BnB: Befuddled!

BnB Angry Ally ForresterIt’s clear that the writers have more to tell us about Aly and what ails her, but for now I am confused, friends, simply befuddled.  1.  She’s been to college.  Why are her references about life left over from her high school days?  Attacking Wyatt as one of the popular boys who liked to hang out at the lockers of the cheerleaders threw me for a loop.  Exactly where in time is Aly stuck?

  2 – She was headed into a law practice (either as a law school student or a recent pre-law graduate taking an internship – I can’t remember).  Then she took the detour that led her to Forrester Creations.  Was her initial interest in a law practice an indication of a larger trauma?  Was she going to advocate for other survivors when the thought of opening her own life was too frightening so she dropped out, or was she just lonely and wanted to come home? I know it may be a stretch to read into the dialogue, but the BnB writers have been using dialogue so effectively to drop clues for the audience that I couldn’t ignore Aly’s statements.  Is anyone else struck by how she uses the word “wrong” repeatedly, as if she’s stuck on the word and not what the word indicates? Wyatt is “wrong” for Hope. Hope is “wrong” for abandoning HFTF values.  It’s so “wrong” that they had sex on the plane.  Wyatt is “wrong” for Hope for the Future and Forrester Creations.  Putting Stephanie’s legacy on display is “wrong”.  No other character uses a single word so obsessively.  Why does she?  P.S.  What a giggle that Stephanie’s “legacy” can be closed up in a box and carried around.  Double giggle that a woman who wore pantsuits everywhere,  probably to bed as well, had such an extensive jewelry collection and wore those jewels to so many amazing events).

BnB Ally Attacking Hope and Wyatt

Wyatt commented on Aly referring to him as “Mr. Popular”.  It was very child-like and I wonder if it is noteworthy that the writers made a point of having Wyatt focus on the oddity of Aly’s use of language.  Surely that has meaning most especially when you add it to her extreme reaction to seeing Wyatt with Hope in bed.  That was more than bizarre!  Not.Normal.Folks.  She’s old enough to see two adults together and know what sex between consenting adults looks like and how it’s different from a woman who is being coerced.  Her reaction was one of a young woman who was witnessing a sexual assault.

3 – Aly describes every interaction between Hope and Wyatt in such apocalyptic terms:  He ruins you.  He’s damaging your reputation.  Wyatt and Quinn have ruined Liam’s life (really?  ruined?  He’s VP of an international conglomerate and owns a multi-million dollar beach house.  A broken heart is not the sign of a ruined life).  She is so over the top.  What makes her go to such a deep dark place when her reactions should be basic?

4 – Is Aly suffering from delusions?  The last time I checked, she was working in the mail room.  Now she’s on a shadowing experience. Why does she think she can fire Wyatt and Quinn from FC?  Her tantrums mean that the Fullers are gone for good?  Shouldn’t she at least consult with someone, first.  Ok, then, someone needs to sit this young woman down and help her figure her life out.   I actually enjoyed the scenes of Brooke and Aly talking together.  It reminds me that while Aly is missing her mother and had Darla in her life for such a short period of time, there is still an opportunity for her to have a mother figure.  It was good to see Brooke with both Hope and Aly and supporting the younger generation of women. I will admit that it also made me wonder if Brooke and Aly were two survivors talking together, and that their developing friendship was an indication of something more  – like Brooke helping Aly take the first step in recovering from a traumatic past.

Outside of that, I really like the vibe of switching back and forth between the Paris Office and the L.A. Office.  I hope to see more of it – as long as it doesn’t include Aly flipping out on Hope and Wyatt.

Aly and Taylor

The person Aly can’t get help from is Taylor.  It’s not just because Taylor killed her mother, though that should be enough. It’s not just that Taylor lied to her and deceived her and her father while trying to replace her mother, that’s just sick.  It’s because Taylor, at best, is the WORST psychiatrist in history.  At worst, Taylor has always known what she  was doing and she manipulated those around her for personal gain from the moment she stepped foot in L.A. and that includes the numbers of time she’s taken advantage of her grieving male clients to get them in bed.  I see Taylor as the latter.

