teen by her Aunt Ruby, not long  after her parents died.  She was just another of the working girls  in Aunt Ruby’s house.   Bobbie’s “protector” was her older brother, Luke, who protected her by making sure she was ‘safe’ on her ‘dates’ with older men.  Bobbie was reminded of her sex worker past, frequently, even as she transitioned from good-girl-gone-bad to bad-girl-turned-real-woman.  The most lasting reminder of Bobbie’s difficult time was the arrival of the daughter she conceived while working for Aunt Ruby.    Unfortuntately for Bobbie, daughter Carly came with an eye on vengence.
  • OLTL’s Todd Manning, in his youth, was anger on a stick and a threat to the safety of women everywhere.   The writers should have taken advantage of the fact that in a field of characters with unusual names (Storm, Ridge, Thorne, Destiny) naming this guy “Trouble” instead of Todd would have been more honest.  If there was a thing that Todd didn’t hate, it was only because it hadn’t been invented yet.  It’s hard to feel sorry for a unrepentent rapist and the writers knew it.  Without the need to try to ‘redeem’ him, the writers allowed the audience catch a glimpse of what was left of the humanity of the character.  The idea seemed to be to provide the audience some hope that whatever was left of his humanity was enought to stop him from victimizing others and to begin dealing  with his own pain.  Todd’s pain resulted from frequent beatings by an uncaring father who despised him.  Todd’s father, Peter Manning, was his maternal uncle and adoptive father.  He was forced to raise the child as his own.   We later found out that Todd was also sexually abused in his youth.
  • BnB’s Stephanie Douglas Forrester (who moved from my love-to-hate column to fully despise) was the product of a vicious wealthy father who presented the image of a perfect family to his business colleagues and friends (including fellow industry titan, YnR’s Katherine Chancellor).  What his friends and and colleagues didn’t know is that Mr. Douglas beat his daughter “Stevie” with reckless abandon behind closed doors.   Stephanie’s cruel childhood treatment was reportedly the cause of the cruelty she expressed in adulthood.  It is something that others around her struggle with until this day — clearly Stepahnie doesn’t struggle with her inhumanity toward others.  She revels in it.

You get the common thread, yes?  Years of emotional, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.  Whether it happens because of a cowardly parent or a craven lover, there is typically a foundation for the abusive, shallow behavior we witness in our fave bad girls and boys.  Use that as a backdrop to try to understand the BnB’s Steffy Forrester.  She’s the heir to a massive fortune, her mother  came BACK from the dead and re-established the family Steffy always wanted. Her mother also gave her 25% of the family company – trusting her to “take care” of her older brother.  Steffywas raised by a father she adores.  She’s never had to go to college and yet was handed cushy executive level positions in the company after spending only a few months in the mailroom.  AND she had a stepmother who raised her and loved her while her mother was believed to have been in the grave (the same stepmother she still adored just a few years, ago, and with whom she’s had no significant conflict).   She’s traveled the world and has reportedly been loved and in love.

To hear this wanker of a character whine day in and day out about how sad she is, how much she needs a man (any man dating or married to a Logan woman), how hard her life is, how she’s been abandoned, maltreated, unloved… it’s all just too much.  Rather than creating feelings that run from exhilaration to exasperation, my feelings for Steffy run from damned bored to seriously annoyed.  Her rapid shifting from begging her daddy (Ridge) to staywith the family and continue to raise her, to begging her ‘big daddy’ (Bill Spencer) to stay with her for the night and make love to her is pathetic, but mostly jarring.  Is she a needy child or a sexually provocative woman?  She can’t be both, or use both “needs” as the foundation for her aggression toward the Logan family.  Her need to destroy the Logan family because her father loves Brooke, is petty.  It’s surreal at best when you consider how much she loved Brooke as a stepmother, until her nological mother’s return.  It’s absurd when you consider the fact that Brooke is the mother of her youngest brother. 

Steffy doesn’t work as a bad girl because there is no “empathy card” to be played for this character.  The character is made up of all hard angles.  It’s even hard to believe that she’s invested in the people she claims to be invested in. She’s now twice turned on her mother for love of  two different men (Rick Forrester and Bill Spencer).  She’s never bothered to share the stock in the family company with her brother.  She doesn’t care if her YOUNGEST brother (still in late childhood) grows up without a father – as long as their father is in the home she no longer lives in as an adult.  She’s been working to destroy her brother’s family since he was a toddler.  She fell to her knees over twin sister Phoebe’s death, but almost immediately fell into bed with the man her family blamed for her sister’s death.  She defended him even after he used her and used her sister’s death to taunt her father… the same father she can’t live without. 

 The fact that anyone (onscreen) finds her intriguing leaves one feeling dumbfounded.  Steffy Marone-Forrester is a character filled with contradictions, and none of them good. 

She is not likable.

She is not rootworthy.

She is not interesting.

My time is quickly becoming wasted by this character.  My sincere hope is that the writers are planning to give the character depth or to send her packing.  I will accept either, but what I can’t accept is Steffy in her current incarnation.   At some point the writers will  become bored with this character as she is.  I’m looking forward to THAT day.