BnB Thorne and Young AllyThis is the woman who outed her patient’s husband’s affair with her sister, as well as a resulting pregnancy, in a crowded room,  during a family celebration.  Damn Katie’s heart issues.  Damn the fact that Katie was recovering from severe Postpartum.  Damn the fact that under any other circumstance, that sort of news would be enough to push even the most stable person over the edge.  Katie was already fighting with ever fiber of her being to pull her life back together.  Taylor blew it apart in yet another fit of jealous rage directed at Brooke. DISQUALIFIED!

This is the woman who couldn’t see that Amber was being deceitful when she first brought Little Eric home (though others could) and offered her orange juice to calm her nerves.  DISQUALIFIED!

This is the woman who, despite Stephanie’s increased aggression and violence, never figured out that it probably had its roots in the violence she experienced earlier in her life.  Taylor used Stephanie’s abnormal rages against Brooke in her war to keep Ridge tied to her side.  It was only when she and Ridge were apart, and Stephanie confided the truth about her violent childhood, that Taylor tried to help her.  Someone who is supposed to be good at her job should have known.  HELL, the AUDIENCE knew something was wrong with Stephanie’s escalating rage.  DISQUALIFIED!

It was only when Stephanie stopped supporting her that Taylor realized that Stephanie’s relationship with Ridge, almost to the exclusion of all of her other children, was abnormal.  Once Stephanie seemed to stop supporting her, not only did she comment on her newly found realization, she taunted Stephanie with her perception that Steph was sexually attracted to Ridge and backed her (Taylor) in the war against Brooke because unlike Brooke, she was not a threat, a sexual competitor, to Stephanie in the fight for Ridge’s affections.  DISQUALIFIED!

BnB Taylors Ripped Wedding DressThe above is the short list of Taylor’s truly heinous behaviors.  The ONLY reason Taylor still has a license to practice is that no one seems to be willing to bring her up on charges (the writers just won’t allow it).  Maybe she’s fine working with people from whom she wants nothing or with whom she does not share a personal relationship.  Outside of that?  Walk away.  No, RUN!  Taylor is a bigger wreck than the patients she claims she’s trying to help.  Seeing her back onscreen is a big reminder of the years of missed opportunities with what could have been an interesting character.

Up next: Ridge and Katie

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Pork chop side burns and the Bold and the Beautiful

Damn!  I was FREE!  I was completely FREE of daytime… and then came Hope and Wyatt.  Now I’m back and bummed.  I started watching the BnB again (as well as other daytime) and I haven’t  been able to free myself.  To be clear, I give the BnB this much credit: at least enough of the show is silly enough that there are days when I can fast forward a good deal of it and watch the entire show in under 1o minutes!  I also thank DAYS for being largely unwatchable!

The Good

Wyatt and Hope (shhhhh… no responses, please.  I love them and refuse to hear a negative word about them).   When Wyatt isn’t begging, but simply connecting with Hope?  Good stuff!  Is there no place in Paris for Liam?  Really?

Quinn.  If the writers turn her into the new Sheila/Stephanie, they’ve missed the point and have thrown away one of the best characters to come around in a long time.   Quinn is a self-made woman.  She is fearless, and she doesn’t cower when the men speak – I give Rena Sofer credit for making Quinn a stronger woman than the writers intended to write.  Excuse me, but what the HELL, writers?  We need strong women in daytime.  Stop equating strong (if you’re female) with bat crap out of your mind.  I would rather find out that Quinn’s secret is that she has a document pennyBill wrote, on a napkin, when they were young, promising her half his wealth when he finally made it on his own.  To be sure, it was something he wrote as a joke, or to seduce her into believing he saw her as a life partner.  Maybe he thought he’d collected it when he knocked her up and then told her to abort his kid.  Sorry if that seems indelicate on my part, it’s indelicate on the part of the character and the writers treat it as a mere past act rather than an act connected to his current character flaws.

It would be too late for her to grab Spencer Publications, but she would surely have claim to much of his current bank account.  If she  had his half of his current holdings/income (including shares in FC) and her current success, she would be a force to be reckoned with – but no… she’s crazy, and overly involved in the love life of her adult son.

Too bad.

Katie and Ridge.  Thorsten Kaye is one of the greatest miscasts in daytime history (gorgeous accent, it’s just out of place for a man born and raised in So. Cal.). While I am repulsed at the idea of sister swapping with recent lovers, there is an undeniable chemistry between HThom’s Katie and TK’s NuRidge.  It’s a more powerful chemistry than should be.  It appears, to me at least, that the writers are investing in making the celebrated Heather Thom the show’s new leading lady.  Katie’s dialogue is so crisp and heroic that I feel that I’ve been temporarily transported to a different show.  She’s strong, she’s smart, and she sees through both Bill and her sister.  Katie’s words speak to women who are tired of seeing men treat women like garbage and then swagger their way through life.   Her words are the words of women who feel empowered and whose emotional lives aren’t centered around being a fantasy for a man with small dreams.

Right now, despite often enjoying Wyatt and Hope, only Katie gives me hope that the show’s writers may one day learn to write for different kinds of women and characters.   My only fear is that once they’ve allowed her to be strong, they’ll take her the Quinn route.

If Katie and Ridge are to be together, it can’t be about Bill, Brooke, or past betrayals that will drive Katie insane.  It has to be about two those two people.

The Bad

Brooke.  Yes, it breaks my heart, but my once beloved Brooke leads “the bad”.    I must have been watching one day while cleaning and as I was cleaning, I must have hit my head and lost consciousness.  Did Brooke chide Katie for having pride and not taking Bill off her hands (he’s in the way of her achieving her dreams of a happy ending with NuRidge, dontcha’ know)?  Did she tell Katie to accept Bill back in her life and let him make her happy?  You mean, as happy as she was when he impregnated her sister behind her back? (see: repeated character flaws of Bill Spencer Jr!)  As happy as he made her the last time she put her pride aside and let him into her life?  When she did that he bedded her and the next morning ran back to Brooke with paperwork stealing everything Katie cared for.  That’s what Brooke wants for her sister, to have to wake up every morning wondering if that was the morning Bill was back in her sister’s bed?

It’s time for the writers to stop ignoring the deep, unfilled, void left  with Susan Flannery’s retirement.  To do so is a sign that their vision for the future is short-sighted.  Brooke doesn’t have to be angry, crazy, criminally violent and just plain evil, but she can be a healing force in her family rather than the person who continues to tear it apart.  While I would love for KKL’s Brooke to fill void, it doesn’t look like that will be the case.  If HTom’s Katie is set free of Brooke and Bill, it would seem to me that she’s it, she’s the  new martriarch/leading lady.  She will be the new heart of the Logan family – she will be the person who brings them all together.

Storm gave his heart to save Katie.  Brooke couldn’t give up a night in the arms of a walking outdated stereotype.  The writers don’t seem to be interested in Brooke beyond the ability to use her to write destructive sexual entanglements.  Three decades and this is all they have to offer the show’s fans?  Shame, shame BnB writers!

The Ugly

I don’t find men who think a woman should be used in bed to be particularly hero worthy. If Bill truly loved Brooke, you would think he that he was grateful that Ridge wasn’t rushing into bed with Brooke.  WHY would he taunt Ridge about NOT having sex with Brooke? Does he want to go to Brooke’s house one day and see a rumpled bed? Brooke is just for sexing under any circumstances? Brooke has been telling anyone who will listen that Ridge is her happy ending in life, what does that make Bill?

Bill seems to be incapable of real emotion. The writers are too stuck on some 70s version of a tough guy – it’s just old, silly, contrived and the opposite of tough – as far as I’m concerned.  I’ll admit it, I get the giggles when Bill is on screen.  Is he supposed to be funny? His scenes seem to be consistently about making empty threats to anyone who is too dumb to listen.   Bill is a pair of pork chop sideburns away from completing the cosmic joke the writers have turned him into.  PLEASE, PLEASE let Bill start twirling his mustache every time he makes a threat. That would make his scenes even funnier.

The last Ridge-Bill interaction taught me one thing. Ridge’s connection is about emotions and sex with Brooke is based on their emotional connection. Bill’s is about his floppy Bill and any open and available opportunity.  When I’m not laughing at Bill, I’m actually feeling a little queasy.

Is it just me or does anyone else think that the writers have made Bill an even bigger idiot when he’s in lust?  How the hell can I buy him as a successful mogul when his former thrill thing, Steffy, was able to cheat him into selling FC back to her family and then Brooke was able to swap papers giving him control of everything he ever wanted?  Bill clearly thinks with his zipper.

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.

BnB: You Always Hurt the One You Love

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If you: repeatedly work to end a woman’s marriage, facilitate her rape after calling her a whore, leave her fragile Alzheimer’s afflicted mother alone to drown, facilitate having her children  to grow up without a stable family, behave in such a heinous way that her brother flips out trying to stop you and ends up eventually taking his life once his switch has been flipped, repeatedly try to take custody of her children for your own personal gain, and attempt to murder her on more than one occasion – alternating murder attempts with bouts of public humiliation… well!  Don’t lose hope!  There IS a way to make it up to her in one magical truly painless (for you, that is)  moment:

Even for daytime, this was one weak response to Brooke finding out that the woman she believed had finally come to love and respect her had instead intentionally inflicted harm yet again.  If I had a nickel for every time the writers have had Brooke fall for that lie, I’d own controlling interest in Microsoft!  Granny Stephanie talked idiotic  Thomas into lying and allowing his father to believe that he slept with his stepmother and that she was covering up the ‘dirty deed’.  Brooke raised Thomas for part of his young life – when he was still a decent and loving human being.  She supported him when he  had no support from the rest of his family.  In the end, Stephanie was able to convince him to turn on his stepmother with very  little persuasion needed.

Given the level of betrayal and inflicted damage, it’s disturbing that the writers have chosen to resolve the storyline this way. It feeds the stereotype about the lack of seriousness in daytime writing and production and helps any newbie who attempts to watch the genre understand why so many actors divorce themselves from their daytime past once they make it beyond the fuzzy daytime curtain.  The title of the song could have just an easily applied to the impact of the writing on daytime fans, or would if anyone actually believed that daytime writers even LIKED, much less loved or respected their fans.   On one hand, I’m sympathetic to the need to end a stinker of a storyline (like the trudge reunion) as quickly as possible.  I have to wonder if BnB writers needed to hurriedly wrap the non-reunion storyline to make Steph and Brooke allies in the fight against Taylor, Bill, and Steffy.  The problem is that I (and I’m betting most soap fans) don’t need Stephanie to be Brooke’s ally. I would have loved for the writers to have cast Elizabeth Hubbard (ATWT’s Lucinda Walsh) or Melody Thomas Scott (Ex-/Maybe Current Nikki, YnR) as Beth’s wealthy sister who has been estranged from the family since Beth married Stephen Logan — the man she loved first.  Aunt Patience Logan could have suffered a recent loss — her own husband dying tragically.   With her adult children living their own lives, the loss leads her to realize how alone she is, and how ashamed she feels that she never made peace with her sister, Beth, before she died. It would motivate her make peace with her newfound family, learn the lay of the land, and then go all kick ass on Steph and her trashy crew, knocking them all on their butts.  Aunt Patience would help empower her nieces as they’ve never been empowered before. I’d love her to have a vast fortune, big enough to make the Spencer fortune look like spending change and to use it to bring the pain!  The BnB doesn’t often promote strong female leads and when it does, they often become psychotic, whether they’re recognized as such (Sheila Carter) or not (Stephanie Douglas Forrester).  Aunt Patience would hopefully avoid becoming such a caricature.

Double my pleasure!  Make Aunt Patience’s first-born son, a cousin the Logans have never met,  a dead ringer for Stormy Logan, assuming it’s even possible for  DeVry to return given his busy filming and taping schedule … Is he Stephen’s son or is the resemblance due to their shared maternal lineage?    New Storm (Thunder/Rain Cloud/Lightening) could end up falling for Felicia, complicating his mother’s plans to ruin the Forresters once and for all — but  make that complicate, not end or deter.  I would DELIGHT in watching Aunt Patience, sitting back in the FC CEO’s chair, forcing Stephanie to drop to her knees and beg for the life of her family’s company.  I would REVEL in watching Aunt Patience turn over half of FC stock (maybe 60%)  to Hope because she has never been involved with a Forrester and would be less least likely to sign over the shares at some point.  She could then allow the Forrester family split the remaining stock.  Brooke would, of course, manage her daughter’s interests.

If the writers aren’t invested in bringing in new characters, how about forcing Stephanie to sign her 25 percent over to Brooke?  Brooke and Ridge would then, as a couple, effectively run FC again. 

How about having Brooke and Steph rehash the forgotten forged letter that ended Brooke’s marriage to Eric, only to have Eric overhear it and dump Steph once and for all?  (No, REALLY, no going back!)   It’s time to bring a woman into Eric’s life that makes him a romantic lead again, instead of having him live out his days as Stephanie’s sock puppet.  As a parting shot, Eric could inform Stephanie that she’s been blinded all these years about who the viper in her bosom actually is and then tell her about Taylor sending him to end things with her  for good  to prove that he wanted to be with her and only her.  Stephanie would wake up too late to the realization that Brooke has never been out to destroy her and in trying to destroy Brooke (Hope, and RJ – Bridget and Rick before them) she’s lost the family she claimed to love.   Jackie and Eric, Part 2?   Wouldn’t that leave Owen free to go back to Bridget and his son?  I could stomach that at this point — especially if Bridget and Owen then found out that Nick was the child’s father and had to figure out how to make their relationship work in light of the news.

What if Stephanie really WAS ostracized this time?  Why not begin to build a brand new storyline around her?  Get Stephanie out of the fashion industry and doing something with her life that benefits others.  The current storyline has trivialized her work with the homeless, which was apparently a hobby in between her moments of obsession with Brooke and Brooke’s marriage to Ridge.  Rather than another physical illness, which leaves most fans with little sympathy for her) why not have Stephanie go back to her abuse storyline and have her work with a competent psychiatrist to break her bad habits to manipulating, betraying, and controlling?  Maybe Dayzee has an abusive ex-boyfriend  who shows up and jump starts the storyline.  What if Stephanie accidentally kills him during an altercation and tries to hide the evidence of her crime in a real ‘whodunit?’.  What if the writers have his father/brother/sister come looking for him, slowly putting the pieces together, and who begins tormenting Stephanie until the truth is revealed.   Anything that keeps her from meddling in her adult children’s lives works for me.

Brooke forgave the rape Stephanie facilitated.  She forgave Steph for the fake heart attack she used to break up her family.  She forgave Stephanie leaving her agitated mother to drown.  She forgave Stephanie’s torment of her brother and her siblings. She forgave Stephanie’s various attempts to destroy her children’s happiness.  All the while she was maltreated by Stephanie, she’s has repeatedly fought for Steph’s health, her life, and has done everything she could to become ‘true family’ with  her.   After more than 20 years of torment, closer to 30 years onscreen, at what point does Brooke get to kick Stephanie’s butt, figuratively or literally?

The above  “forgiveness scene”  was the equivalent of ordering a cup of tea, savoring every bit until the end, where the last taste is bitter.  What a pity. I don’t want Brooke to become the vicious and angry pantload Stephanie has always been.  I just want a feeling of ‘satisfaction’ when one of the BnB’s “big” storylines is resolved.  The level of betrayal Brooke experiences at Stephanie’s hands, the sheer number of TEARS that woman cries, suggests that a much stronger response is needed.  Double dating with the man who left you last week, and his parents, on the eve of his would- be wedding, while his psychotic mother warbles out a classic just doesn’t do it for me.

BnB: “Bitch, Please” and “the Bearded one”!

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Sadly, a good Brooke and Ridge (BRidge) reunion has always piqued my interest enough that I’d tune in and follow what’s going on.   Not so much this go round, but I have kept up enough to know two things:  1 -The writers have tacitly confirmed that taylor “mail order psychiatry degree” hayes Jones is nothing more than a crackpot, and 2 – The writers view Ridge as nothing more than a cluesless lamb to the slaughter in the BRidge meltdowns.  It’s time for the writers to let Ridge grow a pair, and KEEP THEM!  This BRidge break up was the most pathetic yet (Ridge planned to rebound with a marriage to his ex before his son even knew that he’d divorced his mother and left the family) The second point first.  Ridge:

Colore me stunned to see Ronn Moss’ (Ridge’s) heavy growth of facial hair.  WHAAAA’?  Has it dawned on anyone else that the last time we saw such heavy growth, not just the occasional 5 o’clock shadow we’ve seen,  it coincided with another ‘big loss’ storyline on screen?  Shortly after Ridge lost Caroline, he grew a beard that would make a dense patch of forest sick with envy!  The mail order psychiatrist, hoping that she’d broken through to Ridge in order to get him to take his attention off of his grief for his dead wife and turn his attention to her, tried to get him to shave it.  His response?  NO!  Brooke – the other woman he loved as much as Caroline, told him, as he sat at her bedside attending to her every need while she was in labor with his father’s child, that his beard was itchy.  To taylor’s shock and chagrin, Ridge ran to shave it to make Brooke more comfortable.

That the timing of this storyline is coincidental with RM’s decision to grow facial hair shouldn’t be considered immaterial. How nice it would have been for the writers to have thought about those earlier scenes and then use them for this show.  Imagine Taylor remembering that time and finally putting  together the facial hair and the look of being lead to the gallows emanating from Ridge’s dead eyes whenever they’re together.  Imagine a horrified Taylor realizing on her own that Ridge was grieving for Brooke as he grieved for Caroline, and that she truly was back on the sidelines, hoping that for once she wasn’t the rebound betty she’d been for Ridge from the day they met.  She could have at least gone out with a little dignity.  Maybe then she would have seemed slightly human had she crumbled under the weight of the realization that she’d emasculated her husband by laughing at her inability to remember his name in bed, calling out Ridge’s instead.  She could have broken down in utter disgust that she’d tossed Whip aside, treating him as if his absolute devotion to her made her skin crawl.  Nah… that’s too much like right for the broken down half-wit psychiatrist.  The writers didn’t have it in them to have her think about what she’d done.  She was too busy falling back on her uusal refrain, “… but what about ME?”  In her rush to proclaim herself the victim, taylor’s statements about the tragedy of her non-wedding to Ridge made her seem callous, dumber than usual, and absolutely insane… all I can say is:

Bitch, PLEASE!

1.  Taylor thought her son was  “molested” by Brooke?  (I can’t even deal with the writers’ trivialization of the word, right now).  Suffice it to say: BTICH, PLEASE!  This is the woman who called herself young Rick and Bridget’s “new mommy”, used a young Rick to keep the secret that she was dating his father behind good friend Stephanie’s back ,and then turned around and slept with Rick when he became an adult.  She loved throwing in it Brooke’s face that she’d intended to marry her son.    Yet she thought that Brooke “molested” her son when they were BOTH stoned on wild berries and neither had any real memory of what happened? 

Given Thomas’ historyof violence and aggression and his prior attempts to get romantically/sexually physical with his stepmother (for the sake of publicity), she would have made more sense worrying about Brooke than worrying about Thomas.

2 – She wondered if Stephanie and Thomas even knew who she was and what she was about when they played their hand?  BITCH, PLEASE!  Stephanie, the woman you ran to when you were afraid of losing Ridge?  The woman you thanked for keeping Ridge with you because the two of you would never made it without her?  The woman who watched you a) accept a wedding gown/ring/proposal meant for someone else?  b) accept her arm twisting of Ridge to keep him away from a child he thought was his child with Brooke for your sake?  c) accept her help in trying to give a child she thought was yours with Thorne to his brother to force Ridge to be with you to give his brother’s child a father? d) sneak into Brooke office and cackle like a mad hen over listening to Steph call Brooke names? e) try to profit from doping Ridge up and giving him alcohol and taking him to bed after that?  Honey, that’s your SHORT list.  How could any writer expect an audience to believe taylor’s innocence given her own history?

3.  She’s tried to live her life with integrity?  If the emphasis in on the word ‘tried’, she gets away with that statement, though I could argue that the writers didn’t have her try very hard.  If the emphasis is on the work “integrity”?  BITCH, PLEASE!  This is the woman who called Brooke a whore and who mocked her for marrying the Forrester men and yet has slept her way through TWO families (plus the men she didn’t know while drinking and trolling the wharf around Chuck’s bar).  Taylor lied about killing her sister-in-law, allowed the family to think that Darla had been left to die like an animal in the road, and then encouraged Darla’s child and husband grow close to her.  She hid her infidelity with James Warrick, at her husband’s family’s beloved Big Bear cabin, for YEARS while making her husband think she was as pure as the driven snow.  She’s slept with almost every male patient she’s ever had (onscreen), lied about her college relationship with Grant Chambers, committed bigamy, trashed her best friend’s marriage behind her back, betrayed her now deceased daughter, used her psychologically frail – physically violent husband to try to make a young Ridge jealous by sleeping with the ex-husband (license and ethics be damned) … and again, the short list.

That taylor didn’t have the decency to feel sorry for anyone other than herself means that if the writers didn’t intend for the character to seem shallow, vain, and pathetic someone should be playing the lottery because they hit on all three traits without breaking a sweat.